It is hard to pinpoint how much of the $787 billion in federal economic stimulus funds is making its way into actual real estate developments, but projects adding value to real estate are under way, or on the way, in all four corners of the country—and many places in between. While the massive injection of taxpayer capital into the economy is not without its critics, it has prompted one of the biggest increases in construction spending the industry has experienced in a long time.
Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs), owned by national governments to invest a country’s surplus wealth, will become an increasingly important source of capital for real estate—particularly in the United States, and especially in a market that has seen a decrease in capital available from other institutional investors. And as the U.S. economy recovers, SWFs—along with pension funds and real estate investment trusts —are likely to be very active in U.S. real estate investment.
For years before the clock ticked down on the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), policy makers and advocates have grappled with what should replace it. A major reform effort may be unlikely for the next few years, or longer. Where does a new bill stand, and what is happening in the meantime?
Washington, D.C. is generally not known for either artists or gritty industrial space, but both exist there. One project attempting to turn these rare commodities to its advantage is the Brookland Artspace Lofts project, which will provide 41 affordable live/work apartments for working artists. Gap financing linked to the federal stimulus program, plus support from a local dance school, helped make the project possible.
How will your city and its public officials, urban thinkers, and community leaders score in the future based on whether they rose to the challenge of doing more with less or gave in to the temptation of policy retrenchment and disinvestment? Read how one city has focused on playing to its competitive strengths and diversifying its economy.
From Australia to Canada, from the U.K. to the U.S, see ten examples where cash-strapped city and state governments get new or refurbished parks, libraries, or recreation facilities. Private sector partners get added value such as higher home prices and enhanced foot traffic for retail, entertainment, and dining uses. In some cases, the private sector partner builds and operates justice or transit structures in exchange for development rights.
From open spaces in Singapore and a remote part of China, to revamped malls in the Philippines and Australia, to a greenbelt that gives vertical lift to apartment living, the five winners of the 2010 ULI Awards for Excellence: Asia Pacific all feature the latest technology, sustainable design, and artistic innovation. They not only enhance their own value, but also engage visitors and improve the quality of life for the millions who experience these projects.
Should developing countries follow the American model of urban design from the past several decades, which is largely car-based? An international exhibition, on display in New York City until September 11, explores ways to stem the spread of this model, in favor of alternatives that include Bus Rapid Transit and bicycles.
The exhibition, “Our Cities Ourselves,” was organized by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.
Federal tenants have great leverage in today’s soft real estate market. The General Services Administration can reap deep discounts at high-quality buildings across all U.S. markets, and federal agencies can embark on extensive building projects while construction costs are depressed. Meanwhile, higher security standards post-9/11 are causing the Department of Defense to shift occupancy from urban locations to rural and suburban areas.
It will be years before we know the full details and impacts of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, signed by President Obama in July. How will it impact commercial real estate? A top executive of the Real Estate Roundtable gives you a look into some key provisions that hold special meaning for CMBS issuers and investors, as well as firms who want to manage their risk exposure through over-the-counter derivatives.