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Equity Office Daily Brief: January 9, 2018

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Daily Brief

January 09, 2018

  EquilityOffice

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Chinese gaming company buys remaining stake of Grindr

Los Angeles Times

 

After purchasing a majority stake in Grindr last year, a Chinese gaming company has acquired the rest of the dating app for gay men from its founder Joel Simkhai, the West Hollywood company announced Friday. Kunlun Group Limited said in May that...

 



BLOG & ONLINE NEWS

 

REX Raises $15M Funding

socaltech

 

Woodland Hills-based REX Real Estate Exchange, a startup which helps homeowners sell their homes without using an MLS, has raised $15M in a Series B funding. According to REX, the funding included investments from Scott McNealy, co-founder and former chief executive officer,...

 


Rendering vs. Realty: Playa Jefferson Expansion

urbanize.LA

 

After just over one year of construction, Rockwood Capital is nearing completion on its expansion of the Playa Jefferson office campus. The property, located at 12777 W. Jefferson Boulevard in Playa Vista, already offers 200,000 square feet of rentable space, leased by companies such...

 


ObEN Finds $10M More For Avatar Technology

socaltech

 

Pasadena-based ObEN, which is developing intelligence avatar technology which allows users to create highly realistic avatars for use in augmented reality and virtual reality environments, has raised $10M more in funding, the company said this morning. The funding came from K11. According...

 


Santa Monica moving forward with plan to cap 10 freeway near downtown area

CurbedLA

 

A years-old proposal to cap the 10 freeway near its Santa Monica terminus is part of a plan that will soon be considered by the city of Santa Monica, reports the Santa Monica Lookout. According to a report prepared for the Santa Monica...

 


Open Environments, Connection To Nature Fuel Office Designs

BISNOW

 

The interior of TEN: A Discovery Communications Co.’s new headquarters in El Segundo features high ceilings, open space, a pingpong table and plenty of natural light. TEN’s new headquarters is a reflection of current office design trends. As a way to attract...

 


Slow And Steady Growth: 2018 Performance Forecast For Top 4 Commercial Real Estate Sectors

BISNOW

 

Following one of the longest economic expansions in U.S. history, Colliers International economists forecast 2017 was the year of the market’s peak. There are several factors that indicate the cycle’s best years are in the past, Colliers International Chief Economist Andrew...

 

FULL TEXT


Chinese gaming company buys remaining stake of Grindr

Los Angeles Times

 

After purchasing a majority stake in Grindr last year, a Chinese gaming company has acquired the rest of the dating app for gay men from its founder Joel Simkhai, the West Hollywood company announced Friday.

Kunlun Group Limited said in May that it planned to purchase the remaining stake and Simkhai said he would stay on as CEO. But now that the deal is closed, Simkhai has left the company.

Yahui Zhou, chairman of Grindr’s board, will serve as interim CEO. Grindr did not say why Simkhai is departing.

Grindr sold 60% of its stake to Kunlun in 2016 for $93 million, valuing the company at $155 million. Grindr did not name the price of the full acquisition, but according to Reuters, Kunlun planned to purchase the remaining stake for $152 million.

Best known as a hook-up app for men, Grindr has 3.3 million daily active users worldwide, making it the largest LGBTQ-specifc mobile social network since its 2009 launch. Its key feature — quick match-making — has in recent years been mimicked by same-sex dating apps.

“This acquisition by Kunlun not only reflects Grindr’s growing global prominence but also will assist Grindr and our family of brands in becoming the premium destination for LGBTQ community, news, information and culture,” said Sloterdyk, Grindr’s vice president of marketing in a statement.

Kunlun, based in Beijing, has a background in mobile gaming. The Chinese government has taken a strict stance against American social media companies and closely governs speech online. Though China does not recognize same-sex marriage, Beijing has not stood in the way of home-grown gay dating apps such as Blued.

In a May blog post, Simkhai said there would be no changes for users in the sale.

Wei Zhou, who was Grindr’s vice-chairman, is now executive vice-chairman and chief financial officer, and Scott Chen, who has worked at Facebook and Instagram as an engineering manager, is now chief technology officer.

