1. BlackRock Says Clients Are Shifting Away from Stocks “BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset manager, said investors are turning to more-illiquid holdings such as real estate and private credit as they seek to generate returns and combat market volatility. More than half of those responding to a survey of about 170 of BlackRock’s largest institutional clients are planning to increase allocations to private credit and real assets, the firm said Monday in a statement.” (Bloomberg)
  2. Some Perspective on How Real Estate Dwarfs the Rest of the Asset Universe “The total value of all developed real estate on the planet reached a whopping $217 trillion in 2015, according to a new report released on Monday by U.K.-based real estate adviser Savills. For some perspective, that amounts to 2.7 times the world’s GDP and about 60% of all mainstream assets, the analysis shows. Furthermore, Yolanda Barnes, who leads Savills research team, said the total value eclipses all the gold ever mined ($6 trillion) by a factor of 36 to 1.” (MarketWatch)
  3. MetLife Commercial Property Lending Reaches Record $14.3 Billion “MetLife Inc., the largest U.S. life insurer, loaned about $14.3 billion for commercial real estate globally last year, the most in the company’s history of more than 140 years. That’s an 18 percent increase from $12.1 billion the year before, the New York-based insurer said Tuesday in a statement. MetLife also committed to investing about $1 billion in real estate equity in 2015 through direct acquisitions and joint-venture partnerships.” (Bloomberg)
  4. Hilton Debuts New Chain to Win Over Millennials “Hilton Worldwide has unveiled the debut of a new chain of hotels that will aim to court younger travelers by touting mobile features and lounge spaces in a bid to compete with a space that has been upended by home-sharing purveyor Airbnb. The brand, called Tru by Hilton, is the 13th hotel concept by Hilton –which already operates hotels under its namesake, Waldorf Astoria, Embassy Suites, and DoubleTree, among others.” (Fortune)
  5. McDonald’s to Close About 500 Restaurants in 2016 “On Monday, McDonald's said it intends to open about 1,000 restaurants in 2016.  In total, the Golden Arches anticipates a "net addition" of 500 restaurants this year, indicating that 500 locations from around the world will be closed. Many of the closings are likely to be concentrated in the U.S. as the company acts to shut down weaker-performing, company-operated locations.” (The Street)
  6. Bill Ackman’s Hedge Fund Sues CWCapital for $500M over Stuy Town “Pershing Square Capital Management and Winthrop Realty Trust are suing CWCapital for $500 million, claiming they got bilked out of a fat profit when the special servicer foreclosed on Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village and then sold it for $5.3 billion. The suit is the latest in a number of legal challenges alleging foul play in the run-up to the blockbuster December deal CWCapital struck with the Blackstone Group and Ivanhoe Cambridge.” (The Real Deal)
  7. Developers of Soho Condo Tower Secure $320 Million Construction Loan “The developers of a new luxury condo tower in SoHo that will be star architect Renzo Piano’s first residential project in the city have raised $450 million for the development. Bizzi & Partners Development, Aronov Development and Halpern Real Estate Ventures secured a $320 million construction loan from Bank of China for a 290-foot tall, 115-unit condo the group is planning to build at 565 Broome St. The partners also sold a $135 million equity stake in the project to Cindat, a U.S. subsidiary of the Chinese investment firm Cinda Asset Management Co.” (Crain’s New York Business)
  8. The Billionaire Behind Walgreens’ Quest for Global Domination “Today the 74-year-old Pessina, who owns some 13% of WBA, is firmly in control. And he’s not done swallowing companies. Before Walgreens had come close to digesting Alliance Boots, Pessina had announced plans in October to buy Rite Aid, the No. 3 player in the U.S., for $17.2 billion. He says there are more deals to come. ‘I am really convinced,’ he said on a recent earnings call, ‘that vertical integration is a necessity for this market to control the costs in the health care arena. We are always open, even to partnerships.’” (Fortune)
  9. A Social Network for Real Estate Investors “This week, Gregg Moss and Scott Yates sat down for the regular Tech Tuesday segment to discuss a Colorado-based social network aiming to help real estate investors make better decisions. BiggerPockets is a Denver-based website, in existence since 2004, that is a social network, blog, message board, book publisher, podcast leader, relationship builder, and company directory – and all that wrapped into a real estate investment tool.” (9News)
  10. Televangelist Morris Cerullo Wants to Build a Bible-Themed Resort in San Diego “Televangelist Morris Cerullo, widely known for his overseas healing crusades and the occasional legal skirmish, now is hoping to cement his spiritual legacy with the help of hologram-filled catacombs, a 20-foot-tall wailing wall and an interactive biblical museum. More than four years after purchasing a foreclosed Mission Valley hotel, the Pentecostal preacher is banking on faithful followers and religious-minded tourists to flock to a planned Christian-themed resort.” (Los Angeles Times)