Plans For New Hard Rock Casino At Meadowlands To Be Unveiled


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) —Hard Rock International and the Meadowlands Racetrack are unveiling plans for a new casino just outside New York City.

Jeff Gural, owner of Meadowlands Racetrack, expects to see concerts, horse racing, live table games and slot machines at the new facility.

“The whole works,” as he put it.

Gural, who will unveil the plans Wednesday along with the chairman of Hard Rock International, said the project would bring more than 10,000 jobs to the area and generate more than $400 million in yearly revenue — some of which would go towards helping the struggling Atlantic City, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported.

“It would be good for everybody; it would create jobs, not only in the casino industry, it would help Atlantic City recover and it would have an extra couple hundred million dollars, hopefully,” Gural said.

Experts say the casino could be one of the most successful in the country, but Atlantic City fears it could put it out of business.

Atlantic City has opposed every attempt to even consider legislation expanding casino gambling beyond its borders. Last year four of the city’s 12 casinos shut down, and gambling revenue has been falling steadily for eight years, even without in-state competition.

New Jersey’s Constitution would need to be amended for it to become reality and lawmakers are taking steps to put the issue before voters in November.

Many who live near the Meadowlands said they have big concerns.

“Traffic, a gambling element that isn’t suitable for this area,” one resident told Grymes.

“We get nothing out of it and it’s too crowded here anyway,” another resident said.

Still, others believe a casino would be a big boost to East Rutherford and surrounding communities.

‘I think it’s gonna be good for business and it’s gonna bring more people to the area,” resident Catherine Spinella said.

“I think it’ll bring jobs to northern Jersey, which will hopefully alleviate some of the tax burden,” another resident said.

To encourage the passage of the state constitutional amendment, Gural has agreed to pay a 55 percent tax rate.


Jersey City Ordinance Proposes Chain Store Prohibition

Posted in Commercial, Retail & Industrial Real Estate, Real Estate

Various sources, including NJBiz, have reported that Mayor Fulop and Jersey City are pushing forward an ordinance largely prohibiting chain businesses, i.e., any business that has 10 or more locations within 300 miles from the City. If challenged, will the ordinance pass legal muster? Arguably not.

Generally land use ordinances must advance the purposes of zoning. Anti-competitive ordinances have historically and repeatedly been stricken by the Courts in New Jersey, for instance, distance regulations between competing businesses (e.g., a zoning ordinance that would purport to require at least 1500 feet between fast food restaurants or other uses otherwise permitted in the zoning district). Thus, in this instance, a chain located on the West Coast, such as In-N-Out Burger (whom ironically said it would not expand to the East Coast due to supply chain challenges) could locate in Jersey City, but Macy’s, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Home Depot, and numerous other well-known chains would be prohibited from opening in most of Jersey City (excepting some areas of the waterfront).

Mayor Fulop asserts that the restrictions will keep the City “livable and desirable” and allow the City to “reflect diversity and spur creativity.” If challenged, the City and Mayor will have to convince the court that these considerations are valid land use objectives advancing the purposes of zoning. Cities such as San Francisco, California, and Nantucket Massachusetts, have enacted similar ordinances, but the authority for the Jersey City ordinance must pass muster under New Jersey’s Municipal Land Use Law, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-1 et seq., in order to survive a challenge.

This is definitely an issue we’re going to keep an eye on and will continue to update you as it develops.jersey-city

February Pending Home Sales Beat

Posted in Economics, Employment, Housing Recovery, National Real Estate | 83 Comments

From CNBC:

Pending home sales rose 3.1% in February

Colder than average temperatures and heavy snow in much of the U.S. failed to keep February home buyers away. Signed contracts to buy existing homes rose 3.1 percent from January, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The Realtors’ so-called “Pending Home Sales Index” is 12 percent higher than one year ago, and is at its highest level since June, 2013.

The gains were primarily driven by sales in the West and Midwest. Pending sales jumped 11.6 percent month-to-month in the Midwest and are now 13.8 percent higher than a year ago. Sales in the Northeast fell 2.3 percent but are 4.1 percent above a year ago. Sales in the South decreased 1.4 percent sequentially, but are 10.8 percent above last February. Sales in the West climbed 6.6 percent and are now 18.3 percent above a year ago.

