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Real Estate Roundup 6.29.20

Real Estate Roundup:

Employers and building managers are drafting strict rules for going up in elevators: severe limits on the number of riders (four seems to be the new magic number), designated standing spots to maximize social distance, mandatory masks, required forward-facing positions — and no talking.

  • Be Smart: Reflecting the widespread interest and concern, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to weigh in as early as this week with guidance for elevators and escalators. For escalators, it will advise one rider every other step and hand sanitizer at the top. For elevators, it will recommend limiting the number of riders but won’t specify a number; arrows showing different paths to get on and get off; masks; and signs urging people to “not talk unless you have to.” (NYTimes)

Hospitality 

  • The U.S. commercial property market froze up during the pandemic… The volume of deals for properties including offices and hotels plummeted 79% in May compared with a year earlier. Transactions fell to $9.8 billion, an 11% drop from a month earlier and the lowest for May since 2010. Deals to purchase hotels plunged 95% in May, the largest drop of any property type. Retail property transactions were down 83%. (Bloomberg)

Blackstone news 

  • Blackstone Group set up a couple of opportunistic capital pools to take advantage of opportunities stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, estimating there would be “abject panic” over the outbreak, but things “didn’t really play out that way”, according to Tony James, the firm’s executive vice chairman. (WSJ+PE)

How Blackstone plays the political game effectively: REBNY should take notice!

  • Tony James hosted a small, high-dollar fundraiser for Democratic nominee Joe Biden last week.
  • Blackstone CEO, Stephen Schwarzman, is a major Republican donor who’s an informal advisor to Trump. He’s given at least $16.5 million to Republican groups during the current election cycle, as well as hundreds of thousands more to GOP candidates and the Republican National Committee. (Bloomberg)

Retail 

  • Macy’s has announced plans to slash thousands of back-office jobs in a striking admission that the reeling retail sector won’t be returning to the good old days anytime soon.The restructuring, including the elimination of about 3,900 corporate and management jobs, is expected to save the company $365 million this fiscal year, then about $630 million a year going forward. (Bloomberg)
  • Bars have emerged as problem spots in a surge of coronavirus flare-ups, prompting states to roll back the reopening of nightlife. Despite some bars’ costly efforts to keep things clean and customers apart, public officials have traced a string of recent outbreaks across the U.S. to bars and college hangouts. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday ordered bars to shut down as part of a broader retreat of the state’s reopening, attributing a surge in cases in part to Texans congregating in bars. Florida effectively followed when state officials announced bars could no longer serve alcohol to drink on premises. (WSJ)

Closings

  • Shorewood Real Estate Group has secured a new mortgage on its Opportunity Zone project in Jamaica, Queens, after closing on an $88 million construction loan. The loan will finance a 320,000-square-foot, mixed-use development at 160-05 Archer Avenue. Shorewood acquired two vacant lots for the development in 2018 for about $19 million at an auction. (CO)
  • JPMorgan Chase has closed on its $115 million purchase of 410 Madison Avenue, the former U.S. headquarters for Bank of China. (TRD)

Other news 

The developers of 646 11th Avenue — CBSK Ironstatefiled a lawsuit against GreenbergFarrow claiming the architects breached its contract because of the poor design work for the 12-story retail and residential project. The snafus caused the developers to lose more than $8 million. (CO)

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