Real Estate Daily News Buzz Aug. 9, 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.

Tuesday, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 5.99 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,474.92. The Dow slid 33.08 points, or 0.2 percent, to 22,085.34. The S&P 500 and Dow were both coming off record highs. The Nasdaq composite lost 13.31 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,370.46.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 22 cents to $49.17 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 23 cents to $52.14 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline dipped 1 cent to $1.62 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1 cent to $1.63 a gallon. Natural gas gained 2 cents to $2.82 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Tucson Transportation employee wins state public works award – The Arizona Chapter of the American Public Works Association recently awarded its 2017 Outstanding Public Works Employee award to Fred Felix, engineering administrator for the City of Tucson’s Department of Transportation (TDOT). Felix has been with the City for 21 years, serving as TDOT administrator since 2012. He oversees several major transportation projects downtown and along Broadway Boulevard, Grant Road, and 22nd Street. Under Felix’s leadership, the Road Recovery bond program repaired more roadway miles than promised to voters in 2012. From TDOT:

Tucson Police Department receives state grant – The Tucson Police Department is getting a $60,000 Work Zone Safety Grant to help provide a safer environment in work and construction zones. The money from the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety will be used to target moving violations in the zones, such as speeding, distracted driving, alcohol/drug impairment, and other offenses during deployments scheduled for the rest of the year. Tucson Police Department:

Tucson water festival featured in August issue of Treatment Plant Operator magazine – The annual Tucson Water Festival, where students spend a day on topics such as conservation, groundwater management, the water cycle, treatment plants, and more, is the subject of an article in the latest issue of Treatment Plant Operator magazine. The Tucson Water Festival is the culmination of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) Academy held by Tucson Water and Arizona Project WET. Every June, the program is open to 25 teachers who receive a week of water education that they incorporate into their fourth- through 12th-grade classroom curriculum. Over the years, more than 100,000 students have learned about the area’s water cycle and the roles they play in it.
Arizona Project WET:  Tucson Water:

Reid Park Zoo Hosts Watermelon Wednesdays this month – Reid Park Zoo is giving its animals watermelon enrichment every Wednesday morning in August. From 8-10 a.m., guests can observe elephants, lions, tortoises, and other animals as they think about and work for this special treat. While watermelon may not be found naturally in an animal’s environment, it stimulates various behaviors. Zoo education staff will be on hand for chats about the enrichment activities and other exciting ways to explore Reid Park Zoo. Watermelon eegee’s will be available in the Zoofari Café. Reid Park Zoo:

The Fed’s Balance Sheet Reduction Could Be a Lot More Dangerous than People Think “The whole process is expected to take a really long time, and it is intended not to cause any economic disruption. You have to wonder, though–if balance sheet reduction is essentially quantitative easing in reverse, then isn’t it possible that it could potentially deflate the values of financial assets and increase market volatility? We don’t actually know how markets will behave when the Fed stops reinvesting the proceeds of its portfolio of securities, but no matter how hard the Fed tries, it could end up being very disruptive to markets.” (Forbes)

Fannie and Freddie Could Need $100 Billion Bailout in Next Crisis, Stress Test Finds “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could need a taxpayer bailout of as much as $99.6 billion if a severe economic downturn gripped the U.S., their regulator said Monday. The Federal Housing Finance Agency released the results of a stress test that examined how the mortgage finance companies would perform in what’s called a ‘severely adverse scenario.’ The stress test was mandated by the post-financial-crisis Dodd-Frank Act and the specifics of the scenario were devised by the Federal Reserve.” (MarketWatch)

The Best Place for a New Warehouse? An Old Mall “The pressure for speedy online package delivery is prompting companies to look for distribution facilities closer to residential areas or highways. Some of the best locations, it turns out, are dead malls. Warehouse landlords say they like former malls because the shopping centers occupy swaths of space relatively close to where consumers [live].” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)

How the Trump Hotel Changed Washington’s Culture of Influence “In conversations with The Washington Post, the hotel’s management described its strategy to capitalize on the president’s popularity. It markets the hotel to Republican and conservative groups that embrace Trump’s politics but takes care not to solicit business from fringe groups that would embarrass the president. Trump supporters in red ‘Make America Great Again’ caps get a chance to rub elbows with White House officials against an American flag backdrop at the Benjamin Bar, where a signature concoction of winter wheat vodka, oysters and caviar goes for $100.” (The Washington Post)

Bad Reviews Threaten RLJ’s Proposed Hotel Deal “Wall Street has been hammering shares of RLJ Lodging Trust ever since the hotel company founded by storied African-American entrepreneur Robert L. Johnson announced plans in April to acquire FelCor, another lodging real-estate investment trust, at what many considered too high a price. The all-stock deal, if approved by shareholders, would create one of the largest hotel-focused real-estate investment trusts.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)

Hong Kong Investor Buys Standard Hotel for a Discount “The High Line-straddling Standard Hotel has found a surprise buyer, sources tell The Post: Hong Kong-based wheeler-dealer Goodwin Gaw. Of perhaps greater interest to the city’s potentially oversaturated hotel market, the purchase price is likely 15 percent less than what the Standard was in contract to sell for in 2014 — although the deal never closed. Sources said that a fund controlled by Gaw Capital Partners — which is run by Goodwin, 48, and his brother and sister — is in advanced talks to pay $340 million for the marquee property.” (New York Post)

Rich SF Residents Get a Shock: Someone Bought Their Street “Thanks to a little-noticed auction sale, a South Bay couple are the proud owners of one of the most exclusive streets in San Francisco — and they’re looking for ways to make their purchase pay. Tina Lam and Michael Cheng snatched up Presidio Terrace — the block-long, private oval street lined by 35 megamillion-dollar mansions — for $90,000 and change in a city-run auction stemming from an unpaid tax bill. They outlasted several other bidders. Now they’re looking to cash in — maybe by charging the residents of those mansions to park on their own private street.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

Can Wendy Silverstein Rescue New York REIT? “Four months after New York REIT started liquidating its holdings, its first-quarter earnings call turned hostile. The company — which had been dogged by shareholder disputes, lackluster returns and scandals for the better part of three years — finally had a plan to recoup cash by selling off its trophy assets, but some investors and analysts expressed alarm about how it was all playing out. The real estate investment trust’s newly minted CEO, Wendy Silverstein, estimated that the sale of the company’s assets would render $9.25 per share — $1.75 less than predicted shortly before she came on board.” (The Real Deal)

Urstadt Biddle Invests in New Jersey Shopping Center “Urstadt Biddle Properties Inc. acquired a share in Washington Commons Shopping Center in Dumont, N.J. According to PropertyShark, the seller was Etc Properties LP, an entity affiliated with Landmark Development. The sale was structured as a DownREIT purchase upon which Urstadt currently owns a 31.4 percent equity interest in the newly formed ownership entity, which translates into $3.9 million. The firm will also handle property management and leasing services.” (Commercial Property Executive)

Target, Best Buy See Nice Return on Border Adjustment Lobbying Effort “In the first six months of 2017, Best Buy spent $1.71 million lobbying, twice as much as it spent the entire year in 2016. Target Corp. spent $1.48 million lobbying from January through June 2017, only slightly less than it spent all of last year. The numbers, drawn from government records, show the Minnesota companies’ determination to kill a border adjustment tax on imports that House Republicans made a centerpiece of their Better Way tax reform plan.” (Star Tribune)