Editors’ Weekly News Roundup, November 6 – November 10

The longer-term prospects for our business are good as long as we remain innovative and sensitive to affordability.Stuart Miller, Executive Chairman & Co-CEO, Lennar Corp.

The possibility of a bankruptcy filing by WeWork had been in the air for the past several weeks, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that it would likely occur the week of Nov. 6. When it did come to pass, though, the news was bracing enough to warrant not one, but two stories in Connect CRE’s top five for the past week. 

However, readers made another report on the office sector— specifically, the sale of a Charlotte office property—the week’s most-read article. AEW Capital Management acquired Three Water Ridge for $35 million in 2016 and has just traded it at a discount of nearly 60%.  

Charlotte Office Building Trades at Steep Loss was the top Connect CRE story for the week ending Nov. 11, drawing interest both locally and nationally. Readers may have seen this as more empirical evidence that sellers have begun capitulating on pricing, at least where office properties are concerned. 

Certainty around property values—or more accurately, a lack of certainty—was one of the factors cited by the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Jamie Woodwell in charting the year-to-date decline in commercial and multifamily mortgage volume. The headline for the week’s second most-read story, CRE Mortgage Volume Drops 49% Year-Over-Year, summed up an even steeper decline from the third quarter of 2022, although MBA data showed a less drastic decrease compared to this year’s second quarter. 

A late-evening breaking news to both Connect Money and Connect CRE readers conveyed word that WeWork had indeed filed for Chapter 11 protection at U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey. WeWork Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, our third most-read story for the past week, carried the sound of the other shoe dropping and completed a reversal of fortune that arguably began with the company’s unsuccessful attempt at an IPO at the height of its valuation. 

Now in its fourth year, the Walker Webcast series hosted by Walker & Dunlop CEO Willy Walker has been the basis of numerous well-read reports on Connect CRE. Walker’s guest this week, the CEO of homebuilder (and prolific multifamily developer) Lennar, kept that streak going, as Walker Webcast: Lennar’s Stuart Miller Discusses the Housing Market, Innovation and Corporate Culture ranked fourth among our most-read stories for the week. 

Rounding out the top five was another WeWork story with ominous implications for office landlords. WeWork to Dump 35 NYC Office Leases After Bankruptcy Filing detailed the initial steps the company is taking to ease its rent burdens. The 35 leases WeWork is walking away from in its hometown represent about half the national total of nullified leasing agreements among the early filings in its bankruptcy case. 

The news media, both business-oriented and general-interest, have added to the steady stream of gloomy headlines around the prospects of commercial real estate with reports of a “doom loop” imperiling the downtowns of major cities. In the latest edition of Weekender, Amy Sorter provides experts’ consensus that the “doom loop” theory is overblown when it comes to the office sector. You can read it here

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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).