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Hines Global REIT sells Seattle asset; Alibaba expands Manhattan HQ

Commercial real estate

* Hines Global REIT Inc. concluded the sale of KOMO Plaza in Seattle for a net contract sale price of approximately $276 million, exclusive of transaction costs and closing prorations. The property, which Hines acquired in December 2011 for $160 million, was sold to GI TC Seattle LLC.

* Singapore's United Overseas Bank loaned developer Harry Macklowe $116 million for the construction of a planned 35-story condominium tower on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, The Real Deal reported, citing property records filed with the city. The bank also agreed to revise an existing $65 million acquisition loan on the property, the report noted.

* Sealy & Co. acquired a 163,797-square-foot business park on more than 19 acres on Canyon Drive in Dallas' DFW Airport submarket. The business park includes 4.15 acres of developable land.

* Foundry Commercial is teaming up with Thackeray Partners to develop two class A, industrial buildings in the southwest submarket of Charlotte, N.C. The SteelePoint development will offer approximately 367,000 square feet of institutional warehouse space.

Foundry closed on four parcels from two sellers totaling 25 acres, allowing SteelePoint to offer access from Steele Creek and Ed Brown roads.

* The Wall Street Journal featured a report on potential, radical tax reforms for all businesses, including the real estate industry, in President-elect Donald Trump's presidency. A blueprint made in June by House Republicans aims, among other things, to eliminate the deduction for state and local property tax.

The proposal released in June seeks to preserve the mortgage interest deduction, but also nearly double the standard deduction that taxpayers could receive, thus eliminating most itemized deductions. Trump proposed an even greater standard deduction.

Real estate industry leaders are concerned that fewer people would eventually be incentivized to purchase homes, which would possibly impact the broader economy, according to the report.

* Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has expanded its new headquarters at 860 Washington St. in downtown Manhattan to more than 30,000 square feet, Crain's New York Business reported, citing sources. The expansion makes Alibaba the biggest office tenant in the building.

The $200 billion company has leased the seventh, eighth and ninth floors, after initially committing to the seventh floor only over the summer, the report noted. The company subsequently expanded onto the eighth floor, and has now decided to lease the ninth floor too.

* Federal Capital Partners and Strategic Capital Partners signed Align Technology for 60,000 square feet at the 200,000-square-foot Forty540 office development in Raleigh-Durham, N.C. The project is now 30% leased, with 140,000 square feet of floor space still available. Construction on Forty540 is scheduled to complete in March 2017, according to a news release.

* Meadow Partners bought a 96,000-square-foot office building at 57-63 Willoughby St. in downtown Brooklyn, N.Y., for $54 million, The Real Deal reported, citing sources. The building, bought from seller and occupant Helen Keller Services for the Blind, has unused development rights for more than 100,000 square feet.

Meadow secured a five-year $50.2 million loan from Square Mile Capital to fund the acquisition, future leasing costs and building renovations, the report noted, citing JLL, which brokered the financing.

* The developers of an 18-story rental apartment building at McKinney Ave. and Boll St. in Dallas received approval to start construction, which is slated to begin in 2017, The Dallas Morning News reported. The building, which is a project of Mockingbird Venture Partners LLC and M&M Venture LLC, will comprise 110 units and it is one of four residential high-rises under construction along McKinney Ave., the report noted.

The property will feature a restaurant and a fitness center, Dallas Cothrum of Masterplan Consultants, which worked with the developers to get planning approval, reportedly said.

* Bell Partners Inc. and German investment manager HANSAINVEST acquired the Indigo House apartment complex in Sandy Springs, Ga., the Triad Business Journal reported. The 180-unit complex will be renamed Bell Glenridge and managed by Bell.

The acquisition is the first of the partnership involving Bell and HANSAINVEST's HANSA U.S. Residential Fund, according to the report.

* Developer Picerne Development Corp. is seeking planning approval for the class A, 343-unit Oasis apartment complex in Orlando, Fla., the Orlando Business Journal reported. The roughly $56.6 million two-building development is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2017 and is expected to complete by 2018-end.

The developer has three other projects under construction in Orlando, according to the report.

* Foulger-Pratt is set to break ground in 2017 on the White Flint mixed-use scheme in East Village at North Bethesda Gateway in Montgomery County, Md., the Washington Business Journal reported. The 557,918-square-foot project received concept approval in 2013; however, the developer refiled plans to include more residential and retail elements but smaller massing for project.

After the bell

* A Las Vegas Sands Corp. unit agreed to amend the company's existing credit agreement, pursuant to which term-loan lenders will provide refinancing loans of approximately $2.19 billion for the purpose of repricing certain term loans.

* Vornado Realty Trust said it will recognize a fourth-quarter noncash gain of roughly $486 million from the sale of its Skyline office park in Fairfax County, Va.

Meanwhile, Vornado appointed Mandakini Puri to its board of trustees, expanding the board to 10 members.

* Park Hotels & Resorts Inc., Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.'s proposed real estate spinoff, appointed Darren Robb as senior vice president and chief accounting officer.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.83% to 21,754.74. The Nikkei 225 fell 0.01% to 19,401.72.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 had climbed 0.40% to 7,096.70, and the Euronext 100 had retreated 0.09% to 931.36.

On the macro front

Redbook and pending home sales index are due out today.

Now featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Data Dispatch: 139 North American real estate companies increase dividends through Dec. 15: Between Dec. 2 and Dec. 15, 15 SNL-covered North American REITs announced dividend increases.

Data Dispatch: REIT shares suffered after new classification: The creation of a new sector for real estate in the Global Industry Classification Standard coincided with increased investor concerns about valuations and interest rates, REIT observers said.

Keeping It Real Estate: French real estate seen suffering supply shortage in 2017: Investment and rental markets should see price increases as availability shrinks.

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