National Cheat Sheet: Trump names new FHFA head, Cohen gets 3 years in prison, Sears shops stores … & more

Trump picks Pence’s chief economist to lead Federal Housing Finance Agency
The Federal Housing Finance Agency is getting a new director. President Donald Trump plans to nominate Mark Calabria, chief economist for Vice President Mike Pence, to lead the agency after current head Melvin Watt departs at the beginning of 2019. Prior to taking his current job, Calabria was a senior aide on the Senate Banking Committee and a deputy assistant secretary for regulatory affairs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In the past, Calabria’s said that the Trump’s administration wants to put an end to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s conservatorship. [TRD]

Michael Cohen gets 3-year prison sentence after guilty pleas
Trump’s former personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen is heading to prison. Cohen received a three-year prison sentence Wednesday after pleading guilty to charges of tax evasion and illegal campaign contributions, among others. In late November, Cohen implicated the president in a hush-money scandal after pleading guilty to lying to Congress about a since-abandoned deal that purportedly sought to bring a Trump Tower to Moscow. Since Cohen’s legal troubles began to mount, he has shed many of his real estate assets, including stakes in a number of Manhattan apartment buildings. Cohen apologized for his actions in court Wednesday. [TRD]

Sears taps JLL to shop stores as it weighs bankruptcy options
Two months after Sears Holdings filed for bankruptcy protection, the beleaguered retail giant has tapped Jones Lang LaSalle to shop its portfolio of around 500 Sears and Kmart stores to prospective buyers, Bloomberg reported. Sears chairman Eddie Lampert has offered to buy the bankrupt company for $4.6 billion in an effort to keep it afloat, but if JLL is successful and the chain “is worth more dead than alive to its creditors,” the outlet reported that could “complicate” Lampert’s bid. Sears has already announced plans to close roughly 200 stores across the country. [TRD] 

National Association of Realtors will no longer serve as UpstreamRE’s vendor
The National Association of Realtors has parted ways with its data management platform. NAR committed $15 million to UpstreamRE as its vendor, but decided to sever ties because many of its members were frustrated with the delayed rollout of the platform, Inman first reported. “As I’ve said since the beginning of my tenure at CEO, we are not in the business of inventing at NAR; we’ve supported Upstream to the extent that makes sense for both our strategic missions and now it is time for them to step out on their own,” explained the trade association’s CEO Bob Goldberg. [TRD]


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Brookfield completes $6.8B purchase of Forest City
There’s a new leader among commercial landlords in New York City. Brookfield Asset Management now claims to be the city’s largest in that space after closing on its $6.8 billion acquisition of Forest City Realty Trust. Brookfield officially completed the deal on Dec. 7, adding 4.8 million square feet of office space and more than 2,500 apartments to its portfolio in the process. Forest City, meanwhile, is no longer listed on the New York Stock Exchange, despite having said earlier this year that it would not accept any takeover offers. But the real estate investment trust reversed course after accepting the bid from Brookfield. [TRD]

Cinephile real estate developer Charles Cohen buys Landmark Theatres
The Landmark Theatres chain has a new owner in billionaire real estate developer Charles Cohen, the Los Angeles Times reported. Investors Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner sold all 52 theaters to the film aficionado for an undisclosed sum, according to the outlet. The Landmark chain has theaters in 27 different cities, including its flagship inside the Westside Pavilion in Los Angeles. News of the purchase comes several months after Amazon was rumored to be interested in buying Landmark, whose valuation has been estimated at $175 million. Ted Mundorff, president and CEO of the theater chain, told the Times that the sale was the “best scenario that you could ask for.” [TRD]

Some Miami luxury condos offer up flying car landings
A handful of homes in Miami are preparing for the future of transportation. Three luxury condos in the city, including the Paramount Miami Worldcenter, will be offering landing pads for flying cars, the New York Post reported. Ritz-Carlton Residences in Miami Beach will have a landing pad that personal transportation drones will be able to use, while the Miami-based One Thousand Museum residential high-rise will have a helipad on its roof. “These flying-car projects are real,” Miami condo developer Daniel Kodsi told the Post. “They are funded. NASA is involved. It’s not just science fiction anymore.” [TRD]

Walt Disney’s childhood home restored, set to become museum
The childhood home in Chicago of legendary animator and entrepreneur Walt Disney has been restored, Block Club Chicago first reported. Current owners Dina Benadon and Brent Young spent five years rehabilitating the two-story house, which was built by the Disneys in 1892. Walt Disney himself lived in the home until he was 4, the outlet reported. The property on Chicago’s North Side will become a museum now that the restoration is finished. It was rededicated during a ceremony that drew Mickey Mouse, as well as a member of Walt Disney’s family. [TRD]

Zillow Offers expands to California as iBuyer model takes off
Zillow is moving into Riverside County, California. The real estate marketplace plans to expand Zillow Offers, its direct-to-consumer home-buying program, to the county just west of Los Angeles. The expansion marks Zillow Offers’ first foray into California. The iBuying initiative launched as a pilot program in Las Vegas and Orlando in the spring of 2017. Since then, it has spread to Arizona, Colorado and Georgia, with future plans to expand to North Carolina and Texas. [TRD]

New zoning plan in Minneapolis aims to combat housing segregation
A new plan passed by the Minneapolis City Council will allow three-family homes to be built in neighborhoods where previous zoning only allowed single-family homes, Slate reported. The plan’s passage makes Minneapolis the first major city in the country to do away with single-family home zoning, which “has done as much as any [policy] to entrench segregation, high housing costs and sprawl as the American urban paradigm over the past century,” according to Slate. Mayor Jacob Frey told the outlet that many city residents weren’t able to live in certain neighborhoods because they didn’t have the resources to build large homes in them. [TRD]