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Weekly Market Report - March 12, 2020

While the stock market is going down, the real estate and construction worlds are preparing for possible delays and rising costs amid the coronavirus. Chinese manufacturing and shipping companies have stopped almost to a halt as China has had almost 79,000 cases of the virus, which lead to an outbreak across the world. The impact has been seen on the retail side as the commercial real estate side has yet to see anything. For construction workers, the concern is around the supply chain as it takes about three weeks to get something from China, so any delay would hurt the process. Most contractors are taking the steps and preparing for the worst. People in the real estate industry hope that if there is any effect, it is a short one. Some in the flexible workspace sector are seeing a potential opportunity. As some companies are coming up with contingency plans, some aren’t and could use co-working space as a place to go in case their buildings get closed. Possible tenants are postponing their search for office space due to the uncertainty in the market.

At the end of February, a lawsuit challenging the city’s property tax system was dismissed. The following day, the mayor’s office announced that the New York City Commission on Property Tax Reform will have its first hearing on March 12th, today. Some major landlords support the coalition that launched the case against the city’s property tax system in 2017. The case points out discrepancies in how the city assesses properties. The coalition accused the system of “being arbitrary and racially discriminatory”. The state’s Appellate Division dismissed the suit, and now the coalition will appeal to the states Court of Appeals. They point out the way homeowners in the city are being taxes, and now with the landlord’s involvement, the coalition hopes to sort out that issue and then move on to the growing tax burden on commercial properties.

New York City will no longer allow a zoning lot to consist of partial tax lots. This will close a loophole that has been used by developers to build super tall building rather than staying with the approved zoning in certain neighborhoods. The developers have said that the judge’s decision to pull the permit is contrary to a decades-old Department of Buildings property. The city is appealing the decision. Twenty or more buildings have used a similar interpretation of the old law. While several community groups and politicians agree with the judge’s decision, multiple real estate players say this sets a “dangerous” precedent and is more evidence of anti-development sentiment that is already happening in the city.


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