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Weekly Market Report - January 7, 2021


Covid-19 Vaccine Outlook Prompts Businesses to Dust Off Return-to-Office Plans

Office-building landlords are hoping that the massive Covid-19 vaccination campaign launched in the U.S. this month will lead to millions of people returning to workplaces in 2021 after spending most of the pandemic working from home. But it isn’t going to be soon. Rather, a widespread return probably won’t take place until the late spring or early summer of 2021 when enough people have been vaccinated in the U.S. for the population to come close to achieving “herd immunity,” according to public-health professionals and executives in the real-estate industry. Moreover, the office world that will be re-inhabited next year will look a lot different from the one that was hurriedly vacated in mid-March when the fear of Covid-19 sent much of the U.S. labor force into lockdown. During an initial transition period, office density likely will be low, workers will wear masks and a range of other safety precautions will be followed.


South Street Seaport proposal draws mixed reviews

The Howard Hughes Corporation on Thursday unveiled its latest effort to redevelop the South Street Seaport neighborhood. The $1.4 billion proposal includes the construction of two 470-foot towers which would contain rentals, condos, and office space on a parking lot at 250 Water Street. Initial plans from the developer called for a single tower that would rise nearly 1,000 feet, but local residents and Community Board 1 opposed it. Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the two towers would include 360 units, with at least 100 apartments set aside for families earning 40 percent of the area median income. It would be the first affordable housing built in the community under the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program. This new construction will bring jobs to New York as well as a moral boost to many.


South Bronx Development Moves Forward After Covid-19 Pandemic Delays

A major mixed-use development on the Bronx Harlem River waterfront is scheduled to start construction next month, with developers expected to close on about $349 million in financing next week following months of delay because of the new coronavirus pandemic. The project, Bronx Point, will encompass 542 units of affordable housing on a former industrial site in the borough’s Lower Concourse neighborhood. The development will also house several community and cultural centers, including a permanent location for the Universal Hip Hop Museum. David Dishy, president at L+M Development Partners, said economic uncertainty and anxiety clouded most projects at the beginning of the pandemic last spring, particularly those like Bronx Point that relied on public financing. This new construction will bring jobs to New York as well as a moral boost to many.


WeWork battles Chetrit Group over Midtown lease

WeWork claims the Chetrit Group is threatening to illegally draw down on a multimillion-dollar letter of credit at its Midtown Manhattan location. In a complaint filed in NewYork State Supreme Court, the flexible-office provider claims that its lease at 404 Fifth Avenue requires the landlord to first provide WeWork with a notice of default. Even if those conditions were met, the state’s eviction moratorium precludes the default notice from being served, WeWork claims. And it wouldn’t be the first time: WeWork also alleges Chetrit wrongfully drew down a letter of credit for another lease at 428 Broadway, also known as “The Suspenders Building,” last month.


Low Taxes and High Temperatures Lure Finance Firms to Miami

MIAMI—This city has long pitched itself as an attractive location for finance and tech firms, with its tax advantages, flight connections to New York and cosmopolitan flair. Its efforts appear to be paying off. Private-equity giant Blackstone Group Inc. unveiled plans in October to open an office in the city to serve its internal technology needs that will eventually employ 215 people. Billionaire financier Carl Icahn moved his company to nearby Sunny Isles Beach earlier in 2020. Real-estate investor Starwood Capital Group is building a sleek new 144,000-square-foot headquarters in Miami Beach. A string of smaller tech and finance firms recently opened offices in the area, or said plans are in the works. Venture capitalists including Keith Rabois and Jon Oringer have moved here and hailed its emerging tech scene. This is a very small group of companies making this shift.

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