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    11 Must Reads for the CRE Industry (Jan. 8, 2021)

     
    Vacant Sears stores might become COVID-19 vaccination sites, reports the Wall Street Journal. Strapped for funds, New York State might legalize marijuana this year, according to The New York Times. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.
    1. U.S. Disaster Costs Doubled in 2020, Reflecting Costs of Climate Change “Hurricanes, wildfires and other disasters across the United States caused $95 billion in damage last year, according to new data, almost double the amount in 2019 and the third-highest losses since 2010. The new figures, reported Thursday morning by Munich Re, a company that provides insurance to other insurance companies, are the latest signal of the growing cost of climate change.” (The New York Times)
    2. Finally, a Use for the Old Sears: COVID-19 Vaccine Center “Americans are heading back to Sears, but not to shop. Public-health agencies and health-care organizations from Iowa to Florida are using some of the hundreds of closed Sears department stores to help with the nationwide effort to administer Covid-19 vaccines to millions of people. Vast floor plans, sprawling parking lots and easy access to highways that attracted property developers and shoppers during the retailer’s heyday are drawing the attention of health officials.” (Wall Street Journal)
    3. Real Estate Latest Trophy Assets Are in Short Supply “Unlikely as it may sound, grocery stores are becoming dream properties—coveted but hard to prise away from their owners. Changes to accounting rules are just one reason why it has become less appealing for supermarkets to sell their real estate. In Europe, food shops have been among the few retailers allowed to trade throughout the pandemic and business has been strong. U.K. grocer J Sainsbury reported Thursday that over the nine weeks to Jan. 2, sales increased by 9.3%, sending its shares up 4%. Britain’s supermarkets have had their highest Christmas sales on record, based on data released this week by Nielsen.” (Wall Street Journal)
    4. Congress Approves $25 Billion in Rental Assistance. Here’s How to Apply “In the stimulus package signed into law last month, the national ban on evictions was extended through January and a $25 billion pot of money was established for renters struggling amid the health and economic crisis. That money will help to keep many of the 14 million Americans who are behind on their rent in their homes during the coldest months of the year and while a pandemic rages. Still, housing advocates say more money is needed.” (CNBC)
    5. Slow Rollout of Vaccines Dashes Hopes for a Quick Recovery, But CRE May Be Past the Worst “The advent of vaccines has brought about some optimism, but some sectors could take several years to fully recover.” (Bisnow)
    6. CMBS Performance Stable for Now: KBRA “U.S. commercial mortgage-backed securities saw their overall delinquency rate fall 30 basis points in December—to 6.5 percent—versus the previous month, according to the latest CMBS Loan Performance Trends update from the Kroll Bond Rating Agency. It was the sixth straight month that delinquencies, after peaking at 8.2 percent in June, were either flat or had declined.” (Commercial Property Executive)
    7. Legalized Marijuana in New York: This Could Be the Year “Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo renewed his vow on Wednesday to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in New York, proposing a new office to regulate the market and licensing opportunities for communities most affected by the disparate enforcement of drug laws. ‘I think this should have been passed years ago,’ Mr. Cuomo said during a video briefing. ‘This is a year where we do need the funding and a lot of New Yorkers are struggling. This year will give us the momentum to get it over the goal line.’” (The New York Times)
    8. Charming Charlie Continues Brick-and-Mortar Comeback After Closing “The chain recently opened mall-based stores in Atlanta; Providence, R.I.; Santa Monica, Calif.; Gilbert, Ariz.; and Towson and Columbia, Md.; and plans to add additional locations in Texas, California and Florida in March unless COVID-19 restrictions delay that. Charming Charlie, which is based in Houston, originally planned to begin reopening physical stores last March, but the COVID-19 pandemic put those plans on hold.” (PYMNTS.com)
    9. Lap Dances, Karaoke, Late Hours: The Speakeasies of the COVID Era “In Brooklyn, investigators arrived at a bar in December to discover exotic dancers giving lap dances to patrons behind a locked door as music blared, state officials said. At a karaoke bar in Queens, officers found eight rooms filled with people and a manager, none wearing a mask. Just three days earlier, police had discovered a nearly identical scene at the same spot.” (The New York Times)
    10. World’s Largest Exhibitions Operator Says Physical Events to Return This Year, as Vaccine Hopes Spark Recovery in Consumer Confidence “Informa expects 90% of non-Chinese events to run from June.” (MarketWatch)
    11. CenterPoint Pays $184M for Home Depot Facilities in Metro Miami “The assets feature 34-foot clear heights, parking for approximately 600 trailers and ESFR sprinkler systems. According to the buyer, the buildings only cover about 30 percent of their 49 and 24-acre lots. Located at 4210 and 4040 W. 108th St., the portfolio is just off Interstate 75. The buildings are within 10 miles of Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport and 16 miles from Miami International Airport.” (Commercial Property Executive)