Friday, November 30, 2007

Buying real estate? It's not all price and cash flow...

Jeff Brown has a first-rate post about real estate investing and the various factors he considers when doing a deal. He reminds us that you cannot just look at the price and the cash flow and say "Sold!" This story is a must-read for the neophyte and a good reminder for even the experienced investor.

I would add one other thing to Jeff's list, if I could. Are there legal obstacles that might cause problems down the road? For instance, if the building is destroyed for some reason, can the property be rebuilt in at least the same size and use as it is now? (I'm thinking zoning or other land use changes, etc.) Are are there agreements, restrictive covenants or other binding obligations that could be trouble down the road? Stated more simply, sometimes the price is attractive for a reason that you cannot ascertain without careful due diligence.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Association to Shelbourne: take your Spire and shove it

And that's a pretty big shove. The neighboring HOA has sued Shelbourne Development, who is developing the Chicago Spire, to rescind its easement agreement allowing certain access to the property. The complaint seeks declaratory relief in chancery.

I have not looked at the complaint; I will if someone emails it to me but I have neither the time nor the inclination to go to the Daley Center to grab a copy. Based solely on media reports, here's a quick thought or two.

Tom Corfman's article says the plaintiffs are alleging fraud on the part of the defendant and its attorney in that they waited until the easement was signed before revealing "the full scope of the project." If that is true, I can tell you that fraud is not an easy case to win in Illinois. Corfman also reports that Shelbourne doesn't think the HOA owns the land. (I don't know whether there is alternative utility access; if there is I assume it is expensive or hard to access or both. As a further aside, you can actually buy title insurance over the ability to obtain utilities facilities, by the way. But that is another story for another time.)

Susan Diesenhouse's story says that the HOA "also claims that given the nature of the waterfront land, excavation for the seven-story underground garage cannot be conducted without damage to the neighbors' homes, and therefore is not legal according to Illinois law." As for the settling and foundation damage, well, you have to pay for that of course. There's all kinds of case law there. I assume they are arguing that the damage might be so bad that you'd have to obtain declaratory relief to stop construction. Generally money heals these wounds, so they might be saying that there would be irreparable harm to the association's property.

It'll be REALLY interesting to see how this plays out. As of this morning there's nothing on the docket on this case set, but I have a strong feeling that you might see some attempts by Schiff Hardin, the plaintiff's lawyers, to obtain a TRO and some injunctive relief, as construction at the Spire is ongoing.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

More on building green

To follow up on a previous post here regarding LEED and green buildings, here's some evidence (courtesy of Jordan Crouch) that building green buildings should pay off because of long-term cost savings and tenant demand. This is the wave of the future, folks, so catch it now or be late to the party.

Update on law firms and CMBS

I wrote previously about some firms with large CMBS practices and their plans for what to do with not so busy associates. At the time, one of the firms, Thacher Proffitt & Wood, was not planning any layoffs. But a month later, with no end in sight, reports from Above The Law are that the CMBS heavyweight will probably have to let go about two dozen associates in structured finance and real estate, and first-years in those groups are also apparently being offered generous severance packages given that they apparently have little work to do.

As I said before, TPW is a good shop in my opinion and from my experience. It is disappointing to see layoffs might be on the way, but at least they are being honest (how could they NOT be?) by saying that the layoffs are economic-based. And maybe I was wrong before about comebacks in that these firms were probably geared up to do record, unsustainable volumes. I’m just not sure. And, according to the ULI's blog, The Ground Floor, "At 'street level,' originations of commercial mortgage-backed securities loans are said to have come to a literal halt; some are saying the current downturn is worse than 1998 (which it clearly is, as the current impact is global and includes all facets of the debt capital markets)...Conclusion: this is going to take much longer than many thought possible to work itself out."

I do know this: As a lawyer, you can get really pigeon-holed in a structured finance practice, though, so maybe in the end this can be a silver lining in a bad cloud for the lawyers. When you see more and more deals being done with the old standby lenders, the insurance companies, it seems that many people are agreeing with my thoughts about doing traditional deals for now, waiting for better times before into the more restrictive and less forgiving CMBS market.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Paperless transactions: getting there but not quite yet

Here is an interesting discussion on The Bloodhound Blog on paperless transactions to which I made a recent contribution. Thanks to Jeff Brown for pointing it out.

