Real Estate Daily News Buzz Aug. 17, 2017

Real Estate Daily News Buzz Aug. 17, 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.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index picked up 3.50 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,468.11. The Dow Jones industrial average added 25.88 points, or 0.1 percent, to 22,024.87. The Nasdaq composite gained 12.10 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,345.11. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies inched up 0.30 points to 1,383.53.

Benchmark U.S. crude lost 77 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $46.78 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dipped 53 cents, or 1 percent, to $50.27 a barrel in London.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline lost 2 cents to $1.56 a gallon. Heating oil fell 3 cents to $1.57 a gallon. Natural gas shed 5 cents to $2.89 per 1,000 cubic feet.

US stocks edge higher as retailers rally; oil companies fall — US stocks mostly rise as retailers like Urban Outfitters recover from their stumble a day ago. Energy companies dipped along with the price of crude oil. (AP)

US demands big NAFTA changes, setting stage for tough talks — The United States won’t settle for cosmetic changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement, the top U.S. trade negotiator said Wednesday, as the U.S., Canada and Mexico began to renegotiate the 23-year-old trade pact and fulfill one of President Donald Trump’s campaign pledges. In a statement at the opening of five days of talks, U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer said that Trump “is not interested in a mere tweaking of a few provisions and an updating of a few chapters. (AP)

On a chaotic day in DC, Trump goes after Amazon, again — President Donald Trump is renewing his attacks on Amazon, and he says the company is “doing great damage to tax paying retailers.” Trump, on Twitter, said that “towns, cities and states throughout the U.S. are being hurt – many jobs being lost!” He’s often criticized the company and CEO Jeff Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post. Many traditional retailers are closing stores and blaming Amazon for a shift to buying goods online. But the company has been hiring thousands of warehouse workers. (AP)

Protests at Google offices over worker’s firing are canceled — Protests planned at Google offices around the country over the firing of an employee who questioned company diversity efforts have been postponed. A statement on the “March on Google” website says Saturday’s protests are being canceled because of threats from what it called “alt left terrorist groups.” Protest organizers didn’t respond to requests for information about the alleged threats or which authorities were notified about them. (AP)

Walmart’s CEO Joins Group to Rebuke Trump Over Charlottesville “Walmart’s chief executive issued a strong rebuke of President Trump’s response to the protests that turned violent in Charlottesville, Va., saying the president ‘missed a critical opportunity to help bring our country together.’ The criticism came in a statement that the retailer’s chief executive, Doug McMillon, emailed to employees Monday evening, which was reviewed by The New York Times. The statement was later posted on a company website.” (The New York Times)

Amazon Adds ‘Instant Pickup’ in U.S. Brick-and-Mortar Push “ Inc is rolling out U.S. pickup points where shoppers can retrieve items immediately after ordering them, shortening delivery times from hours to minutes in its latest move into brick-and-mortar retail. The world’s largest online retailer has launched ‘Instant Pickup’ points around five college campuses, such as the University of California at Berkeley, it said on Tuesday. Amazon has plans to add the program to more sites by the end of the year.” (Reuters)

In Chicago, Teaching an Old Site New Tricks “For more than 100 years, the A. Finkl & Sons Steel plant on the North Branch of the Chicago River was a big employer in Chicago as it supplied the world with a wide range of steel products. Today a real-estate developer is planning to convert the 22-acre former plant site into office, retail and residential uses as the third largest American city reinvents itself.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)

More Than 500 Buildings Across NYC Are Likely Vacant “A title company has used open data to map more than 500 buildings across NYC that are likely vacant. Daniel Price, founder and CEO of OneTitle National Guaranty Company, analyzed 40,000 calls to NYC’s 311 line over the last six years and matched them with other data to identify 541 properties in 137 zip codes that could become targets for developers as well as for nonprofits and affordable housing.” (New York Post)

Kushner Companies Hit with Rent-Stabilization Lawsuit in Brooklyn Heights “Kushner Companies violated rent-stabilization laws at a building the company owns in Brooklyn Heights, a new class-action lawsuit alleges. The legal action comes at a time when the company is already facing scrutiny over its ownership and management of a massive multifamily portfolio with hundreds of rent-stabilized units across the city, and puts a further spotlight on Jared Kushner, the former CEO of the firm and top White House adviser who continues to hold a stake in the Brooklyn Heights property.” (The Real Deal)

In a Retail Storm, Strip Mall Provide Some Cover “Open-air shopping centers are on the upswing. Shares of real-estate investment trusts that own and operate the broad category of open-air shopping centers are up about 7% since June 30 after skidding 19.6% in the first half of this year, according to an index that tracks shopping center REITs by the National Association of Real Estate Investment.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)

Here’s Why Bigger, More Expensive Buildings Are Usually a Better InvestmentEver wonder why investors shell out billions for trophy office towers even if cap rates are minuscule? One reason is that they tend to be more profitable than smaller buildings in the medium run. Index provider MSCI dug into annual real estate return data and found that bigger, more expensive buildings outperformed their smaller peers globally in 17 out of the past 18 years (see chart). The catch: the one year they didn’t was 2016, and time will tell whether this is the beginning of a new trend.” (The Real Deal)

Retail Comeback, Or Just a Few Bright Spots? “Good news for retail came out of the Census Bureau yesterday. July turned out to be not just better than expected but also the month with the biggest rebound in retail sales all year, rising 0.6% for the month and 4.2% since July 2016. What’s more, revised data for May and June show a brighter picture than preliminary estimates had indicated, eliminating what had appeared to be a decline in retail sales.” (Forbes)

Understanding the HVCRE Bill “Reps. Robert Pittenger (R-N.C.) and David Scott (D-Ga.) recently introduced H.R. 2148 in an attempt to clarify what qualifies as a high volatility commercial real estate (HVCRE) loan and what doesn’t. The bipartisan bill, titled Clarifying High Volatility Commercial Real Estate Loans, has since been co-sponsored by Republican representatives for North Carolina, Ohio, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri and Colorado.” (Commercial Property Executive)

These Are the 10 Most Expensive NFL Stadiums Your Precious Tax Dollars Paid For “This season, as always, taxpayers are giving NFL owners money whether they watch football or not. If you live in a National Football League market that isn’t New York — where the owners of the Giants and Jets and their investors covered all of MetLife Stadium’s $1.6 billion cost — your tax dollars are likely paying for the home team’s facilities. It isn’t just a minor contribution, either.” (The Street)