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$1B price tag expected for NYC office stake; HNA sells property near Trump Tower

Commercial real estate

* The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority's majority stake in the 330 Madison Ave. tower in Manhattan, N.Y., is expected to hit the market with a price tag of roughly $1 billion, the New York Post reported, citing unnamed sources. Office landlord Vornado Realty Trust owns a 25% stake in the property and does not intend to sell its interest, the sources told the publication.

The 43-story, 845,000-square-foot office tower received a $500 million refinancing in July 2017 when it was valued at $850 million, the report noted.

* HNA Group Co. Ltd. completed the sale of its 90% stake in the 850 Third Ave. tower in Manhattan, Bloomberg News reported, citing a statement from HNA that did not provide details. The ownership of the 21-story building by a Chinese entity drew national security concerns due to its proximity to Trump Tower and the fact that it housed a police precinct.

HNA and its partners had paid $463 million for the asset in 2016, before Donald Trump became U.S. president. Bloomberg noted, citing a Bisnow report, that HNA was selling the stake for $422 million to Jacob Chetrit and his sons.

* Youngwoo & Associates LLC secured $130.6 million in financing from Shanghai Commercial Bank Ltd. for the development of its Radio Tower & Hotel project at 2420 Amsterdam Ave. in the Washington Heights neighborhood in Manhattan, The Real Deal reported, citing records filed with the Department of Finance of New York.

The 22-story joint project by Youngwoo and Beijing Construction and Engineering Group International will feature a hotel, office and retail space, the publication noted.

* CBRE Group Inc. affiliate CBRE Global Investors Inc. paid $190 million for two apartment towers in the Fourth Ward neighborhood of Charlotte, N.C., the Charlotte Business Journal reported, citing Mecklenburg County real estate records. The 672-unit SkyHouse Uptown project contains two 24-story towers, with the deal translating to more than $280,000 per unit.

* The Wall Street Journal reported that the developers of a senior housing, luxury residential and retail project in the Houston suburb of Pearland, Texas, settled charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission, agreeing to pay $51.4 million in penalties and reimbursements to investors. The developers were accused of "improperly" transferring $20.5 million of the roughly $50 million received from foreign investors under the EB-5 visa program into other real estate investments.

According to documents that the publication reviewed, the project's developers and the company that marketed it abroad are all owned by Hong Kong-listed property company Modern Land (China) Co. Ltd. The visa program has been criticized for loopholes and abuses and was scheduled to expire three years ago but has been receiving short-term extensions.

* Mondelez International is leasing 77,100 square feet of office space at Thor Equities' 905 W. Fulton St. in downtown Chicago for its global headquarters, The Real Deal reported, citing an announcement from officials of the snack maker. Mondelez is moving its headquarters from Deerfield, Ill., and joins a number of companies shifting to downtown Chicago from the suburbs.

* The vacancy rate in Chicago's suburban office market at the end of 2018 remained unchanged at 19.5% at the beginning of the year, The Real Deal reported, citing Colliers International. Average rents increased to $21.32 per square foot from $20.81 per square foot at the end of 2017.

Housing

* Lennar Corp. reported net earnings attributable to the company of $796.1 million, or $2.42 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2018 from nearly $309.6 million, or $1.29 per share, in the year-ago period.

* A former employee of Lennar subsidiary Eagle Home Mortgage is alleging in a whistleblower lawsuit that it gave loans to unqualified borrowers and manipulated data to get the loans approved, The Real Deal reported, citing the Tampa Bay Times. Wanda Burling served as senior quality control manager at the mortgage lending subsidiary of the homebuilder and claims she was fired in March 2017 after reporting the alleged violations.

Burling sued Lennar and Eagle Home in November 2018 in Pinellas County Circuit Court near Tampa, Fla.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng increased 2.27% to 26,462.32, while the Nikkei 225 increased 1.10% to 20,427.06.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 increased 1.02% to 6,931.58, and the Euronext 100 was up 1.05% to 939.02.

On the macro front

The MBA mortgage applications, the EIA petroleum status report and the Federal Open Market Committee minutes 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

Research Roundup: Raymond James issues slew of real estate ratings changes for 2019: Robert W. Baird analysts also had a couple of adjustments to their real estate investment trust ratings.

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