Real Estate Daily News Buzz April 21, 2017

Real Estate Daily News Buzz is designed to give news snippets to readers that our (yet to be award winning) editors thought you could use to start your day. They come from various business perspectives, real estate, government, the Fed, local news, and the stock markets to save you time. Here you will find the headlines and what the news buzz of the day will be.

Thursday, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 17.67 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,355.84. The Dow Jones industrial average picked up 174.22 points, or 0.9 percent, to 20,578.81. The Nasdaq composite surged 53.74 points, or 0.9 percent, to 5,916.78.

Benchmark U.S. crude slipped 17 cents to $50.27 a barrel in New York while Brent crude, the international standard, rose 6 cents to $52.99 a barrel. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to $1.67 a gallon. Heating oil was flat at $1.58 a gallon. Natural gas fell 3 cents to $3.16 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Tucson Symphony Orchestra performs original music inspired by elephant Nandi live at Reid Park Zoo — Nature inspires art at Reid Park Zoo! Celebrate Nandi, Arizona’s favorite elephant, with a story about her family far away in Africa. You will love the original story and music written by Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s Michael Fan. Called “Kalimba Kee: An African Elephant and his Best Friend, a Hippo” Performing Saturday April 22, 2017 5-7 p.m. at the Reid Park Zoo.  Pre-sale tickets are $40 for adults and $35 for adult members. Children ages 2 to 14 are $15. An elephant presentation, meet the keeper experience, light appetizers and drinks are included in the symphony performance ticket price.

PACC receives $25K grant from the Petco Foundation –The Petco Foundation has awarded Pima Animal Care Center a $25,000 grant to support the shelter’s continued investment in providing medical services to pets in need. The grant will fund lifesaving medical equipment, including three baby animal incubators that PACC will put to use immediately to care for orphaned litters while staff finds them foster placements. In addition, the shelter plans to purchase an additional surgery light, surgery table and electric lift exam table, which will be used to save critically injured patients. Other items the grant will fund: a syringe pump, for delivering nutrition to baby animals whose glucose levels are crashing; an additional dental scaler and polisher, for giving senior pets a second chance; and a trans-illuminator system, for helping pets with eye problems and head trauma. Since Dr. Jennifer Wilcox began revitalizing PACC’s medical program in 2014, the shelter’s save rate has increased from about 70 percent to nearly 90 percent. With the Petco Foundation’s investment, the shelter will have additional resources to save more injured pets, neonatal pets, senior pets and formerly hoarded pets, which should help push its save rate even higher. To find out more about Pima Animal Care Center and learn how you can help support its medical program, visit

Billionaire Jeff Greene: I Think We’re More Likely to Have a Slowdown of 0 Percent Growth “The U.S. economy could grow sluggish as President Donald Trump moves forward with his pro-business policies, billionaire real estate investor Jeff Greene told CNBC on Monday. ‘I think we have been in a period of insane ‘animals spirits,’ Greene said on ‘Squawk on the Street,’ citing previous inaction in Washington. The founder of the Greene Institute said that the assurances from the Trump administration that they will get things done may slow the economy, perhaps leading to a rise in interest rates.” (CNBC)

Rents Are Finally Dropping in New York City, and a Bubble Might Be About to Pop “In October, the share of New York City rentals that took a price cut, according to the listing tracker Streeteasy, topped 42 percent—the highest level since December 2010. The real estate firm Citi Habitats, which draws data from its own listings, reports that the vacancy rate in Manhattan has climbed to 2.1 percent, its highest level since 2009. Both of those indicators, in other words, are back in Great Recession territory. ‘It’s a renter’s market right now,” says Chris Lee, the director of sales at Triplemint, a real estate startup.’” (Business Insider)

Facing Tough Financial Call, Neiman Marcus Decides to Make Interest Payments with More Debt “Neiman Marcus said it will make interest payments over the next six months with new debt to preserve its cash and bank line of credit. The Dallas-based luxury retailer said in a filing on Friday that instead of making a current $29 million cash interest payment on $600 million notes due in 2021, it will issue more bonds to holders to cover the 9.5 percent interest. Neiman Marcus also updated its liquidity position.” (Dallas Morning News)