I've been reading about this paperless phenomenon for years. We're still not 100% there in my opinion, and that's okay with me. Call me old fashioned, but I like having the final documents in some tangible form in addition to the PDF copy I usually consult for ease of reference. Thankfully, however, the mountains of due diligence materials I have to review on a deal are all scanned and put into eletronic form, thus making them easier to send around the world. (And we're also saving trees, although some documents just still have to be printed to read carefully. I find that a BIG monitor for the PC helps in this regard.) In most cases, there is just no substitute for a piece of paper with ink on it. And if you want to exchange documents electronically without originals, I like to make sure that you can demand an original if you want it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Chicagoland retail: "slight" of hand

The latest on the retail market is mostly slight: slight increase in vacancy, slight increase in rents, and slightly more total space on the market. The only non-slight change is in the amount of retail under construction: that is down by about 600,000 sf from 11.2 to 10.6 million sf (isn't that about 5%? Maybe that is slight too.)

Some think that even the retail sector is going into the dumpster. I don't...but I'm a veritable Sgt. Schultz in that regard. I think the holiday season numbers will be telling. Unfortunately Traffic Court tells us the numbers are somewhat confusing. The naysayers are saying we in for a very rough ride, but I still think a cheap dollar and good fundamentals may prevail. And even if they are right, the value deals are what to look for anyway.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Job perks - which path would you choose?

I'm sure everyone on the world is going to comment on this New York Times story about perks for BigLaw attorneys. Hey, I remember those days, too...and I don't blame the firms for offering them and the lawyers for demanding them. When you are not home for 14-16 hours a day (I remember them well), you have to have these kinds of bennies.

I don't have a masseuse (I do have a cool massaging recliner, though), dry-cleaning pickup (I rarely wear clothes in need of it anyway), free sports tickets, pet insurance or a concierge. (I do, however, have what the Times considers basics such as a Blackberry [who doesn't?] and laptops.)

So, what are the perks of my job? And, if you could, would you trade in your lifestyle coaches, mortgage guaranties, car discounts and the like for my benefits? (By the way, can you see why some clients might be irked when they read this story?)

1. Being able to work whenever I want and from wherever I want, with no "face time," required office hours or restrictions on what I do or when I do it, unless client demands are in the way. (My favorite is taking calls and answering email regularly from the golf course, thus allowing me to bill time while still having fun.)

2. Working from home four, if not five, days a week in a home office better than any office I had while working for the man.

3. Culling my tie collection from over a hundred to three since "dressing up" for me generally means not wearing shorts.

4. Working roughly one-third the hours for the same pay.

5. Ending the work day at noon on most summer Fridays just because....

6. Taking a mid-day work break to play games, watch a movie or visit my wife's office.

7. Being able to spend quality time with my grandparents and my mother.

8. Not feeling guilty about not being at the office on Saturday (though I admittedly do work some Saturdays from home when I have to or want to).

9. Not being chastised for doing volunteer work, for giving my time to others or to the community because I want to and not because I think it is good for business or my firm.

10. Not working on Black Friday. Having done it so many years, it feels sort of weird not to be doing it now.

By the way, I (and you!) do all of this while still being accessible to all my clients at virtually all times (the joys of the Internet, cell phones and BlackBerry all at work here).

I hope I'm not sounding like I am bragging about my life or bagging on BigLaw lawyers. I'm not trying to, and I apologize if it comes off that way. (And yes, even though I have a good practice, there are certain times I do miss the hubbub of it all -- and the collegiality of a big firm that I was fortunate to have experienced.) I'm just trying to point out that there is another way to doing what I do, a path that is, at least right now, better for me at this point in my career and one that I also think may be a healthier way for other lawyers to be in this profession. At least for me, actually striving for the lifestyle that so many seem to want is the trade-off for all the perks.

I leave it to you to decide whether you can or want to take this path, or whether you love the enviable path of the megaperks. As for me, I'm off to visit some friends and watch some football. :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Terrorism Insurance bills look for Congressional reconciliation

It looks like Congress will find a way to compromise and pass a long-term extension to the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002. This law is a federal backstop to the insurance industry for providing terrorism insurance coverage to property.

