11 Midweek Must Reads for Real Estate Investors (Aug. 30, 2023)

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  1. Commercial Lending Fell 52% in Second Quarter “Commercial real estate lending dropped by 52% in the second quarter from 2022, per Newmark, as players in the market narrow.” (The Real Deal)
  2. Hersha Hospitality Trust Taken Private in $1.4B Deal “Hersha Hospitality Trust is being acquired by KSL Capital Partners, a private equity firm that specializes in the travel and leisure industries, in an all-cash deal valued at $1.4 billion. KSL is buying the REIT’s common shares at $10 per share, representing a premium of 60% over Hersha’s closing share price on August 25, 2023, the last full trading day prior to the announcement. The company has ‘built an impressive, curated portfolio of experiential luxury and lifestyle hotels and resorts in strategic markets,’ says Marty Newburger, partner at KSL, in prepared remarks. ‘We are uniquely suited to position the business for further success over the long term.’” (GlobeSt.com)
  3. Blackstone’s Data Center Gamble “Blackstone’s push into data centers reflects how it has sought to adapt to a fast-changing market as its giant real estate fund faces pressure.” (Insider)
  4. Investors Pour Billions into Student Housing as Rent Growth Outpaces Apartment Market “As college students head back to school, they aren’t the only ones scoping out new opportunities on and off campus. Major real estate investors have been marching into student housing, drawn to the sector by its higher rent growth than traditional multifamily and its “recession-proof” assets, investors, brokers and researchers told Bisnow. Investors are especially drawn to student housing markets in the Sun Belt states that have seen the highest rent growth and enrollment increases.” (Bisnow)
  5. Life Science Assets Outperform Despite Slowing Economy “In 2023, the life science sector faces a slowdown due to rising interest rates, bank failures and economic uncertainty, according to the latest CommercialEdge office report. Despite this, niche properties maintain value premium, backed by strong supply pipeline and positive long-term prospects. Lab space sales dropped to $387 million by July 2023 from $6 billion in 2022, but sold properties averaged $770 per square foot, far exceeding the $196 office building average.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  6. Fundrise Settles with SEC After Secretly Paying Influencers to $8M to Solicit Investors “Real estate crowdfunding platform Fundrise has reached a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission after the agency claimed the company paid influencers to promote the platform without disclosing it was sponsored content. Fundrise paid social media influencers $8M to solicit investors, the SEC said, but didn’t make sure it was clear those influencers were paid, according to its charging order.” (Bisnow)
  7. Move Over, San Francisco: The Suburbs of Silicon Valley Are Calling “San Francisco, a major beneficiary of the last decade’s boom as young workers flocked to a lively urban center, is floundering due to an exodus of people and empty office buildings. The suburban region of Silicon Valley, meanwhile, has seen its economy hold up relatively well from remote work and the fortunes of the likes of Nvidia Corp. and Apple Inc. ‘Silicon Valley is a net winner from the pandemic,’ said Nick Bloom, an economist at Stanford University who coined the term ‘donut effect’ to describe how urban centers are losing their appeal while suburbs are flourishing.” (Bloomberg)
  8. Banks and Landlords Have Been Pulled into NYC’s Cannabis Trade “The proliferation of unlicensed marijuana stores across New York City the last two years has had an unexpected consequence for banks and real estate owners: Many are now intertwined in the cannabis business. The shops appeared slowly and then seemingly all at once, with the unlicensed sellers taking advantage of a regulatory vacuum in the aftermath of the state’s 2021 legalization of recreational marijuana. There are now as many as 2,000 in the five boroughs, even though the unauthorized sale of cannabis products is illegal.” (Bloomberg)
  9. Amazon CEO Tells Staff ‘It’s Probably Not Going to Work Out’ Unless They Visit Office Three Days a Week “Amazon’s CEO has told workers “it’s probably not going to work out” for them at the tech company unless they are prepared to come into the office at least three days a week. Andy Jassy made the statement in a meeting where he expressed his frustration that some employees were not coming in three days a week, despite that now being Amazon’s official policy. He said: ‘It’s past the time to disagree and commit. If you can’t disagree and commit … it’s probably not going to work out for you at Amazon because we are going back to the office at least three days a week.’” (The Guardian)
  10. Northeast Flooding Confronts Commercial Real Estate with Severe Challenges “This summer, the United States confronted a deluge of wildfires, floods and heat waves that battered cities nationwide — including locations that least expect it. In the Northeast, Vermont was inundated by a two-day July storm that pummeled sections of Montpelier, the state’s capital, and rural towns. Simultaneously, catastrophic rains struck other New England states, as well as parts of Pennsylvania and New York, resulting in widespread damages, evacuations and even death.” (Commercial Observer)
  11. How Did Things Go So Wrong at This Arizona Park Built with Muni Bonds? “Municipal bonds have a reputation for safety, but a financial meltdown at a sports arena in Mesa, Ariz., shows all munis aren’t created equal. Legacy Park, spread over 320 acres with volleyball courts, soccer fields and summer campers, filed for bankruptcy in May. That was just 15 months after it opened and three years after an entity known as the Arizona Industrial Development Authority agreed to issue muni bonds to pay for the park’s construction. The bonds recently traded at roughly 10 cents on the dollar, and the park is looking for a buyer.” (The Wall Street Journal)



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