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Equity Office Daily Brief: January 29, 2018

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Daily Brief

January 29, 2018

  EquilityOffice

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China's Tencent acquires minority stake in Skydance Media

L.A. Times

 

Shenzhen-based social media giant Tencent Holdings has acquired a minority stake in Los Angeles-based production company Skydance Media, the companies said Thursday, in a move that bucks the recent trend of Chinese companies avoiding Hollywood investments. Tencent, which owns social apps such...

 


L.A. = N.Y. for Foreign Investors

LA Business Journal

 

Los Angeles scored its highest ranking ever and tied New York as the top destination for foreign investment in U.S. real estate, according to a survey by the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate released this month. The ranking is based...

 


Could Valley's Promenade Be Home to Amazon? Dodgers Affiliate?

San Fernando Valley Business Journal

 

The Westfield Group is moving ahead with plans to remake the Westfield Promenade shopping center into a big mixed-use complex, including a sports facility that could house a minor league baseball team. But there is a small possibility that Amazon.com Inc....

 


City Approves South L.A. Site for LACMA Exhibition Space

LA Business Journal

 

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved on Friday, Jan. 26 a 35-year lease to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for the use of a vacant building at South Los Angeles Wetlands Park near the corner of 55th Street...

 


Southern California Economy Ends 2017 on a Roll

Los Angeles Business Journal

 

CALIFORNIA’S economy ended 2017 on a bit of a roll, with Southern California leading the way. “The mix of California job gains in last four months of 2017 has been especially good news for Southern California businesses, where logistics, tourism, and construction play...

 


Business Executives' Optimism about U.S. Economy Hits a Post-Recession High

LA Business Journal

 

NEARLY three out of four business executives have an optimistic view of the U.S. economy for 2018, a consensus not seen since before the Great Recession, according to the fourth-quarter AICPA Economic Outlook Survey, which polls chief executive officers, chief financial officers, controllers...

 


Bank Economists See Solid Economic Growth Supported by Tax Reform

Los Angeles Business Journal

 

THE U.S. economy will continue to grow through 2019, surpassing the longest previous period of economic prosperity in the post-war era, according to the Economic Advisory Committee of the American Bankers Association. “This expansion has already spanned nine years, supported by strengthening...

 



BLOG & ONLINE NEWS

 

LA climbs to No. 2 in global real estate investment behind London: JLL

The Real Deal

 

Los Angeles has topped New York in global real estate investment in 2017, according to a new JLL report, making it the No. 1 U.S. city. L.A., which jumped one position from the previous report, had investments of $23 billion last year. That...

 


Shhh ... Amazon Asks Finalists To Keep Quiet About Remaining HQ2 Details

BisNow

 

Following an RFP process that had cities across North America competing vigorously — and publicly — to win Amazon’s HQ2, the e-commerce giant has made a surprising request to the remaining contenders: Keep the details secret.While cities may exhibit discretion moving forward,...

 


Singapore Overtakes China as Largest Asian Investor in U.S. Property

Bloomberg

 

Singapore ousted China to become the biggest Asian investor in U.S. commercial property last year. It was the first time since 2012 that the city outspent China, according to data from Real Capital Analytics and Cushman & Wakefield Inc. Deals by Chinese...

 


5 Women-Only Co-Working Spaces That Prove This Is A Lasting Trend

BisNow

 

Co-working spaces are often credited with introducing innovative elements to modern office culture like communal workspace, standing desks, wellness programs and the latest technology. Many also include pingpong tables, nap pods, arcade games and draft beer. The fun and games can be a turnoff for...

 


How CA Property Owners Should Approach Insurance In 2018

Globe St.

 

SAN DIEGO—Due to damage caused by wildfires and mudslides, property-insurance rates are likely to go up this year. Tim Gosselin, VP at Lee & Associates, and Daniel Olson, a broker with Wateridge Insurance Services, recently filmed a video explaining how property-insurance rates will be affected by recent...

 


How To Integrate Acquisitions Into A Much Bigger “Master Plan”

Globe St.

 

GRAND CAYMAN, CAYMAN ISLANDS—GlobeSt.com’s visited the Cayman Islands last week to catch up with Dart Real Estate and discuss all of the many developments and innovations currently happening on the Island. While there, it became apparent that opportunities are abound. But one of...

 

FULL TEXT


China's Tencent acquires minority stake in Skydance Media

L.A. Times

 

Shenzhen-based social media giant Tencent Holdings has acquired a minority stake in Los Angeles-based production company Skydance Media, the companies said Thursday, in a move that bucks the recent trend of Chinese companies avoiding Hollywood investments.

Tencent, which owns social apps such as WeChat and QQ, has purchased a stake of 5% to 10% in Skydance for more than $100 million, according to a person familiar with the deal who was not authorized to comment.

