In the News—Week of December 21, 2020
Around the Nation
With Manhattan offices vacant, should some space become residences?
The stores in Midtown Manhattan are boarded up. The offices are largely empty — even if they have tenants. Vacancy rates are the highest they have been in a decade. With that as a backdrop, the Real Estate Board of New York, the major trade group for landlords, wants the city and state to make it easier to convert commercial properties into residences, The New York Times reports. The board says that if just 10% of the vacant space were converted into residential, that would add 14,000 apartments on the market citywide, 10,000 in Manhattan.
Energy & Environment
Apple co-founder Wozniak starts venture to finance energy efficiency investment
Steve Wozniak, who founded Apple with Steve Jobs in 1975, has launched his second company, PR Newswire reports. Efforce is a marketplace that enables companies to finance energy efficiency measures at no cost. “We created Efforce to be the first decentralized platform that allows everyone to participate and benefit financially from worldwide energy efficiency projects, and create meaningful environmental change,” Wozniak says.
Two office buildings in Houston’s Galleria area land anchor tenants
In a boost to the commercial real estate market in Houston, two office buildings in the Galleria have landed major tenants, the Houston Chronicle reported. Park Towers will be the new home for Cadence Bank’s headquarters. Commercial real estate firm JLL will consolidate its Houston offices at 200 Park Place. The two tenants will lease about 160,000 square feet.
Renaissance Tower in downtown Dallas is facing foreclosure
The Dallas Morning News, citing information from real estate research firm service Costar, says that Renaissance Tower is facing foreclosure. The building’s owner, a partnership of New York investment firms, defaulted on a loan, the paper reported. The tower, which is 56 stories with 1.73 million square feet of space, is the second tallest building downtown. The owners took out $118 million in loans in 2017. It is not unusual for owners and lenders to negotiate new terms during the foreclosure process.
Phoenix ranks high among U.S. cities for adapting large buildings
Visionary landlords have been turning old warehouses and factories into office space and for other uses for decades. CommercicalSearch looked at this activity, a practice that began to pick up steam in the 1980s, over the past century, AZ Big Media reports. Phoenix ranked No. 22 among United States markets in adaptive reuse, with 47 buildings covering 4.5 million square feet. New York topped the lists with 270 buildings and 49.6 million square feet converted. Los Angeles was a distant second and Boston third. But here is a stat that makes Phoenix’s total more impressive. If you go back a century, Phoenix had a population of just under 30,000. The city had been founded 49 years earlier. There weren’t that many large, outdated buildings — or buildings period.
Amazon announces plans to build distribution center the Yucatan
Amazon has plans for its first distribution center in Mexico’s southeastern region, Mexico News Daily reports. The online retail giant plans to put the facility in Umán in the state of Yucatan. The company didn’t say how much the facility would cost. Previously the company said it was building fulfillment centers in Apodaca, Nuevo Leon, and in Tlajomulco, Jalisco.