1. Despite Record, Commercial Real Estate Shows Warning Signs “Recent record data in commercial real estate may be masking some warning signs in the property market. The U.S. commercial real estate market just posted its second-best January ever, with $44.6 billion in transactions for that month alone, according to Real Capital Analytics. While the dollar number is up 12.7% from last year, the volume of transactions is down 7% from January 2015, notes Jim Costello, vice president of Real Capital Analytics.” (Yahoo Finance)
  2. Hotel Slump Lures Buyout Firms After Shares Slide from Early ’05 “Buyout firms expect bargains may emerge in hotel investments following the slump in U.S. lodging stocks, suggesting a potential pickup in deals after a slow start this year. ‘Market volatility creates opportunities for longer-term, value-oriented investors like ourselves,’ said Tyler Henritze, co-head of U.S. real estate acquisitions for Blackstone Group LP, which raised a record $15.8 billion property fund last year. The private equity firm in December bought Strategic Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.” (Bloomberg)
  3. Traditional Havens Cash, Gold and Real Estate Not So Safe for Investors “My guess is that few sophisticated portfolio managers actually attempt to sidestep the market’s vagaries by hiding in cash, gold or real estate – and for good reason. Investors have to predict which of their desired ports of call – cash, gold or real estate – will actually hold up in a storm. Granted, cash should always hold up (and if it doesn’t, heaven help us all), but it also inflicts the most severe penalty for mistiming the market, as it will fall farthest behind over time.” (The Globe and Mail)
  4. Sports Authority May Sell Some Stores to Dick’s in Rocky Real Estate Landscape “It has been an interesting ride for Sports Authority since it was acquired in 2006 by private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners for $1.3 billion. As the realities of the retail sector fluctuate, bricks-and-mortar legacy chains such as Sports Authority have the choice of adapting or dying off. Today, there are reports that the company is considering selling stores and assets to Dick's Sporting Goods, as it appears to be on the brink of filing for bankruptcy protection, according to a Reuters report.” (The Street)
  5. The 10 Best and Worst States for Retirement in 2016 “More than ever, many investors are considering moving to maximize the savings available to them in retirement. While some financial advisors are helping clients move abroad to take advantage of warmer climates and lower costs of living, there are good arguments to be made for staying in the U.S. To help advisors (and their clients) better weigh the options, Bankrate.com has ranked the 50 states based on the quality of life for retirees, using metrics such as cost of living, healthcare, weather, crime and tax burden.” (Wealthmanagement.com)
  6. Chicago Real Estate Developer Convicted of Fraud “The president of a prominent Chicago real estate company best known for developing Block 37 in the Loop has been convicted on fraud charges related to the redevelopment of the old Goldblatt’s department store in Uptown, federal authorities said. After a two-week trial, Laurance H. Freed, 53, of Chicago, was convicted by a federal jury on Feb. 24 on three counts of bank fraud, one count of mail fraud and four counts of making a false statement to a financial institution, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office.” (Chicago Sun-Times)
  7. Meijer Spending $400M on Stores, Adding 3,000 Jobs in 2016 “Meijer Inc. plans to plans to spend $400 million in 2016 to grow the Midwest retailer's presence in its six-state footprint, the company announced Wednesday morning. The investment includes the construction of nine new Meijer supercenters and 32 different remodel projects. The new stores will go up in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. The company expects to hire 3,000 new employees to staff the nine new stores.” (Michigan Live)
  8. The 50 Most Important Figures of Commercial Real Estate Finance “Every year has a story. Whether it was the story of the market’s implosion (2008), or Hudson Yards unstoppable momentum (ongoing, but we really felt it in 2014 / 15), there’s some big deal or big project that sets a tone. In 2015, that tone was set by the $5.3 billion sale of Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village. That explains why Alan Wiener—the group head of Wells Fargo Multifamily Capital—landed the No. 1 spot on our list.” (Commercial Observer)
  9. KBS Raises $216M in First Phase of Israeli Bond Offering “KBS Strategic Opportunity REIT is on the verge of becoming the first U.S. real estate investment trust to successfully issue bonds in Israel. The company closed a roughly $216 million debt tender to Israeli investment funds and financial institutions Tuesday, sources told The Real Deal. The public, non-traded REIT — managed by Newport Beach, Calif.-based real estate investment firm KBS Capital Advisors – secured the $216 million institutional tender at an interest rate of 4.25 percent, according to sources with knowledge of the deal.” (The Real Deal)
  10. Fortis Seeking $272M Sellout at 1 Seaport Condo Tower “Fortis Property Group is targeting a $272 million sellout for its planned 1 Seaport condominium tower at South Street Seaport, according to a condo filing plan approved by the state Attorney General’s office. The Dumbo-based developer’s plans for the 80-unit, 646-foot building received the go-ahead from the state Real Estate Finance Bureau on Feb. 23, meaning the company can proceed with sales for the planned 57-story residential tower at 161 Maiden Lane.” (The Real Deal)