There’s no avoiding the year-end list-making, so why fight it? Once again, it’s time to gather the events of the past year and assign an arbitrary number to each one, just like your favorite TV clip show. Without further ado, let the arbitrary ranking begin!
The Top 12 Commercial Real Estate Stories of 2012!
12. Large Private Equity and Alternative Investment Companies Invest More Heavily in CRE
With increasing trepidation toward high-leverage deals and stock-market investment, many private firms are deploying even more capital into commercial real estate investment. Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) is leading the charge.
11. Sears Holdings Pares Down Its Portfolio
Sears Holdings (NYSE: (SHLD), owner of Sears and Kmart stores, announces the closure of over 100 of its locations in response to lackluster sales over the 2011 holidays. Sears has opted to cut its under-performing stores rather than prop them up as they’ve done in the past, focusing the company’s energies on their more successful locations. It’s not especially surprising, since Sears is a company many experts feared was headed for bankruptcy.
10. The World’s Biggest Real Estate Company Gets Even Bigger
The S&P 100 index brings in a new member: shopping mall REIT Simon Property Group. Simon is the first REIT to join the prestigious list.
9. Large Banks Continue to Make People Angry
This time through widespread manipulation of the Libor, an important benchmark in international finance. Over the course of the year, local and international investigations lead to many high-profile “resignations” and whopping government fines.
8. The Empire State Building Goes Public
Well, it tries to. Following years of expensive retrofits, the storied skyscraper becomes the subject of a legal battle between its legacy investors and Malkin Holdings, which wants to take the property public as part of Empire State Realty Trust.
7. Dubai Buys a Boat
That about sums it up.
6. The CMBS Recovery Continues
Since CMBS issuance all but disappeared in 2009, the market shows continued strength as commercial real estate maintains its investment potential. UBS announces the offering of single-asset CMBS backed by the famous Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. This is a significant move for the bank, and for the commercial real estate world, because it is the first time in over 10 years that a hotel property has been securitized as a single asset (rather than being packaged with other properties, to spread out the risk for buyers).
5. One World Trade Center Nears Completion
The high-profile, controversial One World Trade Center development in downtown Manhattan nears completion. This project, which faced public scrutiny for its location on the site of the September 11th attacks, is just one phase of the WTC redevelopment.
4. Houses Are Cheap and Plentiful
Seeking to capitalize on the strong rental market that has made multifamily hugely successful, CRE investors buy enormous portfolios of single-family homes, which they plan to convert to rental properties.
3. Revel Finally Opens
Despite numerous financial and development hurtles, Atlantic City’s newest casino resort finally opens.
2. J.P. Morgan Loses Billions in Risky Trades
1. Barack Obama wins reelection
Many who generate income through investment activities are less than thrilled, considering President Obama’s stance on capital gains and other taxes affecting the investment and finance industries. A flurry of real estate deals–intended to take advantage of 2012′s tax rates–close out the year.
So, what was your top CRE story of 2012? Let us know in the comments section. Happy New Year!