Real Estate Daily News Buzz Aug. 24, 2017

Real Estate Daily News Buzz Aug. 24, 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.

Wednesday, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 8.47 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,444.04. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 87.80 points, or 0.4 percent, to 21,812.09, and the Nasdaq composite lost 19.07, or 0.3 percent, to 6,278.41.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 58 cents to settle at $48.41 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 70 cents to $52.57 per barrel. Natural gas fell 1 cent to $2.93 per 1,000 cubic feet, heating oil rose 3 cents to $1.62 per gallon and wholesale gasoline gained 3 cents to $1.62 per gallon.

TUCSON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT HIRES SUPERINTENDENT – The Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) Governing Board last night voted to give Interim Superintendent Gabriel Trujillo the permanent job he’s been filling. Trujillo, who temporarily took over the superintendent’s post in March, beat out three other finalists for the position. He’ll be paid a base salary ranging from $180,000 to $230,000 to oversee more than 47,000 students in 89 schools and programs. The board hopes to have the terms of Trujillo’s contract worked out by next Monday’s meeting. In other TUSD news, U.S. District Judge A. Wallace Tashima said yesterday that racism was behind an Arizona ban on ethnic studies that shuttered a popular Mexican-American Studies (MAS) program at TUSD. However, Tashima said he doesn’t know a remedy for the violation and has not issued a final judgment.
MAS story from the Arizona Daily Star:

CITY’S FLEET SERVICES RANKED AMONG THE NATION’S BEST – The City of Tucson’s Fleet Services Division once again is ranked in the top 100 by The 100 Best Fleets in the Americas. The City is ranked No. 52 this year, up from No. 83 last year. The program recognizes and rewards peak performing fleet operations in North America. Currently in its 16th year, 100 Best Fleets identifies and encourages ever-increasing levels of performance improvement within the fleet industry. This is the fifth consecutive year that Tucson’s Fleet Services has been included in the top 100. As a division of the Environmental & General Services Department, Fleet Services maintains and repairs a diverse fleet of 2,550 vehicles and equipment. Fleet Services is an active member of the Clean Cities Coalition.

US new-home sales fell in July, yet still ahead of last year — Sales of new U.S. homes plummeted by the most in nearly a year in July, yet the drop comes after strong sales in previous months. So far, this year’s sales are outpacing last year’s.

Converted Office Parks Try to Lure Millennials with Cheaper Rents “Developer National Resources has for several years been studying different office, retail and residential schemes for an underused corporate campus designed in the 1960s for International Business Machines Corp. in East Fishkill, N.Y. But now, as National Resources moves to close on a deal to buy a 300-acre site, the Greenwich, Conn.-based developer is recognizing that housing has got to be a central component of the plan.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)

Kohl’s to Reduce Floor Space in Half of its Stores by End of Year “There are some major changes going on at Kohl’s stores. The department store retailer announced plans to make nearly half its locations “operationally smaller through balancing inventory and adjusting fixtures” by the end of 2017. To date, the new interior layouts have been rolled out in 300 of Kohl’s 1,100 locations. In addition, Kohl’s plans to ‘right-size’ the physical square footage of its store in Warner Robbins, Ga., reducing it from an 89,000-sq.-ft. store to a 62,000-sq.-ft. one.” (Chain Store Age)

Latest Capital Controls Won’t Choke Off Chinese Overseas Real Estate Investments—CBRE “The impact of the latest round of capital controls announced Aug. 18 by China’s State Council in curbing Chinese overseas direct investment into real estate could be relatively light, said a report by global commercial real estate services firm CBRE Tuesday. Controls imposed since late 2016 to staunch capital flight and bolster the yuan in currency markets saw Chinese overseas direct investments to real estate for the first half of 2017 plunge 82% from the year before to $25.6 billion, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce.” (Pensions & Investments)

Condo Owners Eye Cashing In on Rental Market “During real-estate booms developers often rush to convert rental buildings into condos to take advantage of skyrocketing prices. But in an unusual reversal, investors in Chicago are transforming condos into apartments. Dozens of stately Chicago condo buildings are or have recently been converted into rentals, real-estate agents say.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)

Whole Foods Shareholders Vote in Approval of Amazon Deal “Whole Foods shareholders have at last voted to advance Amazon’s acquisition of the grocery chain, moving the proposal one step closer to reality. Gathered at Whole Food’s headquarters in Austin, Texas, the retailer’s shareholders approved a merger with the internet giant on Wednesday morning. Amazon shareholders don’t need to sign off on the deal. Now, completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. Whole Foods and Amazon are preparing to seal their $13.7 billion deal, which would also mark the biggest retail deal of 2017.” (CNBC)

Wal-Mart, Google Team Up to Battle Amazon “Google and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are joining forces in a partnership that includes enabling voice-ordered purchases from the retail giant on Google’s virtual assistant, challenging rival Inc.’s grip on the next wave of e-commerce. Wal-Mart said Wednesday that next month it will join Google’s online-shopping marketplace, Google Express. While the deal will add hundreds of thousands of Wal-Mart items to Google Express, it will also give Wal-Mart access to voice ordering. The deal won’t alter how consumers receive their orders, because Wal-Mart will fulfill purchases made through Google Express.” (MarketWatch)

Valle Vista Mall Owners in Harlingen to Return Property to Lenders “The owners of the city’s premier mall say they intend to dump the property on lenders, apparently conceding profits from the mall will not meet expectations. City officials, however, expect new ownership will keep the 650,504-square-foot retail mall open. ‘With the continued growth of the Harlingen economy, this news is welcomed,’ Mayor Chris Boswell said in a statement. ‘What has been reported is that Washington Prime borrowed too much money against the Harlingen property, but during their ownership the lease revenues continued to perform reasonably.’” (The Monitor)

JW Marriott Chicago Lands $270M Natixis Refi “Nearly seven years after opening in the former Continental & Commercial National Bank Building in Chicago’s downtown Loop, the JW Marriott Chicago Hotel has been refinanced with a $270 million loan provided by Natixis, a French corporate and investment bank. The owners opened the premier luxury hotel at 151 W. Adams St. in the heart of the financial district in November 2010 following a $396 million restoration. Designed by noted architect Daniel Burnham in the early 1900s, the first 12 floors of the former bank building were transformed into a 610-key luxury hotel.” (Commercial Property Executive)