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Tag Archives: real-estate

Ford’s plan to turn Detroit’s oldest neighborhood into an electric, AV hub

Ford will spend the next four years transforming at least 1.2 million square feet of space in Corktown — Detroit’s oldest neighborhood — into a hub for its electric and autonomous vehicles businesses. But the automaker’s ultimate aim goes beyond just building a new campus. The goal is to create a “mobility corridor,” — Ford’s version of its own Sand Hill Road in Silicon Valley — that ties hubs of research, testing and development in the academic hub of Ann Arbor to Ford’s Dearborn headquarters, and finally to Detroit. Ford, which is celebrating its 115th anniversary this week, announced plans to house 2,500 Ford employees, most from its emerging mobility team, in its new Corktown campus by 2022. The new campus will have space to a accommodate 2,500 additional employees of partners and other businesses. The remaining 300,000 square feet will serve as a mix of community and retail space and residential housing. The Corktown campus is where Ford will develop autonomous and electric vehicle businesses, as well as what CEO Jim Hackett describes as a new transportation operating system designed to make moving from Point A to Point B easier and accessible. The idea is for this transportation operating system to tie all forms of mobility together, including smart, connected vehicles, roads, parking and public transit. You might remember that Ford announced in January plans to develop an open cloud-based platform for cities to use to manage all the disparate transportation modes (as well as data) happening at any given time. The idea is for the platform to help cities optimize their various modes of transit and provide a way for everything in the city, such as stop lights, signs and even bikes to speak to each other and share information. The centerpiece of the new Corktown campus will be the long-abandoned  Michigan Central Station , which Ford acquired. Ford hasn’t forgotten about its main campus in Dearborn, Hackett emphasized during an event Tuesday in front of the Michigan Central Station. “Our plans for Corktown won’t compete or won’t replace our campus in Dearborn,” Hackett said. “It’s actually one whole system.” And while Hackett noted that Corktown and the acquisition of the Michigan Central Station is “great real estate” and a “great investment,” it’s not what drove Ford to make the investment

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Ford is betting big on Detroit

The Ford Motor Company now owns one of Detroit’s iconic buildings in the Michigan Central Station. The monumental building looms over Detroit’s oldest neighborhood. It’s long been a symbol of Detroit’s decay, and now it could become the symbol of Detroit’s revival, and Ford’s along with it. The building is set to become the anchor of Ford’s 1.2 million-square-foot campus in the Detroit neighborhood. The Michigan Central Station will house more than just Ford employees, though. The auto company says it will be a mixed-use facility with facilities for up to 5,000 office workers and space for shops, restaurants and maybe even residential housing. Ford has a substantial undertaking before employees and businesses move into the building. The Michigan Central Station is nearly literally a shell of its former self. The station was built in 1913 by the same firm responsible for New York’s Grand Central Terminal. In its day, the 21-story building stood proudly with marble floors under an arched 65-foot ceiling. It was the tallest train station in the world when its colossal bronze doors first opened to the public

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Ford is betting big on Detroit

The Ford Motor Company now owns one of Detroit’s iconic buildings in the Michigan Central Station. The monumental building looms over Detroit’s oldest neighborhood. It’s long been a symbol of Detroit’s decay, and now it could become the symbol of Detroit’s revival, and Ford’s along with it. The building is set to become the anchor of Ford’s 1.2 million-square-foot campus in the Detroit neighborhood. The Michigan Central Station will house more than just Ford employees, though. The auto company says it will be a mixed-use facility with facilities for up to 5,000 office workers and space for shops, restaurants and maybe even residential housing. Ford has a substantial undertaking before employees and businesses move into the building. The Michigan Central Station is nearly literally a shell of its former self. The station was built in 1913 by the same firm responsible for New York’s Grand Central Terminal. In its day, the 21-story building stood proudly with marble floors under an arched 65-foot ceiling. It was the tallest train station in the world when its colossal bronze doors first opened to the public. Since its closure in the ’80s the building sat empty, eventually losing nearly everything to looters and nature

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U.S. Armed Forces is getting a Space Force (over the objections of the Secretary of Defense)