The deal gives Skydance, founded by David Ellison (son of Oracle founder Larry Ellison), a powerful partner with massive reach among online consumers in China, the world's second-largest movie market. Along with marketing prowess and capital, the investment gives Skydance access to Tencent's expertise in the gaming industry, the companies said.

As part of the pact, Tencent will be able to invest in Skydance films, the companies said. Skydance, launched in 2010, is best known for blockbusters including the recent "Mission: Impossible" and "Star Trek" movies. The company is also investing heavily in television production, gaming and virtual reality.

"We believe this partnership will support Skydance's expansion internationally, across media and into television production, and provide Tencent with attractive content that we can share with China consumers," said James Mitchell, chief strategy officer for Tencent, in a statement.

China's box-office sales rose to $8.47 billion last year, up 13% from 2016, according to film industry consulting firm Artisan Gateway. China's ticket sales grew only 4% in 2016, marking a substantial slowdown from previous years.

Chinese investment in Hollywood came to a virtual standstill last year as the government there cracked down on what it saw as irrational investments in foreign industries, including entertainment, by companies such as Dalian Wanda Group.

But Tencent has managed to remain unscathed by the clampdown, maintaining a lower profile than many rivals. The company backed Burbank-based start-up studio STX Entertainment in 2016 and has invested in films such as "Wonder Woman." In November, Tencent acquired a 12% stake in Snapchat owner Snap Inc. for $2 billion.

Tencent also backed Original Force animation, a Chinese animation company that tried to expand in the U.S. with feature films. Sandra Rabins and Penney Finkelman Cox, the executives hired to lead the charge, left the company in August.

-Ryan Faughnder

L.A. = N.Y. for Foreign Investors

LA Business Journal

 

Los Angeles scored its highest ranking ever and tied New York as the top destination for foreign investment in U.S. real estate, according to a survey by the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate released this month.

The ranking is based on a survey of the association’s members, billed as some of the largest institutional investors in the world, with an estimated $2 trillion in real estate assets under management globally. The survey considered factors such as the stability of local markets and chances for capital appreciation, among other factors, and was conducted by James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Business.

“We can’t express how excited we are about this new rank,” said Stephen Cheung, executive director at the World Trade Center Los Angeles. “We’ve always trailed San Francisco and New York, but this puts us on the map in this category.”

There’s long been interest in both commercial and residential real estate in L.A. County among foreign investors, Cheung said, but the last five years have been a turning point with the resurgence of the aerospace sector, growth in electric vehicle design and production, and the rise of Silicon Beach as a technology hub (see related story, page 1).

A more recent allure for foreign investors, according to Cheung, was the passage of Measure M, the half-cent sales tax voters approved in November 2016 to give the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority $120 billion over the next 40 years to build and make improvements to its public transit system.

“That has created a lot of interest, and we’re seeing mostly Asian-backed bids, at least in the transportation sector, for contracts,” Cheung said.

Such bids are accompanied by significant investments here in some cases.

Downtown-based BYD Motors, for example, received a $66 million contract last summer from Metro to build 60 new electric buses for the agency’s fleet. BYD is the U.S. subsidiary of China-based electric vehicle and battery manufacturer BYD Co. Ltd., and it employs more than 600 workers at the assembly factory it opened in 2013 in Lancaster, at the northern edge of the county.

L.A.’s vast port complex and supply chain system appears to have given a big boost to industrial and distribution properties around the facilities.

“This was the first time we’ve seen industrial, warehousing and distribution centers lead as the No.1 choice for real estate among our investors,” said James Fetgatter, chief executive of the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate.

Representatives of Japan’s overseas trade promotion agency – known as JETRO – echoed similar sentiments in a fall interview with the Business Journal.

Japan is the No. 1 provider of overall foreign direct investment in L.A. County, according to a separate report released last year by the World Trade Center and the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

Keiichi Nishimoto, chief executive director of JETRO Los Angeles, said the L.A. region was attractive due to its large, diversified market size, the distribution network of port facilities, warehousing, logistic and transportation resources, and the region’s proximity to Japan.

Trade threats

There’s no guarantee L.A. will retain its high status among foreign investors. The World Trade Center’s Cheung said the possibility of a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement is a wild card for the region.

President Donald Trump has already taken the stance that the 24-year-old trade pact isn’t favorable to U.S. interests. Talks among trade representatives of the U.S., Mexico and Canada have been strained, according to various accounts.

The chance that the U.S. could pull out of the tri-national trade pact altogether recently kicked up a notch when Trump reportedly said in a Jan. 17 report by Reuters that the “best deal” would be to terminate the pact.

His comments came as trade negotiators met recently in Montreal.

Trump also came under fire from leaders of countries that are trade partners of the U.S. throughout the world for using foul language in disparaging remarks about Haiti and African countries while discussing immigration.

Los Angeles businesses say they are starting to see repercussions from the Trump administration’s travel ban from seven countries in the Middle East and Africa – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – countries that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has identified as “presenting concerns about terrorism and travel to the United States.”

