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RE investor closes $500M fund; $580M Affinity Gaming sale gets OK in Nevada

Commercial real estate

* Retail real estate investment management firm Asana Partners closed a debut fund with $500 million in equity commitments, according to a release. The Asana Partners Fund I targets retail real estate investment opportunities in high growth urban and infill neighborhood locations across the U.S. Twenty five percent of the fund's equity commitments have already been invested in or committed to retail markets in Washington, D.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; Atlanta; and Austin, Texas.

* In an earnings call, Blackstone Group President Tony James said that real estate investment opportunities "are scattered and tend to be around some larger multi-property assets," The Real Deal reported.

The company had $102 billion in real estate assets under management at 2016-end, marking a 9% increase from 2015. Real estate reportedly reflects the company's largest business line after private equity, the report noted.

* New York City's Economic Development Corp. selected developer Omni New York to build a mixed-use complex in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, N.Y., with more than 350 affordable apartments, Crain's New York Business reported. The project will replace a former New York Police Department parking garage.

The development is a key component of Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration's economic development initiative, which aims to promote job growth and retail development in the neighborhood, the report noted.

* Multifamily prices in New York City's outer boroughs increased during 2016, while the number of sales in the city hit a five-year low during the year, The Real Deal reported, citing Ariel Property Advisors.

The Queens market logged positive gains compared to 2015, with the dollar volume skyrocketing 59% to $1.6 billion, and a 15% boost in overall prices. Transaction volume, the lowest of the boroughs, was in line with the 75 transactions in 2015.

The Manhattan and Brooklyn boroughs saw lower metrics compared to 2015, with transaction and building volumes dropping 18% and 30%, respectively in Manhattan. Brooklyn saw a decline of 28% in dollar volume and 22% in transaction volume.

* Developer Douglas Jemal unveiled the first phase of his $100 million redevelopment of the vacant One Seneca Tower in downtown Buffalo, N.Y., the Buffalo Business First reported. The developer has filed site plan documents with the Buffalo Planning Board for the 38-story, 1.1 million-square-foot building.

The western wing of the property could have up to 200 market-rate apartments. Meanwhile, up to 75,000 square feet of retail space could be developed along the east wing.

Development plans for the building could include a mix of office, residential and hospitality spaces, according to the report.

* Chicago's office market saw 3.16 million square feet of net leasing in 2016, beating Phoenix by just under 14,000 square feet to clinch the top spot among major U.S. markets, the Phoenix Business Journal reported, citing JLL. The report noted that Manhattan had negative net office leasing during 2016, with 1.56 million square feet of space freed up during the year.

* The San Francisco Business Times, citing Atlas Hospitality Group, reported that the San Francisco Bay Area is expected to see 10 new hotel openings before December 2017, adding approximately 1,774 rooms to the market after no major hotels opened during 2016.

* On a related note, San Francisco's office market is set to see more than 3 million square feet of new office space added in 2017, twice the amount added in 2016, the San Francisco Business Times reported. The office space addition, which marks the largest in the past three decades, includes Salesforce Tower, slated to be the city's tallest building.

The report noted that 40% of the expected addition is already preleased, with the technology industry accounting for a majority of the preleasing.

* Vacuum giant Dyson is planning to move its U.S. headquarters to Chicago's Fulton Market later in 2017, following a trend set by Google's move to the area, the Chicago Tribune reported, citing Phil Molyneux, Dyson's president of the Americas. The company will leave its present space at 600 West Chicago and move to an under-construction nine-story building at 1330 W. Fulton St.

Google moved its Midwest headquarters to Fulton Market at the end of 2015, with other technology companies and start-ups following suit.

After the bell

* Wynn Resorts Ltd. reported year-over-year growth in net income during the fourth quarter of 2016 and saw net revenue gains from the launch of the company's Wynn Palace resort.

* The New York office market is seeing its own version of the "Trump bump" apparent in the public markets in recent weeks, according to SL Green Realty Corp. executives.


* According to The Real Deal's analysis of condominium offering plans accepted for sale by the New York State Attorney General, 2,614 condos were approved in Manhattan between November 2015 and November 2016. During the same period, a combined 3,577 condos were approved for sale in the Brooklyn and Queens boroughs.


* The Nevada Gaming Commission unanimously approved private equity firm Z Capital Partners LLC's $580 million acquisition of Affinity Gaming, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. The sale was announced in August 2016.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng slipped 0.06% to 23,360.78, while the Nikkei 225 increased 0.34% to 19,467.40.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.06% to 7,157.12, and the Euronext 100 was down 0.33% to 934.39.

On the macro front

The GDP report, the consumer sentiment report and the durable goods orders are due out today.

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