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Eight Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Dec. 12, 2020)

Democrats in Congress have launched an investigation into the Kushner Co.’s deal on a New York office tower, reports Bisnow. One third of commercial leases since March mention pandemics as a force majeure event, more than double for leases inked prior to COVID-19, according to Law360. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Kushner's Deal With Brookfield For 666 Fifth Ave. Under Congressional Investigation “Two Democrats, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas, launched an investigation this week into whether the deal influenced the Trump administration’s policy stance on Qatar, the Financial Times reports. Wyden is the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee. Castro is the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee.” (Bisnow)
  2. Midtown Is Reeling. Should Its Offices Become Apartments? “The powerful real estate industry is so concerned that the shifts in workplace culture caused by the outbreak will become long-lasting that it is promoting a striking proposal: to turn more than one million square feet of Manhattan office space into housing.” (The New York Times)
  3. Use Of Pandemic Force Majeure Clause Spiked In 2020 Leases “A third of U.S. commercial leases negotiated since March include mention of pandemic as a force majeure event — more than double what that mark had been for leases inked in 2019, according to Practical Guidance, although experts say landlords may be getting leverage elsewhere. The data from Practical Guidance shows that while just 16% of leases in 2019 included mention of pandemic as a force majeure event, such language appears in one-third of leases signed since March.” (Law360)
  4. 2020 Institutional Real Estate Allocations Monitor “Target allocations to real estate continue to rise globally, although the pace of year-over-year growth has moderated. Average target allocations increased to 10.6% in 2020, up 10 bps from 2019, and up 170 bps since we began the Allocations Monitor survey in 2013.” (Hodes Weill & Associates)
  5. MetLife to Sell Home-Insurance Unit to Zurich for $4 Billion “Insurers globally have been reconsidering their operations amid the pandemic. They are also grappling with the impact of low interest rates on their investment portfolios. Some are recognizing the need for scale, while others are pruning units where they can’t make enough money to compete. Bankers say more deals are in the offing.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  6. Female Workers Could Take Another Pandemic Hit: To Their Retirements “Policy experts have long acknowledged a gender gap in retirement security. Women tend to earn less than men, and they are more likely to take time off from work to care for children or elderly parents. Even brief career interruptions diminish wage growth, retirement savings and Social Security benefits, which are determined by wage history.” (The New York Times)
  7. Lululemon Gets Another Sales Bump From Cooped-Up Shoppers “Direct-to-consumer revenue increased 94% in the most recent period. It represented 42.8% of total net revenue, compared with 26.9% for the same period last year. Comparable bricks-and-mortar sales remained depressed, however, declining 17% in the recent period. Store productivity was 83% of pre-pandemic levels.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  8. Remembering Mike Kramer, publishing veteran, founder of Minnesota Real Estate Journal “Mike Kramer, the president of Law Bulletin Media and founder of Minnesota Real Estate Journal, died Monday at home surrounded by his family after a battle with T-cell lymphoma. Kramer, 69, spent his life in the news publishing business and joined Law Bulletin in 1997, rising to publisher of the legal newspaper The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin in 2007 and as company president in 2015.” (Real Estate Journals)
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