Lee Maen, partner at Innovative Dining Group, which runs restaurants including Sushi Roku, told the Business Journal in a recent interview that customers from other Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, dropped 80 percent at its restaurants in L.A. and Orange counties over the summer.

Maen attributed the drop to the administration’s travel ban.

L.A. County tourism has also taken a hit, particularly from Mexico, the county’s biggest single market for international visitors. Visitor numbers fell 2.8 percent last year, according to the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board.

Last week saw the contours of another potential bump emerge as the Trump Administration slapped tariffs on imports of solar panels and washing machines from Asian markets and continued to block appointments of judges to a World Trade Organization panel that arbitrates trade disputes.

Those moves came as 11 Pacific Rim countries moved to form a new commercial bloc – Trans-Pacific Partnership 11 – that would exclude the U.S.

-Shwanika Narayan

Could Valley's Promenade Be Home to Amazon? Dodgers Affiliate?

San Fernando Valley Business Journal

 

The Westfield Group is moving ahead with plans to remake the Westfield Promenade shopping center into a big mixed-use complex, including a sports facility that could house a minor league baseball team. But there is a small possibility that Amazon.com Inc. could choose the site as its second headquarters, seriously changing those plans.

“Amazon would need every inch” of the 34-acre Promenade site, Larry Green, the senior vice president of the Westfield Group, said Thursday. He said Amazon also would need every inch of the similarly-sized old Rocketdyne site a few blocks to the north of the Promenade.

Green, speaking at a board meeting of the Valley Economic Alliance at Valley Presbyterian Hospital, opined that he didn’t think it is likely that Amazon would choose the Promenade site in Woodland Hills. Although Los Angeles was named as one of the 20 places the Seattle-based ecommerce giant is considering for its second headquarters, he believes it wants to be “in a different time zone.”

Nonetheless, he said it would be “a dynamite place for Amazon. Hopefully, we can stay in the hunt.”

Green, who appeared at the board meeting to update business leaders on the progress of the redevelopment site, also said Westfield is talking to several sports teams about the possibility of putting a practice facility or minor league team in what is envisioned to be a 15,000-seat sports arena or stadium at Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Oxnard Street, which is the southwest corner of the Promenade property.

“I think there is interest from minor league baseball teams to come and play here,” Green said after the meeting. Because a minor league team would be moving into Los Angeles, the in-market major league teams essentially have veto power. “The Angels and the Dodgers will have to approve any team that comes. The Dodgers would have to approve the Angels; the Angels would have to approve (the Dodgers). They both have to agree,” he said.

“There is a trend that is happening in baseball that you are seeing the minor league teams come closer and closer to the urban areas, so I think there is a desire. But we will have to see what happens,” he said, adding that “there are a lot of minor league baseball teams in California,” so any minor league tenant could be a team other than one affiliated with the Dodgers or Angels.

He said the Clippers seem uninterested in building a practice facility there. “But both the Rams and the Chargers are looking for permanent L.A. headquarters and practice facilities,” he continued. “We would love to be on their list of (sites). We will see what happens.”

Green said his company put out a request for proposals several months ago for the possible sports site, and some proposals call for the site to be used for entertainment.

“We are getting a lot of various interested parties. People that want to do it as pure concerts and events, people that want to do sports, people that want to do family recreational facilities. It is not for sports only. It is really a broad RFP and we are fielding all the responses for that.”

He said the deadline for the RFP “is a little loose. We are probably looking to short list in the next couple of months. Then we’re going to spend three or four months working with the short list of people. The goal is to have a decision made by the end of the year.”

The interior mall portion of the existing Promenade is closed. A few outward-facing restaurants remain open and an AMC movie complex continues doing good business, Green said.

Westfield’s plan is to scrap the old mall and create a large mixed-use complex. It would include retail, multi-family housing, creative office space, two hotels and 5.5 acres of park-like open space, in addition to the sports or entertainment area.

The project is still moving through the city’s approval process. The construction would start on the northeast corner of the property at Owensmouth Avenue and Erwin Street and progress counterclockwise around the property. The first phase would be completed in 2021. It would take an additional 14 years to finish the entire project.

-Charles Crumpley and Mark Madler

City Approves South L.A. Site for LACMA Exhibition Space

LA Business Journal

 

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved on Friday, Jan. 26 a 35-year lease to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for the use of a vacant building at South Los Angeles Wetlands Park near the corner of 55th Street and Avalon Boulevard.

LACMA will use up to 35,000 square feet in the 84,000-square-foot building to host exhibitions, art education and recreational and cultural programming for young people and families.

The museum won’t have to pay rent, but the lease requires LACMA to repair the building and remove hazardous waste from it, and then have 10,000 square feet ready for public use within 18 months. The building was formerly a bus maintenance and storage facility.

South Los Angeles Wetlands Park is nine acres and is owned and managed by the city’s department of recreation and parks.