Some of you may be saying, "Huh?" Terrorism insurance can be a very big and expensive deal if you are buying certain properties; e.g., shopping malls or high-profile properties. Think of the cost. TRIA is supposed to help lower rates on this product. On the legal and business side, if you represent a landlord or owner, you'd rather not have to provide this insurance if a lender requires it, or at least not if you cannot get it at "commercially reasonable" rates. Lesson of the day: always get your insurance people involved if you are looking at new language, coverages or any material matter regarding insurance. This is the important role that these fine professionals play.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Loan diversity in the CMBS market

I'm no expert on the CMBS market, nor do I want to be. While they are extremely useful to my clients, as a lawyer they are not the most exciting part of my day.

But there was an interesting little trinket buried in the latest report that the CMBS market is going to take a while to come back. Now that we are going back to smaller loan pools, there is less diversity in the pools than in the megadeals we'd been seeing.

What does this mean? Well, the bigger deals in the pool will have to be scrutinized more than ever because a default on that deal could be a huge problem. A $100 million deal defaulting means, as the story says, a lot more to a $2 billion pool than to a $4 billion one. It reminds me of 2001: underwriters are being cautious, rating agencies are worrying, B-piece buyers are kicking deals out of pools.

I don't know yet what this means on the legal side. For instance, the bane of my existence when doing these deals is writing what is called a "substantive non-consolidation opinion." VERY generally speaking, this complicated letter is an opinion that a single-purpose borrowing entity acquiring property will not, in the event of a bankruptcy, have its assets consolidated with the assets of a majority owner, and vice versa. These opinions are usually only required for "big deals" and they are very expensive to prepare. So what is a "big deal" these days? At one time it was $15 million, then $25 million, then $40 million then perhaps even higher. I don't know what the big deal threshold is today, and I'll bet it varies from pool to pool and depends on the rating agency involved. But having to prepare these opinions -- and the "pairings" requested by the lender in such opinions -- can make a big difference for a borrower.

I also found quotes on trends by Anthony Downs of The Brookings Institutution buried in the story to be instructive: "“People who have all this money don’t want to sit on it. Gradually, the pressure will be greater and greater to make a deal.” Banks and insurance companies that hold loans on their books are in a position to start lending immediately, he said." So make like Nike and just do it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Weakness spreading into CRE?

David Bodamer is on the spot again, citing reports today about declining commerical prices in some indicies. David also has a report in his post from the NAR convention in Las Vegas that, per NAR's chief economist, low cap rates are spooking some investors.

Uhhh....Lawrence Yun is spot on. It is almost the duh of the year. Why buy at a 5 or 6 cap when you can get CD returns at nearly that rate? It is hardly worth the risk! Give me some nice juicy 20+ IRRs and I'm all over it. The declining prices will bring caps back up to where they, in my humble opinion, belong.

Yes, look AND think before you leap into buying property

Jordan Crouch has a 6,000 word essay today that summarizes the current market quite well. Okay, it's actually six pictures, but each is worth a thousand words or more. Jordan might well, on a word-for-word basis, have the blog post of the year.

Now that you are done groaning, here's my thought. Easy money is done. Does that mean you pack up your bags and move on? Yes, if you are not smart or do not have a smart team working with you. You can't just buy any old piece of dirt and expect it to rise in price (And if you had been doing that, then you're probably like the speculators in homes, tech stocks or tulips anyway.)

Simply stated: there's money to be made! There really is. There always has been and there always will be. You only have to think, and work, and put some sweat into it to find the right place at the right price. It's just like the "old days." Don't think like a huckster and think like a prudent investor, and you should be fine if you have any knack for this business.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

555 Monroe off the market

This is an interesting story, because the prevailing wisdom (mine included) is that a quality asset with a good tenant base will not be as affected by any current market shifts. Yet Principal Financial has apparently taken the Quaker Oats building off the market because the offering proces did not live up to expectations.

I would not panic, but let's look at this briefly. The building is 95% leased to a single credit tenant, the Quaker Tropicana Gatorade division of Pepsico on what is reported as a long-term deal. Sounds like a high quality asset to me, and just what you'd want to buy in a crazy mixed-up market.

Maybe some investors are spooked by the possibility of one tenant blowing out, leaving you with an empty building. Without doing due diligence and actually reading the leases, you don't know how much of Pepsico is on the hook for the lease or what the tenant's termination rights, if any, are. And also remember, today's major company can be tomorrow's junk. Look at the Big Three auto makers.

