There is an upside, or silver lining, to the upheaval in the retail real estate market right now, says Brad Friedlander, portfolio manager for Angel Oak Capital Advisors. "The deals that are out there are trading on secondary markets pricing better than they were at the beginning of the year," he says.
Earlier this year, Merrie Frankel, a longtime REIT analyst with Moody's Investors Service, launched Minerva Realty Consultants in affiliation with RCLCO, a real estate advisory firm with offices in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. "Minerva is unique in providing independent consulting services to assist companies pursuing credit ratings and capital structure analysis for REITs contemplating accessing the public markets or ratings," she says.
Caesars Entertainment will exit bankruptcy this year with an eye to growth. The company is refurbishing more than 23,000 hotel rooms in Las Vegas, and has its eye on developing some of the 100 acres of underutilized real estate and open space near the Strip into shopping, entertainment or convention space.
Camden Property Trust's co-founders Keith Oden and Ric Campo, who is also the REIT's CEO, recognized from the start that a healthy corporate culture would be essential for growth. "We have always believed that people are our greatest asset and that having the right team united and committed to achieving common goals is the best way to ensure success for Camden and all of its stakeholders," Campo writes.
Senators have asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate how the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States judges foreign investment in real estate in the wake of an unprecedented level of acquisitions by Chinese investors. "Foreign investors are pouring more and more money into the US real estate market, and yet the trail behind these transactions is often shrouded in secrecy," said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
Amazon will open its seventh bookstore and its first in New York City today, in the middle of Manhattan's publishing district. The 4,000-square-foot store in Columbus Circle sits near the site of a former Borders store and close to the headquarters of three high-profile publishing houses.
Sears reported first-quarter net income of $244 million, its first quarterly profit in almost two years, as a result of store closings, staff reductions and other cost-cutting measures. Same-store sales at Sears and Kmart locations fell 12.4% and 11.2%, respectively.
Assuming economic conditions warrant it, the Federal Reserve indicated it will raise its benchmark rate in the near future, possibly at its next meeting in June, according to minutes from the last policy meeting. The Fed also came to an agreement on the mechanics of unwinding its $4.5 trillion in Treasury and mortgage securities holdings.
Several retail REITs are recovering from the bout of retail closings and may even be undervalued now, while the fundamentals remain strong in the sector, says Calvin Schnure, a senior vice president at NAREIT. "They have been underperforming the S&P 500, but there's still opportunity," he says.
Office REIT NorthStar Realty Europe and China Resources Land are acquiring, via a joint venture, a trophy office building in London for $390 million. NorthStar is providing $34 million in preferred equity in the deal.
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