Sunday Summary: A Good Jobs Report Nationwide — and for CRE!

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On Jan. 5, the Department of Labor issued its December jobs report and it was better than expected — 216,000 new jobs. Even better than November!

And, hey, we’re seeing it in commercial real estate, too. There were a slew of prominent hires and promotions last week.

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First up, Trepp’s legendary Manus Clancy — who had been at Trepp for 28 years! — went to competitor LightBox.

Matthews Real Estate Investment Services, the Nashville-based brokerage that is making a play in New York City, picked off investment sales advisers Stephen Dadourian and Matthew Gavin from B6 Real Estate Advisors.

Robert Ferman is ditching his role at Marcus & Millichap (MMI) to join former colleagues Brett Siegel and Dan O’Brien at Newmark (NMRK)’s investment sales office.

Finally, we learned that Blackstone (BX)’s global co-head of real estate, Kenneth Caplan, was promoted to co-chief investment officer at the firm. Nadeem Meghji was promoted to Caplan’s former role, which he will share with Kathleen McCarthy.

It was a pretty good week for Blackstone in general. The firm, along with Paramount Group, managed to pull off a $975 million extension on their commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) loan tied to the 1.6 million-square-foot One Market Plaza in San Francisco, which had been transferred to special servicing. That averted any potential unpleasantness upon the loan’s February 2024 maturity date.

Oh, yeah, and we also heard that they might be looking to sell the Signature Bank portfolio that they paid $1.2 billion for. (Well, that was pretty quick!)

Speaking of Signature, CO was able to tease out some more of the details about the sale. First, some of the initial numbers about the sale were off. It was not 69 cents on the dollar that Related Fund Management, Community Preservation Corporation and Neighborhood Restore paid for their share of the bank’s coveted portfolio. It was 59 cents on the dollar.

There were a lot of reasons CPC and Related won the bid, not the least of which being their background in affordable housing, but a number of other bidders remain, well, bitter about the fact that they threw out significantly larger figures and have nothing to show for it.

Good and bad signs in the market

There’s been a lot of one-steps-forward-two-steps-back data in the real estate market over the last few years.

On the one hand, the investment sales numbers are starting to come in for 2023 … and they were appalling.

A report from Ariel Property Advisors found a mere $21.6 billion in investment sales last year in New York City, a drop of 41 percent from the previous year. Ouch.

Nobody seems to have an answer to New York’s affordable housing problems — and this is starting to hurt Gotham in its pocketbook.

Yet, broker confidence on certain things like, say, multifamily investment sales are rising. Plus, we’re starting to see money start to thaw and companies beginning to lease a little more freely.

In New York, the jeweler David Yurman renewed and expanded its corporate offices to 150,000 square feet at 200 Hudson Street; TD Cowen, the investment bank, renewed its 126,396-square-foot lease at 599 Lexington Avenue; and the real estate investment firm Maverick Real Estate Partners took 10,000 square feet at 330 Madison Avenue.

And there were two big leases on Park Avenue. Flagstar Bank is taking 59,000 square feet of office and retail at 320 Park Avenue and the French skin care brand Caudalie took 14,000 square feet at 381 Park Avenue South.

(This is a strange phenomenon; last week it was all Avenue of the Americas, this week Park. Go figure.)

Don’t forget financings

After much dithering, it finally feels like money is going out the door.

We saw two big financings in New Jersey. In Asbury Park, Starfield Companies nailed a $80 million construction loan from Unity Capital to build a 226-unit multifamily development. (Starfield also raised an additional $21 million from CrowdStreet.) And New York Life Real Estate Investors put out a $53.9 million construction loan for Prism Capital Partners’ 252-unit project called The Nell in Dunellen.

In New York, MAG Partners and Safanad landed $151.4 million from Bank OZK and MetLife Investment Management for their seven-story, 181-unit mixed-use project in Chelsea; and Lightstone bagged $165.6 million to refinance its 430-unit multifamily project in Gowanus, Brooklyn, from Freddie Mac Multifamily.

In Southern California, 3650 REIT provided two big loans for a total of $151 million on an industrial facility and a retail center.

Man, that industrial still keeps going in California.

Prologis just shelled out $50 million for a planned site in Los Angeles County; Walgreens sold a 692,600-square-foot distribution facility in the Inland Empire for $111.7 million, which it’s leasing back for the time being; and Danish logistics company Maersk signed a 1.2 million-square-foot lease with Westcore.

Now, that’s the start of a good year!

Suds duds

We’d toast all this except for the fact that we can’t find a good craft brewer to visit.

It’s true: More than 385 breweries closed around the country in 2023, an unfortunate record. Analysts blame the decline on many factors, including rising rents and too much competition.

“There’s a variety of market forces happening all at once, but almost in slow motion,” explained Laura Dierks, the co-founder and CEO of Interboro Spirits & Ales. “The patterns that might have played out from 2019 into 2021 were delayed by the impact of the pandemic.”

But you can read all about it here if you’re interested in a Sunday read.

See you next week.