ICSC’s RECon 2019 in Las Vegas provided a very good vibe for new deals and excitement not seen since before 2007. Unofficial statistics noted that attendance was up, likely above 37,000 with more than 12,000 exhibitors. Low interest rates, heightened consumer demand and an overall positive national economic outlook provided the backdrop for the increased optimism. Here are a few take-aways from this year’s show.

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*Updated February 6, 2018*

Carson Pirie Scott II, Inc., aka Bon-Ton Stores (“Bon-Ton”), which has dual headquarters in Milwaukee, WI and York, PA, filed on Super Bowl Sunday for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, Docket # 18-10248 (MFW).

The regional department store chain operates 260 stores in 24 states, largely in the Northeast and Midwest. Bon-Ton operates stores under its own name as well as: the Boston Store, Carson’s, Younkers, Herberger’s, and Elder-Beerman. Rumblings of a possible filing circulated in early December as the chain watched its holiday sales fall.

Bon-Ton reports that it has a commitment of $725 million for debtor-in-possession (“DIP”) financing to operate during the restructuring process. The company’s business plan, which was filed earlier this week with the SEC, reports it’s main priority is the overhaul of its private-label products, as it plays catch-up with Kohl’s, Macy’s, and J.C. Penney.


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One of the questions that I am frequently asked is, “Who can develop property in a redevelopment area?”

As discussed below, redevelopment can be done by anyone, subject to restrictions discussed below, and is not necessarily restricted to just large scale developers.

A redeveloper is defined by New Jersey’s Local Housing and Redevelopment Law (the “LHRL”) as “… any person, firm, corporation, or public body that shall enter into or propose to enter into a contract with a municipality or other redevelopment entity for the redevelopment or rehabilitation of an area in need of redevelopment…”.

Thus, for a redeveloper to make use of the LHRL, a municipality must have first declared a property or properties as an area in need of redevelopment.


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Golfsmith International, Inc., a specialty golf retailer with 109 Golfsmith stores across the U.S. and 55 Golf Town stores in Canada, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Wilmington, Delaware on Wednesday, September 14, 2016. This case follows other large sports retailer bankruptcy cases, including Sports Authority and Eastern Mountain Sports, who both filed Chapter 11 proceedings in Delaware earlier this year.

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How can retail landlords make more money? A recent article in the Wall Street Journal, entitled Shopping Malls’ New Product: Fun reveals the answer…add amusement attractions.

According to the article, many U.S. malls are profiting from entertainment tenants and amusement attractions, including go-kart racing, indoor rope climbing, laser tag, skydiving simulators, escape rooms, high-tech golf driving ranges, glow-in-the-dark miniature golf, state-of-the-art movie theaters, and new bowling and dining options.


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BRIEFLY EXPLAIN THE RECENT NJ SUPREME COURT DECISION RELATED TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING OVERSIGHT.

After sixteen years without viable and constitutional regulations for Affordable Housing, the Supreme Court created new mechanisms to meet Affordable Housing goals. To really explain this issue, we need to go back for some history. In 1975 the Supreme Court said every municipality has an obligation to provide a reasonable opportunity for Affordable Housing. In other words, there needs to be a variety of choice in housing for residents and citizens of New Jersey at all income levels. In the eighties, the courts created a methodology to provide Builders’ Remedies, whereby builders who brought suit and established that municipalities engaged in exclusionary zoning would be granted the remedy of rezoning of their property for an inclusionary development, providing for a percentage of affordable housing within a market rate project. In response the legislature adopted the Fair Housing Act (FHA) whereby the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) was delegated as the authority to create and enforce regulations concerning affordable housing. Since 1999, COAH has failed to act in a responsible manner to create those regulations—we’ve been without constitutionally satisfactory regulations for sixteen (16) years.


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It is common knowledge that in the real estate market, the selling price for a mobile home is almost always dependent upon where is located. Yet, in a recent Chapter 11 case in the district of Delaware, Boomerang Tube LLC, the debtors relied upon a decision by Bankruptcy Judge Shannon, In re George Welch Sr. (Bankr. D. Del. October 19, 2015).

In that Chapter 13 setting, the debtor suggested that the replacement value of the equipment was the proper valuation for purposes of the cramdown sought in their Plan. In this Plan, the chapter 13 debtors’ sought to assume the ground lease, retain the mobile home, and cramdown the secured creditor’s claim to value the of the mobile home as determined in the NADA Retail Value Guidebook for Manufactured and Mobile Homes.

The creditor objected based upon an appraisal it had obtained, which valued the mobile home at $80,000 “in place.” The creditor reasoned that since the debtor decided to assume the underlying ground lease and use the mobile home as a residence, the creditor was entitled to a higher figure – the true value of the living accommodation if sold as it stood. Comps in the creditor’s appraisal had relied upon the location of comparable mobile homes in order to establish value.


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This blog was co-authored with my colleague Tom Onder, Esq.

Pope Francis is coming to Philadelphia in September. The visit will attract millions of visitors from around the world. A quick look at prior Pontiff visits shows the enormous influx of people that the Pope attracts to other global cities:

Attendees

Global City

3.5 Million

Copacabana Beach, Rio, Brazil in 2013

6.6 Million

Vatican in 2014

6 Million

Manila, Philippines in 2015

+2 Million

Expected to see the Pope in Philadelphia  [1]

Many commercial, retail and other property owners are now planning to benefit from the multitude that come to see the Pope when he visits the United States in September. Currently, the Papal itinerary has him in Washington, D.C., New York, and Philadelphia.

Bigger Economic Impact than the Super Bowl


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The National Association of Homebuilders released a report, consistent with our predictions, indicating that approved lots ready for construction are a scarcity. 62% of builders indicate that the supply of developed lots is low or very low. This phenomenon, at record levels since at least 1997 when records were kept, is likely due to

A Subordination Non-Disturbance and Attornment Agreement (an “SNDA”) is a document that is typically required by a lender for a landlord. Sometimes the lender will leave off the non-disturbance portion of the agreement, as the lender is only interested in the subordination and attornment. The subordination is the agreement of the tenant to subordinate its