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

New real estate start-ups are betting on flexible apartment leases, reports The Wall Street Journal. Business leaders in the Hudson Valley and Southern Tier are looking to reinventing vacant IBM campuses to drive an economic rebound, according to The New York Times. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. A Renewal for IMB Campuses Once Home to Punch Cards and Circuit Boards “Wistfully recalling times gone by has been a pastime in the Southern Tier and Hudson Valley areas of New York State since IBM began slashing operations and shuttering factories in the 1980s. Indeed, the entire region was once sort of an extended company town for the tech giant, which started there and spurred much of its housing and retail growth. When Big Blue left, economic pain ensued. But the large campuses that remain hold keys to an economic rebound, in places like East Fishkill, Ulster and Endicott, say business leaders working to reinvent them.” (The New York Times)
  2. How Investment Giant Blackstone Became the Biggest Private Landlord—And What That Means “Bigger isn’t always better. That said, sometimes it’s nice to be able to throw your weight around. Manhattan-based investment giant Blackstone knows a thing or two about the benefits of size. As of the end of the first quarter of 2021, the company had $196.3 billion in real estate assets under management. That was up 5 percent from the $187.2 billion under management just three months before, at the end of 2020, and up 22 percent from the $160.9 billion in Q1 2020.” (Commercial Observer)
  3. Startups Bet on Flexible Apartment Leases, Even as Employees Return to the Office “Investors are pumping money into real-estate startups that are pioneering flexible ways to rent apartments on the belief that remote working trends and new forms of housing demand will remain long after the pandemic is over. Startups like Sonder Corp. and Mint House Inc. were founded in the years leading up to the pandemic, offering short-term, fully furnished apartments that could be booked almost as easily as hotel rooms on the Internet.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  4. Democrats Look to Curtail the Tax Break for Pass-Through Businesses “Senate Finance Committee Democrats are targeting a tax break that benefits businesses taxed at an owner’s individual income tax rate.” (The Real Deal)
  5. Wall Street Backs the Burbs “We mapped out the key investors who are leading Wall Street's push into the single-family-rental sector.” (Insider)
  6. U.S. Investors Seek Bargains in U.K. Home-building Industry “U.K. home prices are surging as the country’s economy reopens from the pandemic, and U.S. investors are getting in on the action by snapping up home-building companies at bargain prices. Home sales prices last month were 13.4% higher than they were in June 2020, according to the House Price Index published by the Nationwide Building Society, one of Britain’s biggest mortgage lenders. This is the strongest annual growth seen since 2004 and has raised average prices to almost £250,000, equivalent to about $344,200, the Society said.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  7. The Emerging Solidarity Economy: A Primer on Community Ownership of Real Estate “The purpose of this brief is to help readers understand community ownership as a movement, policy choice, and mechanism for achieving resident-led community resilience and revitalization. We define and summarize various community ownership models, trace their evolution, present the evidence base on their benefits, and discuss the structural barriers that prevent these models from being adopted in more places. We conclude with recommendations for how local, state, and federal leaders can support community ownership as an emergent strategy for equitable development.” (Brookings Institution)
  8. Thomas Barrack Charged with Illegally Lobbying Then-President Trump on Behalf of UAE “Thomas Barrack, a private equity investor who is a close friend of former President Donald Trump, was arrested Tuesday morning in Los Angeles on federal charges related to illegally lobbying Trump for the United Arab Emirates, the Justice Department said. Barrack, who was charged with three other men in a seven-count indictment in New York federal court, was chairman of Trump’s 2017 inaugural fund.” (CNBC)
  9. ‘Game Over:’ Food Carts Adjust to a Changed City “Food trucks and cart vendors are part of the city’s fabric, fast and inexpensive options for hungry office workers, retail employees, students and out-of-town visitors looking for anything from chicken and rice to coffee and an egg sandwich to lobster rolls and even steak meals. But for now, these vendors are primarily watching and waiting. Some offices have begun bringing employees back and there has been an increase in tourists, but the bulk of the usual customer base has not yet reappeared.” (The New York Times)
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