In addition to the South L.A. park, LACMA also hopes to use a vacant site at Earvin “Magic” Johnson Park, a 104-acre, county-run park at 905 E. El Segundo Blvd. just south of the 105 freeway.

-Ciaran McEvoy

Southern California Economy Ends 2017 on a Roll

Los Angeles Business Journal

 

CALIFORNIA’S economy ended 2017 on a bit of a roll, with Southern California leading the way. “The mix of California job gains in last four months of 2017 has been especially good news for Southern California businesses, where logistics, tourism, and construction play an outsized role,” said Stender Sweeney, executive vice president and division manager for Wells Fargo Middle Market Banking in the Greater Los Angeles market.

Los Angeles added 28,600 jobs, while Orange County added 23,700 jobs. San Diego did not see the surge in hiring that greater Los Angeles did, adding just 7,600 jobs over the four-month stretch. That gain, however, is consistent with growth over the past year. Ventura Country posted a slight drop in employment over the past four months, although hiring remains up solidly year-to-year.

Statewide, nonfarm employment increased by 52,700 jobs in December, and revised figures now put November’s gain at 53,700 jobs. The prior two months were not too shabby either, with 45,400 jobs added in October and 50,300 jobs in September.

The 202,100 jobs added in California over the past four months mark the strongest run of job growth for California since a consistent series of seasonally adjusted data were put together back in 1990.

The Golden State’s unemployment rate has tumbled 0.8 percentage points over this period to 4.3 percent, with most of that drop occurring in just the past two months. With the most recent drop, California’s unemployment rate has set a new record low, going back to when the current series began in 1976.

The Golden State’s jobless rate still remains slightly above the national rate, however; something that has been in place ever since the Cold War ended, and the state’s large defense industry began to downsize.

The late-year 2017 surge in hiring was broad-based.

“Most California industries added jobs during the last four months of the year,” said Sweeney, who is based in downtown L.A.

“Employment was up across nearly all of the state’s major metropolitan areas, too. The leisure and hospitality industry is a notable standout, adding more than 47,000 jobs.”

Other notable gainers include transportation and warehousing, construction, and the information sector, all of which added jobs in significantly larger proportion relative to their employment base.

Despite the rash of natural disasters that hit the state over the past few months, California’s labor market has continued to put up stellar numbers. The state has seen its strongest run of job growth over the past four months going back at least to 1990, and the unemployment rate has fallen to a modern era low.

The impact from devastating fires and mudslides that impacted Southern California are not reflected in the most recent employment data. While these disasters caused significant physical and financial damage they did not alter the economic landscape for Southern California. The greater Los Angeles area is home to a diverse mix of rapidly growing industries, ranging from green energy and digital entertainment to life sciences and ecommerce. Overall employment growth is moderating, however, as the tightening labor market is making it more difficult to fill some open positions.

The growth in new industry is helping fuel a construction boom. The movement of residents and businesses back into downtown Los Angeles has help set off and apartment boom that is finally beginning to show some signs of moderating. Office and industrial development also remains robust but continues to grow in line with demand.

While Southern California has accounted for the bulk of the most recent increase, hiring has also remained strong in the San Francisco Bay area. Employers in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area added 17,300 jobs over the past four months. The burst of hiring has largely put to rest fears raised earlier this year, when hiring appeared to sputter. Preliminary data show hiring in the San Jose area rising 1.7 percent in 2017, which is off considerably from the 3.1 percent gain posted in 2016.

The moderation was mostly in construction, retail trade, and administrative services. Job growth in the technology sector was roughly in line with the prior year. The San Francisco metropolitan division also saw a notable slowdown in nonfarm employment growth. Employers added 22,400 net new jobs over the past year, compared with the 43,800 jobs added in 2016.

In San Francisco’s case, however, hiring slowed precipitously in most of the major tech categories. Part of the slowdown may reflect the relocation of some jobs back to the San Jose metro area, as the dividing line between the San Francisco and San Jose metro areas is virtually indistinguishable. San Francisco’s unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage points over the past year to 2.8 percent.

The Oakland area also saw hiring moderate in 2017, even though hiring picked up considerably during the second half of the year. Employers added 20,800 new jobs in the Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley metropolitan division, down from 35,900 the prior year.

Hiring appears to have moderated across most industries yet has slowed the most in many lower-paying industries, including retailing, administrative services and the leisure and hospitality sector. California’s Population Rose by 240,200 Residents in 2017.

One of the reasons job growth moderated across California is that the Golden State is not attracting job seekers in the numbers that it did earlier in the cycle. Population growth has lost momentum over the past two years and the Golden State added just 240,200 new residents in 2017, or a scant 0.6 percent increase.

California received less of a boost from natural increase, or births minus deaths, as the state’s population continues to age. This happened in most U.S. states. There was also a drop in immigration from overseas, which occurred in every state yet is more impactful in California. Net domestic migration worsened, as more residents moved away from California than moved to it. The deterioration in net migration is being driven by the rising cost of living, which is disproportionately affecting mid-skilled workers.

