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Real Life Chaos at the Blues Brothers' Mall; Morgan Stanley's CRE Assets; Rising Vacancies in Manhattan (Tuesday's News & Notes)

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The mall that hosted the Blues Brothers mall chase scene was damaged in real life. It wasn't as dramatic as the film, however. A minor fire broke out at the now abandoned mall. No one was hurt.

Here are some other news and notes on retail and retail real estate from around the Web today.

  • The ICSC and Goldman Sachs Retail Chain Store Sales Index rose 0.5 percent in the week ended Saturday. Retail Sails put the results into context.
  • A lengthy but worthwhile post at BNET Retail looks at the effects of CIT's plight on retail as well as providing some early speculation on the holiday shopping season in light of what analysts expect from the back-to-school shopping season.
  • Information Week looked at AT&T's plan to revamp its retail stores. It wants to put a stronger emphasis on how handsets are tested, and expanding the carrier's netbook offerings.
  • The Wall Street Journal had a story in the print edition about Morgan Stanley's troubling real estate holdings.
  • Commercial Investment Real Estate magazine has a mid-year outlook on commercial real estate. When it comes to retail real estate, the magazine says:
    It's easy to say retail is doomed for the rest of the year. But consumer spending's dramatic free fall since 2007 doesn't take into account the massive price reductions of necessary disposables such as gasoline and food in the past 18 months. Shopping centers will be cheap in 2009 and 2010, and investments will be based on trailing actual income, not pro forma projections. But a shopping center's location cannot be replicated, so if the asset is a good core location locally, it's time to buy. Consumers may not return immediately to past levels of spending, but U.S. consumers can't go four years without something new. Major durable purchases will return by 2010–2011, including automobiles. The only question is what tenants are in a position to survive the unknown for that long.

    Markets to investigate: Houston, South Florida, Kansas City, Mo., Boise, Idaho, southern Indiana-Kentucky, and Tampa.

  • The New York Times looked at rising retail vacancies in New York City.
  • Research economist George Ratiu takes a look at distressed sales in the retail real estate sector. Real Property Alpha also looked at distress, analyzing the cumulative assets of failed banks and looking at the potential impact of this on commercial real estate.
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    Elaine Misonzhnik

    Senior associate editor Elaine Misonzhnik has been writing for National Real Estate Investor since June 2006 and has covered commercial real estate for more than 12 years. She first became...
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