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Eight Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Jan. 20, 2021)

Developers find converting vacant malls into other uses is not as simple as it sounds, reports the Wall Street Journal. A report by real estate services firm Colliers International found there will likely be significantly ramped up investment in commercial real estate in the second half of the year. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. CRE Investors Might Have Missed the Window for Distress “In the last downturn, some CRE investors were able to scoop up distressed assets by this point in the cycle. But so far, those conditions haven’t materialized in the Covid-19 crisis, according to Real Capital Analytics.” (
  2. Developers Want Malls to Become Warehouses. It Is a Slog. “Many developers look at failing malls and envision modern office campuses, bustling warehouses or residential buildings. But some are finding that converting these shopping centers isn’t so easy. Repurposing a mall is expensive. New owners typically need to shell out hundreds of millions of dollars on construction and labor, developers and brokers say. Razing and redeveloping a space that spans dozens of football fields is filled with potential land mines.” (Wall Street Journal)
  3. New Report Reveals 98% of Investors Plan to Expand Their Portfolios “Leading diversified professional services and investment management firm Colliers International Group Inc. reveals investors are largely optimistic about a market rebound in 2021, according to its new Global Capital Markets 2021 Investor Outlook. Colliers’ research anticipates a 50 per cent surge in investment activity in the second half of the year, pointing to a broad-based renewal of confidence in the property market as a result of recent vaccine developments and continued government stimulus.” (Colliers International)
  4. Office Depot Rebuffs Takeover Offer from Staples “Office Depot rebuffed an unsolicited takeover offer from Staples but indicated it is open to an alternative deal, the latest twist in a yearslong dance between the office-supply retailers. Staples on Jan. 11 proposed to buy Office Depot’s parent, ODP Corp., for more than $2 billion or $40 a share. Staples said it would pursue a public tender offer for ODP’s shares in March if the companies don’t reach agreement on a deal.” (Wall Street Journal)
  5. When Evictions Loom, Pets Are Also at Risk “Despite the surge in pandemic puppies, anti-pet policies on most rental apartments have held firm, particularly for those available to lower-income renters. Ten months into the pandemic, there’s a tremendous housing crisis afoot that could affect both two- and four-legged residents. Without another extension on a federal eviction moratorium, nearly 40 million Americans could face potential eviction by the end of January, and with them, millions of pets are at risk of being surrendered back to shelters.” (The New York Times)
  6. Supermarket Chain Aldi to Pay U.S. Workers Who Get COVID-19 Vaccination “German supermarket chain Aldi on Tuesday became the latest firm in the grocery sector to offer incentives for U.S. employees getting a COVID-19 vaccine, saying it would give up to four hours of pay to those who choose to receive inoculations. The retailer, which has more than 2,000 stores in 37 U.S. states, said it would cover costs associated with vaccine administration and implement on-site vaccination clinics at its warehouse and office locations.” (Reuters)
  7. Landlords See Enhanced Food Options as Ingredient for Office Rebound “In Denver, a tenant who signed a lease recently for space in an office complex sought a termination provision that allowed the company out of its commitment if a food hall was not provided by a certain date, according to a broker who asked not to be identified. It’s an unusual demand, but getting less so every day. Office landlords are obsessed with making sure they can keep tenants whose employees have via the pandemic discovered the wonders of working from home, and they want to lure them back any way possible—and food is one of those ways.” (Commercial Observer)
  8. How the Biggest Restaurant Stocks Can Keep Winning After the Pandemic “While the Covid-19 pandemic has been difficult for restaurants of all sizes, bigger was undoubtedly better—larger companies with geographic diversity, omnichannel platforms, and more liquidity managed to ride out the storm more easily. Expect that trend to continue in 2021, says Goldman Sachs.” (MarketWatch)
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