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Nine Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (May 7, 2021)

The Wall Street Journal looks at how changes adapted by restaurants during the pandemic might endure in the long term. Crain’s Chicago Business asks whether Sam Zell’s latest bet on industrial real estate is likely to pay off. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Restaurants Plan for Post-COVID Renewal: Smaller Menus, Merch Stores, Healthcare for Workers “Perhaps no group has pivoted more quickly and more visibly during the pandemic than the restaurant industry. City landscapes across the U.S. have changed: tables, chairs and plywood structures sitting where cars used to park, pedestrians sharing sidewalks with diners and space heaters, thermometer-wielding hosts working double-duty as health monitors. The pandemic has taxed restaurant workers, who are asked to provide service but haven’t received enough of it themselves, says Brandon Jew, chef and owner of Mister Jiu’s in San Francisco.” (Wall Street Journal)
  2. Hilton CEO: Business Travel Is Back to About 50% of pre-COVID Levels, But Some Markets Are Stronger “‘This is as good as I’ve felt since the pandemic started in terms of where we are and what I see in forward-looking trends and bookings in the business,’ Nassetta said in an interview on ‘Closing Bell.’ Leisure travel has been propelling the industry’s recovery so far, and Nassetta said he expects to see record numbers in that category this summer. However, a return of business travelers is crucial for a complete rebound in the hospitality sector.” (CNBC)
  3. Will Sam Zell’s Big Bet on Industrial Real Estate Pay Off? “The billionaire financier is jumping into an especially hot property sector, but he insists he's not too late to the party.” (Crain’s Chicago Business)
  4. Federal Stimulus Is a Lifeline for ‘Communities’ Whacked by the Corona Crisis as Scars of 2008 Linger “Many cities only recently were able to shake off the lingering effects of the Great Recession when COVID-19 erupted. Most also face an uneasy balancing act as legacy costs, including pensions and healthcare, swell to crowd out day-to-day budget needs. And while federal stimulus dollars will be a huge help, in many cases it won’t be enough.” (MarketWatch)
  5. COVID Forces Families to Rethink Nursing Home Care “Even before the pandemic began 14 months ago, nursing homes had become the source for rampant, antibiotic-resistant infections. The facilities also faced systemic problems like high turnover among nursing home staff and the gaming of the federal government’s rating system, which made it hard for families to judge the quality of homes.” (The New York Times)
  6. NYC Rent Board Will Consider Extending Rent Freeze for Stabilized Tenants “New York City's rent board voted on Wednesday to consider extending a rent freeze for the city's stabilized tenants, keeping the possibility of a modest increase on the table while rejecting the landlord group's proposal for a steeper hike. In a preliminary vote, the mayor-appointed Rent Guidelines Board indicated that they would consider keeping rents flat on one-year leases for regulated tenants, with a ceiling of a 2% increase.” (Gothamist)
  7. In New York, a Wait-and-See Attitude Even with a Reopening “It’s great news, of course, and many want to celebrate. That desire explains the load of calls already fielded by the property manager at the Dime, a rental building in Williamsburg, from tenants eager to book the Havemeyer Lounge on the building’s 22nd floor for dance parties. But many in the real estate management business don’t seem to be tossing all their concerns away and joining the festivities just yet.” (The New York Times)
  8. Maui’s Largest Mall Struggles to Survive “Queen Ka’ahumanu Center, the largest mall on the Hawaiian island of Maui for 50 years, may be facing its demise, according to a report on the news site Maui Now. U.S. Bank filed for foreclosure on the mall last November, complaining that QKC Maui Owner had defaulted on an $88.5 million loan on commercial mortgage-backed securities it had taken in 2014. The bank says QKC now owes it $118 million.” (Chain Store Age)
  9. Bank Shot: Financial Giants’ Return to Manhattan Gives Smaller Businesses Hope “Following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s surprise announcement Monday that he will lift most restrictions on businesses later this month, Goldman Sachs on Tuesday told employees that it expects them back at its Battery Park headquarters by mid-June. That tosses a potential lifeline to downtown businesses that have seen their cash flow wither since March 2020. Few are as relieved as Kelley Mondesiré, an acupuncturist, whose business imploded from 90 patients a week to zero during the shutdown to as few as five.” (The City)
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