In the News—Week of March 18, 2024

 In The Title Trove

Deal of the Week

A North Dakota-based bank initiated a nonjudicial foreclosure of a property that secured a $3.7 million loan it made to a land developer. The collateral was a partially developed master-planned golf community in Pinal County, Arizona. Thomas Title issued a Guarantee ahead of the Trustee’s Sale in January. The lender’s credit bid won the auction, so Thomas Title issued a $10 million, post-TSG owner’s policy to the bank’s REO entity. Senior Commercial Escrow Officer Sheila Hunter facilitated all of title insurance matters for the bank.

National

Four years after Las Vegas casinos shut down for 78 days the impact continues

Four years ago, Nevada casinos closed for 78 days to help stop the spread of COVID-19, costing the industry about $6.2 billion, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. The effects are still being felt. MGM sold the real estate beneath some of its resorts to real estate investment trusts. Red Rock Resorts never reopened Texas Station and Fiesta Rancho in North Las Vegas, and Fiesta Henderson. Red Rock Resorts sold the Palms to the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in California. Boyd Gaming Corp.’s Eastside Cannery never reopened, and the company hasn’t said what will happen to the property. “I would say that I never expected to see, in my lifetime, Las Vegas Boulevard and the rest of Nevada gaming being closed,” says Kirk Hendrick, chairman of the Gaming Control Board. “Many of those businesses don’t even have locks on the doors. Some of them don’t even have doors so to drive down there — and I did that several times during the lockdown – it was a very surreal feeling to see a 24-7 town just shuttered.”

National

Sales of condos in Florida still falling despite reduction in prices

Florida’s condo market continues its downward slide, the Daily Mail reports. Figures from brokerage data firm Redfin show statewide sales in January fell 6.8% from the year before despite prices also falling. Aside from general real estate doldrums, real estate experts pin the downturn on two other factors: rising costs of insurance in Florida and rising monthly condo owner association fees. “Condos that used to have a $400 monthly maintenance fee may now have a $700 fee. It’s causing buyers to rethink their plans,” real estate agent Juan Castro says. Homeowner insurance in Florida is the highest in the nation.

National

What’s in a name? Detroit tower nears completion with moniker in question

Since 2017, billionaire Dan Gilbert’s development company, Bedrock, has been building a skyscraper on the former site of Hudson’s department store in downtown Detroit. The $1.4 billion building is expected to be finished by the end of the year. But Axios reports that the project has no formal name. “It could maybe end up being the ‘(brand name) Hotel at Hudson’s Square,’ you know, they could do some combination like that. … Or ‘at Hudson’s Block,’” says Jim Bieri, a retail real estate expert. “When people come to naming sites in real estate, if there’s a positive feeling that is already in the community … it doesn’t hurt to take advantage of that.” The J.L. Hudson department store was a Detroit institution that closed in 1983 after 90 years. Bedrock apparently has tried to get something with Hudson in it, but the developer has had trouble getting the trademark approved.

National

Developer plans 28-story office tower on prime real estate in Manhattan

Taconic Partners and its investment partner Nuveen Real Estate plan to build a nearly half-million-square-foot office tower on Trinity Church land at Hudson Square, the New York Post reports. One Grand will be 28 stories with 430,763 square feet of office space. Plans call for a public school and retail to occupy the first 100 feet above ground of the building. The land, which is vacant, is owned by Trinity Church. Taconic, best known for developing Essex Crossing on the Lower East Side, is currently developing the Hudson Research Center on far West 54th Street as well as three apartment buildings.

Arizona

Retail big box spaces enjoy strong activity in Tucson, report shows

The Tucson area market saw its glut of big-box retail spaces shrink in 2023, AZ Big Media reports. Figures from CBRE show Tucson had 32 spaces of more than 10,000 square feet at year’s end, totaling 1,289,000 square feet. That is down from 1,439,140 square feet of big box spaces in the market at the end of 2022. “Although store sales moderated in 2023 after a couple of years of post-pandemic surges, what has become clear is that having physical stores helps boost sales,” says CBRE’s Nancy McClure. “The quest from retailers is determining the right-sized space. Department stores are looking to downsize and get closer to customers outside the malls; retailers gaining traction in sales often look to get a bigger footprint to stock more merchandise.”

Arizona

Arizona ranks fifth in the number of top-rated facilities for retirees

Arizona ranks fifth in in the nation in the number of award-winning senior living facilities, AZ Big Media reports. Seniorly partnered with Skypoint to create a rating for cleanliness, dining, staff ratings, value, care services and overall satisfaction at more than 60,000 facilities and found 347 that finished in the top 2% in all categories. California led the nation with 106 award-winning facilities. Texas ranks No. 2 (33), Washington No. 3 (28), and Illinois No. 4 (16). Arizona had 15 such facilities, including Acoya Troon in Scottsdale. Acoya Troon was No. 6 overall.

A special note: Dallas Morning News’ Brown retires after decades on beat

Back in the days when Thomas Title had more of a Texas twang, we regularly summarized and linked to articles by Steve Brown, who covered real estate for the Dallas Morning News. Brown spent 40 years covering real estate for the paper. He has decided to retire, and we wanted to pass best wishes on to one of the best in the business.

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