1. University of Michigan Endowment Adds to Real Estate Investments “The University of Michigan’s $10 billion endowment is adding to its real estate holdings, with five new commitments to private equity funds in the U.S., U.K. and Turkey. The Ann Arbor-based school plans to allocate 25 million pounds ($36 million) to Mercer Real Estate Partners II, a London-based real estate fund that will invest in office and mixed-use properties in the U.K., according to a public filing in advance of a Board of Regents meeting scheduled for Feb. 18.” (Bloomberg)
  2. America’s Senior Moment: the Most Rapidly Aging Cities “To determine where seniors are most heavily clustered, we examined 2014 American Community Survey data for the country’s 53 largest metropolitan statistical areas and looked at which areas have the highest percentages of seniors. In many ways these areas are already experiencing what most of the country will in the coming decades. The most aged regions come largely in two forms. Retirement metro areas are older in large part due to longstanding patterns of senior migration.” (Forbes)
  3. Townsend Group Closes Latest Real Estate Fund at $496 Million “The Townsend Group, a Cleveland-based provider of global investment management and advisory services focused exclusively on real estate and real assets, announced it has closed its latest private real estate fund. The firm said in a news release that Townsend Real Estate Alpha Fund II (TREA II) raised $496 million in capital commitments from more than 20 institutional investors, including public and private sector pension funds, foundations, endowments and select private wealth partners.” (Crain’s Cleveland Business)
  4. Staples, Office Depot to Sell Corporate Assets to Illinois Office Supplier “Staples and Office Depot announced an agreement Tuesday to sell more than $550 million in large corporate contract business and related assets to office-supply wholesaler Essendant. Deerfield, Ill.-based Essendant will pay Staples about $22.5 million, the companies said. More than 25 percent of the revenue acquired by Essendant will be from Fortune 100 companies and approximately half of the revenue will come from Fortune 500 companies.” (Sun Sentinel)
  5. Wall Street Girds for Real Estate Debt It Must Invest In “Wall Street firms are readying themselves for new rules aimed at requiring them to eat what they cook. A provision of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law that takes effect in December forces banks to keep a stake in the commercial-property loans they package into securities and sell off to investors. The rule is intended to deter the type of risky lending that helped fuel the last decade’s boom and bust.” (Bloomberg)
  6. The Real Estate Roundtable Releases Guardedly Optimistic Report on CRE “In its Q1 Sentiment Survey, The Real Estate Roundtable took high-level industry executives’ temperature on expectations for the U.S. commercial real estate market, and the results  are in: good times persist but confidence is being tempered by fears that the proverbial shoe(s) will drop.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  7. Crowdfunding Platform Fundrise Fires CFO over Extortion Allegations “Fundrise fired its mortgage REIT’s chief financial officer and treasurer Michael McCord, alleging that he tried to extort over $1 million from the crowdfunding platform, according to a new filing with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). In a letter to investors on Feb. 10, Fundrise’s general counsel Bjorn Hall wrote that the alleged extortion involves claims that the company ‘acted inappropriately concerning two real estate deals.’” (The Real Deal)
  8. Seattle Class A Office Building Commands $129.3M “MetLife has acquired Alley24, a 215,402-square-foot, core Class A office building with ground floor retail in Seattle’s South Lake Union submarket, from Vulcan Inc. and PEMCO Insurance Co., for $129.3 million. HFF marketed the property on behalf of the sellers. The property was 85 percent leased at the time of the sale. Alley24 is located at 221 Yale Ave. N. in Seattle’s epicenter of industry and innovation and one of the first LEED Certified green neighborhood plans in the nation boasting a Walk Score Index of 95.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  9. Energy Efficient Buildings: The Last Bridge for Bipartisan Cooperation in 2016? “President Obama recently released the budget for his final year in office; in his message to Congress, he outlined a few key priorities that could have a significant impact on the intelligent buildings market. There is no doubt that a rocky road lies ahead before these aspirations could become a reality. There are benefits to energy efficiency and intelligent building solutions that could be a cornerstone of some bipartisan compromise in the last year of his administration.” (Forbes)
  10. Why Real Estate is One of the Best Ways to Make Money “When you buy a stock, the only way you can make money is if the stock appreciates in value, and you sell it at the good time. With real estate you can make money in many ways, I can name those 12 off the top of my head, and there are many more. Rental income. That one is the main source of profit investors are going for when buying a rental, and doesn't need an explanation.” (Huffington Post)