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Real Estate Roundup 11.18.20

Ken Caplan, Kathleen McCarthy, Jon Gray (Credit: Fortune)

Real Estate Roundup:

Retail

  • U.S. retail sales rose in October at their slowest pace since the spring, another sign the nation’s economic recovery is losing steam as coronavirus cases surge across the country. Online shopping continues to flourish. Sales increased 3.1% in October from the prior month at non-store retailers, a category that accounts for online merchants, according to the Commerce Department… JPMorgan’s tracker of 30 million credit and debit cardholders recorded a 4% decline in spending from a year earlier in the week through Nov. 13. (WSJ)

Office leasing

  • Office employees are getting used to the perks of telecommuting and expect them to continue even after the pandemic ends, but most aren’t ready to abandon the office entirely. A majority of employees want to continue working from home at least two days per week, according to the JLL’s survey of more than 2,000 workers globally. Only 26% want to work from home full time after the Covid-19 pandemic passes. Most workers surveyed agreed that the office is more conducive to collaboration, with 66% of respondents preferring a hybrid model. (Bloomberg+JLL)

Acquisitions 

  • Steel Equities has closed on its $20 million purchase of six land parcels in Brooklyn right by the property where it landed a major deal with Netflix last year. The developer has purchased 132 Bogart St. and 375-377 Johnson Ave. in East Williamsburg from Superior Holdings. (Crain’s)

Financing 

  • Milbrook Properties has secured $47.5 million in financing for 19 multifamily properties based in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn from Symetra Life Insurance Company. The portfolio comprises 1,188 apartments and 51 commercial units. Ten loans totaling $23.8 million were closed at a rate of 3.18 percent for 10-year terms, and the remaining nine — totaling $23.7 million — were closed at 3.30 percent for 13 years. (CO)

Politics

  • A 40% cut in weekday subway service and layoffs of more than 9,000 transit workers are on the table as MTA honchos battle a COVID-19 financial catastrophe. The transit austerity plan — parts of which were obtained by The Daily News — could be staved off if Congress approves more COVID-19 aid to the agency. Transit officials have asked for $12 billion in federal aid by the end of 2021 to stay afloat. (NYDN)

Development plans 

  • Zara Realty is planning to build a project in Jamaica that will span about 218,000 SF. Upon completion, it will contain 223 residential units (30% will be affordable), 176 parking spots, along with space for a community facility. (Crain’s)

Other news

  • Blackstone Group + Worthe Real Estate Group are planning to develop a new office tower near the sprawling Burbank and Warner Bros. studio complexes in California. The proposed 500,000-square-foot tower underscores Blackstone’s Nadeem Meghji strategy: “Content creation is one of our highest conviction themes, and we’re seeing long-term demand growth.” (WSJ)
  • South Korean investors swarmed some recent hot property sales. They accounted for nine of the 18 bids for a warehouse near Los Angeles that has been leased to Amazon. The South Korean investment firm Soulbrain Holdings last month bought three office buildings in San Jose, Calif., for $160 million, and four of the 12 bids came from South Korea… A big reason why Korean investors are flocking to the U.S. is the Federal Reserve. When foreign firms invest in the U.S., they generally hedge against currency fluctuations. Today, hedging costs are down to around 0.1% after recent Fed rate cuts. (WSJ)

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