-Alejandra Reyes-Velarde

REX Raises $15M Funding

socaltech

 

Woodland Hills-based REX Real Estate Exchange, a startup which helps homeowners sell their homes without using an MLS, has raised $15M in a Series B funding. According to REX, the funding included investments from Scott McNealy, co-founder and former chief executive officer, Sun Microsystems; Dick Schulze, founder, Best Buy; Gordon Segal, founder, Crate and Barrel; Amit Singhal, former senior vice president of search, Google; Jack Greenberg, former chief executive officer, McDonalds; and others. The company has now raised over $30M in funding. According to REX co-founder and CEO, Jack Ryan, it has developed a technology platform which helps homeowners sell their homes, without going through a traditional agent or MLS. The company only charges a 2 percent, flat free. Ryan said that the company uses artificial intelligence and machine learning--plus such things are social media and targeted advertising--to find prospective home buyers for homes.

-socaltech

Rendering vs. Realty: Playa Jefferson Expansion

urbanize.LA

 

After just over one year of construction, Rockwood Capital is nearing completion on its expansion of the Playa Jefferson office campus.

The property, located at 12777 W. Jefferson Boulevard in Playa Vista, already offers 200,000 square feet of rentable space, leased by companies such as engineering firm Arup and social media giant Facebook.  The expansion project - known as Building E - adds 55,000 square feet to that total.

The Gensler-designed building rises three stories, offering floor-to-ceiling windows and numerous outdoor decks.  A portion of its third level is cantilevered over a surface parking lot fronting Jefferson Boulevard. 

Construction of Building E followed the completion of a five-story, 617-car parking structure at the back of the Playa Jefferson campus.

-Steven Sharp

ObEN Finds $10M More For Avatar Technology

socaltech

 

Pasadena-based ObEN, which is developing intelligence avatar technology which allows users to create highly realistic avatars for use in augmented reality and virtual reality environments, has raised $10M more in funding, the company said this morning. The funding came from K11. According to ObEN, the new funding brings its total raised to more than $23.7M. ObEN is led by Nikhil Jain.

-socaltech

Santa Monica moving forward with plan to cap 10 freeway near downtown area

CurbedLA

 

A years-old proposal to cap the 10 freeway near its Santa Monica terminus is part of a plan that will soon be considered by the city of Santa Monica, reports the Santa Monica Lookout.

According to a report prepared for the Santa Monica City Council, the Gateway Master Plan will address planning in the area “adjacent to the I-10 Freeway that links Downtown to the Civic Center” and to Santa Monica High School, and it could include covering the freeway with decking that could create new space for a park.

“This key location should become an experience that reflects the city’s values of community, sustainability and pride of place,” the report says.

Previous reports on capping the park had explored extending the McClure Tunnel and covering the 10 freeway from Fourth Street to Ocean Avenue.

The new staff report says the Gateway Master Plan offers “a unique opportunity for strengthening connections over the freeway right of way.” It also says the cap park would be a way to offer “an enlarged green space for outdoor enjoyment” where there previously was none.

By removing the visual and physical barrier between the city’s downtown and its civic center area, the park could create a new link between the two sections of the city. The report also notes that by providing access to “peripheral parking opportunities,” the park might be able to reduce car congestion in the city’s downtown.

The process of realizing the Gateway Master Plan would be “an open process facilitated by staff, and include participation from the community, land owners and decision-makers as priorities for the area are refined.” The report indicates city staff would like to get moving on the plan in the first half of this year.

The idea to top the freeway with a park was first proposed in 1996, says the Lookout.

The Gateway Master Plan is one of seven projects that city staff recommends prioritizing, including a neighborhood plan for development in the area around Memorial Park and a similar plan for the Pico neighborhood.

-Bianca Barragan

Open Environments, Connection To Nature Fuel Office Designs

BISNOW

 

The interior of TEN: A Discovery Communications Co.’s new headquarters in El Segundo features high ceilings, open space, a pingpong table and plenty of natural light.

TEN’s new headquarters is a reflection of current office design trends. As a way to attract young workers and innovative companies, developers and property owners are changing how they design office spaces.

Out are the days of a fixed office space full of compartmentalized walls, high cubicles and fluorescent lighting. In are open space, lower walls, shared workspaces, connection to nature and amenities.

It is all part of a changing work culture, Nadel Architects Executive Vice President and Office Studio Director David Jacobson said. Workers are working longer hours and management wants to provide their employees with amenities and give them a quality environment.

