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

The Wall Street Journal looks at why some landlords don’t want to take advantage of the federal rental assistance program. Investors are starting to spy some attractive acquisition opportunities among Italy’s top hotels, reports Reuters. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Why Some Landlords Don’t Want Any of the $50 Billion in Rent Assistance “A federal program designed to help people avoid eviction by paying their rent is running into an unexpected hurdle: Some landlords are turning down the payment, saying it comes with too many conditions. Congress has allocated about $50 billion for rental assistance to stave off a surge in evictions of tenants who lost jobs during the pandemic and missed rent payments. The federal support is also meant to help struggling landlords who have to make mortgage payments and have been overwhelmed by tenants falling behind on their rent.” (Wall Street Journal)
  2. Struggling Gym Owners Say They’re Left Out of Pandemic Relief, Despite Heavy Losses from Shutdowns “Glance through the windows of any New York City gym and you’ll see a familiar pandemic-era workout routine: people dressed in fitness attire and masks, spaced a few feet apart while using cardio machines and weights. The rooms appear much less busy--and not just because of capacity limits. A lot of customers are still too afraid of the virus to come back, or decided it wasn’t worth the cost, according to Dan Gallagher, the CFO of Crunch Holdings, a New York City-based health club chain.” (Gothamist)
  3. Companies Wrestle with Hybrid Work Plans—Awkward Meetings and Midweek Crowding “Big U.S. companies are discovering that “hybrid” work comes with plenty of complications. As employers firm up plans to bring white-collar workers back into offices while still allowing them to do some work at home, many are encountering obstacles. Companies are grappling with what new schedules employees should follow, where people should sit in redesigned offices and how best to prevent employees at home from feeling left out of impromptu office discussions or being passed over for opportunities, say chief executives, board directors and others.” (Wall Street Journal)
  4. Lennar in $4B Venture to Expand U.S. Single Family Homeownership “On Wednesday, the second largest homebuilder in the United States, Lennar Corp., announced that it is launching a new investment platform for single-family home rentals in high-growth U.S. markets. The platform, to be called Upward America Venture, will be capitalized with an initial equity commitment of $1.25 billion, led by its venture partner Centerbridge Partners.” (Investable Universe)
  5. Court Approves Newmark Acquisition of Bankrupt Knotel “A Delaware bankruptcy court approved Newmark’s acquisition of flexible workspace provider Knotel on Thursday, with the brokerage anticipating the sale to ‘close shortly,’ Newmark announced. After Knotel filed for bankruptcy in January, Newmark provided about $20 million in financing to the coworking operator and made a $70 million stalking-horse bid to acquire the company. Newmark inched closer to closing the deal last week when no other bidders stepped in.” (Commercial Observer)
  6. Room with a View: Investors Check Out Italy’s Top Hotels “International investors are casting an eye over some of Italy’s grandest hotels whose family owners may be persuaded to part with properties that can be refurbished in time for tourists to return. The number of guests in Italian hotels more than halved in 2020 and the chances of a rebound this year have dimmed as the country fights a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.” (Reuters)
  7. American Ventures Launches $1B Distressed CRE Fund “The fund will target under-water Class A properties, particularly premier office assets, available at deeply discounted prices and valued in excess of $50 million. Real estate investment manager American Ventures expects to find the best off-market and formal bid opportunities for well-located assets in markets with low costs of living and low taxes, including locations in Texas and Florida, both of which are regions where the company has been active in the past.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  8. Sleepy No Longer, Downtown Miami Evolves into Urban Hub “Once a place that emptied at 5 p.m., Downtown Miami is in the midst of a dramatic transformation. Overlooked no longer, the city’s central business district is getting denser, growing taller and attracting new attention. The area has been poised for a breakout since the Great Recession, and its moment finally seemed to arrive during the pandemic.” (Commercial Observer)
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