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Nine Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Jan. 21, 2021)

Central bank bond buying has helped sustain capital markets, which has benefited commercial real estate globally, reports the Wall Street Journal. Footwear News analyzes how brick and mortar retail is continuing to evolve. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Commercial Real Estate Debt Sustained by Bond Buying “Europe’s downtown office buildings are empty, and malls and main streets are deserted, yet the biggest landlords are staying afloat during the Covid-19 pandemic thanks to robust central-bank buying of bonds backed by property debt. Some worry that the policy is obscuring long-term pain should workers and shoppers never return in their pre-coronavirus numbers.” (Wall Street Journal)
  2. Brick and Mortar Isn’t Dying — It’s Evolving in COVID Times “According to HRC Retail Advisory president Farla Efros, digital and omnichannel — particularly curbside pickup and other contactless services — grew to represent 50% or more of some retailers’ sales last year. Digital and related channels such as mobile are expected to remain robust even as COVID-19 vaccination efforts ramp up and consumers feel more comfortable returning to physical destinations.” (Footwear News)
  3. Texas and Florida could become the next business hubs as employers look to flee San Francisco and New York City “Remote work has diminished the importance of living in expensive hubs like San Francisco and New York City. In West Monroe's Quarterly Executive Poll, business owners cited high cost of living and taxes as their primary reasons for relocating their businesses.” (Business Insider)
  4. Landlord Sues LA County Over Commercial Eviction Ban “Howard Iten, a retired mechanic who leases space to an auto shop in the city of Lawndale, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in hopes of overturning the eviction moratorium. Iten is unable to evict his tenant — an auto repair franchisee who has been open for business through the pandemic — despite more than $30,000 in unpaid rent. Auto repair is considered an essential business.” (Commercial Observer)
  5. Tuesday Morning Sells 1.2 MSF Dallas Portfolio “M2G Ventures and Pennybacker Capital LLC have acquired the 1.2 million-square-foot Dallas-area portfolio of industrial distribution centers and corporate headquarters of off-price home goods retailer Tuesday Morning in a sale-leaseback transaction. The announcement follows Tuesday Morning’s emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  6. KKR-Led Lenders Aiming To Restructure Belk Without Bankruptcy “KKR & Co. Inc., Blackstone Group Inc. and other big lenders to department store chain Belk Inc. are in talks with the company to keep it out of bankruptcy after the chapter 11 process proved difficult for other retailers during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to people familiar with the matter.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  7. Done Deal: Friendly’s Restaurants Acquired “Amici Partners Group has expanded its growing restaurant portfolio. Amici has completed its acquisition of Friendly's Restaurants, which operates 130 corporate-owned and franchised restaurants on the East Coast. The investment group is affiliated with Brix Holdings, whose holdings include Souper Salad, Red Mango, Yogurt Café Smoothie & Juice Bar, Smoothie Factory Juice Bar and others.” (Chain Store Age)
  8. Lidl Offers $200 Extra to U.S. Workers to Get COVID-19 Vaccination “German discount supermarket chain Lidl said on Wednesday it is providing an extra $200 to all its U.S. employees who get vaccinated for COVID-19, as states make shots more widely available. The announcement follows similar moves from peers Aldi and Dollar General Corp, as well as grocery delivery firm Instacart, with Lidl’s incentive among the biggest a company has offered its U.S. workers so far.” (Reuters)
  9. Cuomo’s Latest State Budget Proposal Includes $50M Restaurant Recovery Program “Details on the program are still scarce, but the state’s budget director Robert Mujica tells New York Upstate that restaurants can apply for a $5,000 grant for each worker they hire. Each restaurant can rehire a maximum of 10 workers through the program for a maximum grant of $50,000. The funds are geared toward small businesses, though the state did not release eligibility criteria, and affected businesses will have to show they lost at least 40 percent of their revenue in late 2020 and early 2021 in order to apply.” (Eater NY)
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