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Six Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (March 2, 2021)

Tenants struggling to pay rent are still waiting for the government assistance approved in December, reports the Wall Street Journal. SPACs can take investment risks to another level, according to Reuters. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Millions of Tenants Fall Further Behind on Rent as They Await Federal COVID-19 Assistance “Tenants who are behind on their rent are still waiting for $25 billion in assistance that Congress appropriated in December, as millions of households and landlords fall deeper into debt. Many states are still determining how to distribute money they have received from the Treasury Department to help an estimated 13 million renters. Meanwhile, Congress is poised to appropriate another $20 billion in rental assistance.” (Wall Street Journal)
  2. SPACs Turn into ‘Stonks’ as Amateur Traders Take On More Risks “Although all stock investments involve risk, many companies going public by merging with a SPAC take risk to another level because they often are years away from generating revenues when they go public. Churchill Capital IV Corp has provided the most vivid example of the pitfalls. Its shares had risen as much as 548% from its IPO, for a market valuation of almost $17 billion, following a Reuters report last month that it was nearing a deal to merge with luxury electric vehicle startup Lucid Motors at a roughly $12 billion valuation.” (Reuters)
  3. Offices Can Glimpse Their Future at the Mall “A shift toward more flexible work patterns won’t hit landlords overnight. Big office moves take two to three years to plan in advance and many tenants are locked into their pre-Covid contracts for now. Big landlords are still collecting most of the rent they are owed. Still, many companies are preparing for change. At a property conference last week, global bank Standard Chartered became the latest to announce plans to redesign its central offices for client meetings and collaborative work. The days of ‘rows and rows of desks’ are over, it said.” (Wall Street Journal)
  4. A California Exodus? Not So Much, Data Shows “Only 3.7% of households and businesses that filed address changes in five Bay Area counties from March to November 2020 left California, a total of 4,264 move-outs, according to the data. In contrast, 72% of changes resulted in moves to other Bay Area counties and about a fifth of the 115,243 address changes went elsewhere in California.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
  5. All Apple Stores in the U.S. Open for First Time Since the Pandemic “All 270 Apple stores in the United States are open for business on Monday, a company spokesperson confirmed. It’s the first time that all U.S. stores are open since Apple started closing stores in response to the Covid-19 pandemic last spring. Apple reopened its last closed U.S. locations in Texas on Monday. The United States is beginning to emerge from lockdowns as the number of new cases falls and vaccines are distributed.” (CNBC)
  6. Phony Website Falsely Claims REBNY Cancels Rent “April Fool’s Day came a month early for New York’s biggest real estate industry group and a City Council member, who were targeted by a “cancel rent” cyber prank. A bogus website mimicking that of the Real Estate Board of New York went live on Monday, claiming that the trade association had canceled rent at its members’ properties. The fake was immediately seized upon and disseminated by a tenant group who believed it to be real.” (The Real Deal)
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