Commercial Real Estate & Business News – April 15, 2014

Consumers Feeling Better About Current Conditions, Outlook; PPI Rises in March

The preliminary Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for April came in at 82.6 on Friday, according to the university, an increase from 80.0 at the end of March, and 79.9 in mid-March. The latest reading is the highest since last summer. Both components were up. Consumer expectations came in at 73.3, compared with a final March reading of 70.0. Current conditions rose to 97.1, compared with the final March reading of 95.7. Expectations probably gained because of higher confidence in the employment market, which seems to have made strides since a case of the winter blahs, as well as optimism about rising income… Read more

NRF: Retail Sales Climb in March

Spurred by warmer spring weather, U.S. retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, increased 0.8% adjusted month-to-month in March and 1.6% unadjusted year-over-year, according to estimates from the National Retail Federation (NRF)… Read more

Real-Estate Crowdfunding Finds Its Footing

Before last year, Ed Medley had never invested in commercial real estate. Now, he’s a part-owner of shopping malls, mobile-home parks and apartment buildings from Los Angeles to Tennessee… Read more

Market Trend: Phoenix Office Vacancy Down to 17.8%

The vacancy rate was down over the previous quarter, with net absorption totaling positive 750,157 square feet in the first quarter. That compares to positive 701,474 square feet in the fourth quarter 2013. Vacant sublease space increased in the quarter, ending the quarter at 790,491 square feet… Read more

DriveTime Chairman Acquires Vacant F-1 Race Factory Building

Benderson Development, a vertically integrated developer of commercial properties, has completed the sale of the former F-1 Race Factory building – now known as Tech 143 – for $9.4m or $82.58 per square foot. The acquiring entity, Verde Investments, Inc. is a real estate investment vehicle used by DriveTime chairman, Earnest Garcia. Garcia paid $3.4m in cash and secured an additional $6m in financing with MidFirst Bank… Read more