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Seven Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (May 3, 2022)

The Wall Street Journal looks at how Austin, Texas managed to bring a lot of its workers back to the office. Evictions started to accelerate in New York City, reports The New York Times. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. How Austin Lured the Most Workers Back to Offices “Companies nationwide are struggling to get employees back in the office, but not in Austin. These days, the city’s workforce is putting in more face time at offices than those in any other major U.S. metro area. Austin offices are 59%-occupied—and cracked the 60% threshold last month—according to data from Kastle Systems, an office-security firm that records workers’ comings and goings by measuring badge swipes into skyscrapers and corporate campuses.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  2. After a Two-Year Dip, Evictions Accelerate in New York “In New York, where landlords typically move to evict more people than in any other city in the nation, the housing courts sat in an unusual stupor for some two years. But as pandemic restrictions ease, they are beginning to hum anew. The roughly 2,000 eviction cases filed by landlords every week since March are roughly 40 percent more than the number filed in mid-January, after the state’s eviction moratorium expired. Tenants have been thrown out of homes in more than 500 cases since February, according to city data, about double the number in all of the 20 months prior.” (The New York Times)
  3. Fire Sale Continues for Manhattan Hotels “Buyers have been snapping up hotels at bargain prices in Manhattan, betting they’ll be able to turn a profit when tourism regains its full strength in NYC. The latest domino to fall is the Sheraton New York Times Square, which reportedly sold for half the price the owner paid when it was last acquired in 2006. MCR and Island Capital Group said they paid $373M for the Sheraton.” (
  4. Amazon Union Loses Vote at Second Staten Island Warehouse “Employees cast 380 votes to be represented by a union and 618 against, according to the National Labor Relations Board. About 1,600 workers at the warehouse were eligible to vote. The result was a setback for the upstart Amazon Labor Union, which last month won a landmark victory when workers at the larger, nearby Amazon warehouse, voted to unionize. The loss also points to the possible limits of an uptick in worker interest in unionizing at Amazon and beyond.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  5. How America Is Trying to Get Back in the Microchip Business “Wolfspeed’s factory is opening its doors after more than two years of a worldwide semiconductor shortage that left cars without parts and the health care system low on medical devices. To produce more chips, the Biden administration, with the help of state governments, now plans to invest $52 billion in the chip industry to build more factories just like the new plant outside Utica, New York. The hope is that these plants won’t just make more semiconductors; they’ll spur a tech manufacturing renaissance in the same country that invented the computer chip and produced Silicon Valley decades ago.” (Recode)
  6. New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel Finds a Rocky Path to Condo Conversion “The Chinese owner of Manhattan’s historic Waldorf Astoria hotel has been struggling to complete its plan for converting hundreds of guest rooms into luxury condos. The process has fallen at least two years behind the initial schedule and costs have ballooned, leading to the departure last week of the top U.S. executive overseeing the project. News of the U.S. chief executive’s sudden exit shocked some of the New York staff working on the Waldorf project, especially since condo sales have been gaining momentum recently, according to people familiar with the matter.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  7. NYS Day Care Tax Incentive Plan May Be Slow Going “New York Mayor Eric Adams plans to use about $50 million to create a tax abatement and a tax credit program to increase the number of day care centers in the city and make care more affordable — hopefully getting parents back to the office alongside their babies. While Adams expects the abatement and credit to create the thousands of new day care seats by converting office space to day cares and lowering the cost of care to employees, newly constructed child care centers may not arrive for at least a year, given the logistical challenge of converting offices into kid-friendly spaces.” (Commercial Observer)
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