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May 19, 2021

As New York City Pushes Ahead With Reopening, The Restaurant Industry Remains Imperiled

[Digital Summit] Partnership Fund for New York City President & CEO Maria Gotsch talks funding life sciences May 20

New York City’s reopening plans have provided a lifeline for the city’s pummeled restaurant industry. But the slow return of patrons and now major staffing problems continue to vex operators still battling to make enough for expenses, including rent.

As New York City Pushes Ahead With Reopening, The Restaurant Industry Remains Imperiled

“Many restaurants haven't been able to pay rent or only paid partial rent over the past 15 months, they have bills they owe to vendors, exhausted some of their personal savings to keep the business afloat,” New York City…

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Blackstone Mortgage Trust Names Katie Keenan CEO

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Blackstone’s commercial mortgage trust’s new CEO is a woman who helped guide the company to strong performance through the crisis over the past year.Katie Keenan was named CEO of Blackstone Mortgage Trustthe company announced Wednesday. The 36-year-old, who was formerly president…

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Reparations Are Gaining Momentum Across The Country. Real Estate Is Front-And-Center

Evanston, Illinois, became the first U.S. city to fund reparations earlier this year, part of an effort to make amends for the city's history of racial housing discrimination.

Evanston is at the forefront of a growing grassroots movement of local governments taking action to explicitly move forward on some form of reparations to make up for social and systemic sins against Black Americans. While scholars say only the federal government can truly right the wrongs of slavery and Jim Crow, these municipalities are taking critical first steps, and their focus thus far has largely been centered on real estate.

“The American housing and commercial real estate markets have been really horribly racist for the last couple of hundred years,” University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs professor Edward Goetz said. “I think [real estate] presents itself as a logical place to think about reparations.”

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Origin Stories: Dreamscape CEO Eric Birnbaum On Being A Sponge

This series delves into the myriad ways people enter the commercial real estate industry and what contributes to their success.

Eric Birnbaum fell in love with commercial real estate development at first sight. He was a self-described "disgruntled investment banker" working at Bear Stearns when he saw his father-in-law, Alan Landis, working through a development deal.

He knew he wanted in, and in 2003, he got his wish with a job at Vornado Realty. He closed more than $1B in acquisitions, capital markets and development deals there and confirmed his love for the industry. Since then, Birnbaum has founded three companies primarily focused on hospitality and residential development: ELB Holdings in '08; Imperial Cos. in 2014 with the former CEO of Vornado, Michael Fascitelli; and Dreamscape in 2019.

Birnbaum is now all-in on Dreamscape — since its inception in 2019, he has raised $1B for its hospitality fund and has been buying multifamily and hotel properties across the U.S., including in Miami, New York, New Orleans and Charleston. Dreamscape recently acquired the 2,522-room Rio All-Suite Hotel & Resort in Las Vegas from Caesars for $516.3M. He said he sees the lines between multifamily and hospitality blurring and looks for deals with a lifestyle bend to them.

Birnbaum is a New York City native with a love for Tal Bagels and the Mets, and he said he believes the city, including its hospitality industry, will come back strong from the coronavirus pandemic. He has a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Pennsylvania, and he is an avid runner. He lives in Manhattan's Upper East Side with his wife, their three kids, and their Goldendoodle, Cooper. 

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Rent Payments Loom For Restaurants As Capacity Restrictions Lift

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Many restaurants in D.C. and across the country have been paying little to no rent over the last 14 months as the pandemic has depressed their sales. 

Now, with the warm weather and vaccinations bringing more customers, and with cities like the District lifting their capacity restrictions, restaurants will soon have larger bills to pay. But the difficulty of hiring back staff and the uncertainty of whether people are comfortable enough to crowd into restaurants could make it difficult for restaurants to pay the rents their landlords will soon demand. 

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