Real Estate Daily News Buzz February 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.

Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 7.91 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 20,619.77. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 2.03 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,347.22. The Nasdaq composite fell 4.54 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,814.90.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 25 cents to settle at $53.36 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 10 cents to $55.65 a barrel. Natural gas fell 7 cents to $2.85 per 1,000 cubic feet. Heating oil was close to flat at $1.63 per gallon, and wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $1.52 per gallon.

Take a breath: Stocks slow down after a record-setting run — The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dipped Thursday to break a seven-day winning streak, its longest in three and a half years, though it remains a nudge away from its record high. It was part of a pause for stock markets around the world, which have been on a torrid run thanks to an improving economy, stronger corporate earnings and hopes for more business-friendly policies from Washington. The dollar’s value also dipped against rival currencies, and Treasury yields fell as bond prices rose.

GOP leaders unveil new health law outline, divisions remain — Top House Republicans unveiled a rough sketch of a massive health care overhaul to rank-and-file lawmakers Thursday, but a lack of detail, cost estimates and GOP unity left unresolved the problem that’s plagued them for years: What’s the party’s plan and can Congress pass it? At a closed-door meeting in the Capitol basement, party leaders described a broad vision for voiding much of President Barack Obama’s 2010 statute and replacing it with conservative policies.

Rising Rates Be Damned: Real Estate Looks Good “The markets never fail to amaze. Despite the Federal Reserve’s pledge to raise short-term rates this year and the bond market’s signals that higher long-term rates are likely, the normally rate-sensitive real estate sector seems to be flexing its muscles anyway. From real estate investment trusts (REITs) to services stocks to building suppliers, there is reason to be optimistic. Let’s start with a long-term chart of the module article chiclet iShares Mortgage Real Estate Capped exchange-traded fund). This ETF tracks the performance of U.S. REITs that hold U.S. residential and commercial mortgages. A view that interest rates were going to move higher should at least have applied the brakes to any rally in this sector.” (Barron’s)

FBI releases files on Trump apartments’ race discrimination probe in ’70s “The FBI has released nearly 400 pages of records on an investigation the bureau conducted in the 1970s into alleged racial discrimination in the rental of apartments from President Donald Trump’s real estate company. The files detail dozens of interviews the bureau conducted with Trump building tenants, management and employees, seeking indications that minority tenants were steered away from housing complexes. Most of those interviewed said they were not aware of any discrimination. However, some of the records recount the stories of black rental applicants who said they were told no apartments were available, while whites sent to check on the same apartments were offered leases. The records, posted on the FBI’s Freedom of Information Act website, include a 1974 interview with a former doorman at a Trump building in Brooklyn.” (Politico)

Nearly 56,000 US bridges in need of repair  [VIDEO] “The American Road and Transportation Builders Association says close to 56-thousand bridges are deemed structurally deficient.” (CNBC)

Trump meets with retail CEOs to talk taxes, imports “U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday called tax code revisions a critical way to boost the nation’s economy as he kicked off a White House meeting with chief executive officers of Target Corp., Best Buy Co Inc. and six other major retailers. The retailers spoke with Trump about an overhaul of the corporate tax law and infrastructure improvements. While companies like Best Buy and Target support changes to the tax code, they urged Trump to oppose a proposal for a new border tax on imported goods. The border tax is among sweeping changes proposed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Convincing Trump to oppose the measure would probably bring an end to it.” (Reuters)​

No-frills grocer Lidl to open first US stores this summer “Lidl, the German no-frills supermarket chain, is opening its first wave of stores in the U.S. this summer ahead of schedule, with plans to open up to 100 locations across the East Coast within a year. The details of the expansion, announced Wednesday, come as Wal-Mart and traditional grocery chains already are seeing a stronger threat from German low-priced retailer Aldi, which has been aggressively expanding. Both offer low prices by focusing on store-label products rather than name brands. Aldi has also been adding items to include gluten-free products and fresh produce. Lidl’s first 20 U.S. stores will be opening in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, where the company established its first U.S. headquarters in 2015. Originally, it planned to open its first batch of U.S. stores no later than 2018. Lidl operates about 10,000 stores in 27 countries.” (Associated Press)

