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Seven Must Reads for CRE Investors Today (Jan. 18, 2023)

Commercial Observer looks at why proptech VCs view multifamily as the most attractive sector to focus on right now. In 2022, China has experienced its first drop in real estate investment in more than 20 years, reports Reuters. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. All the Developers Who Want You to Want a New York Casino “As the race for three casino licenses in the New York City region kicks off in earnest this year, the developers behind a number of the multibillion-dollar bids are hoping to improve their chances with some Vegas-style sleight of hand: They’re asking, ‘What casino?’ One bid is proposing a Ferris wheel in Midtown East, steps away from a museum showcasing slabs of the Berlin Wall. There are plans in three boroughs and on Long Island that wax poetic about luxury resorts, surrounded by green space and enlivened by entertainment. And then there’s the addition of thousands of jobs and below-market-rate apartments.” (The New York Times)
  2. E-Commerce Growth Still Drives Industrial Demand “Following the e-commerce surge that occurred at the beginning of the pandemic, supply chains are still feeling the impact of the shock. Backlogs and bottlenecks were some of the major disruptors and although pressures have dissipated and e-commerce sales returned to normal, finding industrial space in key places such as port and logistics markets continues to post a challenge. CommercialEdge expects e-commerce growth to continue to drive industrial demand in the short- and long-term, though it will not reach 2020 levels again.” (Commercial Observer)
  3. New York City’s Luxury Apartment Market Under Pressure in 2023 “New York City’s luxury residential market faces numerous obstacles at the start of 2023, ranging from high interest rates to signs of a disappointing bonus season on Wall Street. Sales of the city’s most expensive apartments slowed in the second half of last year, and brokers and analysts said they don’t expect a turnaround soon as the prospect of an economic slowdown pinches even the most affluent home buyers. Bankers, traders and others in the financial-services industry historically have used their bonuses as down payments, but Wall Street bank executives are warning that this year’s payouts will be significantly smaller after deal making slumped in 2022.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  4. Proptech VCs and Principals Swoon Over Multifamily’s Predictability “Vetting applications, coordinating appliance repairs, collecting rent. It’s hard not to get bored by the day-to-day routines of most rental operators. But in real estate right now ​​— with a ballooning cost of capital, wider economic unpredictability and hurdles for home ownership​​ that have grown even higher — the bland predictability of recurring rents and stable income has made these assets, and the tech bolstering them, more attractive.” (Commercial Observer)
  5. Funky Boutique Operator Ace Hotel Reaches Deal to Sell the Company “A Portland, Ore.-based hospitality firm has reached an agreement to acquire Ace Group International, the operator of a quirky but influential hotel chain known for its cafes, in-house DJs and reclaimed furniture scattered throughout its lobbies. Sortis Holdings Inc. has agreed to pay $85 million in an all-cash transaction for the Ace brand and its hotel management company, according to Sortis Holdings Executive Chairman Paul Brenneke. ‘The brand’s just done an incredible job over the years of building a very loyal customer base and really a strong community,’ Mr. Brenneke said. ‘It’s really carved out a unique niche.’” (The Wall Street Journal)
  6. Big Tech Pullback Could Spur NYC Office Market Shift “When the KKR snapped up Hudson Yards space abandoned by Meta Platforms this month, it may have signaled a trend in Manhattan’s office market: financial firms and other tenants filling a void left by Big Tech. Technology firms had been on a leasing binge, heartening office landlords shellshocked by the pandemic. Then remote work’s persistence and pressure from investors forced even some cash-rich tech companies to reverse course.” (The Real Deal)
  7. China’s 2022 Property Investment Falls for the First Time Since 1999 “China's property investment fell 10.0% year-on-year in 2022, the first decline since records began in 1999, compared with a decline of 9.8% in the first 11 months of the year, official data showed on Tuesday. Property sales by floor area dropped 24.3% in 2022 from the same period a year earlier, the most since the data became available in 1992,compared with a fall of 23.3% during January-November, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).” (Reuters)
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