National Cheat Sheet: Fed leaves rates unchanged, foreign buyers spent $7.5B on US luxury homes in 2017 … & more

Clockwise from top left: L.A.'s Indigo Hotel is on the block for $280 million, Janet Yellen ended her tenure at the Fed, developers submitted a revised design for San Francisco's fourth-tallest tower, and Clare Newman of Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation plans a $2.5 billion development.
Clockwise from top left: L.A.'s Indigo Hotel is on the block for $280 million, Janet Yellen ended her tenure at the Fed, developers submitted a revised design for San Francisco's fourth-tallest tower, and Clare Newman of Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation plans a $2.5 billion development.

Fed leaves interest rates unchanged as Yellen exits
As Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen presided over her final policy meeting, the central bank decided to leave its benchmark interest rate unchanged, holding at between 1.25 and 1.5 percent. The unanimous decision is consistent with the slow pace of interest rate hikes during Yellen’s three-year tenure at the Fed. Incoming Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will be sworn in Monday. [TRD]

Foreign buyers spent $7.5B on US luxury homes
Between March 2016 and March 2017, foreign buyers spent $7.5 billion on luxury housing in the U.S., a report by Beauchamp Estates and Leslie J. Garfield & Co. found. That’s nearly a 75 percent increase from the year before, according to the report. Miami was the top market for foreign buyers of $1 million-plus homes, taking 40 percent of the purchases. Los Angeles took second spot and Manhattan came in third. [TRD]

RXR chairman says Trump’s $1.5T infrastructure plan is “not a reality”
After President Trump proposed a $1.5 trillion infrastructure in the State of the Union, RXR Realty chairman Scott Rechler said there’s no way to pay for it. “It’s not a reality,” Rechler said. “The money that we would use for infrastructure was repatriation dollars… has been used for tax reform.” Trump has touted a infrastructure renewal scheme based on private investment, but Rechler, who advised Trump during the campaign, doesn’t think there will be enough potential profit to attract private investments. [TRD]

Keller Williams says it’s the No. 1 resi franchise in the US
Keller Williams Realty’s agents sold over $303 billion dollars-worth of real estate in the U.S. in 2017, the company announced. It claimed that the number makes Keller Williams the largest franchise firm in the country. The Texas-based brokerage said its sales were up 15 percent year-over-year. Whether or not they are in fact the biggest residential franchise in the U.S. is unproven but Steve Murray, founder of data firm Real Trends, said RE/MAX still does more business globally than Keller Williams. “RE/MAX in Canada alone is many multiples of Keller in Canada,” he said. [TRD]

Designers ponder parking garages in the era of self-driving cars
Self-driving cars have the potential to change the way we live and for the real estate industry, the way we park. Developers are beginning to ponder the future of the parking garages that may soon cease to be a necessity. Architecture firm Gensler, for example, is working on ways to turn garages into affordable housing, while Perkins + Will is designing buildings with more curbside drop-off areas and less parking spaces, according to the Wall Street Journal. [TRD]

Stern vs. Libeskind: Top architects clash over designing cultural buildings
Robert A.M. Stern and Daniel Libeskind have both designed cultural buildings, but the two noted architects have very different views on what makes a good museum, which was evident at a New York City panel this week, in which the two disagreed on nearly every subject. Stern, whose credits include the Museum of the American Revolution and the George W. Bush Presidential Center, is looking for silence and solitude. On the other hand, Libeskind, who designed the Jewish Museum in Berlin, dismissed that romanticized vision of viewing art, saying museums are moving into the “realm of fun and celebration.” [TRD]

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Dalian Wanda puts Chicago’s $900M Vista Tower on the market
Dalian Wanda group will put Chicago’s Vista Tower up for sale as the Chinese company offloads its last overseas property developments, the Chicago Tribune reported. Wanda holds a 60 percent stake in the planned 98-story mixed-use tower and Magellan Development Group has started the construction, which is estimated to cost $900 million. As Chinese regulators crack down on foreign investments, Wanda’s billionaire owner Wang Jianlin is also looking to sell its $1.2 billion project in Beverly Hills. [Chicago Tribune]

The Boston Globe building’s rebirth: From newspaper HQ to innovation park
Developer Nordblom offered a vision of the future for the 700,000-square-foot former headquarters of the Boston Globe in Dorchester that includes a tech-friendly co-working space, a food hall and craft breweries. Nordblom plans to gut the inside of the building, which it bought for $81 million in December. The developer hopes to complete the necessary permitting process by summer and open the renovated building in 2019. [Boston Globe]

Developers submit revised design for San Francisco’s fourth-tallest tower
The developers of Transbay Parcel F in San Francisco have submitted a revised design for their planned 61-story multi-use tower to city planners. The planned building at 542-550 Howard Street would have 170 housing units, a 210-room hotel, 251,000 square feet of offices and 9,000 square feet of street-level retail space. City planners rejected the original design by Cesar Pelli as lacking “the architectural detailing and character of the neighborhood.” Hines, Goldman Sachs affiliate Broad Street and Urban Pacific Development bought the land in 2016 for $160 million. [Curbed]

Trump International Realty plans a Miami expansion
The Trump Organization’s boutique real estate brokerage is expanding its presence in South Florida, “expanding in Jupiter and big time in Miami,” Eric Trump told the Palm Beach Post. President Trump’s company’s South Florida holdings already include Mar-a-Lago, Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter and Trump National Doral Miami. The brokerage is also planning to expand into commercial real estate. [TRD]

LA’s Indigo Hotel on the block for $280M
Greenland Group is looking to unload the 350-room Indigo Hotel, a part of the $1 billion Metropolis project in Downtown Los Angeles. Greenland may be looking to use the proceeds from a hotel sale to finish the struggling Metropolis project, according to a report from CoStar. Marcus and Millichap will shop the hotel, which is operated by InterContinental Hotels Group. [TRD]

Nonprofit plans $2.5B redevelopment at New York’s Brooklyn Navy Yard
The non-profit that runs the Brooklyn Navy Yard is planning to self-fund a $2.5 billion development plan that will add 5.1 million square feet of space to the 300-acre complex, Bloomberg reported. The Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation believes the new development will allow roughly 30,000 workers to occupy its work spaces. Roughly 7,000 people already work in the existing buildings, which the non-profit says are 99 percent leased. [TRD]

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