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Weekly Market Report - August 20, 2021


U.S. Jobless Claims Fell to Pandemic Low of 348,000 Last Week

Jobless claims fell to a new pandemic low last week, suggesting the labor market continues to heal even as the Delta variant causes uncertainty. First-time applications for benefits, a proxy for layoffs, fell by 29,000 to a seasonally adjusted 348,000 in the week ended Aug. 14, the Labor Department said Thursday. That was the lowest level of claims since the pandemic took hold in the U.S. in March 2020. The four-week moving average, which smooths often volatile data, fell to 377,750 last week, also a fresh pandemic low. New jobless claims have fallen for four straight weeks and are down more than 50% since January.


State Street, which manages $3.5 trillion, is closing its New York offices

State Street, one of the world's largest asset managers, is shutting down its two midtown Manhattan offices as the Wall Street firm embraces a hybrid working model. The move by State Street (STT), the company behind the "Fearless Girl" statue outside the New York Stock Exchange, underscores the pressure facing the commercial real estate market as the pandemic changes the way people work. State Street, which manages about $3.5 trillion, is closing both of its offices located near Rockefeller Center. The move will impact approximately 500 employees who previously worked there, a person familiar with the matter told CNN. "To accommodate our hybrid workforce, we have taken a diligent look at our real estate footprint in NYC and ensuring that our realty needs are in line with where our employees will be working," State Street said in a statement.


ViacomCBS sells Black Rock building to Harbor Group for $760M

ViacomCBS is known for its iconic franchises on TV and movie screens, but one of its best known assets will soon be leaving the entertainment conglomerate after decades. Following half a century of ownership, the media giant is selling Black Rock, its 38-story office tower at 51 West 52nd Street, to Harbor Group International for $760 million, Variety reported. At $760 million, the sale price would work out to approximately $874 per square foot.


Saks Fifth Avenue Owner, WeWork to Run Co-Working Spaces in Former Stores

The owner of Saks Fifth Avenue is converting parts of department stores into co-working spaces with WeWork, a strategy that marries the popularity of remote work with the struggles of bricks-and-mortar retail. Hudson’s Bay Co. plans to open its first five co-working offices next month in the New York City area, company executives said. The new venture, dubbed SaksWorks, calls for WeWork to run and staff co-working spaces in buildings that are owned by Hudson’s Bay. The Canadian retail business group is transforming current and former Saks stores, and some of the spaces previously occupied by Lord & Taylor, into these WeWork-managed co-working offices. The nearly 200-year-old department chain declared bankruptcy in 2020 and said it would close all its remaining stores to operate exclusively as an e-commerce retailer. Hudson’s Bay Co. owns the buildings that were once occupied by Lord & Taylor stores.


Another landlord is going after Equinox for delinquent rent

Upscale fitness club Equinox is facing yet another accusation of skipping out on rent. The luxury fitness company’s landlord at 670 Broadway accused the gym of being about $3.3 million behind on its payments, in a lawsuit filed Tuesday. Equinox signed its lease for the NoHo property in October 2015. The lease required it to pay $300,000 per month through October of this year and $340,500 per month from November of this year through October 2026, according to court documents. The monthly rent was reduced to $199,500 from Dec. 1 through May 1 based on the gym operating under a 33% capacity restriction, but Equinox still has not paid its rent in full since December, the lawsuit claims.

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