Editors’ Weekly News Roundup January 1 – January 5

The Fed keeps saying ‘2%, 2%, 2%’ like it was handed down from Mount Sinai. It’s a made-up number. It’s not derived from a study of what’s optimal.Peter Linneman, founder, Linneman Associates

This weekend, we’re reviewing news of the past year, rather than the past week. Four of the five most-read Connect CRE stories of 2023 were regional stories that also drew national attention. At the top of the list was a retail story out of Phoenix, Retail Giant Scheels to Open Megastore in Chandler. The story ran in March, early in what proved to be a surprisingly strong year for brick-and-mortar retail. 

Yes, 2023 also saw its share of retail bankruptcies and plans to redevelop part or all of shopping malls into mixed-use projects. But the scale of the first Scheels All Sports location in Arizona—replete with a 16,000-gallon fish tank and a Ferris wheel—struck a responsive chord among readers across the U.S. 

Following the collapses in rapid succession of Silicon Valley Bank in California and Signature Bank in New York, concerns mounted that many more financial institutions could suffer the same fate. Study Sees Nearly 190 U.S. Banks at Risk of Collapse began as a breaking news story in May on the way to becoming the year’s second most-read Connect CRE story. 

“The recent declines in bank asset values very significantly increased the fragility of the U.S. banking system to uninsured depositor runs,” economists wrote in a paper published on the Social Science Research Network. “So, our calculations suggest these banks are certainly at a potential risk of a run, absent other government intervention or recapitalization.” 

Although these fears subsided as the year progressed, federal regulators nonetheless continued to focus on the risks that commercial real estate loan portfolio concentrations posed to banks. 

Meanwhile, even as many lenders pulled back on construction financing last year, mixed-use developments nonetheless proliferated in fast-growing areas of the country. One such growth magnet is Celina, reportedly the fastest-growing city in North Texas.  

In a reversal of the old adage that “retail follows rooftops,” 77-Acre Mixed-Use Project to Join New Costco in Celina reported that 750 residential units will follow a previously announced Costco into development, along with more retail options. The story was our third most-read last year. 

Speaking of North Texas, a Dallas-based healthcare system was the seller in the year’s fourth most-read story. Novant Pays $2.4B for 3 S. Carolina Hospitals reported that Winston-Salem, NC-based Novant Health acquired three assets from publicly traded Tenet Healthcare Corporation. 

All three properties are located on the South Carolina Coast. The story, which ran in our Atlanta and National newsletters in November, was the most recent and the best-read of several 2023 reports about M&A activity in the healthcare real estate sector. 

Rounding out the top five was a story that crossed over into three sectors: healthcare, retail and office. Deerfield, IL-based Walgreens Boots Alliance, which also made headlines in 2023 when its CEO stepped down, announced plans to shed roughly two-thirds of the corporate office space it had occupied since 1975. 

Walgreens to Sell Most of Deerfield Headquarters Campus was in line with a trend that previously saw Allstate and Baxter International, also based in the Chicago suburbs, sell their headquarters for repurposing to other uses. 

Next week’s edition of Weekly Roundup will summarize the most-read Connect CRE stories in the first full business week of 2024. 

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About Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 16-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism. In this capacity, he oversees daily operations while also reporting on both local/regional markets and national trends, covering individual transactions across all property types, as well as delving into broader subject matter. He produces 7-10 daily news stories per day and works with the Connect team and clients to develop longer-form content, ranging from Q&As to thought-leadership pieces. Prior to joining Connect, Paul was Managing Editor for both Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com at American Lawyer Media, where he oversaw operations at both publications while also producing daily news and feature-length articles. His tenure in B2B publishing stretches back into the print era, and he has served as Editor in Chief on four national trade publications. Since 1999, Paul has volunteered as the newsletter editor of passenger rail advocacy groups (one national, one local).