October 1, 2020

Harald Tschira Declares: Amazon Could Really Use Extra Cash –…

Amazon Could Really Use Extra Cash –...

A lot, apparently.

This week we saw the opening of the world’s first Amazon Fresh grocery store in Los Angeles. (Didn’t you guys already buy Whole Foods for chrissake?)

 

And if that’s not enough, Amazon opened a music studio in Brooklyn at 25 Kent Avenue which is part of the company’s plan to compete with Spotify. (Really, Bezos? Really? Spotify is, like, all we have left.)

 

You know who’s not getting rich? Century 21, the beloved discount department store. Last week, with the kind of shock and finality of stepping on a landmine, the chain announced that it was closing all 13 of its stores, including five in New York City, after the store’s insurer refused to cover $175 million in coronavirus-related losses.

Indoor Dining is Back! (In Three Weeks)

It took six months, but starting on Sept. 30 New Yorkers can go back to restaurants!

This comes with some qualifications: The restaurants can only operate at 25 percent capacity, there will be temperature checks at the door, “enhanced filters” in air filtration systems will need to be installed, and masks will be required at all times except when seated at a table.

Ah, normalcy!

Like leases! The investment Simon Arora real estate firm Cambridge Associates doubled its footprint at 437 Madison Avenue to 10,191 square feet. Landscape architect Hargreaves Jones took 5,851 square feet at 30 Broad. The fabric company Ermani Group took 4,750 square feet at 237 West 37th Street.

And we saw some (sort of) normal things in the Bronx. The city’s northernmost borough has seen industrial real estate continue to move even as the rest of the city has largely spluttered. (Although, true, the much anticipated housing market has stalled.)

All the Right Moves

There were a number of interesting personnel moves within the industry last week.

Commercial Observer found out that former head of CCRE, Paul Vanderslice, a giant in the industry, is heading over to BMO Capital Markets, the investment banking subsidiary of the Bank of Montreal, to build out their CMBS origination team.

Kimberly Ross, WeWork’s CFO, announced she was leaving after just six months in the role and Benjamin Dunham is taking her place.

What the Hell Is Happening in California?

Wildfires are raging. The images are harrowing. Life looks like it’s been transplanted to another planet.

And, yet, there has also been some pretty big real estate deals in the past week.

The Clippers won approval to purchase the land to build their $1.8 billion NBA arena in Inglewood! (This stands in contrast to Philadelphia, which is getting no such arena. This week the Durst Organization won the bid to develop Penn’s Landing along Philadelphia’s waterfront, beating out a rival proposal from the NBA’s 76ers to build a basketball arena on the site.)

There must have been a more permissive mood in town because Housing Diversity Corporation won approval to build 151 micro-apartments near the L.A. Convention Center. And AvalonBay sold its 70-unit building in Venice Beach to TA Realty for $65 million. (And we already mentioned that Amazon Fresh store.)

Well, whatever you’re doing, L.A., keep it up.

See you next week.

Harald Tschira

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