For Sam Zell, it’s all about “foreclosures and opportunities”

The Grave Dancer has billions in cash to deploy but will stay away from the sector he calls “a falling knife”

TRD NATIONAL /
Jun.June 30, 2020 05:30 PM
Photo illustration of Sam Zell (Getty, iStock)

Photo illustration of Sam Zell (Getty, iStock)

Sam Zell’s Equity Commonwealth real estate investment trust has $3.4 billion in cash ready to deploy in these times of distressed assets, but the self-described Grave Dancer isn’t ready to tango in one sector: Retail.

Zell, who is also chairman of Equity Residential and Equity Lifestyle Properties, said his companies “don’t buy markets, we buy deals.” And with retail real estate, he’ll likely steer clear, he said. In a Zoom interview with SkyBridge Capital founder Anthony Scaramucci, Zell called retail “still very much of a falling knife,” according to Crain’s Chicago.

Zell expects banks to be less forgiving with borrowers, choosing to jettison the “extend and pretend” strategy that many took during the last financial crisis. Banks tended to hold off on foreclosures back then, he said, with the hope those loans would resolve themselves as the economy recovered.

“I think the lending community this time around very much wants to, quote, clean the books,” Zell said, according to Crains. “And I think there are going to be a lot of foreclosures and opportunities.” He added that some investors who might have survived the last few months could falter when banks come knocking.

Zell built up a massive war chest of cash with a huge selloff of properties over the last several years. Equity Commonwealth sold around 150 office properties in recent years, leaving it with just five today.

Zell expects “some significant recovery” from the pandemic-fueled market crisis by year end, and appears optimistic about the economy generally.

“I think just what you have seen in the last few weeks since there’s been some partial openings of various places around the country, people have been willing to spend and in fact, seem to be very excited about the opportunity to get back into the commerce side of the world,” he told Scaramucci. [Crain’s Chicago] — Dennis Lynch 


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Map of priciest condo sales and One Thousand Museum (Credit: Google Maps and Wikipeda)

Miami condo sales bounce back

Miami condo sales bounce back
Photo illustration of Mayor Carlos Gimenez (Getty, iStock)

Restaurants, gyms to close again in Miami-Dade

Restaurants, gyms to close again in Miami-Dade
Scott Sandelin, Ben Potts, Michelle Bernstein, Felix Bendersky and Aaron Butler (Beaker & Gray, Twitter, F&B, Linkedin)

Restaurants, bars in a “scary situation” as restrictions ramp up

Restaurants, bars in a “scary situation” as restrictions ramp up
Map of priciest condo sales and Oceanside Fisher Island (Credit: Google Maps and Redfin)

Miami condo sales flatten at the end of June

Miami condo sales flatten at the end of June
Photo illustration of Ron DeSantis (Getty, iStock)

DeSantis announces $250M rental, mortgage assistance fund

DeSantis announces $250M rental, mortgage assistance fund
Developers are still holding off on starting new construction projects

South Florida construction starts plummet again in May

South Florida construction starts plummet again in May
Dan Kodsi and Legacy Hotel & Residences

For future pandemics, Miami Worldcenter plans $60M health center

For future pandemics, Miami Worldcenter plans $60M health center
Pending sales and closings were down in May throughout the tri-county region (iStock)

South Florida home sales cut in half in May

South Florida home sales cut in half in May
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...