In the News—Week of November 13, 2023

 In The Title Trove

Deal of the Week

A Phoenix based developer and investment company acquired vacant land to entitle, develop and build single family residential lots. This transaction was closed by Bryan Selna, Vice President & Senior Escrow Officer, in the Scottsdale office.


NYC, San Francisco, Boston hit hardest by WeWork bankruptcy

Experts expect New York City, San Francisco and Boston to be the markets most impacted by WeWork’s bankruptcy, CNN reports. The co-working space giant filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, meaning it will try to reorganize. Figures from commercial real estate data firm CoStar show about 42% of WeWork’s space is in those three cities. WeWork has plans to close 1.9 million square feet in those cities. Much of that space is in older buildings and deemed Class B office space. “WeWork’s larger exposure to Class B buildings, in particular, is less than ideal for the NYC office market because many market participants are concerned about office obsolescence and falling demand in that same class of buildings,” Alie Baumann, CompStak’s director of real estate intelligence, writes in an email.


Housing tower proposed for jewelry district in Philadelphia

Toll Brothers proposed housing on a vacant lot in Jewelers Row in Philadelphia but decided to back away from the project. Now Pearl Properties owns the land and wants to build a 95- to 99-unit housing tower, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Called “The Arbour House,” the tower would have one- and two-bedroom housing units from the fifth to 34th floors and would include 1,495 square feet of retail. “Since Toll bailed on this project, we’ve had this hole in the middle of the block,” says Rich Goldberg, a nearby jewelry store owner. “It’s not just the visual impact, but security concerns.”


Columbus hopes to fill downtown retail vacancies with minority-owned firms

The city of Columbus has launched a program called Ground Floor Growth to fill vacant downtown storefronts with small, women- and minority-owned businesses, The Columbus Dispatch reports. The program provides financial assistance for rent, building renovation, and other support to revitalize dormant spaces in downtown’s core. Councilmember Nick Bankston, a champion of the program, emphasized the importance of a strong downtown to the overall strength of Columbus. The program aims to address the long-standing struggle of attracting and retaining retail tenants in downtown, which was further exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19. About 126,000 square feet of retail space, remains vacant throughout downtown.


NBA team plans to develop entertainment area in Orlando

The Orlando Magic of the NBA and SED Development LLC have picked the development team for the entertainment district it is building in downtown Orlando, Spectrum News reports. JMA Ventures and Machete Group were involved in creating similar mixed-use projects for sports teams in Sacramento and San Francisco. The Orlando project will be built on the 8.43-acre site and will include a hotel, residential and office space.


Owner of historic Buckhorn Baths seeking input from community

The owner of a historic motel in Mesa is seeking feedback from the community on how the property should be redeveloped, The Mesa Tribune reports. Avtar Verma bought the Buckhorn Baths and vacant land surrounding it in 2021. The Buckhorn Baths was built in 1939. The original owners, Ted and Alice Sliger, claimed it was the reason the New York Giants moved spring training operations to Arizona. The buildings have not been kept up for many years. Verma now is supportive of the city applying for a grant from the State Historic Preservation Office to hire a consultant to study Buckhorn Baths.


Former Sears at West Valley mall to be turned into Latino entertainment venue

Owners of a popular Latino club in central Phoenix have purchased the former Sears building at Desert Sky Mall, AZ Big Media reports. Brothers Melchor and Pedro Marques Jr., who own El Club Capri, 2135 E. Van Buren, paid $7.13 million to purchase the 120,000-square-foot space in the mall in west Phoenix. “They have always wanted to open a similar venue on the west side,” says Garza Walker, a vice president with NAI Horizon, which represented the buyers in the deal. “This is the perfect spot, and the community is very excited. The owners feel this entertainment facility is really going to serve the people — who are about 80% Hispanic — in the community.”

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