1. Brookfield Eyes Blackstone Status with Private-Equity Push “Bruce Flatt, chief executive officer of Brookfield Asset Management Inc., is putting Blackstone Group, Carlyle Group, KKR & Co., and others on notice that his Toronto-based firm is about to make a major push into private equity. Flatt says his buyout firm will earn comparisons to the largest of Wall Street’s alternative-asset managers. That may take time.” (Bloomberg)
  2. Housing Regulator Closes Loan Loophole Used by REITs “A top federal housing regulator on Tuesday shut the door on mortgage investors who had been using a loophole to access low-cost, government-backed financing. The Federal Housing Finance Agency said so-called captive insurance companies, which insure the risks of the companies that own them, no longer will be eligible for membership in government-backed federal home loan banks.” (Wall Street Journal)
  3. Commercial Rents, Leasing and Property Sales to Lose Steam in 2016 “After five years of record growth, signs of stress are emerging in New York City's real estate market, especially in the past three months. Although new office leasing hit 28.2 million square feet last year, the third-highest Manhattan total in a decade, the figure is 14% below 2014 levels, according to a year-end report from Cushman & Wakefield released Tuesday morning.” (Crain’s New York Business)
  4. One of the Biggest Bond Market Players Has No Employees “One of the most prolific issuers in the $3.7 trillion municipal market is a Wisconsin agency with no employees, coveted tax-exempt bond status and a nationwide client list. The Public Finance Authority last year issued bonds for more than 30 charter schools, senior living facilities, universities and real estate developers in 15 states. None were from Wisconsin.” (Bloomberg)
  5. 2 Bargain Apartment REITs Worth Owning “The entry-level market really has leveled off as 20- and 30-somethings are reluctant to buy homes. I know there are surveys that have indicated differently, but I have a secret weapon in this segment. I have a single, 27-year-old son and 31-year-old married daughter. I talk to them and their friends and they have no burning desire for ownership. The prefer to keep their professional and personal options open at this point in their lives and do not want to be tied down by home ownership.” (The Street)
  6. Like Macy’s, J.C. Penney to Close Stores in 2016 “Macy's rival at the other end of the mall wants to get a little smaller this year, too. J.C. Penney, which has roughly 1,060 stores in the U.S., will shutter seven locations in 2016 in a bid to more efficiently operate in an era of digital commerce and dense urban areas. According to the company, which appeared at the ICR Conference on Tuesday, all seven of the stores earmarked for closure will be of the smaller size and they generally exist in older malls where traffic is sparse.” (The Street)
  7. American Eagle Store Closings on Track as Retailer Emphasizes Digital Footprint “American Eagle Outfitters Inc. will keep closing stores this year and roll out a mobile-friendly website as customers do more shopping using their smartphones, executives said Tuesday. The South Side-based teen retailer is on track with a ‘store rationalization’ plan to close 150 stores over three years, Chief Financial Officer Mary Boland told analysts at the ICR Conference in Orlando, Fla. The plan was announced in 2014.” (TribLive)
  8. Fairway Facing Potential Stock Delisting “As a result of trading below $1 per share for 30 consecutive business days, Fairway Group Holdings is facing a potential delisting from the Nasdaq stock exchange. Nasdaq informed the owner of New York's Fairway Markets that the company has 180 days, or until July 5, to regain compliance with its qualifications requiring its common shares close at a price of $1 or more for 10 consecutive business days.” (Supermarket News)
  9. How Sheldon Silver Became a Convicted Felon Thanks to Shady Real Estate Relationships “A year ago, Sheldon Silver was kicking off another session as Assembly speaker—his 21st, to be exact. He’d been touched by scandal, but he’d also been described, more than once, as Teflon—a rare immovable object in Albany’s raucous political climate, thorn in the side of governors and mayors who’d long since come and gone. He was one of the three men you had to convince if you wanted something big to happen in New York.” (Commercial Observer)
  10. Love Citi Bike? You Have a Real Estate Developer to Thank “In October 2014, Citi Bike’s parent company, Motivate, then called Alta Bicycle Systems, announced that it had changed ownership. Its new owner, the press release explained, was ‘Bikeshare Holdings LLC,’ which is a holding company created by the CEO of Related Companies, one of the largest real estate firms in New York City; the CEO of Equinox, a chain of luxury gyms that Related Companies owns; and Jonathan Schulhof, a founding partner of a New York- and India-based investment firm.” (Fast Company)