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Moody's says Austin, Texas, top spot for Amazon HQ; Airbnb aims high-end

Commercial real estate

* The Austin Business Journal reported that Moody's Analytics has ranked Austin, Texas, as the top contender to land Inc.'s second headquarters. Moody's conducted a data-driven study on where Amazon should establish its planned second headquarters and ranked Atlanta as the second most likely metro area to be chosen for the project, followed by Philadelphia and Rochester, N.Y., according to the report.

* Meanwhile, the Memphis Business Journal reported that Amazon plans to invest $72.5 million to develop a 615,000-square-foot facility in Memphis, Tenn., and has filed a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes application to the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis & Shelby County. If the application is approved, the company will develop the "receive center" on an 83-acre lot at 3282 E. Holmes Road that is owned by IDI Gazeley.

* Airbnb Inc. plans to launch a segment in limited markets in 2018 targeting higher-end travelers after having partially poached lower-end customers from big-name hotels, the San Francisco Business Times reported, citing The Information. The home-sharing company could also finance capital improvements at certain properties, and the Airbnb Select is expected to provide "hotel-level amenities," the report noted.

* Pistilli Realty landed a $158.8 million loan from New York Community Bank to refinance a 17-property portfolio across the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island, Real Estate Weekly reported, citing city records.

* RW Selby received a $116 million loan for eco-friendly renovations at its Heights Apartments complex at 7077 Alvern St. in Los Angeles through Fannie Mae's Green Rewards program, Commercial Observer reported, citing Walker & Dunlop, which arranged the financing for the deal.

The roughly 10-acre development includes 582 apartments.

* The Wall Street Journal featured a report on landlords' increasing use of office building lobby space as "hip hangouts" with the introduction of cafes and even public spaces in some cases.

* Related Cos. plans to develop two new affordable housing buildings in Queens, N.Y.'s Far Rockaway neighborhood, The Real Deal reported, citing the office of Councilmember Donovan Richards. The buildings, comprising 145 and 53 units, respectively, will be situated near the company's Gateway Apartments development.

* Natural gas provider NW Natural leased the full 183,500 square feet of office space at the 250 Taylor building in downtown Portland, Ore., that is being developed by Third & Taylor Development LLC and Rockwood Capital, the Portland Business Journal reported. The company expects to move roughly 600 of its 1,100 employees to the location in 2020, according to the report.

* Albany Road Real Estate Partners bought the 168,189-square-foot Hillcrest Tower in north Dallas for an undisclosed price, the Dallas Business Journal reported. The class A property was more than 90% occupied when sold, the report noted.

* The San Antonio City Council gave the go-ahead for a $61.8 million redevelopment of the Red Berry Estate on San Antonio's East Side in a project that the San Antonio Housing Trust Public Facility Corp. plans to carry out in partnership with developers NRP Group and Casey Development, the San Antonio Business Journal reported.

The 84-acre property will be redeveloped into a 330-unit apartment complex and will serve as the future headquarters of hospitality company RK Group, according to the report.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.76% to 28692.80. The Nikkei 225 added 0.47% to 21,255.56.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.06% to 7,540.06, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.06% to 1,048.84.

On the macro front

The Empire State manufacturing survey and the Treasury budget report are due out today.

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