Inside Real Estate - March 25th, 2017

Inside Real Estate (Mar 25th, 2017)

Cash sales / Queen Mary / Space skyscraper / Trump's childhood home

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Urban Commons, operators of the Queen Mary ocean liner in Long Beach, California, have proposed a $250 million entertainment complex to refresh the tourist attraction. Plans for Queen Mary Island delivered to Long Beach officials call for additional hotel rooms and restaurants as well as a boardwalk, amphitheater, and new attractions such as zip-lining facilities and a trampoline park. The 81-year-old ship requires an estimated $5.7 million in immediate fixes and repairs over the next five year totaling $289 million. Urban Commons has a 66-year lease from the city. The LA Times reports that the Queen Mary generated $15 million in room rentals, visitor fees, and tickets for events in 2014. Adding more attractions to the 65 acres of waterfront land around the ship is expected to boost revenue. Urban Commons plans to raise money for the project and is not asking for taxpayer assistance. – CURBED LA

All-cash home sales in 2016 represented 32.1 percent of the market, the lowest share since 2007. Cash sales peaked in January 2011, when they represented 46.6 percent of total home sales. The historical average is 25 percent. If cash sales continue to fall, they should be at 25 percent by mid-2019. The report from Corelogic also showed that in 2016, the total rate of distressed sales share was 8.9 percent, the lowest annual rate since 2007. In January 2009, distressed sales reached a high of 32.4 percent. The historical average for distressed sales is two percent, a rate that, if trends continue, should be reached in mid-2018. – HOUSING WIRE

Ford Motor Company is moving 1,800 employees into an anchor tenant space at the Fairlane Town Center in Dearborn, Michigan. The move repurposes a former Lord & Taylor store into offices for engineering and purchasing employees. The employees will work in the space for ten years while Ford revamps its main campus. Overall, Ford is taking over 240,000 square feet of unused mall space used by 26 retailers. Ford revamped the former department store and surrounding space in one wing of the mall by adding stand-up workstations, soft seating, skylights, LED lighting and replacing escalators with stairs. Commercial real estate watchers are applauding the move as an example of one of the ways struggling mall owners can reuse space left vacant by retailers. – MLIVE

New-home sales were up 6.1 percent over January’s sales rate and 12.8 percent higher than last February. The seasonally adjusted annual pace of 592,000 surpassed estimates by economists. Sales rose 30.9 percent in the Midwest as the region is on track for its highest annualized rate of sales since 2007. The median sale price for new homes, which represent approximately 10 percent of the total residential sales market, was $296,200, down 4.9 percent compared with last year. New-home inventory is at 5.4 months which is below long-term averages. Sales of newly constructed single-family homes hit a nine-year high in 2016. – BLOOMBERG

A concept from Clouds Architecture Office suspends a skyscraper from a captured asteroid. Analemma Tower would have its foundation affixed to an asteroid that would have a figure-eight orbit through the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Plans call for breaking the tower into segments for offices, agricultural space, residences, and worship areas. Analemma would get its power from space-based solar panels. The architects recommend building the tower over Dubai where constructing massively tall structures is commonplace. Modules would be prefabricated and attached to the building’s core. Tower residents would disembark via parachute. – DEZEEN

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is seeking to enact a city tax that would add a 2.5 percent surcharge on all residential purchases over $2 million. This new tax would be in addition to the one-percent transfer tax that New York State charges on all home sales over $1 million. The mayor has said the tax is necessary to provide rent subsidies for 25,000 low-income seniors living in the city. The bill will have to pass through the state legislature and be signed by the governor. A study issued by the Independent Budget Office found that of over 150,000 residential transactions between 2014 through 2016, eight percent were for homes over $2 million, mostly in Manhattan. – MANSION GLOBAL

Placester, a maker of real estate websites and technology for real estate agents, received $50 million in a Series D equity funding round from previous investor New Enterprise Associates. So far, venture capital has invested $100 million in the Boston-based company. Placester has said it will use the funds to invest in product development. The company provides technology for Keller Williams and the National Association of Realtors among others. “The real estate industry is huge,” said Placester CEO Matt Barba. “We’ve got this vision to build a platform, an all-in-one platform that agents and [real estate firms] can build their businesses on. We wanted to lean in.” – XCONOMY


A spec home built on the site of Malibu’s former Castle Kashan is listed for $80 million. Developer Scott Gillen’s project known as “The New Castle” is nearly finished and has 15,2000 square feet of space that includes a five-bedroom main house and a two-bedroom guest house. Castle Kashan, a stone fortress formerly owned by socialite Lilly Lawrence, burned down in 2007. As The Real Deal reports, the spec property was listed for $60 million in 2015 and then for $75 million in 2016. Gillen raised the price again after adding furniture and an art collection. – THE REAL DEAL LA

Singer Melanie Brown, also known as Mel B from her Spice Girls days, and her soon-to-be ex-husband, producer Stephen Belafonte, have listed their Hollywood Hills home for $8.995 million. The pair bought the home for $4.34 million in 2014. The four-story home was completely redesigned in 2016 and has city views. Additional features include a home theater, gym, and a recording studio. The home is being sold complete with custom-built furniture. – LA TIMES

Investor Michael Davis has flipped President Trump’s childhood home in Queens, New York for $2.14 million. Davis bought the four-bedroom home in December for $1.39 million and put it up for auction in January. The NY Post reports that the average price for a similar home in the same area is $979,400. The Tudor-style home in the Jamaica Estates area is listed on the president’s birth certificate as his home address. It was built by his father Fred Trump and the Trump family lived in the home until Donald Trump was four years old. – NY POST

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