CPE’s March 2020 Must-Reads
- Apr 01, 2020
What a month! We kicked off March by looking at the results of our first CPE 100 Quarterly Sentiment Survey of the year, which highlighted a largely confident mindset about the state of the industry. And we closed the month by observing the end of the longest period of economic expansion. Let’s examine how we got here.
The first signs of a potentially big change in the industry came during the first week of March. As the impact of COVID-19 leaped to the top of the conversation, the Federal Reserve cut short-term interest rates by 50 basis points to a target range of 1.0-1.25 percent. Almost two weeks later, the Fed cut the rates again, to a range of 0-0.25 percent. By then, the pandemic forced a growing array of industry associations to put their conferences on hold. By the third week of the month, Nevada, New Jersey and Connecticut moved to temporarily close hotels and casinos, almost at the same time as Simon Property Group decided to close all its retail properties in the U.S. until March 29. California imposed even stricter restrictions, issuing a statewide stay-at-home order for its 40 million residents.
Last week, however, the effects of the coronavirus outbreak were clearer than ever—a record 3.3 million unemployment claims, countless small businesses closed as well as unprecedented declines in hotel occupancy and revenues. The U.S. Congress voted on and passed a $2 trillion relief package aimed at helping individual Americans and impacted industries and businesses deal with the pandemic’s harsh consequences at a time when the U.S. surpassed Italy and China in confirmed cases of COVID-19.
However, March wasn’t exclusively about the pandemic. At the beginning of the month, we sat down with Sebastian Jaramillo, partner with law firm Wolfe Pincavage, and Luis Gazitua, partner at JAG Insurance Group, to discuss Florida’s take on the climate crisis. Meanwhile, Spencer Glendon, a senior fellow at the Woods Hole Research Center in Falmouth, Mass., argues that the commercial real estate sector is grossly unprepared for climate change.
Multiple big-dollar transactions also made headlines last month, including California State Teachers’ Retirement System’s acquisition of a 7 million-square-foot portfolio, with the help of a $991.8 million loan from New York Life Insurance Co. In Manhattan, a joint venture secured $210 million in financing for the purchase of a nearly 200,000-square-foot mixed-use building in SoHo. And in one of the largest single sales of mixed-use properties along the New Jersey waterfront, Federal Realty Investment Trust acquired a 39-property portfolio in Hoboken.
Here are CPE’s must-reads for last month: