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Nine Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (April 8, 2021)

Amazon has been acquiring distressed malls and converting them into fulfillment centers, reports NBC News. Bisnow looks at the life of Bill Lee, founder of brokerage firm Lee & Associates, who passed away at age 78. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Amazon is snapping up disused shopping malls and turning them into fulfillment centers “Over the last several months, the retail giant has gone on a shopping spree of its own, buying up disused malls across the country and turning them into distribution centers.” (NBC News)
  2. Lee & Associates Founder Bill Lee Dies At 78 “In a 2019 interview with Rinkov, Lee said that he founded the company in part because he felt he was not getting the support and the compensation that he deserved. The opportunity to strike out on his own and keep a bigger part of his commission meant more to him than having a big-name brokerage on his business card.” (Bisnow)
  3. A Marriott hotels pilot is using automated kiosks to check in guests “The world’s biggest hotel chain said it is testing automated kiosks equipped with touch screens that can check in guests and spit out room keys, as well as giant vending machines it calls ‘grab-and-go marketplaces’ that can dispense everything from coffee to breakfast sandwiches and cereal.” (New York Post)
  4. Mall vacancies jump at fastest pace on record, hitting new high, as retailers cull store counts “The vacancy rate for regional malls in the United States hit a record 11.4% in the first quarter of 2021 from 10.5% in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to Moody’s Analytics’ commercial real estate division. The 90 basis-points increase marked the highest the firm has ever seen, surpassing the record 80 basis-point spike in the first quarter of 2009, in the thick of the Great Recession.” (CNBC)
  5. Chinese And Hong Kong Billionaires On Top As Global Real Estate Fortunes Surge $151 Billion “The world’s real estate billionaires collectively added $151 billion to their fortunes in the past year, driven by a spike in Asian markets, according to the 2021 Forbes Billionaires rankings. The 215 real estate moguls have a combined net worth of more than $800 billion and represent about 8% of the total individuals on the list. Only 30 saw a net worth drop over the last year.” (Forbes)
  6. A ‘System of Espionage’ Reigned at Ikea, a French Prosecutor Charges “The alleged snooping was used to investigate employees and union organizers, check up on workers on medical leave and size up customers seeking refunds for botched orders. A former military operative was hired to execute some of the more clandestine operations.” (The New York Times)
  7. Ares Management Closes $1.7B CRE Fund “Nearly 18 months after launching Ares U.S. Real Estate Opportunity Fund III LP, Ares Management Corp. has completed the final closing of the fund with approximately $1.7 billion of commitments. The investment vehicle closed oversubscribed, having exceeded its $1.5 billion target.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  8. Disneyland reopens this month: Expect fewer rides, no meet-and-greets — and shorter lines “Much like with Walt Disney World in Florida, which reopened its four theme parks last summer, guests will need to make a reservation to visit Disneyland Resort and have valid theme-park admission for the parks. And all guests will be required to wear masks throughout their time at the theme parks.”(MarketWatch)
  9. Cuomo signs bill repealing nursing home COVID-19 liability protections “The measure rolled back the ‘Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act,’ which granted health care facilities and workers liability immunity from negligence suits, and comes as Cuomo’s administration is under federal investigation for covering up some 9,000 COVID-19 related nursing home deaths last year.” (New York Post)
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