Home Builder Sentiment Weakens in April from 11-Year High “Home builders in April weren’t quite as ebullient, though they’re still anticipating strong demand, according to a survey released Monday. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index fell 3 points to 68, on a scale where any reading over 50 is considered good. The March reading was an 11-year high. The measure of current sales conditions also fell 3 points, to 74, though it’s been over 70 for five consecutive months.” (MarketWatch)

Banks Are Suddenly Scaling Back, and Wall Street Isn’t Sure What to Make of It “Bank lending to consumers and businesses is slowing down. As of last week, commercial and industrial lending had not increased since September 7, the first six-month period of declines since the aftermath of the financial crisis, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said. Consumer-loan growth has also slowed, up by 1.4% since the November election versus 3.1% during the same period a year earlier.” (Business Insider)

Teen Apparel Retailer Closing Hundreds of Stores “Tough times have caught up with Rue 21. The struggling teen apparel chain plans to close nearly 400 stores nationwide, the Associated Press reported. The shutterings will leave the retailer with about 700 stores nationwide. Rue 21 confirmed the news in a post on its Facebook page, calling it a ‘difficult but necessary’ decision. ‘We still have hundreds of locations across the country, and our website open for business,’ the retailer added.” (Chain Store Age)

Downtown Manhattan Enjoys Significant Surge of Office Leasing in Early 2017 “Downtown records 2.3 million square feet in transactions, highest quarterly volume in 2 years. According to JLL, lower Manhattan recorded more than 2.3 million square feet in leasing transactions in the first quarter of 2017. More transactions were completed Downtown in the first quarter of the year than in any quarter during the past two years. Additionally, deal volume was 44 percent higher than the quarterly average the submarket has posted since 2007.” (World Property Journal)

Commercial Real Estate—a New Lease is Signed—Now What? “You, on behalf of your manufacturing or distribution company just signed a commercial real estate lease for a new location. Congratulations! Many believe the deal is now done (including many in my profession), we can move-in, cue the band, alert the media – and let’s get the party started. Hmmm, not so fast. There is a multitude of issues still to address, some seen and some unseen and not the least of which is the physical move!” (Orange County Register)

Dollar Tree Coming to Hudson Companies Development in Gateway, Brooklyn “The variety chain that sells items for $1 or less, Dollar Tree, has landed a lease at Hudson Companies’ Gateway Elton Street development in Gateway, Brooklyn. The 9,995-square-foot ground-floor tenant signed a 10-year deal with options at 12442 Flatlands Avenue at the southwest corner of Elton Street, according to J. Matthew Dillon, a project manager at Hudson. The lease commences June 9 at the 151-unit affordable apartment building, CoStar Group indicates.” (Commercial Observer)

$91M Delta by Marriott Comes to Metro Dallas “A Delta by Marriott Hotel and attached convention center is coming to Allen, Texas in late 2018. Construction will begin later this month on the $91 million project, which will be one of the largest facilities of its kind in North Texas. Recently acquired by Altera Development, the 300-key hotel will feature 90,000 square feet of convention, ballroom and meeting space; 1,000 parking spots; a restaurant and destination bar; a swimming pool; 24 Hour Elite Pantry; fitness center with cardio, weights, yoga and crossfit; and free Wi-Fi and bottled water.” (Commercial Property Executive)

Coca-Cola in North Korea? It’s (usually not) the Real Thing — North Korea is developing quite a taste for Coke — even though the red-and-white labels, the distinctive red caps and the sweet soda taste are not exactly the Real Thing. The soft drink brand that represents the global appeal of American-style consumer culture doesn’t operate in North Korea, but a cola with fizzy, refreshing similarities can be found. (AP)

Regulators sue Ocwen Financial, say it mishandled mortgages — State and federal authorities are suing Ocwen Financial Corp., saying the mortgage servicing company botched the handling of millions of mortgage accounts. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says Ocwen generated errors in borrowers’ accounts, failed to credit payments, illegally foreclosed on homeowners, and charged borrowers for add-on products without their consent. Ocwen called the lawsuit “politically motivated” and disputes the CFPB’s allegations.

Leaders of IMF and World Bank defend globalization — Global finance leaders are defending globalization against an assault from President Donald Trump and European populists. They argue that blocking free trade would hobble economic growth instead of saving jobs from foreign competition. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim told journalists that freer trade and more openness were “critical for the future of the world.”