California’s attractiveness to job seekers has also likely diminished, as opportunities for tech and entertainment are growing rapidly in other parts of the country, including Austin and Atlanta. Slower population growth will make it even more challenging for California employers to find the skilled workers they need, which is one reason large tech employers are increasingly looking for ways to expand in other parts of the country. 

-Mark Vitner

Business Executives' Optimism about U.S. Economy Hits a Post-Recession High

LA Business Journal

 

NEARLY three out of four business executives have an optimistic view of the U.S. economy for 2018, a consensus not seen since before the Great Recession, according to the fourth-quarter AICPA Economic Outlook Survey, which polls chief executive officers, chief financial officers, controllers and other certified public accountants in U.S. companies who hold executive and senior management accounting roles. While the survey was fielded with tax reform deliberations underway, it’s important to note it closed before passage of the Senate tax bill late last year, so survey sentiment does not reflect that development.

Seventy-four percent of business executives said they were upbeat about prospects for the economy, an increase of 10 percentage points from last quarter. Their view of their own companies’ outlook over the next 12 months is sunnier, too, with 70 percent expressing optimism, also a post-recession high.

“In addition to expectations for business tax reductions, executives cited several factors for the boost in optimism, including rising consumer demand, a strengthening global economy and the perception of more pro-business policies at home,” said Arleen R. Thomas, CPA, CGMA, managing director of Americas Market, Global Offerings & CGMA Exam, Management Accounting for the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. “On the other side of the ledger, some respondents expressed concern about political dysfunction and fallout from potential stock market and real estate bubbles.”

The AICPA survey is a forward-looking indicator that tracks hiring and business-related expectations for the 12 months of 2018.

As a point of comparison, the U.S. Department of Labor’s November employment report, scheduled for release tomorrow, looks back on the previous month’s hiring trends.

The CPA Outlook Index—a comprehensive gauge of executive sentiment within the AICPA survey— rose two points in the fourth quarter to 79, eclipsing a post-recession high of 78 set in the fourth quarter of 2014. The index is a composite of nine, equally weighted survey measures set on a scale of 0 to 100, with 50 considered neutral and greater numbers signifying positive sentiment.

Other key findings of the survey:

• ‘Availability of skilled personnel’ remained the top challenge for businesses, while ‘domestic competition’ rose one spot to No. 2

• Hiring plans are generally in line with last quarter: 52 percent of executives said they had the right amount of staff; one-in-four said they had too few employees and planned to hire immediately; 13 percent said they had too few staff but were reluctant to hire; and eight percent said they had too many employees.

• The percentage of business executives who expect their company to expand in the coming year increased from 65 percent to 71 percent, quarter over quarter, matching the percentage set at the end of 2014

• Revenue is expected to grow at a 4.8 percent rate over the next 12 months, up from 4.3 percent last quarter, while profit expectations increased to 3.8 percent from 3.6 percent

• IT remains the strongest category for planned spending over the coming year, with an expected growth rate of 3.6 percent

The fourth-quarter AICPA Business and Industry Economic Outlook Survey was conducted Nov. 1-28, 2017, and included 800 qualified responses from CPAs who hold leadership positions, such as chief financial officer or controller, in their companies. The overall margin of error is less than 3 percentage points. Information for this article was provided by AICPA. To learn more or to obtain a copy of the Economic Outlook Survey report, visit aicpa.org.

Bank Economists See Solid Economic Growth Supported by Tax Reform

Los Angeles Business Journal

 

THE U.S. economy will continue to grow through 2019, surpassing the longest previous period of economic prosperity in the post-war era, according to the Economic Advisory Committee of the American Bankers Association.

“This expansion has already spanned nine years, supported by strengthening labor markets, low interest rates, and a late-cycle resurgence in business investment,” said Ellen Zentner, chair of the group and chief U.S. economist for Morgan Stanley. “Tax reform and the potential for further regulatory easing are likely to add a further near-term boost to growth.”

The consensus of 14 chief economists from among the largest North American banks is that tax cuts will boost growth this year by 0.4 percentage points, bringing GDP growth to 2.4 percent. In 2019, the committee expects tax reform to have a smaller impact, and for GDP to grow 2.0 percent.

“Tax cuts will put more money in many peoples’ pockets, providing a spark to buying power as well as improving household debt dynamics,” said Zentner.

With the economy operating beyond full employment, wages are likely to rise faster, further supporting household spending. The committee forecast is that the national unemployment rate, currently at 4.1 percent, will decline to 3.8 percent by year-end, accelerating wage gains to 3.0 percent this year and 3.5 percent in 2019. Altogether, the committee sees these factors sustaining consumer spending this year and into next.

The group expects business investment to add materially to growth this year as companies channel some of the tax changes into capital expenditures and increased compensation.

