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PulteGroup founder retains law firm as battle heats up; Credit Suisse upgrades SL Green, Vornado

Commercial real estate

* AshfordInc. saidits stockholders approved the company's proposed with Remington Holdings LP at aspecial meeting held April 12. The company said the merger is expected tocreate the "only public, pure-play provider of asset and propertymanagement services to the lodging industry."

Ashford Inc. is the external manager of hotel REITs and Ashford Hospitality TrustInc.

* Jared Kushner, Aby Rosen and LVWRK have reportedly agreedto buy the Jehovah'sWitnesses' 733,000-square-foot world headquarters at 25-30 Columbia Heights anda 1.1-million-square-foot as-of-right development site at 85 Jay St. inBrooklyn, N.Y., for roughly $700 million, the New York Post reported.Vornado Realty Trustwas reportedly among the local bidders for the property.

* Amid a limited supply of historic buildings in Toronto,Allied Properties REITis switching its focus away from remodeling such assets and toward newconstruction, Bloomberg News reported.The company is currently marketing and leasing 2.3 million square feet of spaceacross at least three projects in the city, which is the most new office spaceever for the company, according to Michael Emory, Allied Properties' founderand CEO.

* Credit Suisse upgraded SL Green Realty Corp. to "neutral" from "underperform"and Vornado Realty Trustto "outperform" from its previous "neutral" rating, The Real Deal reported.The upgrade comes as both REITs are trading at "significant"discounts to the underlying NAV of their holdings, the news outlet noted.

* D.R. HortonInc.'s D.R. Horton – Schuler Homes LLC's with Honolulu-based MacNaughtonGroup and Kobayashi Group to develop a 38-acre retail center near its Hoopilimaster-planned community in West Oahu, Hawaii, will not proceed after thedevelopers decided to back out of the deal, the Pacific Business Journal reported.

* Forest CityRealty Trust Inc.'s Forest City Ratner and its joint venturepartner, Greenland Group, have hired CBRE to market an equity stake in "ahandful of the 15 buildings" in the Pacific Park in Brooklyn, N.Y., The Real Deal reported.

The partnership, called Greenland Forest City Partners, islikely to use the proceeds from the sale to recapitalize its own investment inthe complex.

* Prologis Inc.has inked a build-to-suit agreement with Fedway Associates to develop a539,000-square-foot distribution center in Elizabeth, N.J., for the wine andspirits distributor, reported.

* The New York Convention Center Development Corp. isseeking developers for the $1 billion expansion of the onManhattan, N.Y.'s Far West Side, Crain'sNew York Business and TheReal Deal reported.

* The New York Timescarriesa feature on the "real estate prairie" of Manhattan's Chinatown,where developers face fewer regulations than in the neighboring East Villageand other parts of lower Manhattan. The paper said Chinatown and the Lower EastSide are a "crash point" for the demands of a growing city, withfewer rent-regulated apartments but a higher population of workers of modestmeans, combined with increasing real estate values and relatively few zoninglimits.

* Sweden-based Skanska saidthat it sold an office development in the U.S. to Germany's Union InvestmentReal Estate GmbH for $452 million. According to a newsrelease, the 101 Seaport tower in Boston stands 17 stories high and spans41,000 square meters.

The Boston Globe notedthat the deal has set a new record in the city for the highest price for alarge office building at $1,027 per square foot.

* Chicago has devised a "strict" timetable for theproposed sale and redevelopment of the old main in downtown Chicago, the ChicagoTribune reported.Under the new timeline, the buyer, 601W Cos., is required to complete theacquisition of the 2.5 million-square-foot structure and adjacent propertiesowned by International Property Developers North America by June 1. If 601Wmisses the deadline, the city will again invite proposals to redevelop theproperty, according to the report.

* The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is looking toinvestigate the "targeted employment areas" under the investor visa program and enactreforms, the Journal reported.

After the bell

* PNK Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of ,priced its privateoffering of $375 million of senior notes. The notes will be issuedat a price equal to 100.0% of their face value and will have an interest rateof 5.625% per year, the company saidin a news release.

* PulteGroupInc. director James Grosfeld has resigned from the company's board,effective April 12. Grosfeld, who served on the board's financeand investment committee, said he sees no "useful purpose" ofremaining on the board, noting that he has been excluded from numerous boardmeetings since March 22, according to a filing.

* Red LionHotels Corp. CFO James Bell has stepped down to explore a differentprofessional venture.

Accordingly, the company's board named David Wright to assumethe CFO post on an interim basis, with immediate effect. Executive search firmAETHOS Group has been hired to aid the company's board in its search for apermanent CFO, according to a newsrelease.


* PulteGroup Inc. founder Bill Pulte has engaged two lawyersfrom a shareholder activism-focused law firm, Bloomberg News . It suggests that Pulte, who isalso the homebuilder's largest stockholder, is not backing down from hiscampaign against the company's outgoing CEO Richard Dugas, who has the board'sbacking.

Pulte retained Aneliya Crawford and Steve Wolosky, who arepartners with Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP as well as members of that firm'sActivist & Equity Investment Practice, according to the report.


* The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority grantedconsent to the payment of $42 million for the implosion of the two hotel towersat the shuttered Rivieracasino hotel in Las Vegas, VegasInc reported.The implosions will take place separately in June and August.

The day ahead

U.S. markets are expected to start the day's trading on ahigher note as the Nasdaq composite index, the S&P 500 and the Dow JonesIndustrial Average were trading above fair value in early morning futurestrading.

In Asia, the Hang Seng rose 3.19% to 21,158.71, and theNikkei 225 rose 2.84% to 16,381.22.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 was up 1.38% to6,328.29, and the Euronext 100 had climbed 2.08% to 874.35.

On the macro front

The retail sales report, the Atlanta Fed's businessinflation expectations survey, the EIA petroleum status report, the PPI-FDreport and the Beige Book are also due out today.

Now featured

Data Dispatch:US equity REITs' Q1 capital raising activity down 38.4% YOY:Publicly traded U.S. equity REITs had raised $13.59 billion via capitalofferings through March 31, 38.4% less than the $22.03 billion raised duringthe same period in 2015.

Data Dispatch:As fight with founder rages, data paints a mixed picture at PulteGroup:While PulteGroup founder William Pulte demands the immediate removal ofChairman and CEO Richard Dugas Jr., arguing the company has dramaticallyunderperformed its peers under his leadership, SNL data indicates the situationat the homebuilder is not quite as dire as Pulte asserts.

Real EstateRundown: Nontraded REIT sales dry up in Q1: With the industryundergoing significant change, the top-sponsors list after the first quarterlooked very different than the 2015 rankings, with a new leader in place.

Real EstateRundown: Investors find something to like in Ashford Prime's muted strategic-reviewnews: Though the roughly eight-month review yielded no majortransaction and analysts were lukewarm on the results, Ashford Prime shareprices have risen in recent days.

Brixmor sharesget boost with new CEO in place: The search for a permanent CEOreplacement following the accounting discrepancy that came to light in Februarywas expected to take longer.

The Daily Dose isupdated as of 7:30 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription.Articles and links are correct as of publication time.