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13 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Apr. 14, 2021)

Foreign institutions are partnering with U.S. companies to buy single-family rentals, reports the Wall Street Journal. The Associated Press looks at the legal and scientific principles for why the CDC is behind the current eviction ban. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. That Suburban Home Buyer Could Be a Foreign Government “Big foreign investment firms that buy office buildings, hotels and shopping centers around the world have a new favorite real-estate play: single-family homes in American suburbs. These institutions are partnering with U.S. housing companies to buy or build rental homes by the thousands. In suburban neighborhoods near cities such as Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix, blocks of families are sending monthly rent checks to ventures backed by Canadian pension funds, European insurers, and Asian or Middle Eastern government-run funds.” (Wall Street Journal)
  2. The Law and Science Behind the CDC’s Eviction Ban “When the U.S. government enacted a ban on evictions, it did so through an unlikely agency: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC has said the policy, first enacted in September and recently extended through the end of June, helps stop the spread of the coronavirus by limiting the number of people who lose their housing and have to live in shared housing, homeless shelters or on the streets.” (Associated Press)
  3. Public Storage Acquires ezStorage for $1.8 Billion “Public Storage, a real estate investment trust, said Tuesday it is acquiring ezStorage for $1.8 billion, adding a portfolio of 48 properties in areas with strong demand and high barriers for new property development across Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland. The company expects to fund the deal using unsecured debt. It expects the deal to close in May and to immediately boost funds from operations, or FFO, a key real estate metric that measures cash flows.” (MarketWatch)
  4. Real Estate Investors Bet on Patients’ Return to the Doctor’s Office “Medical office buildings emptied out during the pandemic when many patients opted for video appointments and telemedicine rather than in-person visits. That didn’t stop investors from pouring money into these properties. Investors say there are a number of reasons to favor medical offices even as property owners turn more bearish on conventional office buildings, which have been upended by the new popularity of remote work.” (Wall Street Journal)
  5. Why Real Estate Insurance Premiums Are on the Rise—And What Owners Can Do to Prepare “If you’re a real estate owner or investor, you may have noticed a significant increase in insurance costs compared to previous years. In fact, renewal increases have jumped 20% year-over-year, according to Q3 2020 data from Marsh’s Global Insurance Market Index, a measure of global commercial insurance premium pricing.” (Forbes)
  6. Five Companies Returning to the Office (and Five That Aren’t) “The announcement that every American will be eligible to receive a vaccine by May 1st has a return to normalcy just around the corner. Offices, businesses, and employees are pressing their pantsuits, shining their shoes, and getting back into the routine of work in preparation for the return to the office. While some of the nation’s largest companies have permanently shifted to work from home policies, many titans of industry are eager to get back to business as usual. We rounded up some of the nation’s largest enterprises planning to welcome back their full workforce later this year.” (Propmodo)
  7. The Next Level in Office Amenities: Wild Horses “You can’t ride the wild mustangs at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center in Nevada, but you’re nearly guaranteed to see bands of them loping over sagebrush in a scene that feels straight out of the 1800s. At least until the dust clears and Tesla’s 5.3-million-square-foot ‘Gigafactory’ comes into focus. Welcome to the Silver State, where Elon Musk, a cryptocurrency tycoon and a brothel owner are using a symbol of Americana as a social media recruiting tool.” (The New York Times)
  8. NYC Real Estate Mogul Secures $6 Billion in Gold to Back Cryptocurrency “Kent Swig became interested in cryptocurrencies after learning more about the concept from his teenage son.” (Bloomberg)
  9. CBL Focuses on Local Tenants in its New Mall Campaign “Now CBL will be spreading the word about its native business in a TV and social media campaign entitled “We Are Local.” Spots will feature popular tenants such as Bourbon Creek at Fayette Mall in Lexington, Ky., Bo2S Lady Designs at West Towne Mall in Madison, Wis., and Mason & Magnolia at Coastal Grand in Myrtle Beach, S.C. ‘Customers don’t always realize that when they visit their hometown mall, they are supporting local businesses and bringing the dreams of local entrepreneurs to fruition,’ Lebovitz said.” (Chain Store Age)
  10. ‘What Would I Do?’ Frank Gehry, 92, Is Too Busy to Retire “It was midafternoon on a Monday and the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry —   despite having just turned 92 in a pandemic, completed the top floor of his building in the Grand Avenue development, and prepared for a show of new sculpture at the Gagosian Gallery —  had little interest in sitting back to reflect on this potentially meaningful moment in his life and career. Instead, he was on the move — giving his first studio tour since the Covid-19 outbreak, far more eager to discuss the myriad designs he has underway, most of which have been proceeding.” (The New York Times)
  11. Third of Office Workers Would Quit Before Returning to Office “A new survey suggests that a significant portion of remote workers today would in effect call their employer’s bluff if asked to return to pre-pandemic office life. Released earlier this month, the survey by S&P 500 staffing firm Robert Half found that a full third of employees currently working from home would rather look for a new job than work full time in an office again.” (Bisnow)
  12. Taco Bell to Open First Digital-Only U.S. Location in Times Square “Taco Bell will open its first digital-only U.S. restaurant on Wednesday in New York’s Times Square. To buy a Crunchwrap Supreme or soft taco, customers will have to place a digital order ahead of their visit or use one of the 10 self-order kiosks inside the restaurant. The kiosks can also be used to buy Taco Bell souvenirs. The location, inside the iconic Paramount Building, also features a separate entrance for mobile and delivery order pick-up from cubbies.” (CNBC)
  13. As Retailers Like Walmart and Macy’s Woo Customers Back, Some Have to Clean Up Shop “Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, said it’s time for retailers to clean up their act — or risk losing customers. He snaps photos on shopping trips to better understand companies’ strategies and execution, which he then sends to his clients and posts across social media. He is quick to point out where retailers fall short: shabby signage, sloppy apparel or puzzling choices, such as setting up a large umbrella display at a store in Arizona, a state known for few rainy days.” (CNBC)
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