Landmark Links February 26th – Anchors Away


Lead Story… The traditional suburban American mall continues it’s fade into irrelevance, hit hard by both e-commerce and gentrification in urban cores.  Department stores are vacating in droves, leaving large empty spaces that are extremely difficult to re-tenant and a lack of foot traffic that challenges the viability of smaller, impulse purchase based tenants.


Turning on the Spigot: The United States is exporting oil again after a 40-year ban and the geopolitical implications could be huge.

Circling Vultures: New investment funds with blank checks to buy distressed energy assets are raising a money in the public and private markets hoping to cash in on the ongoing dumpster fire in the space.

Broken Clock: Mainstream financial publications are once again postulating that the Federal Reserve is out of ammo.  The problem?  They’ve been saying the exact same thing since 2009 and have been dead wrong every time.  I suppose that this projection will be correct at some point but still…..


Plateau?  Morgan Stanley originally forecast that commercial real estate would grow at a rate of 5% this year.  Last week they revised that number down to flat as a result of an increasingly challenging commercial lending market.


Crickets: Housing affordability is reaching crisis levels due to a lack of supply resulting from a combination of the hangover from the housing crash and restrictive zoning in desirable areas.  However, you sure wouldn’t know it if you’re following the presidential primary races where both parties seem bound and determined to ignore housing policy altogether.  See Also: If you want to see NIMBYs in action check out the comments this article about the City of Newport Beach allowing the development of a condo tower on an underutilized commercial site.  Only the most hard core NIMBY could argue with a straight face that a place with a $1.525MM median sale price and $4,500 median rent “does’t need any new housing.”

Booming: The housing market might not be exactly on fire (at least in terms of new development) but Home Depot’s earnings report is the latest example of how hot the renovation business is right now.  

No End in Sight: As the market slowly recovers, a lack of inventory is putting pressure on both sales and home prices.  See Also: In a world of low inventory, attainable is the new affordable.


Uneven: Venture capital investment in the US is highly concentrated in coastal cities that just happen to have the highest barriers to entry when it comes to restrictive zoning and sky-high housing prices.

Side Effects: The e-commerce boom and subsequent delivery arms race is creating a mountain of cardboard.  See Also: Amazon is raising it’s minimum purchase amount for free shipping in an attempt to push more consumers towards it’s Prime services.

Chart of the Day


It’s Easy to Grin When Your Ship Comes In: Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google parent company Alphabet just paid $4.75MM for a boat slip in Nantucket.  I guess you have to dock your yacht somewhere…..

Name Game: A British man legally changed his name to Bacon Double Cheeseburger after a night of heavy drinking. Apparently, Double Bypass was already taken.  He says he has no regrets but his mother and fiancee disagree.  Let me just say that it’s a shame that no picture was included with this story. (h/t Tom Farrell)

Video of the Day: Check out this Chinese cartoon about the dirty water at the Rio Olympics.  It’s hilarious (and disgusting) but somehow I don’t think that the Chinese should be lecturing anyone else about pollution.

Landmark Links – A candid look at the economy, real estate, and other things sometimes related.

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