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Nine Must Reads for the CRE Industry (March 1, 2022)

COVID-19 resulted in the loss of more than $9 billion in value for U.S. commercial properties, reports The Business Journals. The Wall Street Journal talks to Google CEO Sunder Pichai about the future of work. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Self-Driving Trucks Start to Propel Land Rush Near Major Cities “The prospect of self-driving trucks could further intensify a land grab near big cities, one that is already fueled in part by the increase in long-haul trucking during the pandemic. Alterra Property Group LLC, a real-estate investor based in Philadelphia, said Monday that it has launched a partnership with autonomous-truck company Embark Trucks Inc. to buy property across the U.S.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  2. $9B-Plus in Commercial Property Value Has Vanished Since COVID Onset “Reappraisals of more than 700 commercial properties across the United States since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic have resulted in billions in property value loss.” (The Business Journals)
  3. Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s Vision for Return to Work “Specifically, we do think it’s important to get people in a few days a week, but we are embracing all options. A set of our workforce will be fully remote, but most of our workforce will be coming in three days a week. But I think we can be more purposeful about the time they’re in, making sure group meetings or collaboration, creative collaborative brainstorming or community building, happens then. I’m excited. I think people and teams are going to figure this out, but overall I feel energized that we get to rethink for the next 10 years.’ (The Wall Street Journal)
  4. Seritage Exploring Sale as REIT M&A Builds on Record Year “Seritage considers selling the company as a whole or its assets piecemeal, but it isn't the only REIT with deals in the works.” (Bisnow)
  5. What’s Being Done About Miami’s Housing Crisis? “Miami has become the most unaffordable housing market in the country. Full stop. It’s currently more unaffordable than New York or San Francisco. Long before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19, Miami’s affordability problem had been getting worse each year since the Great Recession. Whereas affordability rebounded after the crash in many cities, Miami’s home prices and rents continued to rise out of sync with employment or income.” (Commercial Observer)
  6. Here Comes the Full Amazonification of Whole Foods “For a long time, Amazon made only small steps toward putting its mark on the more than 500 Whole Foods stores in the United States and Britain. The main evidence of change were the discounts and free home delivery for Amazon Prime members. But this 21,000-square-foot Whole Foods just north of Georgetown has catapulted Amazon’s involvement forward. Along with another prototype Whole Foods store, which will open in Los Angeles this year, Amazon designed my local grocer to be almost completely run by tracking and robotic tools for the first time.” (The New York Times)
  7. Where Oligarchs Own Real Estate in New York City? “There is a growing call to sanction wealthy Russians with real estate holdings in the U.S. and even seize their properties.” (The Real Deal)
  8. NYC Mayor Plans to Drop Vaccine Mandate for Indoor Dining by March 7 “NYC Mayor Eric Adams has been eager to end the city’s ongoing vaccine mandate as soon as possible — and now, a tentative deadline has been set. The mayor announced on Sunday that he wants to end the city’s vaccine mandate for indoor activities, including dining indoors at restaurants and bars, by March 7. ‘New York City’s numbers continue to go down day after day, so, as long as COVID indicators show a low level of risk and we see no surprises this week, on Monday, March 7 we will also lift Key2NYC requirements,’ Adams said in a statement on Sunday.” (Eater New York
  9. California Lifts Mask Mandate in Schools Alongside Washington and Oregon “In California, starting March 1, masks will no longer be required for unvaccinated individuals indoors, but will be strongly recommended for all individuals in most such settings. After March 11, schools and child care facilities will not longer need to masks, but face coverings will be strongly recommended. Masks will still be required for everyone in high-transmission settings like public transit, emergency shelters, health care settings, correctional facilities, homeless shelters and long-term care facilities.” (Deadline)
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