NYC Plans $136M Brooklyn Creative Hub “The City of New York has some big plans for Brooklyn’ Sunset Park neighborhood, announcing a $136 million project that will transform Brookyln’s industrial waterfront into a major hub for film, fashion and virtual reality tech companies. Dubbed The Made in NY Campus, the project will be designed by WXY architecture + urban design. Development will include renovations of two Bush Terminal buildings totaling 200,000 square feet of garment manufacturing space and a new 100,000-square-foot facility for film and television production. Included in WXY’s design are plans for new pedestrian-friendly plazas and streets as well as high-tech spaces, capital improvements to the campus and community amenities. The project supports The Sunset Park District Plan, led by the New York City Economic Development Corp., which is focusing on renovating aging infrastructure and increasing industrial uses in the area to attract new business. Two active industrial centers, Bush Terminal and Brooklyn Army Terminal, are part of the plan. The Made in NY Campus will add a third business campus.” (Commercial Property Executive)

Former Playboy HQ sells for $110 million “The onetime headquarters of Playboy Enterprises sold for almost $110 million, demonstrating the value of the building’s not-so-sexy function these days: medical offices. Newly formed TopMed Realty bought the commercial portion of the 29-story building at 680 N. Lake Shore Drive for $109.5 million, according to Cook County property records and a statement from the buyer. The Streeterville deal includes about 493,000 square feet of commercial space on the lower 16 floors and 331 public parking spaces. Tenants include a 21,000-square-foot Treasure Island grocery store on the ground floor and several health care tenants.” (Crain’s Chicago Business)

Fidelity’s real estate arm studying Seaport World Trade Center redevelopment “One of the first commercial developments in Boston’s now-thriving Seaport District could get a facelift. Pembroke Real Estate is in the early stages of studying a redevelopment of the Seaport World Trade Center, a 715,000-square-foot office and meeting complex located on the South Boston waterfront. Pembroke is also considering expansion of the adjacent 428-room Seaport Hotel. The two properties are part of Seaport Place, a 2.2 million-square-foot, four-building complex developed between 1986 and 2002 by Boston-based real estate development firm The Drew Co. and Fidelity Investments. Seaport Place is now managed by Pembroke Real Estate, the real estate investment and development advisor for Fidelity. ‘The Seaport District has really grown,’ said Michael Aalto, a Pembroke spokesperson. ‘It’s really evolved. It’s a mixed-use destination. So we wanted to take a look and see if there’s an opportunity to further enhance and complement what’s happening in the neighborhood.’ Aalto said Pembroke is exploring ‘expanded retail offerings, commercial office space and potential expansion of the Seaport Hotel.'” (Boston Business Journal)

NJ Condo Wins $102M Construction Loan “California-based developer Landsea has obtained a $102.3 million construction loan for its 184-unit condominium project on the Weehawken, N.J., waterfront. The property, which includes 6,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, is under way now, with first occupancy scheduled for 1Q 2018. IBI Group designed the multi-tiered, stepped-back property—resulting in 10- and11-story structures—to maximize the building’s waterfront location and views of Midtown Manhattan and the Hudson River. IBI, a global architectural firm, also designed the Port Imperial Ferry Terminal next door to Avora. Unit sizes range from just over 600 square feet to 2,700 square feet, with prices from more than $800,000 for a one-bedroom unit to more than $4 million for each of the four penthouse duplexes on the building’s 10th and 11th floors. Common amenities include a lobby with 24-hr. concierge, private screening theater, business center, private dining/boardroom, and the Avora lounge, with a bar and catering kitchen. There’s also on-site pet grooming, a strength and cardio fitness center, and an enclosed parking garage.” (MultiHousing News)