“Tax reform has layered on further incentives to the already strong organic growth that has characterized capital spending over the last 18 months,” said Zentner. In 2019, the committee expects growth to slow due to the front-loaded impact of the tax law, which will moderate in out years, and rising interest rates, which will make capital investments and purchases of big-ticket items such as motor vehicles more expensive.

The committee expects 10-year Treasury rates to increase from about 2.6 percent at present to 2.9 percent in December 2018, and then to continue to rise steadily next year. Nonresidential fixed investment growth is projected to be 4.7 percent this year and 3.7 percent next year. Likewise, consumer spending is projected to rise by 2.4 percent this year, slowing to 2.0 percent in 2019.

The group expects inflation to rise gradually to the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent goal, allowing the Fed to continue pushing the federal funds rate gradually higher without risk of significantly dampening economic growth. Following three rate hikes last year, the group consensus is for another three this year and two in 2019.

“If economic growth and inflation surprise to the upside, then the Fed could move more aggressively,” said Zentner.

The committee sees sustained strength in the availability of bank loans. Delinquency and charge-off rates will remain near historical lows. Bank consumer credit grew 5.4 percent last year and is forecast to grow 5.9 percent this year, while business credit rose 1.4 percent last year and is forecast to grow 3.6 percent in 2018.

“Banks are in an excellent position to support continued expansion, and household balance sheets remain strong,” said Zentner.

LA climbs to No. 2 in global real estate investment behind London: JLL

The Real Deal

 

Los Angeles has topped New York in global real estate investment in 2017, according to a new JLL report, making it the No. 1 U.S. city.

L.A., which jumped one position from the previous report, had investments of $23 billion last year. That was $2 billion better than New York, which was bumped to third, from the top spot in in 2016. The report listed the 30 top cities in the world in the real estate investment category.

London ranked as the top city, with $33 billion, far outpacing the competition.

Over the last two years, L.A. has passed Tokyo, Paris and now New York. London is a powerhouse, despite economic fears spurred by the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. Its 2017 total was a 35 percent increase from the year before.

Global transaction volume reached $698 billion last year, up from $661 billion in 2016, according to JLL.

While total investment was up last year, the predictions for 2018 aren’t as rosy. JLL said it expects investment volume to drop 5 to 10 percent.

“This evolution in capital markets will accelerate the drive for investors to consider new strategies,” the report said.

Last year was also the first time L.A. tied New York in its potential to attract foreign investment, according to a survey of investors by the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate. Foreign players made around $8.3 billion in investments between mid-2015 and mid-2017. Most of that money came from Asian and Middle Eastern countries.

New York has not fared well and some believe the city could be at a later stage in the cycle than its competitors.

-Dennis Lynch

Shhh ... Amazon Asks Finalists To Keep Quiet About Remaining HQ2 Details

BisNow

 

Following an RFP process that had cities across North America competing vigorously — and publicly — to win Amazon’s HQ2, the e-commerce giant has made a surprising request to the remaining contenders: Keep the details secret.While cities may exhibit discretion moving forward, the cat is already out of the bag on a number of bid details, including $7B in incentives from New Jersey and $5B from Maryland, and the speculation is bound to continue, CNBC reports.

Some say Amazon’s latest move to push a private agenda will allow it to quietly gather data on the remaining cities, allowing it to barter even more favorable deals, according to CNBC. Others believe the decision has already been made and the bidding process has simply been a public relations stunt.

Whatever the reason, the nail-biting competition for Amazon's second headquarters is on, and a continent awaits word of the winner. 

The second headquarters will house 50,000 Amazon employees and be the beneficiary of a $5B economic investment, according to the company. The tech giant received 238 proposals, from 54 states, provinces and districts across North America, for HQ2. The only U.S. states that did not apply were Arkansas, Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, Wyoming and North and South Dakota, The Real Deal reports. -Lara O'Keefe

Singapore Overtakes China as Largest Asian Investor in U.S. Property

Bloomberg

 

Singapore ousted China to become the biggest Asian investor in U.S. commercial property last year.

It was the first time since 2012 that the city outspent China, according to data from Real Capital Analytics and Cushman & Wakefield Inc. Deals by Chinese investors plunged 66 percent to $5.9 billion as regulators cracked down on capital outflows.

U.S. Bound

Singapore jumps to become largest Asian property investor surpassing China, Hong Kong

“We expect Singapore to continue to be the single largest source of Asian investments in the U.S. real estate markets,” said Priyaranjan Kumar, Cushman’s regional executive director of capital markets for Asia Pacific, adding that money may flow into data centers, student accommodation and logistics.

Sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte accounted for almost three-quarters of the $9.5 billion of Singaporean purchases, investing in properties including 60 Wall Street in Manhattan, which houses the U.S. headquarters of Deutsche Bank AG, and a portfolio of student accommodation.

Real estate firm CBRE Group Inc. anticipates similar trends in 2018, with Singapore’s institutional investors diversifying abroad and China maintaining capital controls, said Yvonne Siew, executive director for capital advisory, Asia Pacific.

