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Commercial Real Estate Week in Review

Week in Review for December 29, 2012 – January 4, 2013:

– On New Year’s Day, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to prevent automatic tax increases in 2013, otherwise known as the “fiscal cliff.” The last-minute deal comes after months of partisan bickering, media speculation, and investor nervousness.

– CoStar Group releases its 12 CRE Predictions for 2013, based upon data from Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE: JLL)’s 2013 Cross Sector Survey. CoStar’s predictions include further growth for the equity REIT market, strong office performance on the West Coast, and an increase in sales among properties purchased early in the CRE market’s recovery.

– BGC Partners, which acquired bankrupt real estate services firm Grubb & Ellis last year, buys two companies affiliated with its Newmark Grubb Night Frank (NGKF) operations. BGC has acquired Smith Mack in Philadelphia and Frederick Ross Co. in Denver, which had become Newmark affiliates in the last few years.

In Greencastle, Pennsylvania, kitchenware company World Kitchen renews its lease of a million-SF warehouse and distribution center. Its landlord, Matrix Development Group, has committed to a capital improvement effort for the facility expected to cost over $10 million.

– New York City sees a huge increase in available class A office space. The city’s 14.5 percent availability is largely a product of recent downtown developments, including 4 World Trade Center and the World Financial Center, says Bloomberg

 – Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE: M) announces plans to close seven of its stores this spring, including a Bloomingdale’s Home Store in Las Vegas and Macy’s locations in Texas, California, Minnesota, and Massachusetts. However, the company is simultaneously planning or developing new Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s locations as well.

The Wall Street Journal reports another strong year for REITs. The Dow Jones Equity All REIT Index (which monitors 136 REITs) shows REITs enjoying a return of almost 20%, far exceeding their 7.5% average return in 2011. Thanks to improved outlooks for both the economy and home construction, many analysts predict further strong REIT performance in 2013.

 – Improved office occupancy leads to renewed speculative development in markets such as San Francisco, Chicago, and New York City.

– In Knightdale, North Carolina, a subsidiary of healthcare REIT Ventas, Inc. (NYSE: VTR) buys a recently expanded outpatient facility for $25 million. The 93,000-SF property has been sold by a joint venture of NexCore Properties and Heitman Capital Management, reports Triangle Business Journal.

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