1. 11 Retailers Still Thriving as Amazon Threatens on All Fronts “With another earnings season almost finished, it’s time to look beyond the typically gloomy results for retailers and find the winners. Among S&P 500 companies, there are 35 retailers, according to FactSet. That includes Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +0.23% which stands apart since it derives nearly all of its sales from the internet. It’s easy to think Amazon completely dominates U.S. retail, but that’s not really true. Combined sales for the most recently reported quarter (through March 8) for the 35 S&P 500 retailers were $457.6 billion.” (MarketWatch)
  2. Iowa Rep. Introduces Bill to End EB-5 Visa Program “U.S. Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican who has made immigration crackdowns one of his signature issues, has introduced a bill to scrap the embattled EB-5 investor program amid attempts to reform it and accusations he posted a racist tweet. King introduced H.R.1502, ‘A bill to terminate the EB-5 program,’ on Friday. It calls for repealing several provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act to negate the program.” (Law360)
  3. Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky Hints at 2018 IPO “For Airbnb, going public has always been thought of as a ‘two-year process,’ and the company is about halfway through that process, Chief Executive Brian Chesky said at a luncheon hosted by the Economic Club of New York on Monday. That would imply an initial public offering in 2018. The company announced last week that it closed on a more than $1 billion round of funding, upping its valuation to $31 billion. Airbnb turned profitable on an EBITDA for the first time during the second half of 2016, a person close to the company confirmed.” (CNBC)
  4. One Chart Shows How Incredibly Relaxed Investors Are About Rising Interest Rates “Give Janet Yellen and the rest of the Federal Reserve crew credit for some smooth verbal intervention, having shifted investor expectations for a March rate rise from low to virtually certain in a matter of weeks while causing barely a ripple in financial markets. The question is whether investors are too chill for their own good. The note also included the chart at the top of the page, which shows just how volatility in the five-year Treasury note yield has declined even as the yield has pushed higher, partly in anticipation of a further tightening of monetary policy.” (MarketWatch)
  5. Real Estate Trade Association Pushes Back on a Bill That Would Allow Rent Control “The debate over rent control in Illinois is heating up as the Illinois Association of Realtors, a group which represents some 44,000 real estate professionals across the state, has taken a position against any form of rent control or stabilization measures. Last week, the group sent an email blast and published a blog post urging its members to reach out to their state representatives and ask elected officials to oppose a new measure from State Representative Will Guzzardi (39th District) which seeks to repeal the state’s Rent Control Preemption Act (RCPA).” (Curbed Chicago)
  6. Gander Mountain Latest Sports Retailer to Fail “Outdoor goods company Gander Mountain is the latest retailer to falter under competition from online sellers, announcing that it has filed for bankruptcy protection and will close dozens of stores. The St. Paul, Minn-based chain says that it will begin shuttering 32 stores in 11 states over the next several weeks, potentially impacting at least 1,280 full time and part-time workers.  It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday in the face of dwindling store traffic and shelves stocked with more goods than it was able to sell.” (USA Today)
  7. Fannie Mae’s Chrissa Pagitsas on Why Green Financing is Gaining Popularity “Chrissa Pagitsas started Fannie Mae’s multifamily green finance program in 2012. In the program’s first year, Fannie Mae made $55 million in green loans to multifamily property owners. Last year, that amount increased to a whopping $3.6 billion. Green financing helps owners to get a low-cost loan to make their property more energy-efficient, resulting in lower operating costs for them and lower rents for tenants. And it’s not just owners who are going green. Last month, Fannie Mae issued a $1 billion Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit (REMIC) that included two completely green tranches for $600 million.”
  8. LeFrak to Buy Dumont Hotel for $120M, Eyeing Resi Conversion “The LeFrak Organization is in contract to acquire the Dumont NYC hotel for nearly $120 million – and is likely to convert the property to residential, The Real Deal has learned. The 37-story, 252-key, 176,600-square-foot Affinia-branded property at 150 East 34th Street in Kips Bay is one of two assets – the other being the 618-key Affinia Manhattan NYC – that Pebblebrook Hotel Trust took after ending its partnership last year with Denihan Hospitality Group. Pebblebrook, a Maryland-based real estate investment trust, promptly placed them on the market.” (The Real Deal)
  9. Exclusive: Porter Takes Over as Fairway CEO “Industry veteran Abel Porter has been named the new president and CEO of Fairway Markets, replacing Jack Murphy, SN has learned. Porter, a former CEO of Smith’s Food and Drug and president of Foodland Supermarkets, is tasked with rebuilding performance of the iconic New York supermarket chain in the aftermath of several years of financial struggle culminating in a stay under Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year.” (Supermarket News)
  10. Evanston May Get its Tallest-Ever Building “A Chicago developer with a pending apartment tower plan in Evanston is proposing a bigger substitute—a 33-story project that would be the city's tallest building. Vermilion Development unveiled a revised pitch last week at a community meeting that drew a mixed response, according to Evanston Now. The new design calls for 318 units and 6,700 square feet of ground-floor retail space at 601 Davis St., a project that would eclipse the height of the nearby 22-story Chase Bank tower.” (Crain’s Chicago Business)