Opportunities are ramping up for hotel industry growth in urban centers as developers in Mexico and other Latin American countries consider the costs of building new versus converting existing commercial real estate, including unused office, retail and church properties.
Industry leaders at a Latin America-focused hotel conference in Florida said vacated downtown office spaces in several countries could be ripe for conversions, which often take less time to obtain government permits and complete construction. Brian Quinn, chief development officer at hotelier Sonesta, said there’s potential to take over office buildings in the financial districts of Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Peru.
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London officials are considering relaxing strict planning requirements originally aimed at preserving office space in the city’s Square Mile district, with the goal of encouraging alternative uses for secondary buildings increasingly at risk of obsolescence amid declining demand.
A review of these restrictions is part of a larger response to expected changes in the office market through 2040. Key options in a city-commissioned report include a “fast track” planning approach to ensure more “diverse and inclusive spaces” are built, and enabling more alternative uses by reducing requirements needed to counter the loss of office floor space.
Demand for life science real estate is rising in France and across Europe, as economic uncertainties shake up prospects for many other traditional property categories.
The biotech category has been relatively inactive in continental Europe but that is now changing. Brokerage JLL cited strong development pipelines, unmet medical demand and a “steady flow of venture capital,” though companies needing cutting-edge, specialized lab space are still challenged to find appropriate properties on the European continent, particularly in France.
Investment firm Commerz Real is acquiring the remaining 80% in a two-building Berlin office complex under construction in which Commerz previously held a 20% stake.
The Wiesbaden, Germany-based subsidiary of Commerzbank said the seller, investment firm Signa Prime, will continue to develop the overall project that is on track for a 2025 completion on Berlin’s Alexanderplatz and includes more than 100,000 square meters of rental space. A sale price was not disclosed, but Thomas Daily research indicated the market value of the project is about 1.1 billion euros, putting the newly acquired 80% stake at around 900 million euros.
The National Hockey League’s Ottawa Senators agreed to a deal to sell 90% of the team to a group led by Toronto billionaire Michael Andlauer, a transaction that could have significant development implications in Canada’s capital and ultimately lead to a downtown stadium.
Published reports indicate the winning bid was conditional on not moving the team out of the Ottawa region, and the ownership change has rekindled talk of the team’s potential relocation to downtown from its current arena in suburban Kanata. “I believe that the Senators’ fan base is one of the most passionate in the league, and I’m excited to take the franchise’s success both on and off the ice to the next level,” said the new owner, who is part owner of the Montreal Canadiens, in a statement.
West Coast ports and dockworkers are in talks to avoid a strike that could cut into demand for warehouses, North America’s hottest commercial property sector, facing the start of the peak shipping season for the holidays.
The International Longshoremen and Warehouse Union, representing 22,000 dockworkers, and the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents ocean carriers and terminal operators, are approaching one year without a contract, resulting in the longest labor-related disruptions since 2015. The dispute has caused delays in cargo processing amid sporadic work stoppages at the West Coast’s biggest shipping gateways, including the nation’s busiest ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach in California, along with others such as Seattle and Tacoma in Washington.
This report was compiled from CoStar’s news publications in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France and Germany.