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Editors' Choice: The Very Best Bisnow Stories Of 2018

National

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This year Bisnow doubled down on its commitment to publishing deeply reported journalism and investigations that shine a light on our industry. We do this work not because we want clicks or accolades, but because we believe that truth and accurate information — no matter the feathers it might ruffle — matter a great deal to your business. 

Five stars

Our 27 reporters and editors span the globe, producing their work from places near and far-flung: New York; Dublin, Ireland; Schaumburg, Illinois; Manchester, United Kingdom; Miami; American Canyon, California; Atlanta; Orange County, California; Spring, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Miami; London and Seattle.

Collectively, they produced nearly 8,000 stories this year. From our editors, here is a collection of our very best from 2018 — the stories that really mattered, the ones you might have missed and the ones we hope will enhance your perspective of the world you help to shape.

Mark F. Bonner, Editor-In-Chief

ALLISON NAGEL, WEST COAST EDITOR

Fed Up With Vacant Storefronts, Residents Force Cities To Punish Retail Landlords

By Cameron SperanceBoston Reporter & Joseph PimentelLos Angeles Reporter

A visible sign of blight in any city is boarded up and shuttered retail businesses, and this story tackled just how cities are trying to deal with it. While developers and landlords argue that changes in the retail environment have driven up vacancies and suggest market solutions to fill those spaces, some cities have opted for fines and fees for properties with vacant storefronts. This story took a look at why that approach is attractive to cities and whether or not it may be the best approach.

READ STORY HERE

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In The Changing World Of Commercial Real Estate, A Degree Is Becoming A Requirement 

By Joseph PimentelLos Angeles Reporter

Many people in the industry get into CRE through a circuitous route, not having pursued a degree in the field. But that is starting to change with this next generation as companies start to look for specialized knowledge. This story looked at how more schools are offering degrees in CRE fields, and the challenges that remain in getting students to pursue those degrees.

READ STORY HERE

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The Silver Tsunami Is Crashing Into Bay Area’s Housing Crisis 

By Julie Littman, San Francisco Reporter

The housing crisis was a hot topic across multiple markets in 2018, and few parts of the country were facing as many challenges as the high-priced Bay Area. But what few people were talking about was what would further drive up demand for affordable housing — the rising senior population. This story advanced the conversation on an issue that is not just a California problem.

READ STORY HERE

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CATIE DIXON, MANAGING/CENTRAL EDITOR

Editors' Choice: The Very Best Bisnow Stories Of 2018
Mural on 125th Street, Harlem

A Tour Of Historically Black Neighborhoods: Preserving The Past And Embracing The Future

By Bisnow Newsroom

For Black History Month in February, Bisnow reporters around the country delved deep into 11 neighborhoods with rich African-American history. From Harlem, New York City, to Bronzeville, Chicago, and View Park, Los Angeles, these neighborhoods are facing the present in different ways. Some have been gentrified and look similar to other parts of their cities. Some have fallen into disrepair. Some are getting new lives while honoring their roots. All have interesting stories to tell.

READ STORY HERE

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Industrial Boomtowns Rise In Unlikely Places As Labor Shortages Shift Site Selection

By Julie LittmanSan Francisco Reporter, Chuck Sudo, Chicago Reporter & Jarred Schenke, Atlanta Reporter

The prevailing wisdom around the rise of e-commerce has been that distribution centers, typically suburban mainstays, will move into urban cores. But new technology and a lack of land in the country’s biggest cities are driving a massive wave of development, spurred by industrial product, in tiny towns in the middle of nowhere.

READ STORY HERE

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In Their Own Words: Commercial Real Estate's #MeToo Moment

By Bisnow International Newsroom

The #MeToo movement made its way more strongly into commercial real estate this year, with some major figures losing leadership roles after allegations, and professionals across the industry analyzing their own behaviors and experiences with the opposite gender. In March, we asked more than 100 women and men around the country three questions related to gender inequality in the workplace and whether the #MeToo movement has gone too far. Their responses show how much things have changed recently and how much pain and confusion lingers.

READ STORY HERE

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6 Projects That Transformed Dallas Into A Global Powerhouse Over The Last 10 Years 

By Jeremiah Jensen, Dallas Reporter

Dallas in 2007 vs. Dallas in 2017: The transformation to almost-primary market has grabbed the attention of investors around the globe, who went from writing off the market entirely to putting it top of their wish list. We looked at the shift in attitude from the rest of the world, and the major developments that drove that change. 