The lack of acceptable offer could also be because of rates in the CMBS market or because Principal is only going to sell for top dollar and buyers are looking to get bargains right now. It'll be interesting to see how and whether a trend develops.

Still betting on themselves?

The NAREIT conference begins today in Vegas, and the talking heads will be...well...talking. Are REITs still buying back or planning to buy back their own shares? Instead of patting themselves on the back for yet another year of unbridled gains, one thing they certainly talking about is what companies are strong, weak and undervalued in the current market. Here are more thoughts from today's WSJ (subscription soon to be not required, they say).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Wow...paid sabbaticals...

I recently wrote about the impact of the CMBS slowdown on firms that have a lot of this type of business. One of them was McKee Nelson, who said they were not laying anyone off and that they hoped to some lawyers to other practice areas. Here's the latest effort to get associates to think about a change, courtesy of Above The Law: (1) depart with a full 2007 bonus plus four months' pay, or (2) take a year's sabbatical at 40% pay plus a full 2007 bonus (which is not chump change), but with no guarantee that you'll have a job in a year's time.

Personally, I'd take option 2, and, since I'm supposed to spend the time making the world better, I'd probably do (more) volunteer work for my local community and take music lessons to improve my skills. (I still may do the latter.) Oh, and I'd write a blog on commercial real estate...oh,never mind, I do that already.

Most firms would just can people. They sure did about the time I got out of law school. So I say kudos to this firm for doing something unique, even if it hits partners in the pocketbook. (Trust me, I'm sure they are doing all right.) P.S. The PR will also be tremendous.

TIFs - Ain't we ready for reform?

(With apologies to the late, great Chicago alderman Paddy Bauler....)

The Civic Federation feels we need more information and public input on tax increment financing. According to this story, the Federation feels that TIFs are an important tool but need more transparency in how they are done and what they accomplish. In Chicago, "$242.6 million in public subsidies generated $1.1 billion in private investment — a more than 4-to-1 ratio-in the Central Loop TIF district." Not bad, though the Federation questions how much of that development would have been done without TIFs.

I have been part of several deals involving TIFs in Chicago, and I don't think any of them could have been done without some help. And they've been, by and large, very successful projects that have brought jobs and renovated blighted buildings.

That does not mean I disagree 100% with the Federation. I have seen some deals, typically outside Chicago than in, that have a questionable benefit for a TIF district. Farm land is blighted? The retailers are just moving from one part of town to another to take advantage of the tax breaks? Get out your Smell-O-Meter.

So are TIFs ready for reform in Illinois? Probably not yet. But I think it would be good to separate some wheat from the chaff.

Monday, November 12, 2007

More malls on steroids in Asia, but perhaps not where you'd expect

Megamalls in the Philippines or in Asia are hardly news, but when they are in my wife's hometown that's news to me. Taytay, Rizal is just outside Metro Manila. It is a densely-populated municipality with a population of some 200,000+. And infrastructure in places like this are not what you expect here in the US. But there's amazing development going on, and this mall was built by the mogul of all moguls in the RP, billionaire Henry Sy.

It is not someplace you'd expect to see a mall as large as many in the United States. But it is there, and it is already hugely popular. Lines of hours to buy things have been reported. And the really big big malls in are Manila!

So why build in Taytay? Because the roads are so narrow, it can take 45 minutes just to go 6 miles from Taytay (not to mention more outlying areas in Rizal province) to Pasig or Mandaluyong (where even bigger malls can be found), so Sy's theory is to bring the mall to the people. Plus, shopping is basically a pastime and with the Philippine economy improving the malls make sense in that regard. (Call centers for US companies are a big item there; you also high education levels, and just about everyone speaks fluent English). Lastly, let's not forget that the Philippine peso has improved in value against the dollar (an almost-official currency) by about 25% in the last couple of years. What was a 55:1 exchange rate is now more like 42-43. So my loss (when I travel there) is their gain, and that is all right by me.

P.S. What I forgot to mention is the construction cost! According to the story the mall cost P$1 billion. Divide that by 43 to get the cost in dollars, and then look at how much per square foot it cost to build this mall. No wonder you do it.


I swear this won't become The Chicago Spire blog, but...

