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11 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (July 20, 2021)

The world’s biggest retail real estate trade association rebrands itself. As businesses around the country start returning to offices, it’s leading to legal battles with some employees over remote work post vaccines, reports Bloomberg. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Retail Real Estate Trade Group Grapples with Post-Pandemic Landscape, Changes Name “The biggest global trade association for the retail real estate industry is rebranding to update its image amid massive changes in the way people shop. The International Council of Shopping Centers announced Monday its initials ICSC will now stand for Innovating Commerce Serving Communities. ICSC said the changes have been about nine months in the making.” (CNBC)
  2. The $8 Billion Question: Which Towns Will Cash in on Marijuana? “Since February, the drug has become legal in five neighboring Northeast states, a densely populated region that is expected to quickly become the nation’s second-largest cannabis marketplace, generating as much as $8.7 billion annually within five years. But first, mayors and municipal leaders in three East Coast states that legalized cannabis this year — New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — are wrestling with choices freighted with political and financial implications: Should they permit cannabis companies to operate in their towns?” (The New York Times)
  3. Office Culture War Escalates as Workers Balk at Return Mandates “The desire of some businesses to return to normalcy has led to a spike in requests from workers with disabilities—those with chronic illnesses that put them at risk for severe Covid infection, anxiety and depression, and other mobility impairments— for remote options as an accommodation under federal disability law, employment attorneys say. Legal battles have begun playing out in court when those have been denied.” (Bloomberg Law)
  4. Total LA Property Value Ticks Up to $1.76T “The overall cumulative property value in Los Angeles County showed gains for the 11th consecutive year in 2020, according to Assessor Jeff Prang’s yearly assessment, now up to $1.76 trillion in total net value. The value of the inventory for all taxable property grew by $62.9 billion — or 3.7 percent. The $1.76 trillion total net value translates into about $17 billion in property tax dollars for the year.” (Commercial Observer)
  5. Ross Stores Opens 30 New Locations “So far, it has been a summer of expansion for Ross Stores. The off-price apparel and home fashion retailer opened 22 Ross Dress for Less and eight dd’s Discounts stores across 11 different states in June and July. These new locations are part of the company's plans to add approximately 60 new stores – 40 Ross and 20 dd's Discounts – during fiscal 2021.” (Chain Store Age)
  6. A Federal Judge Upholds Indiana University’s Vaccination Requirement for Students “The requirement permitted exemptions only for religious objections, documented allergies to the vaccine, medical deferrals and virtual class attendance. On Monday, Judge Damon R. Leichty of the U.S. District Court for Northern Indiana said that while he recognized the students’ interest in refusing unwarranted medical treatment, such a right must be weighed against the state’s greater interest.” (The New York Times)
  7. Who Wins and Loses in the Return to the Office—And How to Avoid a ‘Diversity Crisis’ “Companies can take steps to avoid creating a new tier of 'second-class employees,' one expert says.” (MarketWatch)
  8. Theme Parks and Their Fans Still Keen on High-Tech, Interactive Tools Developed During COVID “Theme parks are set for a big rebound this summer as much of the country starts to exit Covid restrictions. And many of the high-tech, low-touch solutions parks implemented during the pandemic to enable limited reopenings are here to stay and, in fact, are proving popular with both guests and park operators.” (CNBC)
  9. “I Am Going to Kill You:” Tenant from Hell Wreaks Havoc “Copperwood, which owns 20 rental buildings in Yorkville, has moved to boot a tenant so noxious even an eviction moratorium can’t save him.” (The Real Deal)
  10. World’s First Reinforced Concrete Skyscraper Is Now a Cincinnati Hotel “The historic Ingalls Building in downtown Cincinnati is now home to the latest hotel to open in the city.” (Cincinnati Business Courier)
  11. Stop Thinking About the 4-Day Workweek as a Literal Extra Day Off, Says the CEO of 4 Day Week “The idea of a four-day work week is slightly misleading in itself, said Lockhart, acknowledging with some humor: ‘Unfortunately, a 'Reduced-Hour Work Week' isn't that clickbaity.’ It's not necessarily about taking a whole day off, but instead looking at how organizations can reduce hours, crucially without cutting pay. This ultimately comes down to having focused conversations about productivity improvements.” (Insider)
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