1. Hilton to Spin Off Hotel Properties, Timeshares Separately “Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., the world’s largest operator of hotel rooms, said it will continue to pursue spinoffs of its hotel properties and timeshare business to boost shareholder value. The move will result in three separate companies, Hilton said in a statement on Friday. The properties will be spun off into a publicly traded real estate investment trust, while the timeshare business Hilton Grand Vacations will become a separate publicly traded company.” (Bloomberg)
  2. The Most Extreme High-Rise Condos on the Market “With scores of super-tall, glassy buildings popping up in cities across the country, it can take a lot of superlatives to distinguish one from another. So developers and marketers are getting creative to stand out in the high-rise market. Drone landing pad? Check. Complimentary dog walking? Sure. Biometric elevator access? Done.” (Wall Street Journal)
  3. Citi: Risk of Global Recession Rising “The risk of the global economy falling into a recession is rising as fundamentals remain poor, analysts at Citigroup said in a note Wednesday. ‘We are currently in a highly precarious environment for global growth and asset markets after two to three years of relative calm,’ Citigroup said, noting that global growth was ‘unusually weak’ in the fourth quarter at around 2.0 percent on-year.” (CNBC)
  4. Anatomy of a Skyscraper: Chicago’s Vista Tower “Chicago is reshaping its skyline. Construction begins this year on Vista Tower, a condominium-hotel project that, when finished, will stand over 1,100 feet—making it the Windy City’s third-tallest building. The building, a joint project between Chicago-based Magellan Development and China-based real-estate giant Dalian Wanda Group, will cost more than $900 million and is scheduled for completion in 2020. Here are some early details about the building’s design and construction.” (Wall Street Journal)
  5. See You Later, CMBS? “Over the past few years, as New York’s commercial real estate market kept trying to outdo itself, CMBS lenders provided a big portion of the money fueling the boom. But in early 2016, new commercial mortgage-backed securities have largely retreated from Manhattan, leaving property investors with fewer financing options and further spooking an already nervous market. Manhattan CMBS issuance has been declining since mid-2015, after a strong start to that year and hit a two-year low of $40 million in January before recovering slightly in February.” (The Real Deal)
  6. Despite Index Dip, U.S. Multifamily Developers’ Outlook Still Positive “According to the National Association of Home Builders, the latest Multifamily Production Index declined four points to 52 in the fourth quarter of 2015, yet it is still the 16th consecutive reading of 50 or above. The MPI measures builder and developer sentiment about current conditions in the apartment and condominium market on a scale of 0 to 100.” (World Property Journal)
  7. Talk of Wall at the Border Gives Some Real Estate Developers Pause “The price of building new projects has already risen substantially in the past several years, driven by increased demand for workers, materials and land. Now, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump is promising to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and deport the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. The Pew Research Center estimated last year that undocumented immigrants make up about 14 percent of laborers in the construction and extraction field.” (The Charlotte Observer)
  8. Airbnb Admits to Removing 1,500 Listings before Dec. Data Release “Short-term rental goliath Airbnb conceded that it purged a large number of controversial listings from its site shortly before its first official release of New York City data late last year. In a letter to lawmakers Wednesday, Airbnb admitted it removed around 1,500 New York City listings from its site over the course of November 2015, saying that the action was in keeping with its promises to the community.” (The Real Deal)
  9. Schnitzer West Secures Loan for Madison Centre “Seattle’s office market continues to impress, with a major financing measure being completed for Schnitzer West’s Madison Centre development project in the city’s CBD. HFF provided a $225 million construction loan for the trophy office project that broke ground back in 2014. Taking shape at 505 Madison St. in the city’s CBD, Madison Centre will be a 37-story, 753,869-square-foot trophy office project.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  10. First Look: Etsy Opens Boutique in Macy’s “Online craft marketplace Etsy shares surged 11% after reporting better-than-expected revenue on Tuesday. The company was one of the worst-performing IPOs of 2015 and shares are down 74% since going public last April. Now it’s hoping that a visible presence in an iconic New York department store might bring it some luck. Etsy, founded in 2005 and headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, is known for its obscure, artisanal goods – 38 million are currently on the site -- like $15 bulldog glitter snowglobes or $32 Narwal hats.” (Yahoo! Finance)