Hey, it is potentially an amazing development (and I for one would love to see Garrett Kelleher build it even if to say "I told you so"). Thanks to the amazing posters at SkyscraperPage.com (here is a link to the Spire discussion, which has very cool pix of the site under construction), I was able to look at Shelbourne's and Thomas Murphy's responses to the HOA dispute. My summary of Murphy's comments are:

1. We have an ironclad easement drawn up by the condo association's lawyers (Hmmm...not even going there...I may actually have to go read this document).

2. This will not affect the construction timetable. (Maybe. I don't know the project well enough to know.)

3. We're in a construction zone. Townhouses settling two inches in five years = de minimis non curat lex. (Sounds fair on its face, but I'm not a judge or a construction litigator.)

4. Even though our rights are ironclad, we applied for a revised foundation permit out of prudence. (I have no reason not to believe this, so I will. It makes sense to hedge your bets.)

One thing is for sure. The astronomical prices in dollars for this project don't look so bad in Euros or other currencies. (Heck, even the Loonie is at at $1.07 or something, which bodes well for snowbirds.) If Shelbourne can get buzz abroad on this project we may see some sales come January.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Legal developments at the Spire

Here's an interesting twist (I know, bad pun on a Friday) to the Chicago Spire deal.

Apparently Shelbourne Development paid the neighboring condo association $500,000 for an easement across some of its land. The association claims it thought this was only to run utility lines, but apparently the plan was also to build some foundation in the easement area as well. And that plan, according to the story, might cause some adjacent townhomes to settle by two inches.

I have not looked at the easement agreement so I obviously cannot say whether Shelbourne had the right to do this. The association wants to say "never mind" and rescind the easement, and has retained Schiff Hardin to do so. If they pursue this it'll be interesting to see the legal theory under which they think the easement should be extinguished. Mistake? Fraud? We changed our minds after really thinking about it? (OK, not that one. But it really will be interesting to see where they go. They have good lawyers, that's for sure.)

Lastly, the foundation permit is revised to exclude the easement area, so we'll have to see whether that makes this go away. Although it is sometimes almost inevitable, having an angry condo association next door is never good for a developer.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Silicon, Green...you name it

Here's a couple of noteworthy posts from my blogging colleagues that I heartily recommend:

Trafic Court found a story about Kohl's green initiative on all its newly-built stores. I was at an ICSC talk this morning and the presenters gave evidence from Wal-Mart that retail sales increase significantly in green buildings. Global warming aside, that's a good incentive for any retailer. So, it is not just the usual suspects at work here; you should expect to see green initiatives in all sectors of the market now. If GE Cap and Bill Clinton are behind it (lenders are apparently liking green because it represents a better investment in the event they have to take the property), more will follow.

And Jacob Cynamon has a well-reasoned post on data centers. Apparently the "glut" of several years ago has caught up to the demand and we now need more data center space. And old otherwise obsolete industrial buildings are candidates for such space. Pretty cool, if you ask me.

Now let's do green data centers!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Random, scattered thoughts...

Work is getting the best of me, so just a few quick items of note this morning:

The Tribune has two recent stories on green initiatives that caught my eye. One is about buildings being built or renovated (the Merchandise Mart -- that's big!) with green in mind. The other is about Mayor Daley's own city-wide green initiative that will be published next year. Some of it seems a little pie-in-the-sky at first glance (wind turbines at Sears Tower?), but hey, this is the city of wrought iron too.

And, as promised, here's more on the carried interest debacle and some estimated impact on the market. Read it and weep.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Boy, that didn't take long - EA gonersville in Chicago

A year ago, Electronic Arts inaugurated a new Chicago studio at 215 W. Ohio. Mayor Daley even had nice things to say. (They had a small operation that was expanding.)

How times change. The studio is losing money, as employee count increases while revenue generated there does not. So, with no profit in sight...shut the doors. No word on how many of the ~150 people there will be offered jobs elsewhere. I don't recall there being any TIF or tax breaks for this facility, but if someone has better information please share it.

Not every firm is keeping the team intact

The other day I mentioned that the large players in the real estate securitization field were holding on to their staff, assuming that the market would improve. And I liked seeing that in print.

But not every law firm can, could or would do that. Thus Clifford Chance axed six relatively senior structured finance associates who apparently worked exclusively on S&P matters, under the theory that the work was never coming back. Not a huge layoff by any BigLaw standard, but it is nonetheless news.

