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13 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Aug. 2, 2021)

The expiration of the federal eviction moratorium over the weekend will leave renters in the South as the most vulnerable, according to The Wall Street Journal. Axios examined the trend of retail centers adding micro-fulfillment centers. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Eviction Ban’s Expiration Leaves Renters in South Appearing Most Vulnerable “Meanwhile, only about $3 billion out of $46.6 billion in federal rental assistance meant to prevent tenant evictions and help struggling landlords had reached landlords and tenants by the end of June, according to the U.S. Treasury Department, which noted that the pace at which local programs were disbursing the funds has been increasing.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  2. HSBC to reduce real estate by 20%; introduces mindfulness sessions for stressed out home workers “In April, HSBC scrapped the executive floor at its Canary Wharf offices to make room for collaborative spaces and client meeting rooms in the post-pandemic economy. This move came just weeks after the bank announced plans to shift 1200 of its call centre staff to permanent working from home contracts as part of a wider reassessment of its real estate needs.” (Finextra)
  3. Physical stores go hybrid with micro-fulfillment centers “Amazon has greatly expanded the reach of its fulfillment centers in recent years, locating them outside cities to get merchandise closer to consumers, helping to make its fast delivery times possible. In the post-pandemic era, micro-fulfillment centers in or near brick-and-mortar stores are the antidote to giant warehouses.” (Axios)
  4. CBRE Group, Inc. (CBRE) CEO Bob Sulentic on Q2 2021 Results “CBRE continues to benefit from the multiyear efforts to diversify our business across four dimensions; asset type, business line, client type, and geography. We've moved decisively to capitalize on this opportunity and are making investments and driving organic growth initiatives that will continue this trend.” (Seeking Alpha)
  5. Amazon’s “smart” way into apartment buildings is through the landlord “Amazon salespeople are cold-calling landlords and building managers to pitch Key for Business. They have also employed locksmiths to pitch the service when they change locks at a building. The company has in some cases given out $100 Amazon gift cards to landlords who sign up.” (The Real Deal)
  6. Dollar General unveils its first store-in-store concept “The retailer plans to have approximately 25 Dollar General and pOpshelf combination stores, as well as up to an additional 50 pOpshelf freestanding locations in various markets by the end of fiscal year 2021. pOpshelf is designed to make the shopping experience “fun” and "affordable,” with the vast majority of items priced at $5 or less.” (Chain Store Age)
  7. State orders $1 million tax refund for Trump, county moves to block it “The Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board has decided former President Donald Trump is due a $1 million refund on his skyscraper’s 2011 tax bill, ruling last month that the Cook County Board of Review overestimated the value of the building’s hotel rooms and retail space. But the Cook County State’s Attorney has filed suit with the Illinois Appellate Court, seeking to block the tax refund, which has yet to be issued.” (Chicago Sun Times)
  8. Downtown Seattle office vacancies still high as virus variant clouds real estate outlook “The latest uncertainty once again upends plans to return to pre-pandemic office work, just as commercial real estate bellwethers indicated downtown’s office market was beginning to rebound — or at least escape the worst of last year’s freefall.” (The Seattle Times)
  9. Foot Locker to Buy Two Retailers for $1.1 Billion “The New York-based company Monday announced the acquisitions of athletic retailer WSS for $750 million and Atmos, a Japan-based streetwear and sneaker shop, for $360 million. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported Foot Locker was close to making both deals. The acquisition of Los Angeles-based WSS, which generated $425 million in revenue in 2020, gives Foot Locker access to a large Latino customer base, an important and fast-growing demographic, Foot Locker executives said.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  10. AI Is Coming For Data Centers, But Not Quickly Enough To Solve Its Labor Woes “Networks of sensors and smart devices — from complex power management systems to simple power strips — provide detailed real-time information about performance and environmental conditions to both automated systems and human analysts, helping to predict and prevent outages, use power more efficiently and ultimately hold down costs.” (Bisnow)
  11. NIMBYs plague rezonings in the Hamptons, too “Most government projects in New York require an environmental review, meant to identify and mitigate any potential harms the development may inflict on the surrounding environment. State Supreme Court Judge Joseph Santorelli found that Southampton’s review failed to fully consider how the new district would affect Hampton Bays’ troubled water supply system.” (The Real Deal)
  12. The ‘$27.85 Beer’: High-Flying Prices at Airports Spur Port Authority Concessions Audit Order “The company that operates food and beverage concessions at the region’s three major airports has been ordered to conduct a full audit of how much it makes customers pay after being called out online for sky-high prices on beer and French fries. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey recently asked for the audit after OTG — which runs restaurants and stores at LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark airports — was flagged on Twitter by travelers outraged over a $27.85 Sam Adams Summer Ale and a $10.90 order of fries.” (The City)
  13. Real-estate honchos dump big bucks into Gov. Cuomo’s re-election bid “Developers, landlords, building lenders and other industry associates pumped nearly $500,000 into Cuomo’s re-election coffers over the past six months. That’s more than 20 percent of the $2.3 million raised by Cuomo for the first half of 2021.” (New York Post)
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