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12 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (June 10, 2020)

The U.S. could see up to 25,000 store closures in 2020, estimates a new report from Coresight Research. The New York Times looks at who should be paying for virus-testing nursing home employees. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. U.S. Store Closures 2020 Outlook: COVID-19 Update—Prolonged Impact Set to Drive Up Closures “In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, Coresight Research now predicts that retail closures will rise exponentially in the US to reach a total of between 20,000 and 25,000 (gross—i.e., not accounting for openings), with the 22,500 midpoint of this range being significantly higher than our previous estimate of up to 15,000 closures (gross).” (Coresight Research)
  2. Cleveland Is a House-Flipping Hotspot and COVID-19 Adds Fuel “Economic upheaval has investors hunting for cheap houses. Many are finding them on the shores of Lake Erie. The pandemic has stoked demand among investors, who were already buying more than one of every 10 homes sold in the U.S. They started gorging on houses after the last recession served up millions of foreclosures, and they’ve kept buying despite rising home prices, wagering on a permanent suburban rental class.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  3. Macy’s Says Reopened Stores Performing Better Than Expected “Macy’s Inc said on Tuesday its 450 reopened stores were performing better than expected, giving some respite for the department store chain that reported nearly $1 billion in quarterly operating losses due to COVID-19 lockdowns. The company’s shares rose 12% in premarket trading, a day after Macy’s said it had raised $4.5 billion to navigate through the fallout from the pandemic.” (Reuters)
  4. Landlords’ New Credo for Late-Paying Tenants: I’ll See You in Court “Tensions between landlords and retail tenants over missed rent payments have been boiling over for weeks. Now, they are spilling into the courtroom. More landlords are turning to the court system in an effort to collect unpaid rent. They are led by property owners who didn’t receive checks in April and May and are pursuing payment now that the customary 30-day grace period has expired.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  5. Movie Theaters Can Reopen Friday in Many California Counties, with Major Changes “State public health officials released guidelines Monday, June 8, that will transform the moviegoing experience, including requiring theaters to limit showings to 25% of capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower. The guidance directs theater operators to set up reservation systems so that customers arrive in staggered groups, establish separate entry and exit points where possible, and reconfigure seating to allow moviegoers to sit 6 feet apart if they are not from the same household.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
  6. Why Zero Cash Flow Assets Make Sense Right Now “We have reached a unique time in the net lease investment environment due to COVID-19—tenants are seeking rent relief, investors are taking capital off the table, and lenders are pulling back. There is a litany of questions around where the market goes from here as the environment continues to prove uncertain at best. But where do zero cash flow structured assets fit in this rapidly changing marketplace? Here are some questions and answers that address this and other issues.” (, subscription required)
  7. Testing Nursing Home Workers Can Help Stop Coronavirus. But Who Should Pay? “Like all nursing home workers in New York State, Shikilia Davis is required to get a test for coronavirus twice a week, part of a state order aimed at containing the startling death toll of residents in nursing homes. But late last month, Ms. Davis said her employer, Apex Rehabilitation & Healthcare on Long Island, sent her home after she refused to provide her insurance card before getting tested. She said the nursing home wanted to bill her health insurer rather than paying for the test itself, even though Ms. Davis’s insurer has declined to cover the tests.” (The New York Times)
  8. This Is How Long the Coronavirus Pandemic Could Delay Millennials’ Dreams of Buying a Home “On average, it will take nine months for a millennial to save the equivalent of one month’s worth of expenses, found. Altogether, researchers said it would take the average millennial 53 months, or over four years, to recoup the funds if they had no income for six months. (The report assumes a savings target of 10% of take-home pay, though the national savings rate average 6%.)” (MarketWatch)
  9. Financial Services Plans Gradual Return to the Office: Deloitte “Financial services institutions are not only considering when and how to facilitate reopenings but whether to return to a full on-site staff at all, according to a new study from Deloitte’s Real Estate & Location Strategy practice. FSI leaders are facing a particularly daunting challenge, as there is no single solution that covers a wide variety of property types, including office buildings, data centers and retail bank branches.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  10. What It Looks Like Inside an Amazon Warehouse Now “After months of being embattled over its response to the coronavirus, Amazon is working to convince the public that its workplaces — specifically, the warehouses where it stores everything from toys to hand sanitizer — are safe during the pandemic. The giant internet retailer has started running television ads that show that its warehouse and delivery employees have masks and other protective gear.” (The New York Times)
  11. How COVID-19 Could Inform the Future of Medical Office Design “Instead of waiting in a crowded reception room, patients may be asked to remain in their cars as a means to physically distance until they are called via text or phone by the physician’s office. They may fill out and submit paperwork online leading up to their appointment, a day or two before. And check-in and check-out are also being completed by phone when possible, and perhaps in the exam room itself, when not possible before the visit.” (D Magazine)
  12. What Impact Will Fitness Center Vacancies Have on Commercial Real Estate? “Real estate crowdfunding startup BRIX REIT is one of the many commercial real estate owners feeling the effect of fitness center bankruptcies. This real estate investment trust (REIT) formed in 2018 with the mission of acquiring and operating properties leased to companies widely used by younger consumers, including student housing, fitness centers, and quick-service restaurants. The company has only made a handful of real estate purchases in its brief history, including paying $12.8 million for a gym leased to 24 Hour Fitness in Texas.” (MillionAcres)
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