“Pending sales showed solid gains last month, driven by a steadily-improving labor market, mortgage rates hovering around 4 percent and the likelihood of more renters looking to hedge against increasing rents,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR. “These factors bode well for the prospect of an uptick in sales in coming months. However, the underlying obstacle—especially for first-time buyers—continues to be the depressed level of homes available for sale.”

Why NYC remains at the top

Posted on by grim

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Employment, NYC | 65 Comments

From the Atlantic:

The Feedback Loop That Will Make America’s Richest Cities Even Richer

This week, the Brookings Institution came out with a report on “job proximity”—that is, which cities have the largest and fastest-growing concentrations of jobs in their city centers. This is an important statistic, because people who live closer to work are more likely to be employed. It’s particularly important for poorer workers who cannot afford longer commutes.

The key finding of the study was that people and jobs moved to the suburbs in the 2000s, and the number of jobs near the typical resident fell by 7 percent. This is in keeping with Trulia data that has found that most moves—both within counties (two-thirds of all moves) and between counties—are toward lower density and cheaper housing.

Even in a decade when retail gasoline prices tripled, people and work didn’t move closer together. Americans are spacing out.

But another story emerges when you look at the cities with the highest job density and who is moving there. When Elizabeth Kneebone and Natalie Holmes used Census tracts to determine the places with the greatest job proximity, these cities topped the list:

(see link)

Anybody who spends their free time looking at ordinal lists of American cities will notice that this is a pretty familiar set. It’s almost exactly the list of the most populous U.S. metro areas (for methodological reasons, the Brookings study could not include Boston or any other cities in Massachusetts). It’s almost exactly the list of the large U.S. cities with the highest median incomes. And the highest density of college grads. And the highest share of foreign-born residents among young people.

And, perhaps most importantly for the immediate future, it’s almost exactly the list of cities where college grads have been moving since the recession began.

This is a tight feedback loop. The densest cities tend to be the most educated cities, which are also the richest cities, and often the biggest cities. They’re gobbling up a disproportionate share of college grads. And, as a result, they are becoming richer, denser, and more educated.

This feedback loop goes by many impressively multisyllabic names—geographic sorting, economic agglomeration, cumulative advantage. But they’re all fancy ways to describe something simple. Even as older and less educated Americans are moving to the suburbs, young people with college degrees are moving toward density, and their migratory patterns are encouraging future young people to follow in their steps.

But many cities that don’t already appear at the top of these degrees-and-density lists are fighting migratory currents that are pulling more of the most talented young people to the same small set of cities. “At the same time that American communities are desegregating, racially, they are becoming more segregated in terms of schooling and earnings,” Enrico Moretti wrote in his book The Geography of Jobs. In other words, today’s richest cities might not mimic the collapses suffered by the richest U.S. cities from the 1970s. “The knowledge economy has an inherent tendency toward geographical agglomeration,” he wrote. “Initial advantages matter, and the future depends heavily on the past.”

National foreclosures nearing 10 year low

National foreclosures nearing 10 year low

Posted in Foreclosures, Housing Recovery, National Real Estate | 69 Comments

From Marketwatch:

U.S. Foreclosure Activity Down 4 Percent in February to Lowest Level Since July 2006 Despite 9 Percent Rise in REOs

Realtytrac today released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report(TM) for February 2015, which shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 101,938 U.S. properties in February, a decrease of 4 percent from revised January numbers and down 9 percent from a year ago to the lowest level since July 2006. The report also shows a U.S. foreclosure rate of one in every 1,295 housing units with a foreclosure filing in February.

“Given that August 2006 was the peak of the housing bubble, this eight-and-a-half year low in foreclosure activity is a significant milestone and a sign that nationwide foreclosure activity is on track to return to historic norms this year — and is possibly even headed below historic norms given the skinny-jeans-tight lending standards over the past five years,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “In markets where foreclosures were processed more efficiently we are seeing foreclosure numbers now below pre-crisis levels in some cases. Conversely, the cleanup of deferred distress is continuing in markets where a logjam of in-limbo foreclosures is still lingering from the housing crisis — as evidenced by rebounding foreclosure activity in those markets.”

