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13 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (March 3, 2021)

An infrastructure bill is likely to cause challenges for President Biden, according to The New York Times. The Wall Street Journal looks at a company that tries to turn home rental tenants into homeowners. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. After Stimulus, Biden to Tackle Another Politically Tricky Issue: Infrastructure “Unless the parties can agree on how to fund an infrastructure plan, Mr. Biden might have to try to push through another sprawling spending package with only Democratic votes. The task could prove exceptionally difficult given the competing pressures the president will face from centrists and progressives in his party — and the absence of a pandemic emergency to help fuse those factions in support of the bill.” (The New York Times)
  2. William S. Taubman Promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer of The Taubman Company LLC “The Taubman Company LLC today announced that William S. Taubman has been promoted to president of the company and will also retain his role as chief operating officer. Mr. Taubman will continue to report to Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert S. Taubman while leading the company’s development, center operations, leasing and strategic communications functions.” (Business Wire)
  3. Instead of a Balcony, How About a Garden Apartment? “Pandemics and potential health threats posed by living in close quarters have long had an impact on the way homes have been built. About a century ago, some developers responded by creating garden cities — low-slung housing, set far apart and extra leafy. And then after World War II, came garden apartments, which despite less fancy architecture didn’t skimp on the greenery.” (The New York Times)
  4. Meet the Home Rental Firm Turning Tenants into Homeowners “Most landlords hope their tenants stay put and pay rent forever. Promise Homes Co. wants its renters to move out and buy their own houses. The company has been acquiring occupied rental houses around Atlanta and northern Florida cast off by other big landlords and promoting homeownership to the tenants it inherits. Promise Homes dangles monthly rent discounts to tenants who boost their credit scores and counsels them on how to do so.” (Wall Street Journal)
  5. Guiding Female CRE Leaders Through Rainy Days “Valuing different perspectives and promoting diversity both come naturally to Tiffany English, CREW Network’s 2021 president. She was born in Vietnam, but raised in several different countries across Africa and Asia. This early experience had a great impact on how she approached life, particularly in the past 12 months. Her upbringing helped her navigate through the uncertainty and insecurity that the health crisis brought.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  6. COVID-19 Continues to Leave Commercial Tenants and Landlords Frustrated “While the pandemic has forced the closure of dozens of restaurants and retail locations across the country, those still serving their communities just received a helping hand from the Massachusetts Superior Court. Just recently, the Superior Court issued a decision with the potential to shape the post-pandemic landlord-tenant relationship over the next several months.” (National Law Review)
  7. Net Lease Assets Buoy Real Estate Investors “he pandemic has turned the commercial real estate world upside-down. Large, trophy assets like condo and office towers have seen a decline in investor interest and therefor value. At the same time, some of the smallest assets into its heaviest hitters. While practically every commercial sector suffers, single tenant triple net leases (STNL) are riding the strongest fundamentals in years. Much of what we now consider essential retail happens inside these often stand-alone storefronts, turning net lease REITs into unexpected dividend leaders.” (Propmodo)
  8. Target CEO Brian Cornell Says He Was Surprised by the Surge of Shoppers in January “Target delivered another strong quarter during the pandemic, but even CEO Brian Cornell was caught off guard by what it saw after the holidays. Store traffic and sales typically slow for retailers after the spree of spending and gift-giving in November and December. Instead, the retail chief said sales picked up at Target in the first few weeks of January.” (CNBC)
  9. A Koch Brother Is Betting Big on Distressed Real Estate “Koch Industries Inc. is emerging as a major real-estate investor during the pandemic, using its robust cash reserves to buy properties at beaten-down prices and betting on a longer-term recovery. The company’s Dallas-based property arm, Koch Real Estate Investments, is among a growing number of investors looking to take advantage of the depressed market. But few others have been as ambitious in their acquisitions.” (Wall Street Journal)
  10. De Blasio Restarts $17B in Public Construction Projects in New York “New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday morning that he was restarting construction work on $17 billion worth of public projects that have been on hold during the pandemic, including affordable housing, streetscape improvements, schools, parks and sewer upgrades. The construction industry is likely breathing a sigh of relief at the announcement, which will put architects, engineers, contractors and construction workers — particularly those in the unionized trades — back to work on public projects throughout the city.” (Commercial Observer)
  11. Kohl’s Says It Has No Plans to Sell More Real Estate and Lease It Back. Here’s Why “Kohl’s said Tuesday that it isn’t planning to sell any of its real estate to then lease back, despite a group of activists pressuring the company to take this route to come up with cash. The investors want Kohl’s to pursue a sale-leaseback program, saying it could bring in more than $3 billion. The group consists of Macellum Advisors, Ancora Holdings, Legion Partners Asset Management and 4010 Capital and it owns a 9.5% stake in Kohl’s.” (CNBC)
  12. Once a Lifeline for NYC Restaurants, Deferred Payments Could Shutter Many “Many of the city restaurateurs entered into deferred rent agreements with their landlords to stave off hefty rent payments as revenues plummeted during the pandemic. But now, with some businesses owing a year’s worth of rent and no easy road to economic recovery in sight, it’s unlikely that those restaurants will ever be able to pay that money back, the Real Deal reports. What was once seen as a temporary lifeline now could push more restaurants toward permanently closing as the bills pile up.” (Eater New York)
  13. Instacart Doubles Valuation with $265 Million Funding Round “Instacart closed a $265 million funding round that sent the grocery delivery app’s value to $39 billion, the company announced today. The new valuation adds more than $1 billion to the fortune of 34-year-old founder Apoorva Mehta, who Forbes calculates has a net worth of $3.5 billion. Mehta became a billionaire last year after the company raised $225 million in June. Four months later he closed a $200 million Series H round that more than doubled Instacart’s valuation to $17.7 billion.” (Forbes)
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