CC is of course in a different situation than the big boys in securitization, and if the work truly was gone for good there was probably nothing else to do with these folks. So the story says, they all get severance, but apparently not those 2007 NYC-level bonuses, which can be pretty large for senior associates. It will be interesting to see where these lawyers will wind up. I do agree with Above The Law that CC at least did the honorable thing by not calling these "performance-based" layoffs.

What can you learn from this? The biggest thing is to not let yourself get pigeonholed if at all possible. Wen I was an associate I tried and was given a wide variety of real estate assignments so I can be of the most use to clients, the firm and for my future. It can pay to be really, really good at just one thing, but if that one thing becomes obsolete, you've got trouble in River City. Ask your local blacksmith if you don't believe me.

A man of his word...

You have to give Frank Gehry credit. He wanted to invest in a building and even when his partners decided to bail he found a way to stay. And thus the Inland Steel building changed hands.

The new owners are also saying that they intend to green up the building and will submit their plan to the City tomorrow. I don't know whether that means seeking some form of LEED certification, but I think it is cool regardless.

Monday, November 5, 2007

More on the Guaranteed Recession Debacle

I'm going to blog about this proposed disaster until it is dead as a doornail. The Real Estate Roundtable is the latest group denouncing the proposed Temporary Tax Relief Act of 2007 (HR 3996), a/k/a the Let's Make Sure the Economy Goes in the Tank Act. Yep, let's make sure entrepreneurs have another reason not to undertake risk. And then let's see the "pervasive effect on jobs, economic growth and the tax base" that this law will have. I'm almost in pain thinking about it.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Optimistic words from John Bucksbaum

Here's an interesting quote from the head honcho at GGP from this GlobeSt.com story:

"Our new rents continue to increase as demand for quality remains high. We’ve completed new and renewal leases for 6.3 million sf of space in the year, 13% higher than the first nine months of 2006. I’m not so na├»ve to say that everything is perfect, we expect to see a softening in certain retail sectors, but not so much that it should change retailers’ expansion plans by any degree."

Of course optimism is in every developer's blood. But this is conference call fodder, and the GGP numbers are telling, as are the still-low vacancies. Short-term pessimism might be a good thing (unless you just bought shares of Coach at $42 to see it plummet to $35), but over even the medium let alone the longer haul I still don't think we're going in the tank.

What goes around comes around

Lisa Galley's Our Green Journey is the newest addition to my blogroll and a good one at that. I enjoyed reading Lisa's post on her experiences at the Counselors of Real Estate conference in San Francisco. Her post yesterday on extinct loan terms got me to thinking about cycles again. Example: mezzanine lending was an endangered species a couple of years ago, but now you are starting to see mezz debt come back. Just as demand is cyclical, certain types of deal structures are too.

Hopefully we won't see the days of interest only loans and overly generous cash-out refis on residential property that assume continued astronomical appreciation. I don't think they are healthy for that market. I was just talking to a banker friend of mine about some of his clients doing cash out refis in the commercial market, albeit at LTVs that (hopefully) make sense.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Wanna bet?

A developer friend and I had a chance to chat for a moment this morning about this story in today's Tribune. There is more and more speculation about casino gambling being allowed within the Chicago city limits and just where that license to print money might be located.

Without naming names, I thought some of the locations were nothing short of absurd for political reasons and because the dirt is just in the wrong place. I would not want to go to probably half those locations. Personally, my money (but only a $2 win bet) is on the Old Post Office, which I have written about before. It is a compelling location visually, the owners have gaming industry experience, I assume they can find a way to get traffic in and out, and the logistics (which the Trib thought might be a problem) shouldn't be because the building basically has to be gutted to get rid of all the asbestos, thus allowing the placement of all the high-tech stuff a casino demands. But in this town, you never know....

REITs are still buying and buying

Traffic Court cites a NAREIT story saying that up to fifty REITs now buying back shares now or planning to do so. Gee, you think they think their share prices are undervalued? Of course that does not mean this is always right. Some analysts think the management should just concentrate on running the company, and sometimes you can also argue that the decreased liquidity can be bad for some shareholders. But I do like the fact that these companies are at least thinking they are a good deal right now, as if the market overreacted.

 
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