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Microsoft commits $500M to affordable housing; NYC investment sales hit $49.1B

Commercial real estate

* Tech giant Microsoft Corp. committed to invest $500 million to increase and preserve affordable housing in and around Seattle. The investment is aimed at preserving existing affordable housing stock, developing new supply and partnering with nonprofits to take on the affordable housing crisis in the Puget Sound region and the Eastside of King County, Microsoft said in a release.

* New York City investment sales reached a deal volume of $49.1 billion in 2018, reversing two years of declines with a 34.5% year-over-year jump from $36.5 billion in 2017, The Real Deal reported, citing Cushman & Wakefield. Manhattan, N.Y., accounted for $32.3 billion worth of investment sales in 2018, marking a 44% year-over-year increase in volume and a 9% increase in the number of properties sold.

* New York City officials said the city financed more than 10,000 new affordable units with investments of more than $1.7 billion in 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported. The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio has a target of building or preserving 300,000 units by 2026. City officials said the administration has financed more than 38,700 new units and preserved more than 83,000 affordable units since 2014.

* Hudson Cos. and Related Cos. received roughly $123 million in financing from three public agencies and Citigroup's community capital division for a 340-unit affordable residential project in their Riverwalk development on Roosevelt Island in New York City, The Real Deal reported. The agencies are the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the New York City Housing Development Corp. and New York State HCR.

The publication added that 60% of the units will be permanently affordable and the remainder will remain affordable for 40 years. The project is expected to complete in 2021.

* The Journal reported that WeWork Cos. Inc. CEO Adam Neumann has "made millions of dollars" due to his ownership interests in multiple properties that are leased to WeWork, an arrangement that has raised conflict of interest concerns from investors. According to the publication, a WeWork spokesperson said the company's board or an independent committee reviews and approves all related-party deals, while Neumann declined to comment through a spokesman.

* WeWork has leased 10 floors spanning 146,000 square feet at the 830 Brickell development in Miami that is being developed by OKO Group and is slated for completion in early 2021, The Real Deal reported.

* IDS Real Estate Group and a PNC Realty Advisors-managed pension fund are seeking $280 million from the sale of the C3 office campus at 5800 Bristol Parkway in Culver City, Calif., The Real Deal reported. The fully leased seven-story property, spanning 311,000 square feet, features a private fitness center, an outdoor kitchen, bocce courts, a dog park and an amphitheater.

* Kennedy-Wilson Holdings Inc. bought a 987,420-square-foot office campus in West Hills, Calif., for $160 million from Brookfield Asset Management Inc., The Real Deal reported, citing unnamed sources. The Corporate Pointe at West Hills campus spans 80 acres and has 10 multilevel buildings, a 144-seat amphitheater, a cafe and 969 car parking spaces, among other facilities.

Brookfield paid $92 million for the asset in 2013. A Brookfield spokesperson confirmed the deal, while the buyer did not answer requests for comment, the publication added.

* Stockbridge Capital Group LLC acquired the Powerline Business Park at 4100 Powerline Road in Pompano Beach, Fla., from Industrial Development Co. for about $62.3 million, the South Florida Business Journal reported, citing Cushman & Wakefield, which represented the seller.

Sitting on a 26.4-acre site, the 96.8%-occupied property encompasses 443,720 square feet of industrial space and lists First World Imports, CMC Bakery and Bernoti Corp. among its tenants, according to the report.

* Reuters featured a report on the increase in office-to-residential conversions as many cities and states face housing affordability problems as well as high office vacancy rates. A number of states are also considering conversions of other commercial spaces that are being vacated such as big box stores and groceries.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng fell 0.54% to 26,755.63, while the Nikkei 225 was down 0.20% to 20,402.27.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.52% to 6,827.00, and the Euronext 100 was down 0.26% to 934.70.

On the macro front

The U.S. Housing starts report, the jobless claims report, the EIA natural gas report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

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