Besides GIC, the Singaporean buyers of U.S. properties included developers, real estate investment trusts and logistic companies. Singapore was No. 3 in the global rankings for U.S. buys after Canada and France.

Singapore’s investments in commercial property globally rose by about 40 percent to $28.4 billion last year, beating a record set in 2015, according to the data, which include land as well as developed properties.

-Pooja Thakur Mahrotri

5 Women-Only Co-Working Spaces That Prove This Is A Lasting Trend

BisNow

 

Co-working spaces are often credited with introducing innovative elements to modern office culture like communal workspace, standing desks, wellness programs and the latest technology. Many also include pingpong tables, nap pods, arcade games and draft beer. The fun and games can be a turnoff for people focusing on productivity. For women seeking a co-working space, the WeWorks of the world can also feel bro-centric.

A growing number of women entrepreneurs are starting co-working spaces exclusively for women. Hera Hub founder Felena Hanson said she found women to be underrepresented in the co-working market, and launched Hera Hub to target that demographic. Women-only co-working is here to stay and here are five companies laying the groundwork.

Hera HubHanson launched Hera Hub in San Diego and now has three spa-inspired locations in the San Diego area. Hera Hub is expanding, with spaces in Washington, D.C., Phoenix and Uppsala, Sweden, while offices in Chicago, Atlanta and Irvine, California, are planned.

Membership plans range from $79 to $389/month.

The Wing

Lauren Kassan and Audrey Gelman founded The Wing in Manhattan's Flatiron District in 2016. Amenities include wall art curated solely by women artists, a library dominated by books from women authors and a lactation room for working mothers.The Wing opened a SoHo location and raised $8M in Series A financing in April to open another three locations.

Memberships run $215 to $250/month.

Rise Collaborative Workspace

This St. Louis workspace includes 11 private offices, three conference rooms, more than 3K SF of flexible workstations and a luxury coffee, tea and snack bar. Memberships range from $120 to $350/month, and reduced rates are offered for high school girls.

Shecosystem

This Toronto co-working space offers only flex space, has gender-neutral bathrooms and amenities include art by local women artists and a "Red Tent" for monthly new moon gatherings. Full-time memberships start at $200/month, annual memberships are $300/month and community memberships run $300/year, with an additional $35 fee to set up memberships.

EvolveHer

Alicia Driskill opened EvolveHer in Chicago's River North last month and is self-funding the venture. The 5K SF space is designed to feel like a second home and encourage members to interact with each other. EvolveHer offers morning meditations, monthly member lunches, business-relevant talks every second Tuesday of the month and belly-dancing workshops.

Memberships range from $100/month for a community plan to $389/month for a full-access membership. A $125 registration fee is applied to all new memberships.

-Chuck Sudo

How CA Property Owners Should Approach Insurance In 2018

Globe St.

 

SAN DIEGO—Due to damage caused by wildfires and mudslides, property-insurance rates are likely to go up this year. Tim Gosselin, VP at Lee & Associates, and Daniel Olson, a broker with Wateridge Insurance Services, recently filmed a video explaining how property-insurance rates will be affected by recent natural disasters and what owners should know about this issue. We spoke with Gosselin and Olson about how California property owners should approach their property-insurance policy and what to avoid.

GlobeSt.com: How should Southern California property owners approach property insurance since the rates are likely going up?

Olson: First off, you want to make sure that your application is accurate and that whoever you have shopping the insurance for you—a broker or multiple competing brokers—has the same up-to-date information. Often, an application isn’t accurate (people don’t want to ask questions or be a bother, and they don’t want to deal with insurance, so applications end up being incomplete).

Next, make sure all preventative measures are in place: fire sprinklers, burglar alarm, fire alarm—all the various degrees of protective measures categorized by insurance companies. And make sure your rent roll is up to date with current tenants so there are no surprises after the policy is bound. The insurance company will send out somebody to inspect the place, and if they find out that what they were told was inaccurate, they can cancel your policy. Make sure that you have all the updates and that all fire-suppression and theft-prevention measures are mentioned, and make sure you do this well before your renewal date. Give yourself three months, and remember that you need to show a potential new insurer what claims or lack of claims you have had.

You can get a few quotes and play them off each other—that makes them start sharpening their pencil a little more. You get the best possible rates and returns when you have multiple firms competing for your business. Also, terms can change when the market hardens, so you may want to issue a renewal with different terms. If you go to them late, they won’t have time to react. Start early and complete the application.

Speaking of terms, there are different ways of being paid by an insurance company on a building claim. There are agreed-amount terms, replacement cost and new value. Agreed-amount terms are where you agree that if the property burns to the ground, it will cost a certain amount to build, so you want the agreed amount on the policy. There are also replacement-cost terms—you don’t want materials for a 25-year-old building; you want the amount that will allow you to replace it to current standards.