READ STORY HERE

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ETHAN ROTHSTEIN, EAST COAST EDITOR

Editors' Choice: The Very Best Bisnow Stories Of 2018

The Opioid Epidemic Is Turning Commercial Buildings Into Deadly Hazmat Zones, And No One Knows What To Do About It 

By Cameron SperanceBoston Reporter

Sperance put on a hazmat suit and went into a cheap hotel room where two people had overdosed the night before, taking part in the cleanup of the aftermath. Fentanyl, the deadly synthetic drug that has made the opioid crisis even deadlier, pollutes the air around where it was taken, a reality more property owners need to be aware of. But as Sperance has found in his extensive reporting on this topic, few in the commercial real estate industry are interested in talking about the crisis in their midst.

READ STORY HERE

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CRE's Wage Gap Could Be Hurting Businesses' Bottom Lines 

By Miriam Hall, New York Reporter

While sexual harassment stories grabbed headlines, and rightfully so, our New York reporter Miriam Hall examined the structures in place that keep women from earning as much as their male colleagues. She spoke to more than a dozen women in the industry — and one who left it because she saw her earning potential limited — and zeroed in on why there remains a green ceiling for women at the highest levels.

READ STORY HERE

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Middle-Class Misery: Housing Crisis Hitting Cities, Working Americans Harder Than Ever Before

By Jon Banister, Washington, D.C., Reporter & Miriam Hall, New York Reporter

It can be hard to find ways to write about the biggest issues affecting the country at their intersection with commercial real estate in a way that feels fresh and relevant. Affordable housing is one of those issues. It is ever-present, but it is up to the CRE industry and its public sector partners to figure out some form of solution. The people who have been left out of the solutions thus far have been those in the middle class, and we explored that more deeply than ever before in this piece.

READ STORY HERE

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Another Generation Of White CRE C-Suites: How Equal Opportunity Laws Are Holding Back Diversification 

By Jon Banister, Washington, D.C., Reporter & Cameron SperanceBoston Reporter

While gender diversity in commercial real estate is improving steadily, racial diversity has stagnated. In this investigation, Sperance and Banister reported that many believe federal equal opportunity laws have been a hurdle, not a help, in recent years in diversifying the ranks. Of course, there are others who say the hurdles are not too tall to jump over and hire more people of color if it were truly a priority.

READ STORY HERE

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East Coast States Are Going All-In On Casinos. Some Smell A Bad Beat Coming

By Jon Banister, Washington, D.C., Reporter & Cameron SperanceBoston Reporter

Bisnow broke open the trend on the East Coast of huge casinos coming to major metropolitan areas for the first time. Boston, D.C. and Philadelphia now have Las Vegas-style gaming palaces, and Atlanta could be close behind. While industry watchers marveled at the boom in casinos in the last few years, they cautioned that there have been casino booms before, and they usually go bust.

READ STORY HERE

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Who's To Blame For The Deadly Florida Bridge Collapse? 

By Deirdra Funcheon, South Florida Reporter

In one of the best pieces of local reporting Bisnow has ever produced, South Florida reporter Deirdra Funcheon investigated a crucial question: After an “instant” bridge built with a revolutionary construction method collapsed and killed six people, who was to blame for the avoidable tragedy? The answer is far from simple, but rarely does cutting corners in construction have such deadly consequences.

READ STORY HERE

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CHAMPAIGN WILLIAMS, NATIONAL EDITOR

Women Finance Laugh

Why The Culture Of Finance Is More Inclusive For Women In Commercial Real Estate

By Melissa Oyler, National Reporter Champaign WilliamsNational Editor

Commercial real estate firms and C-suite executives are no longer in the dark about the need to eliminate gender bias and close the pay gap for women in an industry dominated by white men. As steps toward inclusivity are taken through various recruiting initiatives and networking events to provide women more equal opportunities to advance their careers, studies reveal one area of the industry in particular where women are flourishing is finance. Women now account for 34% of all financial service positions in the commercial real estate industry. That makes it the second-largest specialization for women in the industry behind asset management. In this story, Bisnow spoke with 15 female executives who specialize in commercial real estate finance to learn how they penetrated the market and what steps the industry is taking to diversify the ranks and create more opportunities for female applicants to enter the workforce.

