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Eight Must Reads for the CRE Industry (April 3, 2021)

The New York Times looks at how one couple’s plight in the wake of the Brooks Brothers’ liquidation is indicative of the wider consequences of retail bankruptcies. Retail Dive examines the implications of some proposed changes to REIT rules that are currently being discussed in Washington. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. The Ghosts of Brooks Brothers “The whole mass was abandoned here in the fallout of Brooks Brothers’ bankruptcy filing and sale last year, the scraps of a retailer that made nearly $1 billion in sales in 2019. Ever since, the couple that owns the warehouse, Chip and Rosanna LaBonte, has been scrambling to figure out how to get rid of it all. Junk removal companies have told them it will cost at least $240,000 to clear the space, which Brooks Brothers had rented through November. In order to pay the bill, the LaBontes are going to have to sell their home.” (The New York Times)
  2. Malls tout proposed changes to REIT rules as good for retailers “Still, the changes being considered on Capitol Hill could further the ongoing disruption of the mall's fundamental business model. At its core, that entails filling its space with tenants that come and go as years go by; renewing leases and raising rent, or bringing in new tenants when leases end; all the while collecting cash rent.” (Retail Dive)
  3. Buying a Home Through an LLC Is Not as Anonymous as It Used to Be “Confidentiality is the reason many celebrities use LLCs to own their homes, since that allows them to shield their identity and avoid having their true name and home address posted in county registries, which are easily accessible online in many states. But due to new laws designed to crack down on money laundering and tax evasion, buyers may find that even an LLC doesn’t protect their personal information from disclosure these days.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  4. For New York City, Glimmers of Hope and Signs of Revival “Shoots of the budding optimism pop up almost daily: The Mandarin Oriental Hotel overlooking Central Park called back workers for a reopening this week. Union Square Café, a popular Manhattan restaurant that had been closed for months, is feeding diners again. Fans were in the stands again when the Yankees opened their season in the Bronx on Thursday, though limited to one-fifth of the seats.”(The New York Times)
  5. Empire State Realty Trust Gets $850M Credit Facility “Empire State Realty Trust closed on an $850 million, four-year unsecured revolving credit agreement to replace the company’s existing undrawn revolving credit facility that was due to expire in late August. The new credit facility has an initial maturity of March 31, 2025, with two six-month extensions at the company’s option.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  6. Embattled Cuomo Pushes Skyline-Altering Penn Station Real Estate Plan as Critics Mobilize “The Empire Station Complex plan sets out to eventually overhaul the transit hub with revenue generated by a massive real estate deal in the surrounding blocks. A key hurdle for the project, at least in the short-term, rests in the state budget negotiations as Cuomo tries to ram a $1.3 billion bond deal past some reluctant lawmakers.” (The City)
  7. Online Commercial Real Estate Financing Platform Lev Raises $10 Million “The seed investment was led by Pete Flint from NFX. And other investors included Caanan Partners, and JLL Spark, the strategic investment arm of commercial real estate services firm JLL. The previous lead investors Animo Ventures and Ludlow Ventures also participated in the funding.” (Pulse 2.0)
  8. As Competition For Top Real Estate Talent Heats Up, Employers Aren’t The Only Ones Being Hyper-Selective “In fact, remote working mandates have hastened the hunt for dynamic team members. There is a new level of emphasis placed on qualities such as assertiveness, the ability to execute with little oversight, adaptability and communication style.” (Forbes Real Estate Council)
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