And there’s actual cash value, which is pretty common on older structures with a lack of renovations. If you don’t have proof of when you had the electrical updated, and it’s a building from the ’60s, you might get actual cash value if it’s destroyed. Look out for actual cash value as well as basic form and broad form. Special form is also known as an all-risk policy form; it flips the tables on insurance companies so that they cover everything except what’s excluded. They have to prove the loss was excluded rather than proving that the loss was included.

GlobeSt.com: How can owners get the best ratio of coverage to rates that they need for their properties?

Olson: You want to have some competition. It also depends a lot on where the building is located and how desirable it is to underwriters. It’s important to have at least two brokers looking at a property so you can confirm you’re getting the best price. Insurance brokers are like doctors: you always want a second opinion, so why not get one if you anticipate having a problem with renewal? If your building is older, you have had claims, you’re located close to brush—for example, all the places in Santa Rosa and Ventura that burned were near open land—those are the people looking to make sure they shop their insurance properly at this time. 2018 might be a little sticky as far as rates and terms.

GlobeSt.com: What should they avoid doing when acquiring property insurance?

Olson: Underinsuring is the number-one thing to avoid doing—operating under the assumption that the place is never going to burn down. Everyone thinks it might be a partial loss, but look at Santa Rosa: 90% of the homes that were burned were underinsured. Some commercial properties were also lost up there, and they were probably underinsured.

Gosselin: A building owner also ought to get a broker opinion of value—a sheet of some sort that includes a summary of the building’s attributes. A lot of questions an insurance company would ask on an application would be provided on that opinion sheet. But again, those don’t get done overnight, so start early—at least a week in advance of applying. That opinion sheet can also include pictures of the building.

GlobeSt.com: What else should our readers know about property owners and insurance?

Gosselin: Make sure you’re insured for all the additional things above and beyond the actual property, like building to Title 24 and ADA requirements.

Olson: Ask questions with property insurance, and always get a second opinion.

-Carrie Rossenfeld

How To Integrate Acquisitions Into A Much Bigger “Master Plan”

Globe St.

 

GRAND CAYMAN, CAYMAN ISLANDS—GlobeSt.com’s visited the Cayman Islands last week to catch up with Dart Real Estate and discuss all of the many developments and innovations currently happening on the Island. While there, it became apparent that opportunities are abound. But one of the most interesting things to point out is how the company is continuing to integrate both its acquisitions and the development of the land it already owns in a way that just makes sense and is part of a much bigger master plan.

As an example, Dart Real Estate recently purchased property on Seven Mile Beach adjacent to its mixed-use Camana Bay development. The Royal Palms Beach Club is currently operated on the newly acquired property (pictured here) on Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.

The company is currently in the planning stages of a new five-star resort to be built on the world-famous Seven Mile Beach—said to be a Four Seasons property. But while specifics of the new development aren’t finalized at this time, what is apparent is that this acquisition was logical and is part of a much larger plan.

As Jackie Doak, president of Dart real Estate, told GlobeSt.com last week, “the purchase of that property integrates well with the company’s Camana Bay development.” The reason for that is due to its adjacent positioning.

From my personal perspective, having seen the company’s portfolio first hand, “fitting in well” is something the company seems to do quite seamlessly. In this particular example, the property will be developed in a way that shows a commitment to the island and to developing places and communities here.

Part of that commitment is to safety and to ensuring that those who live, work, and invest in Camana Bay, have both their needs and wishes met. As GlobeSt.com recently reported, part of that safety includes partnering with the Cayman Islands government on infrastructure projects, including the two vehicular underpasses on West Bay Road and the Esterley Tibbetts Highway that the company is working on, which allows traffic to flow seamlessly along the north-sound corridor of the island. As a result of these underpasses, the company says, pedestrians will be able to travel safely from the Caribbean Sea to the North Sound along a landscaped elevated pathway, allowing residents and visitor’s safe and easy access to Seven Mile Beach and the Camana Bay Town Centre.

Another example of the company’s commitment to the Island is that the Camana Bay development also caters to the educational needs of those living and working at the property through its Starfish Village, an education and enrichment center for children up to 12-years-old and the Cayman International School, a world-class educational facility set on 13-acres. Doak told GlobeSt.com that the Cayman International School also has a major expansion planned in the coming years.

Also important to point out, there are still many areas that Dart Real Estate owns, including Camana Bay’s 675 acres, which are still undeveloped. And with so much on the horizon for development in the Cayman Islands, and with so much possibility, some might say that having too much opportunity isn’t a bad problem to have, but that making the right decision for those opportunities is key.

While meeting with Doak, she said that when the company looks at opportunity and what property type is right, flexibility is and has never been more important. She added that looking at the needs of the market and structuring its development in a way that ensures that they remain the preferred place to live, work, play, shop and dine in the Cayman Islands is also of the utmost importance.

Check back with GlobeSt.com for so much more from our visit to the island, including interviews with Dart’s leasing, design and development executives and more.

-Natalie Dolce

Daily Brief January 29, 2018 unsubscribe

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