In the News—Week of April 15, 2024

 In The Title Trove

Deal of the Week

A private company has expanded its operations in Tempe, Arizona, through the acquisition of an office building, finalized at a purchase price of $4,350,000. The seller was represented by Hani Aldulaimi and his team at KW Commercial. Bryan Selna, Vice President and Senior Commercial Escrow Officer based in our Scottsdale office, successfully managed the closing of this transaction.


Lawmakers introduce bill to restrict squatter’s rights in Empire State

Two Queens Democrat introduced legislation to “erase any kind of ambiguity” in the law that an unwanted homesteader is not entitled to claim private property as their own, The New York Post reports. State Sen. John Liu and Assemblyman Ron Kim sponsored the bill after a Queens landlord said she spent two years and $100,000 to get rid of squatters. “We all agree that people intruding into other people’s homes or squatters have no rights and should not be allowed to have any rights,” Liu says. “The law, the bill, clearly defines what a squatter is — somebody who has entered the premise without any permission of the homeowner or the property owner or anybody who has any rights to occupy that space.” New York and other cities have seen a trend of takeovers of homes.


St. Louie Blues: Vacant offices, empty streets mar downtown

St. Louis’ downtown may be ahead of other cities when it comes to reaching “doom loop” status, Fox News reports. With fewer people commuting to downtown, the central business district is filled with empty stores, restaurants and above all — empty sidewalks. Figures from the University of Toronto’s School of Cities show St. Louis saw the greatest drop in foot traffic from 2020 to 2023 of 66 major U.S. cities. “It’s a classic chicken and egg kind of deal,” Washington University professor of economics Glenn MacDonald says: “People don’t go there because there’s nothing to do. There’s nothing to do because people don’t go there.”


Baltimore’s first modernist office tower is expected to fetch low price

One Charles Center, built in 1962 and considered Baltimore’s first modernist office tower, is going up for auction, The Baltimore Sun reports. Former Baltimore Orioles controlling owner Peter Angelos, who died last month, bought the building in 1996 for $6 million. The auction will start at $1.5 million. The building was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who was the last director of the Bauhaus, a ground-breaking school that author Tom Wolfe mocked “From Bauhaus to Our House.” Bauhaus is often blamed for what a large portion of the public finds ugly, soulless modern buildings, but adherents of the style find simple and clean.


Seattle Housing Authority buys former Post-Intelligencer building

The Seattle Housing Authority bought the former home of the Seattle Post Intelligencer newspaper for $39.5 million, The Registry reports. The housing authority already occupies about 80% of building, which is located on Elliott Bay. SHA Executive Director Rod Brandon says the purchase was “at a cost well below other buildings on the market.” The five-story building features a lobby and executive conference room and is topped by a giant globe, ala the Daily Planet from Superman.


Phoenix industrial market enjoys hot first quarter of leasing activity

The Greater Phoenix market saw a 60% jump in industrial leasing activity from the last quarter, AZ Big Media reports. Figures from JLL show here was 6.3 million square feet of new leases in the first quarter, the third-highest Q1 leasing performance on record. Increased demand for big box warehouses was a big driver. “The first quarter of the year was remarkable, proving yet again how resilient the Phoenix industrial market is,” JLL’s Riley Gilbert says. “Industrial leasing in the West Valley dominated the field, with large-scale commitments from Sologistics, Steelcase and three major building commitments totaling almost 3.5 million by a Fortune 2 e-commerce retailer.”


Coyotes owner still plans to bid in state land despite impending sale, relocation

The Coyotes look to be leaving town, but owner Alex Meruelo says he’s staying in the auction, 12News reports. The Coyotes are expected to be sold to Ryan Smith, a billionaire who owns the Utah Jazz, and relocate to Salt Lake City. Meruelo is expected to make $1 billion off the deal, which has not been finalized. He still plans to bid on a 95-acre plot of land in north Phoenix on June 27. The property is part of the State Trust Land. The Coyotes name and logo will not be used by the Utah team. If Meruelo could buy the land and build an arena, he would likely be able to land an NHL expansion team.

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