In the News—Week of February 12, 2024

 In The Title Trove

Deal of the Week

As the development of City North in Phoenix, Arizona continues, so does the Thomas Title National Commercial Services team as the title insurance and settlement services provider. This week, the developer of City North conveyed a 6.7-acre lot, for the development of a 6-floor, 240,000-square foot Class A+ corporate headquarters of an Arizona-based Fortune 500 company. The land sold for $10.2 million, with the simultaneous construction loan closing for the $168 million project. Vice President and Senior Escrow Officer Bryan Selna closed the transaction.


Owners of major pro sports teams crave real estate near home venues

Pro sports owners always say what they want most is a winning team. But these days, if they are honest, the top of the wish list for every team owner is real estate development next to a new stadium or arena, CNN Business reports. The business side of the NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB started out selling tickets and snacks. But it has evolved, adding revenue from the rights to televise and carry radio broadcasts of the games and corporate sponsorships. Now pro sports team are creating “entertainment districts,” with dining, shopping and upscale multifamily residences. The most successful ones are the Hollywood District near Sofi Stadium in Los Angeles, home of the NFL Rams and Chargers, The Battery in Atlanta, near the MLB Braves’ Truist Park, and Thrive City near the NBA Warriors’ Chase Center arena. Going forward the potential to make this happen will be part of every stadium or arena proposal.


NYC’s ban on short-term rentals helps hotels but not affordable housing

New York City Local Law 18, which cracked down on short-term rentals, has proved effective — just not as intended, the Real Deal reports. The idea behind the law was to add supply to the city’s residential rental market, thus bringing prices down. That didn’t really happen. But the law seems to have been positive for hotels, which enjoyed a boost in profits. Figures from Costar show average daily room rates rose 10% year over year in the city. Nationally, rates were up about 3%.


Squatters take over 1,200 homes in Atlanta as cops, courts drag feet

Squatters have become a major problem in Atlanta, the New York Post reports. Figures from the National Rental Home Council show 1,200 homes in Atlanta were occupied by squatters. “I’d be terrified in Atlanta to lease out one of my properties,” says Matt Urbanski, who manages a local home-cleaning company. Police and courts are slow to evict them, and in some cases the landlords have paid the interlopers to leave. In one case, the squatters turned a 4,000 square foot, five-bedroom home into a strip club. In another instance, an Army officer returned from active duty to find a squatter living in her sprawling home. A neighbor told the Post they are reluctant to go on vacation because squatters might move in while they were gone.


In Detroit, progress is marked by demolition of commercial buildings

Friedman Real Estate, based in the suburb of Farmington Hills, Detroit reached a milestone when it demolished its 100th commercial building, the Charles Hanneman Elementary School, reports. Built in 1916, the school on the west side of Detroit had reached its peak enrolment before World War II and was closed in 2007. The Detroit Public Schools gave the property along with others to the city to swap for debt. The city offered it to developers, but there were no takers. Tearing down buildings is an effort to revitalize neighborhoods. “Mixed feelings,” Miguel Anguo, an alumnus of the school, tells a TV station. Detroit Department of Neighborhoods representative, Eva Torres, says: “We look forward to seeing what this actual site will bring to the community.”


Bill would allow switch from CRE to residential without rezoning

A bill with bipartisan support would require cities and towns to allow commercial buildings to be converted to multifamily residential space, Capitol Times reports. The bill passed the House Commerce Committee 7-3. “We all recognize we’re facing a problem with a lot of commercial buildings that are laying empty now,” bill sponsor House Majority Leader Leo Biasiucci, R-Lake Havasu City, says. “Let’s allow companies to come in and try to repurpose these, whether it’s multihousing apartments, condos — and try to do that in a faster manner than the usual process.”


Phoenix-area multifamily rents fall 2.2%—third biggest decline in nation

Asking prices for monthly apartment rent in Greater Phoenix fell 2.2% in 2023, AZ Big Media reports. Figures from Yardi Matrix show that nationally asking rents were up 1.6%, But several markets that boomed during the pandemic saw declines. Phoenix ranked third behind Las Vegas (down 2.5%) and Boise (2.4%). Austin (1.6%) and Reno (1.2%) also saw declines.

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