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Amazon HQ2 work may begin in 2020; Hines adding co-investors in Boston project

Commercial real estate

* Construction work on the first two Amazon.com Inc. HQ2 towers in Arlington, Va., is likely to start in 2020, with 2.1 million square feet of the new headquarters expected to be ready for occupation in the first quarter of 2023, the Washington Business Journal reported, citing Matt Ginivan, a senior vice president of real estate development at JBG Smith Properties, the development partner at the project.

Amazon plans to have about 20 tenants filling the roughly 67,000-square-foot retail space planned at the base of the two towers, the publication noted, citing Amazon's chief real estate executive, John Schoettler, and JBG Smith Senior Vice President of Retail Leasing Amy Rice.

* Texas-based Hines is getting closer to the South Station tower project in Boston as it seeks approval from the Boston Planning and Development Agency to bring in APG Asset Management US Inc. and Dune Real Estate Partners LP as co-investors, the Boston Business Journal reported. APG is a Dutch pension fund investor and Dune is a New York-based real estate private equity investor.

Hines previously had Chinese investor Gemdale Properties & Investment Corp. as its development partner, and the addition of the news partners indicates that Gemdale may no longer be involved, the publication noted.

The project, if approved, will feature a nearly 1.12 million-square-foot mixed-use tower; a 473,000-square-foot residential or hotel building; a 552,000-square-foot office building; a 106,000-square-foot expansion of the South Station bus terminal; and a five-level, 895-space parking garage.

* A lawsuit that New York City and the state had been trying to get dismissed for a year has been scheduled for a hearing for Oct. 16 in a New York Appellate Division court, The Real Deal reported. The suit, filed by Tax Equity Now New York, an industry-backed coalition, seeks changes in New York City's property-tax system, which it alleges discriminates against landlords and minority homeowners by overvaluing homes in the city's poorest neighborhoods and undervaluing those in wealthy areas.

* SoftBank-backed Urban Compass Inc., d/b/a/ Compass, sent an eight-point memo to its employees highlighting the differences the brokerage has with WeWork Cos. Inc., prompted by comparisons being drawn between the two firms, Bloomberg News reported. The firm, which was valued at $6.4 billion in July, boasts zero debt and a "deep roster of investors," in addition to having a different business model, capital structure, customers, culture and investments.

* CBL Properties and Vision Hospitality Group Inc. started construction on the 135-room Aloft by Marriott hotel, marking the brand's entry in Chattanooga, Tenn. The hotel is part of the Sears redevelopment project at Hamilton Place and will be between The Cheesecake Factory and the yet-to-be-developed Dave & Buster's.

* MRSS Partners Ltd., a partnership of Satya Inc. and Stolz Partners LLC, purchased a tract of land in Montgomery County, Texas, for a 510-acre mixed-use development with space for more than 800 new homes, the Houston Business Journal reported. The property is between Interstate 45 and State Highway 75 on the border of Willis and Conroe.

The partnership is in talks to sell 230 acres of the parcel to an unnamed national home developer to develop the houses, the publication noted, citing Satya CEO Sunny Bathija.

* TIAA unit Nuveen Real Estate purchased the 182-unit Junction Flats building at 643 N. Fifth St. in Minneapolis for $50 million from Greystar, the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal reported, citing a certificate of real estate value. The property previously changed hands for $49 million in 2014.

* Oliver Tyrone Pulver Corp. and American Real Estate Partners received financing for and will go ahead with the $112 million, 260,000-square-foot Seven Tower Bridge development in Conshohocken, Pa., the Philadelphia Business Journal reported. The 14-story riverfront building at 110 Washington St. will be anchored by a 130,000-square-foot lease by Hamilton Lane Inc.

Morgan Stanley Investment Management unit Mesa West Capital is providing the financing. Construction is expected to be completed in November 2020.

After the bell

* Private equity giant Blackstone Group Inc.'s Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust Inc. agreed to purchase the real estate assets of The Bellagio Las Vegas from MGM Resorts International for approximately $4.25 billion, excluding closing costs, in a 95/5 joint venture with MGM.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng increased 0.61% to 26,664.28, and the Nikkei 225 went up 1.20% to 22,472.92.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 lost 0.12% to 7,201.94, and the Euronext 100 was essentially flat at 1,100.88.

On the macro front

The retail sales report, the Atlanta Fed business inflation expectations report, the business inventories report, the housing market index, the Beige Book and the Treasury international capital report are due out today.

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