National Cheat Sheet: Zillow sues Compass, Felix Sater speaks out after Mueller Report release … & more

Apr.April 26, 2019 08:00 AM

Clockwise from top left: Lawsuit filed by Zillow claims Compass poached tech staffers, stole trade secrets, REITs plan to push back amid rent control measures that could hurt them, Felix Sater speaks out after the Mueller Report names him more than 100 times, and March sees increase in new home sales, drop in existing home sales.

Lawsuits filed by Zillow claims Compass poached tech staffers, stole trade secrets
Zillow Group has hit Compass with a pair of lawsuits, claiming the brokerage tried to steal trade secrets and that the firm poached technology staffers who weren’t actually allowed to work for Compass because they’d signed 12-month non-competes. Zillow’s former head of artificial intelligence, Robert Chen, a software engineer and an enterprise sales executive are named as defendants in the suits. Compass, however, claimed it didn’t do anything wrong when it hired the three employees and said it “has never asked and would never accept any trade secrets.” [TRD]

Felix Sater speaks out after the Mueller Report names him more than 100 times
Robert Mueller’s recently released report names former Trump Organization associate and Trump Soho builder Felix Sater more than 100 times, but in an interview with The Real Deal, Sater said he hadn’t read the report. He added that his “main motivation” in getting involved with the campaign was “building a Trump tower in Moscow and making $100 million in the process.” Sater did take issue with what he called “bulls–t reporting’ that was “falsely designed to fit their anti-Trump narrative,” and claimed that his reputation as a “mobster” wasn’t accurate. [TRD]

REITs plan to push back amid rent control measures that could hurt them
Real estate investment trusts could take a hit as states across the country move to back rent control measures, the Wall Street Journal reported. Around a dozen states — including Oregon, California and New York — have either already taken efforts to limit rent hikes or are looking at proposals to do so. The changes could affect REITs including Equity Residential, AvalonBay Communities and Essex Property Trust. Equity Residential’s CEO Mark Parrell, for one, said his company plans to “be active trying to convince both the public and the policy makers of the value of … supply-driven solutions” like building new housing. [TRD]

March sees increase in new home sales, drop in existing home sales
Buyers have been setting their sights on newly-built homes, but aren’t as interested in existing homes, according to Bloomberg. New home sales across the country “unexpectedly rose in March to a 16-month high,” the outlet reported. Existing home sales, however, dropped 4.9 percent from February to March. The outlet attributed the new home sale figures to a drop in mortgage rates, an increase in wages and the Federal Reserve’s decision to hold off on raising interest rates. The previously owned home, data, meanwhile, indicates that the market “is still finding its footing after a weak 2018,” according to the outlet. [TRD]


NYC mayor aims to ban “glass-and-steel skyscrapers” as part of Green New Deal
Mayor Bill de Blasio says he’s hoping to “ban the classic glass-and-steel skyscrapers” — unless they’re energy efficient — as part of the city’s “Green New Deal.” Last week, the City Council passed a bill that will require landlords to cut emissions by 40 percent by 2030. Building owners that don’t comply could face “serious fines,” de Blasio said. “If someone wants to build one of those things, they can take a whole lot of steps to make it energy efficient, but we’re not going to allow what we used to see in the past,” the mayor said. [TRD]

MSD Partners is buying the Boca Raton Resort & Club from Blackstone Group
Blackstone Group plans to sell the Boca Raton Resort & Club to billionaire Michael Dell’s MSD Partners in a deal that’s expected to close mid-year. Blackstone Group bought the 337-acre, 1,047-key resort 15 years ago in a $1.25 billion deal that included several other properties and has since poured more than $300 million into renovations at the site. It wasn’t immediately clear how much MSD Partners plans to pay for the resort, which has two golf courses, a spa, seven swimming pools, a marina and 30 tennis courts, but it’s possible it could go for more than $1 billion. [TRD]

The Windy City’s new building code should be good for the real estate industry, experts say
Chicago is updating its building code for the first time in 70 decades, and experts say it could boost affordable housing, make it easier and less costly to develop and make things easier for architects, since the new code includes many of the standards found in the 2018 International Building Code. “It will help standardize how architects complete projects, so Chicago is not as peculiar as it used to be,” Zurich Esposito, executive vice president of the American Institute of Architects’ Chicago branch, said. Developers will also be able to use techniques and materials that previously required special permission. [TRD]

Los Angeles’ industrial market tops new foreign investment ranking
Foreign investors are pouring money into the Los Angeles, Orange County and Inland Empire industrial market. A new report from CBRE and Real Capital Analytics ranked the market number one in the country, with total foreign investments nearly tripling last year. Los Angeles’ industrial real estate market saw $910 million in investments last year, followed by Dallas/Ft. Worth, which saw $849 million, and Chicago, which saw $618 million. Atlanta and New York City trailed behind in fourth and fifth places, with $475 million and $414 million, respectively. [TRD]

Boston-based SVN International Corporation partners with blockchain-powered MLS
A Boston-based brokerage has become the first commercial brokerage to store its data on the blockchain. SVN International Corporation recently partnered with blockchain-powered multiple listing service Imbrex in an effort to stay current in the technology realm, SVN president and CEO Kevin Maggiacomo said. “When we’re looking at the horizon, we saw radical change coming to commercial real estate,” he said. “We were providing data to these platforms that sold it back to us. The blockchain flips the model.” [TRD]

Longtime owner of infamous Little White Chapel in Las Vegas is selling it for $12M
The Little White Chapel in Las Vegas has hit the market for $12 million. The church’s 84-year-old owner Charlotte Richard, who bought it for $50,000 back in 1951, told local outlet Fox 5 Vegas she thought it was time to “slow down and let someone else” run it. The chapel was originally only one room, but Richards expanded it, adding chapels, gown and tuxedo rentals and drive-thru wedding capabilities, among other services. Celebrities including Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow, Britney Spears, Michael Jordan and Pamela Anderson have tied the not at the venue. [TRD]

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