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Sears to shutter more stores amid bankruptcy; Cousins plans Atlanta tower

Commercial real estate

* Struggling department store chain Sears Holdings Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection, with CEO Edward Lampert stepping down. The company plans to close 142 unprofitable stores near year-end, in addition to the 46 stores that are expected to be shuttered by November.

Lampert's hedge fund ESL Investments Inc. is in discussions with Sears regarding a stalking-horse bid to acquire a large part of the company's store base.

* Cousins Properties Inc. filed a land development permit for a planned 31-story office tower in Atlanta's Midtown with ground-floor retail space, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported. The project, dubbed 8th @ West, will have 485,000 square feet of office space and 6,000 square feet of retail space.

The project would be the tallest to be built in Midtown in roughly a decade, according to the report. The development is expected to cost between $150 million and $200 million. The project, which would rise on less than an acre between 7th and 8th streets, would redevelop the block that presently houses The Daiquiri Factory. Construction is expected to commence in January 2019.

* Vanbarton Group LLC acquired the Fifty Five Fifty multifamily complex in Los Angeles' Hollywood neighborhood for $148 million, The Real Deal reported. The 5550 Hollywood Blvd. property, featuring 280 residential units and 12,000 square feet of retail space, was sold by multifamily developer Wood Partners. The class A property was completed in April.

* Braves Development Co. LLC and Pollack Shores Real Estate Group LLC sold the 531-unit Home at The Battery Atlanta to multifamily investor Cortland Partners for $156 million, Bisnow reported, citing the buyer. The property's per-unit price of $29,300 is the second highest paid for an Atlanta apartment so far in 2018, the news outlet added, citing Colliers International Atlanta.

* San Jose, Calif., has roughly 22,600 residential units proposed, under construction or recently completed, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported, citing city records and its own reporting over the past year-and-a-half. The publication's Crane Watch map compiles every large development project that arrives at the San Jose city hall.

* A proposal by Electric Red Ventures LLC, which is owned by Medistar Corp., was accepted by the city of Phoenix for the redevelopment of the Central Station transit depot into a mixed-use project with two high-rise towers, the Phoenix Business Journal reported. The project is expected to have a $362 million economic impact.

The winning proposal for the 2.6-acre site calls for 150 hotel rooms; 300 market-rate residential units; 217 student housing units totaling 600 beds; 47,350 square feet of ground-floor retail, restaurant and grocery space; and 35,350 square feet of office space. The hotel rooms and apartments will be in a 30-story tower, while the student housing units will sit in an 18-story tower.

* The Wall Street Journal featured a report on the rise of the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, N.Y., as a destination for investors seeking newly built condominium units, while investment sales of new inventory in Manhattan, N.Y., have weakened amid high prices.

At least a third of all new condo units sold in Long Island City since 2017 have been acquired by investors, the publication reported, citing a new study of sales. Modern Spaces CEO Eric Benaim said investors are not seeking buy-and-flip deals in the area but are interested in the neighborhood's future as a desirable place, the report added.

* Simon Baron Development Group LLC became the sole owner of 393 West End Ave. in Manhattan after buying out private equity group Quadrum Global's 97.8% stake in the 114-unit rental building for $130.9 million, The Real Deal reported, citing filed records.

* John Buck Co. received $75 million to refinance the 3Eleven luxury apartment building in Chicago's River North, The Real Deal reported. The refinancing for the 245-unit property at 311 W. Illinois St. was provided by Helaba and replaces a $54 million mortgage from Wintrust Bank that was taken out in 2016.

* Knickpoint Ventures landed a $50.1 million mortgage for its stake in The Fields mixed-use complex on Chicago's Northwest Side, The Real Deal reported. The loan is provided by TH Commercial Mortgage. The 1.5 million-square-foot complex project is a redevelopment of the former Marshall Fields warehouse at Diversey Avenue and Pulaski Road. It will deliver apartments, retail, office and warehouse components, spanning a total of 21 acres.

Housing

* Economists predict that the present slowdown in the U.S. housing market is poised to be gentler than during the collapse of 2007 because the market's rise in recent years never came close, by most measures, to the boom levels seen before the collapse, the Journal reported.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, Hang Seng dropped 1.38% to 25,445.06, while the Nikkei 225 fell 1.87% to 22,271.30.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 shed 0.06% to 6,991.79, and the Euronext 100 dropped 0.38% to 985.06.

On the macro front

The retail sales report, Empire State Manufacturing Survey and business inventories 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.

Now featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Seritage prepared to weather potential Sears bankruptcy, analyst says: The real estate investment trust's financing and re-leasing efforts can significantly cover the costs of losing rent revenue from Sears, according to an analyst.

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