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Real Estate Roundup 10.30.20

CoStar Group CEO Andrew C. Florance (right) (Credit:VCU)

Real Estate Roundup:

Tech 

  • Two former top Zillow Group leaders are getting back in the real estate industry with a new startup that aims to change the way Americans buy homes. Greg Schwartz and Carey Armstrong just unveiled their new company, Tomo Networks, which announced a $40 million funding round this week. (GeekWire)
  • CoStar Group has acquired real estate data company Emporis, a move that will boost its European presence. Emporis has data on 700,000 buildings records across 100 countries. CoStar did not disclose the purchase price, which founder and CEO Andy Florance described as “de minimis” on the company’s earnings call. He said the deal would allow CoStar to “jump start” its international data collection efforts. (TRD)
  • The business of investing in tech-oriented, startup property firms took years to gain traction in the stodgy real-estate industry. But it is gaining fresh momentum during the coronavirus pandemic. Camber Creek, a venture-capital firm that focuses on proptech, closed its third fund with $155 million… More than $10.4 billion has been invested in proptech year to date, which analysts say is an impressive showing given the lockdowns that impeded business early in the pandemic. (WSJ)

Co-working

  • WeWork is now taking a tougher stand with members unable to pay rent, in some cases threatening debt collection if clients don’t fork over the money. It sent hundreds of letters from in-house lawyers to members in the U.S. and Canada, demanding rent. About 100 letters were sent from outside attorneys to members with higher outstanding balances…. CEO Sandeep Mathrani is already saying the company will be profitable by 2021, and will then revisit plans for an initial public offering. The startup’s valuation has tumbled more than 90% from its peak of $47 billion. (BI+Bloomberg)

Retail closures

  • About 100 underperforming IHOP restaurants in the U.S. could be closed over the next six months. Parent company, Dine Brands Global said its sales for the third quarter fell 18.7%. If implemented, the closure of IHOP restaurants could undo about six years of expansion. The company’s IHOP portfolio in the U.S. grew to 1,710 restaurants at the end of 2019 from 1,579 in 2014. (WSJ)

Other news

  • Property debt funds like Blackstone Group has raised $14.1 billion from April through September, compared with $15.7 billion a year earlier. Yet the expected flood of deals has so far been just a trickle… On one side, competition is building to put that cash to work, motivating some lenders to take on higher risks. On the other, borrowers are growing desperate as loan extensions start to expire on malls, hotels and even some offices that are still struggling as Covid-19 continues to ravage the U.S. economy. Acres Capital’s Mark Fogel noted: “I’m starting to see lenders just wanting to get paid off, so they’re going to borrowers, saying forbearance is over, time’s up. You’ll start to see a lot of that start to happen this last quarter of 2020, heading into 2021, especially on retail and hospitality assets.” (Bloomberg)
  • A crane perched near the top of a midtown high rise was left dangling due to strong winds Thursday evening, forcing four blocks in Manhattan to close down as debris came falling from above. The crane was located adjacent to the top of the 85-story building at 111 West 57th Street (AKA Steinway Tower), near Sixth Avenue. (NBC)

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