1. How to Keep Things Open “The Omicron variant, while highly contagious, is seemingly less severe than previous strains of the coronavirus. As the government pushes to keep the U.S. economy open despite record cases — but lower hospitalization and death rates — it raises new questions for businesses preparing for a third year of the pandemic.” (The New York Times)
  2. Private Equity Backs Record Volume of Tech Deals “Private-equity firms had a blockbuster year for deal making, largely driven by technology investments. As of mid-December, private-equity firms had announced backing U.S. technology deals totaling $401.71 billion, including new purchases, asset sales and add-on deals, according to data provider Dealogic. That accounted for 41% of a record $990.25 billion in overall private-equity deals through mid-December, Dealogic said.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  3. Even in a Hot Market, L.A. Won’t Allow Rent Hikes for Most Tenants Until 2023 “As the U.S. nears the beginning of the third year combating COVID-19, tenants in L.A. are receiving a benefit few others have: Landlords are prohibited from raising the cost of more than 650,000 rent-stabilized units citywide, which represents nearly three-quarters of L.A.’s apartment stock.” (Los Angeles Times)
  4. Ares Buys $1.7 Billion of Industrial Real Estate “Century City-based Ares Management Corp., using funds managed by Ares Real Estate Group, has acquired two portfolios of 75 industrial properties for $1.7 billion. The two portfolios, purchased from different sellers, have 11.9 million square feet of industrial space. The properties are spread across 16 markets in the United States, including in Southern California. Other markets in the transaction included Atlanta; Las Vegas; Chicago; Dallas; and Nashville, Tennessee.” (Los Angeles Business Journal)
  5. Commercial Real Estate Could Be Poised for Continued Lending Growth in 2022 “After commercial real estate lending volume rebounded from a challenging 2020, the number of deals is poised to soar further this year in a higher interest-rate climate, according to industry experts with whom Commercial Observer spoke as 2021 drew to a close. Total CRE debt from commercial banks grew by $116 billion as of Dec. 1, 2021, compared with 2020, when the market was largely stalled during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to numbers from data analytics firm Cred iQ.” (Commercial Observer)
  6. NYCHA Partners with Developers in Housing Rehabilitation Deals “NYCHA’s PACT program finances the agency’s partnerships with private and non-profit developers to rehabilitate affordable apartments.” (The Real Deal)
  7. Instant Delivery Startups Test a New Concept: Slower Delivery “Instant-delivery startups promising to ferry groceries to customers in 15 minutes or less have rushed to expand in major cities like New York and Chicago in the past year. But they’re burning far more cash in the U.S. than in other countries where they operate, causing several of them to test major changes to their business model—including longer delivery windows that could allow the startups to pack in more orders per trip.” (The Information)
  8. Starbucks Readies its Workforce for Biden’s Vaccine or Test Mandate “Starbucks is asking its U.S. employees to disclose their vaccination status by Jan. 10. If they aren’t fully vaccinated by Feb. 9, when enforcement of the federal mandate is set to begin, workers will have to present a negative Covid-19 test no more than seven days before their next shift and once a week going forward. Unvaccinated workers will have to procure their own tests, and at-home tests will not be accepted.” (CNBC)

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