READ STORY HERE

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Amazon HQ2 ‘Rigged From The Beginning’

By Jarred SchenkeAtlanta Reporter

If we learned anything from Amazon’s 14-month-long search for a second headquarters, it is that the e-commerce giant knows how to put on a show. After months of speculation among the 20 finalist cities about who would take home the prize, Amazon threw the nation a curveball and selected two winning cities instead — Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia, and Long Island City in Queens, New York. To say there was an outcry of frustration and criticism from the losing cities would be an understatement. Many felt the competition for the $5B headquarters to house 50,000 tech workers had been rigged and that Amazon had no real intention of building its campus anywhere besides the predetermined winning cities. Experts discussed their frustrations with Bisnow in this piece.

READ STORY HERE

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Millennials Are So Last Year: Commercial Real Estate Developers Build With Gen Z In Mind

By Melissa OylerNational Reporter

As millennials age, marry and begin to start families, commercial real estate developers are turning their attention to the next generation sure to disrupt how we live, work and shop: Generation Z. This group consists of anyone born after 1996, and its influence is already beginning to resonate across the industry. Thanks to Gen Z, multifamily and office locations have become increasingly earth-friendly, accelerated demand for food delivery has led to a rise in dark kitchens and retail centers have increasingly become places to hang and experience rather than places to shop. This story delves further into the differences between millennials and Gen Z, and how the soon-to-be dominant generation is impacting the industrial, retail, hotel and multifamily real estate sectors.

READ STORY HERE

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MIKE PHILLIPS, UNITED KINGDOM EDITOR

Editors' Choice: The Very Best Bisnow Stories Of 2018

The Rise And Rise Of Real Estate’s New Buzzwords

By Mike Phillips, United Kingdom Editor

The words an industry uses to describe what it does tell us something about where it is and where it wants to go. And looking at the data about how the language of real estate has changed provides some surprising insights.

READ STORY HERE

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Colony Corners Dublin’s Mega Lease Market

By Grainne Rothery, Dublin Reporter

Few private equity firms have made a bet on a city like Colony Capital has in Dublin: It has built up a portfolio worth more than $3B in a city of just 500,000 people. This deep dive explained the firm’s strategy.

READ STORY HERE

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End Of The Road: Does Anyone In Manchester Property Care About Cars?

By David ThameManchester & Birmingham Reporter

So much has been written about the impact of driverless cars and public transport on cities and real estate, but so much of it is abstract and theoretical. This takes the abstract musings and looks at how changing patterns of mobility will affect a specific city.

READ STORY HERE

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JAY RICKEY, DIRECTOR OF NEWSLETTERS

Servcorp offices in New York City
Servcorp offices in New York City

90% Of The Employees At This Company Make It Different — And Some Say Better — Than Any Other

By Melissa OylerNational Reporter

This half-billion-dollar company operates 160 locations in 24 countries and has about 1,000 employees — about 900 of whom are women. Many of the women who got their start here didn't have college educations, including the woman who oversees its Australian and New Zealand offices, who started out as an office assistant when she was 16. The company offers a library with independent studies on team management, client complaints, team member issues and more. The company has also been profitable for the entire 40 years it has been in business.

READ STORY HERE

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Unexpected Uber Demand Forces Major League Baseball Team To Make Changes At New Ballpark

By Jarred Schenke, Atlanta Reporter

The Atlanta Braves' decision to move its baseball stadium to the suburbs seemed like a terrible idea. Why host games in a location where people can't walk or ride public transit up to the stadium, buy a ticket, have a couple of beers and go home without getting behind the wheel? Well, between the time the stadium was announced and built, the industry perhaps most in need of disruption — the taxi cab industry — was disrupted. And the Braves admitted they weren't prepared. “We didn't know there was going to be thousands and thousands of pickups and drop-offs a night using Uber,” Atlanta Braves President Mike Plant told Bisnow. 

READ STORY HERE

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This Town May Be The Poster Child To Determine If Opportunity Zones Will Work As Intended

By Tierra Smith, Houston Reporter

There are so many opportunity zones — about 8,700 across the country — it's difficult to say if places like Gary, Indiana, that desperately need investments will ever benefit. But with $6 trillion in play, communities across the country are hopeful and optimistic about their chances. We'll have to see how it plays out. But this article did a fantastic job showcasing why — and why it won't — work in some places.

READ STORY HERE

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