Despite the national decrease from a year ago, 24 states posted a year-over-year increase in overall foreclosure activity, including Massachusetts (up 53 percent; fifth consecutive month with an increase) and New York (up 19 percent; sixth consecutive month with an increase).

Despite the national decrease in foreclosure starts, 23 states posted year-over-year increases in foreclosure starts, including Nevada (up 153 percent; fourth consecutive month with an increase), Massachusetts (up 116 percent; 11th consecutive month with an increase), and Texas (up 5 percent; five out of last six months with increase).

25 states post annual increase in scheduled foreclosure auctions

Nationwide, 45,880 properties were scheduled for a future foreclosure auction in February, down 13 percent from revised January numbers and down 4 percent from a year ago to the lowest level since July 2006.

Despite the national decrease in scheduled foreclosure auctions — which can act as the foreclosure start in some states — 25 states posted a year-over-year increase in scheduled foreclosure auctions, including New York (up 146 percent; ninth consecutive month with an increase), Massachusetts (up 88 percent; third consecutive month with an increase), New Jersey (up 38 percent; 15th consecutive month with an increase), and Washington (up 17 percent; five out of last seven months with an increase).

Maryland, Nevada, Florida post highest state foreclosure rates

Other states with foreclosure rates among the top 10 highest nationwide in February were Indiana (one in every 871 housing units with a foreclosure filing), Idaho (one in every 877 housing units), New Jersey (one in every 895 housing units), Illinois (one in every 906 housing units), Delaware (one in every 957 housing units), Ohio (one in every 1,000 housing units), and North Carolina (one in every 1,088 housing units).

U.S. regained top spot in Real Estate investment

Back in the New York groove

Posted in Demographics, Employment, NYC, National Real Estate | 39 Comments

From the WSJ:

U.S. Regained Top Spot for Real Estate Investment in 2014

We’re number one – again!

For the first time since 2009, the U.S. was the top destination for capital going into real estate markets, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s annual report, leapfrogging over China. But it came as the global market actually got smaller, not bigger.

The market-share gains in the U.S. came more because of a drop in investment in land in China, the firm said, which led to a 6.4% drop in global real-estate investments to $1.21 trillion. “This decline in activity can be solely attributed to a drop in Chinese land purchasing,” the firm wrote. The report was released at the annual real-estate conference sponsored by MIPIM.

New York City was the top destination, followed by L.A., San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Boston. Globally, New York was still number one, followed by London, Tokyo, L.A., and San Francisco. In a nod to the youngsters, the survey found that the top markets offering “the right live/work/play environment” for millennials were Nashville, Brooklyn, Portland, and Memphis.

For 2015, the firm projects the global real-estate market will rise 11%, to $1.34 trillion, with the largest gains coming in central and eastern Europe (30%), followed by western Europe (19%), and North America (15%). But the report was cautious about the current year. “While growth may be better, it will be volatile and divergent market by market.”

NY / NJ Metro area real estate News and featured articles

Jersey City waterfront
Click on this photo for the full article

Maybe millennials will save the market?

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Housing Recovery | 2 Comments

From HousingWire:

Is household formation set for a rebound

Despite ongoing concerns about the delay in household formation by younger buyers, demographically speaking things may be about to turn a corner.

The decline in the share of young adults living with their parents should provide a boost to household formation over the next few years, according to a client note from Capital Economics.

This is an upside risk to their forecasts for sales and housing demand and, perhaps, homebuilding, but it is unlikely to trigger a sharp rise in prices, the note says.

The subdued rate of household formation has been a drag on the housing recovery in recent years.

Most measures suggest that, since 2008, the number of new households forming each year has been unusually low – little more than half a million.

But in the latest Homeownership & Vacancy Survey, the Census Bureau estimated that household formation surged to 1.7 million in 2014, from 400,000 the previous year.

“Admittedly, the annual measures of household formation have always been volatile and it’s difficult to know how much weight to place on the latest reading,” says Ed Stansfield, chief property economist for Capital Economics. “But such a strong rebound could be a sign that housing demand is set to receive a significant boost in the coming year.”

Skip to toolbar