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Columbia Property to sell Atlanta office assets; 710-unit project planned in NYC

Commercial real estate

* Columbia Property Trust Inc. is placing the remainder of its Atlanta office portfolio for sale, including the Lindbergh Center and One & Three Glenlake Parkway in the Central Perimeter submarket, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported. The planned sale comes at a time when the office landlord is shifting its focus to acquiring and developing properties in the gateway cities of New York; San Francisco; and Washington, D.C., the publication added.

AT&T Inc. leases more than 955,000 square feet at the Lindbergh Center twin towers until 2020-end and Inspire Brands takes up the entire Three Glenlake building.

* Cape Advisors pre-filed plans with the Department of Buildings for a 710-unit waterfront residential project at 11-28 and 11-12 30th Drive in Queens, N.Y.'s Astoria neighborhood, The Real Deal reported. The project will have three buildings totaling roughly 650,000 square feet. All of the units will be rentals, with roughly 30% affordable, the news outlet added, citing Cape Advisors.

The site, also known as 30-77 Vernon Blvd., was acquired from Criterion Group for $85 million, according to the report.

* A co-op apartment house at 417 Park Ave. in Midtown Manhattan, N.Y., is up for sale in hopes to capitalize on the new Midtown East zoning and JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s plans to redevelop its headquarters, New York Post reported, citing unnamed sources. The property is on the southwest corner of East 55th, and a sale could include the rest of the blockfront, according to the publication.

Kushner Cos. offered $250 million for the 13-story, 28-unit building earlier in 2018 but later walked away from the deal, the publication added. The 1916-era property could double in space to roughly 200,000 square feet under the new zoning, according to the report.

* Midtown Manhattan logged the highest level of office leasing volumes through the third quarter since 2006, Bloomberg News reported, citing CBRE Group Inc. The district saw 13.9 million square feet leased in the nine-month period, with financial companies accounting for 36% of leasing.

The average asking rent for Midtown office space during the third quarter was $78.41 per square foot, marking a 3% decline from the year-ago period and a 2% increase from the second quarter, the news outlet added.

* The Environmental Protection Agency is postponing an update to its energy efficiency rating system for office and industrial buildings after complaints from landlords that the new methodology would unfairly downgrade properties, The Wall Street Journal reported. Energy ratings have an effect on buildings' occupancy and rents as many tenants seek energy-efficient locations. Occupancy levels and rents in turn largely impact property values.

Citing Empire State Realty Trust Inc. CEO Anthony Malkin, the publication added that large office buildings in major cities like New York, Boston, Chicago and Miami would be especially impacted.

* Procter & Gamble Co. is placing a 6.5-acre slice of its 40-acre campus in South Boston up for sale, the Boston Business Journal reported. The parcel up for sale is adjacent to the future headquarters campus of General Electric Co., which paid $83 million in late 2016 for the 2.5-acre site along with MassDevelopment.

A separate report from the publication added, citing confirmation from a real estate industry source, that the 6.5-acre site is expected to sell for at least $216 million, based on the 2016 sale to General Electric at $33.2 million per acre.

Procter & Gamble plans to sell the full parcel to a single buyer. The land can be developed into more than 1 million square feet, according to the report.

* The average Chicago area office rent reached $29.75 per square foot in the third quarter, marking a record high, The Real Deal reported, citing Newmark Knight Frank. The average rent in the year-ago period was $27.35 per square foot.

* Citing Colliers International, The Real Deal reported that office vacancies in suburban Chicago increased to 20.1% at the end of the third quarter, from 19.8% at the end of the second quarter. Average gross asking rents in the suburban Chicago office market increased to $21.19 per square foot in the third quarter from $20.60 per square foot in the year-ago period.

* The Allen Morris Co. plans to build two more apartment projects at the $1 billion Creative Village mixed-use complex with Ustler Development Inc. in Orlando, Fla., the Orlando Business Journal reported, citing President and CEO Allen Morris. The new projects would be similar to the 390-unit, $107 million market-rate apartment complex the company is developing in partnership with Craig Ustler.

The first project is expected to complete in mid-2020.

* Hawaii's retail real estate market is set to have a lower vacancy rate as it starts the holiday season, compared to 2017, as a number of retailers plan to open stores by the end of 2018, the Pacific Business Journal reported, citing CBRE Hawaii. A number of tenants at Alexander & Baldwin Inc.'s Lau Hala Shops in Kailua on Oahu island plan to open during the fourth quarter, the publication added.

After the bell

* Coworking giant WeWork Cos. is in talks to sell a majority stake in the company to SoftBank Group Corp., the Journal reported, citing unnamed sources.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng increased 0.08% to 26,193.07, while the Nikkei 225 rose 0.16% to 23,506.04.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 increased 0.01% to 7,238.30, and the Euronext 100 decreased 0.56% to 1,025.23.

On the macro front

The MBA mortgage applications report, Producer Price Index-Final Demand report, Atlanta Fed business inflation expectations report and Wholesale trade 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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