“ really has blossomed in the last 10 years,” Jacobson said. “Younger people want edgy environments, open ceilings and graphic accents. It is a more stimulating environment.”

Working on behalf of the building’s developer, Continental Development, Los Angeles-based Nadel Architects transformed the former 60K SF warehouse on 1.4 acres at 831 South Douglas St. into a creative open space building.

“If you saw what this was before, it was an ugly warehouse,” Jacobson said. “The tenant wanted open space and areas where there are a lot of opportunities for workers to interact.” 

Jacobson said the firm added more windows to increase the amount of daylight that entered into the space. Large sliding doors could open leading to an outdoor patio that includes an outdoor kitchen, break area and landscaped recreation space.

“Day-lit environments are more pleasant and invigorating than fluorescent light fixtures,” he said. “It is psychologically uplifting rather than being in a mole-like environment.” 

Jacobson does not expect this trend to just be a fad. This kind of design is a sign of things to come, he said.

“Successful companies now are really thinking about the quality of experience of the work environment they provide to their people,” he said.

-Joseph Pimentel

Slow And Steady Growth: 2018 Performance Forecast For Top 4 Commercial Real Estate Sectors

BISNOW

 

Following one of the longest economic expansions in U.S. history, Colliers International economists forecast 2017 was the year of the market’s peak.

There are several factors that indicate the cycle’s best years are in the past, Colliers International Chief Economist Andrew Nelson wrote in the company’s 2018 Outlook report, including slowing deal volume, eight consecutive months of declining commercial property prices, plateaued cap rates, a widening divide between seller asking prices and buyer bids and investors going in search of riskier assets for better returns.

Though the cycle is getting long in the tooth, the industry is expected to continue riding the waves of the strong economy to steady growth, albeit at a more moderate pace than years past. 

“We’re not ready to pronounce an end to this economic expansion, which has been so good to the property sector. Although getting on in years — the expansion has been going on for over 100 months, and by mid-2018 will be the second longest in U.S. history,” Nelson wrote. “Courtesy of the strengthening global economy, likely tax cut stimulus from Washington and other positive influence, the economy is getting new life.”

Here is the forecast for the office, multifamily, industrial and retail sectors this year, according to Colliers International.

Office

Slow and steady growth is expected in office markets. Job growth, though slightly down from its 2015 peak, remains robust. Employers added 175,000 jobs on average per month in 2017, compared to 2015’s 250,000.

Still, the sector will experience a balancing act of sorts as new supply levels converge with occupancy rates and asking rents. Vacancy rates nationwide have been stagnant for the past two years, standing relatively at the same rate, Colliers reports. The same can be said for rents the past several quarters. In addition, suburban office markets are expected to continue to outperform downtown centers thanks to several years of positive absorption and vacancy rates that hovered near pre-recession lows as of 2017.

Multifamily

Though labor markets are strong, wage growth has been relatively slow in comparison. Should wage growth continue to lag this year, Nelson predicts it could stifle consumer confidence and spending, eliminate savings and ultimately hurt the retail and multifamily sectors. 

This year’s aggressive construction levels and apartment pipeline are going to put downward pressure on occupancy rates and rents, Colliers reports. Some economists posit the new tax law will spur more demand in the multifamily market because the new system slashed some of the benefits of homeownership, making it less attractive and renting more likely. 

Industrial

Industrial real estate is expected to remain a star performer in the market this year as investors flock to the sector’s strong fundamentals and record-breaking occupancy and rents. Construction is booming as operators continue to tackle online delivery and push to get products to consumers more quickly by opening modern, multilevel distribution hubs in densely populated markets. 

Retail

The retail sector has taken blow after blow in 2017, and Colliers projects investors will continue to flee the sector in droves as store closings and bankruptcies continue to stir fear regarding the health of the industry. Even though Moody’s Analytics predicted the sector would have a softer outlook this year compared to the last — when roughly 8,000 stores closed around the country — major retailers and department stores have announced massive store closings during the first two weeks of the new year. Sears Holding Corp. recently announced it will close 64 Kmart stores and 38 Sears sites. In addition, major department chain Macy’s announced it will close 11 more stores this year, NPR reports. 

-Champaign Williams

Daily Brief January 09, 2018 unsubscribe

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