The Real Deal New York

National Cheat Sheet: Mall landlords take on religious institutions as tenants, Easyknock offers reverse mortgages as federal rules tighten … & more

By Jennifer White Karp | October 12, 2017 06:00PM

Clockwise from left: Developer Terra Group moves ahead on a mixed-use development in Pembroke Pines, Sting reportedly found a buyer for his pad at 15 Central Park West and Apple eyes an 85,000-square-foot office development near Culver City.

Religious institutions increasingly taking vacant retail space in malls

Call it a Hail Mary play: landlords are taking a fresh look at churches to fill vacancies in struggling retail centers. The interest marks a departure for landlords, who typically considered religious institutions to be weak tenants, as they are usually not open all week and could be harder to evict since they don’t pay rent, the Wall Street Journal reported. At least 111 malls and open-air centers now have churches in them, according to an analysis of August 2017 data from the Directory of Major Malls, which tracks 8,200 retail centers in the U.S. There are three churches in the Grand Cities Mall in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and the Outlets in Loveland, Colorado leases 34,000 square feet to three churches and a synagogue. [WSJ]

Startup Easyknock wants to cash in on stricter reverse mortgage rules

A startup wants to convert homeowners — who may be having trouble qualifying for reverse mortgages under stricter federal rules — into renters. Easyknock, an online platform that connects home sellers to buyers, is launching a product next week called Sell and Stay. Homeowners who want to unlock the equity in their homes but don’t qualify for a reverse mortgage can sell their property online, with a stipulation that lets them stay on as renters for a set period of time. Tighter federal rules limiting how much cash borrowers can take out through reverse mortgages took effect on Oct. 2. Sell and Stay is launching in New York City, Long Island, several cities in California, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Orlando and Houston. The company raised $1.2 million in a seed funding round led by Cambridge Innovation Capital last month. [TRD]

U.S. spends more than double on homeowner subsidies than on Section 8: report

Who do housing subsidies benefit more in the U.S., wealthy homeowners or poor and working families? If you guessed poor and working families, you’d be wrong. A comparison of two key housing subsidies by listings website Apartment List found that in 2015, the government waived $71 billion in tax revenue from the mortgage interest deduction, which allows homeowners to write down mortgage interest on their federal income taxes. That figure is more than double than the $29.9 billion spent on the Section 8 rental assistance program, which mostly benefits poor and working families. Wealthier homeowners are more likely to benefit from the MID than lower-income homeowners because the larger one’s mortgage interest is, the higher the value of the deduction. [TRD]

MAJOR MARKET HIGHLIGHTS

Rebuilding homes damaged in California wildfires could cost $65B: report

Wildfires are devastating Napa Valley and Santa Rosa and the cost of completely rebuilding homes there will be daunting. Nearly 172,000 homes in Napa Valley and Santa Rosa are in the line of fire in Northern California, with roughly 11,000 facing significant damage, according to a CoreLogic study reported by the Wall Street Journal. Rebuilding the homes from scratch would cost a whopping $65 billion, according to CoreLogic. Average homes in the Napa and Santa Rosa metro cost about $599,000 — far greater than the country’s average of $201,900 — according to Zillow. The fires spreading through Northern California have already claimed the lives of at least 15 individuals and destroyed much of the wine region. [WSJ]

Apple eyeing Hackman’s La Cienega Expo project in LA: sources

Apple may be moving its original-content division to West Los Angeles, The Real Deal has learned. The company is in talks to lease all of Hackman Capital Partners’ 85,000-square-foot office development at 5500 W. Jefferson Boulevard near Culver City, sources said. The property sits near the La Cienga Expo Line Station. The website for the property lists triple net rent of $3.75 a square foot per month, which would value the lease at $3.83 million a year. A tenant can move into the completed development in January 2018, according to Loopnet. If completed, the lease could be Apple’s second with Hackman. Apple is aggressively moving into the original content space and recently announced it would set aside $1 billion for production. [TRD]

Terra closes on South Florida land, gets construction loan for mixed-use development

South Florida developer Terra Group is moving ahead on its mixed-use development in Pembroke Pines. The firm scored $48.8 million in financing to begin construction on the project called 16000 Pines Market. The lender was Pineland Finance and Investment. Terra also purchased a portion of the development site at 16000 Pines Boulevard for $11.5 million from the city of Pembroke Pines. In 2015, the city had purchased the 27-acre property from the U.S. Postal Service for $17.8 million. The site is currently occupied by a post office and a postal distribution center, but last year, Terra won approval to build 135,000 square feet of retail and 20,000 square feet of restaurant space on the land. [TRD]

Two Chicago developers plan record-tall skyscrapers

Two developers are seeking to approval for new towers that would be among the tallest in the city. JDL Development is looking to spend $700 million to develop two luxury residential towers west of the Loop, including one that would become the city’s sixth-tallest skyscraper. Meanwhile, Related Midwest is planning to build the two tallest towers in the Fulton Market district — a 58-story residential and hotel tower and a 51-story residential tower — according to the Chicago Tribune. Zoning plans have been submitted for the projects. JDL Development is looking to build residential towers with 76 and 45 stories connected to a nine-story retail base. If built as proposed, the taller tower, One Chicago Square, would be 1,011 feet. [Chicago Tribune]

Sutton, SL Green tap German lender again for $225M refinance at NYC’s 650 Fifth

SL Green Realty and Jeff Sutton once again turned to German lender Aareal Bank with the recent refinance deal for their retail space at 650 Fifth Avenue, obtaining a $225 million leasehold mortgage. The debt deal comes 10 months after Nike agreed to a 60,000-square-foot lease at 650 Fifth, with an annual rent starting at $35 million — one of the most expensive retail leases in the city’s history. The new loan agreement replaces a previous $97 million mortgage, also from Aareal, from October 2014, and includes a $128 million gap mortgage. In January of this year, Aareal refinanced SL Green and Sutton’s 724 Fifth Avenue, home to Prada’s flagship store, with a $235 million loan. [TRD]

L&L Holding and pension fund plan $4B spending spree

One can expect to see some properties change hands in New York City soon, courtesy of a new joint venture that’s getting ready to do some major shopping. L&L Holding Company is teaming up with a large domestic pension fund to go on a $4 billion spending spree in New York City.“The objective here is for us to have an identified capital source up front in order to move even more quickly on off-market and even marketed deals,” L&L president Robert Lapidus told The Real Deal. “We thought this is a really good time to have dry powder and think there will be certain situations where there will be less competition [for deals].” JPMorgan is advising the pension fund, which Lapidus declined to name. [TRD]

Sting reportedly sells home at 15 Central Park West for $50M

Sting’s lyrics about walking in fields of gold seem prophetic now that he and his wife Trudie Styler’s duplex at 15 Central Park is reportedly under contract, after being listed in May for $56 million. The buyer has agreed to pay $50 million for the 5,500-square-foot home in the Zeckendorf Development building, the New York Post reported. The apartment is on the 16th and 17th floors of the Robert A.M. Stern-designed building, and has three bedrooms and five-and-a-half bathrooms, according to StreetEasy, which has not recorded the apartment as in contract. The couple is reportedly buying a triplex at 220 Central Park South. The award-winning singer paid $27 million for the 15 Central Park West apartment in 2008, according to the Post. [NYP]