Search “Death of Retail” on Google.com and, as of July 26, you will get approximately 855,000 hits, many of which stress the negative impact that online sales and Amazon, in particular, have had on traditional retailers. However, predicting the future of the retail industry cannot be reduced to an easy slogan. Amazon itself is a retailer, and it is facilitating sales on its site by other retailers, including many that previously had difficulty bringing goods and services to market. Moreover, retail sales overall rose almost 4% in the past year, and the National Retail Federation expects growth to continue due to low unemployment and a strong stock market. Clearly, the retail industry is not in a meltdown, but it is experiencing great change, and the industry must adapt.
Data centers trigger visions of windowless, concrete boxes located at the periphery of suburban office parks. That perception may fade in the coming years. With new technologies, such as cloud computing, blockchain platforms, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, big data and mobile apps demanding instant access to data, the industry is seeing global growth and innovation, including “micro” centers closer to end users, underwater and floating data centers, “mega” centers and green data centers.
The California Supreme Court’s recent Ardmore decision expanding the applicability of California’s Documentary Transfer Tax Act will no doubt be the source of future litigation. In their recent client alert, colleagues Craig A. Becker, Richard E. Nielsen, Breann E. Robowski and Dianne L. Sweeney examine the issue.
In California Supreme Court Decision Changes the Transfer Tax World, Pillsbury attorneys Craig Becker, Richard Nielsen, Breann Robowski and Dianne Sweeney discuss the California Supreme Court’s decision in 926 North Armore Avenue, LLC v. County of Los Angeles:
- Court concludes counties and cities are permitted to impose a documentary transfer tax on entity transfers that result in a Proposition 13 “change in ownership” under California Revenue & Taxation Code § 64(c) or 64(d).
In their recent client alert “CFIUS and Real Estate,” colleagues Nancy A. Fischer, Jenny Y. Liu, Matthew R. Rabinowitz examine how an influx of foreign investments in U.S. real estate has led three key U.S. Senators to request a review of how the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) examines real estate transactions.
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court held that there was no compensable taking of Petitioners’ property in Murr v. Wisconsin. Petitioners who own two adjacent lots along a waterfront in Wisconsin were not deprived of all economically beneficial use of their property. A formalistic approach to the issue was rejected. Instead of relying solely on lot lines, the Court considered fairness and factual analysis, noting its regulatory takings jurisprudence is based on flexibility.
The real estate industry is frequently identified as one of the most likely early adopters of blockchain technology and smart contracts. However, industry participants remain skeptical as to the timing and magnitude of the expected changes. That is understandable given the close association of blockchain technology with bitcoin controversies, other virtual currencies and some questionable crowdfunding ventures. Moreover, it is an emerging technology that includes confusing public, private and hybrid versions and involves imprecise terminology and standards. And smart contracts, which pre-date bitcoin, are still misunderstood and mistrusted.
As Los Angeles continues to struggle with lagging development pace as compared to the national pace of housing creation, communities across the city grapple with the potential implications of permitting increased density. The dueling priorities of providing much-needed housing in one of the nation’s fastest-growing markets and maintaining neighborhood history and character continue to square off as the city assesses development across its many communities.
Almost 18 months after it was introduced, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently approved Ordinance 150969, which creates development bonuses for private development projects where at least 30% of the units are subject to affordability restrictions. Known as the HOME-SF Program, the legislation allows qualifying projects to exceed otherwise applicable height restrictions by up to 20 feet and allows developers to select three additional zoning modifications from a menu of options, which includes reductions in required rear-yard setbacks and modifications to parking, exposure, and open space requirements. HOME-SF projects must also include on-site family-friendly amenities, such as dedicated bicycle parking and stroller storage, open space, and yard dedicated for use by children.
Most construction loans contemplate multiple advances or disbursements of funds at various stages of the construction project. The construction loan agreement will set forth the conditions that the borrower must satisfy to receive each advance of funds. Given that a construction loan concerns an active construction project, there is a risk that a lender could lose its lien priority in an advance (secured by the insured mortgage) to a mechanic’s lien. This post addresses how a title insurance policy and endorsements can insure against such a risk. Continue reading