In a surprise announcement today at the third meeting of the White House’s newly reconvened Space Council, President Donald J. Trump announced his intention to create a new Space Force within the U.S. Armed Forces. “We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force — separate but equal. It is going to be something. So important,” the president said. Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis voiced opposition to the creation of new branch of the military last year when the idea was first proposed by Congress. Congressional leadership first floated the creation of sixth branch of the armed forces focused on space combat (sadly, not against invading alien insects though ) last year… and Mattis promptly blasted the idea. In a letter to Ohio Representative Mike Turner, one of the leaders of the Space Force initiative in Congress, Mattis wrote: “At a time when we are trying to integrate the Department’s joint warfighting functions, I do not wish to add a separate service that would likely present a narrower and even parochial approach to space operations.” Apparently, the president has come around on the subject in the intervening months. Trump is now “directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces.” The House Armed Services Committee began pushing for the creation of a space corps last year as part of the last spending authorization bill for the military. The new military force would fall under the purview of the Air Force in the same way that Marines work with the Navy, according to the proposal. That spending authorization bill was ultimately approved, but the space corps proposal was left on the cutting floor. Now the proposal is taking flight at the highest levels of the Trump administration

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US Armed Forces is getting a Space Force over the objections of the Secretary of Defense

President Donald J. Trump intends to create a new Space Force within the U.S. Armed Forces. The surprise announcement came today at the third meeting of the White House’s newly reconvened Space Council. “We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force — separate but equal. It is going to be something. So important,” the president said. Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis voiced opposition to the creation of new branch of the military last year when the idea was first proposed by Congress. Congressional leadership first floated the creation of sixth branch of the armed forces focused on space combat (sadly, not against invading alien insects though ) last year… and Mattis promptly blasted the idea. In a letter to Ohio Representative Mike Turner, one of the leaders of the Space Force initiative in Congress, Mattis wrote: At a time when we are trying to integrate the Department’s joint warfighting functions, I do not wish to add a separate service that would likely present a narrower and even parochial approach to space operations. Apparently, the president has come around on the subject in the intervening months.

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Macy’s acquires minority stake in tech retailer b8ta

Macy’s has partnered with b8ta, the retail-as-a-service startup that originally started as a way to let people try out new tech products. Macy’s has acquired a minority stake in b8ta and will use the startup to enhance The Market, an experiential-based retail concept at Macy’s. By partnering with b8ta, Macy’s envisions being able to scale its Market concept faster, Macy’s president Hal Lawton said in a statement. For b8ta, this is an additional source of revenue. “At b8ta, we believe physical retail will thrive as a platform for discovering new products and brands,” b8ta CEO Vibhu Norby said in a statement. “Macy’s was the best partner for b8ta to scale our pioneering retail-as-a-service model to a breadth of categories like apparel, beauty, home, and more. With b8ta’s software platform and business model, product makers can go from solely selling online to launching their products with Macy’s in a few clicks. Our platform makes it easy for makers to deploy, manage, analyze, and scale amazing offline retail experiences.” Earlier this year, b8ta unveiled a Shopify-like solution for retail stores . Called “ Built by b8ta ,” the solution functions as a retail-as-a-service platform for brands that want a physical presence. b8ta’s software solution includes checkout, inventory, point of sale, inventory management, staff scheduling services and more.  Netgear  was the first customer to launch a Built by b8ta store this June in Silicon Valley’s Santana Row, and b8ta has plans to deploy additional stores for other brands in that area. In April, Norby told me there were a handful of other brands that b8ta would announce soon. This year, b8ta expects anywhere from 10 to 15 companies to launch stores built by b8ta across cosmetics, apparel and furniture

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Scaling startups are setting up secondary hubs in these cities

America’s mayors have spent the past nine months tripping over each other to curry favor with Amazon.com in its high-profile search for a second headquarters. More quietly, however, a similar story has been playing out in startup-land. Many of the most valuable venture-backed companies are venturing outside their high-cost headquarters and setting up secondary hubs in smaller cities. Where are they going? Nashville is pretty popular. So is Phoenix. Portland and Raleigh also are seeing some jobs. A number of companies also have a high number of remote offerings, seeking candidates with coveted skills who don’t want to relocate. Those are some of the findings from a Crunchbase News analysis of the geographic hiring practices of  U.S. unicorns . Since most of these companies are based in high-cost locations, like the San Francisco Bay Area, Boston and New York, we were looking to see if there is a pattern of setting up offices in smaller, cheaper cities. (For more on survey technique, see Methodology section below.) Here is a look at some of the hotspots. Nashville One surprise finding was the prominence of Nashville among secondary locations for startup offices.

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Hello Alfred raises $40M to bring hotel-style hospitality to more households

New York-based chore wizard Hello Alfred is about expand its mission to make life easier, one to-do list at a time. The company commands a small army of thoroughly trained home helpers who take care of domestic tasks like sorting mail, taking out the trash and picking up groceries. Those helpers pop by on a weekly basis, and subscribers pay a monthly subscription fee to free their lives of little things that tend to add up to more than the sum of their parts. Now, with a new $40 million Series B round, Hello Alfred is set to scale. The round was led by investors including real estate developers Divco West and Invesco. Spark Capital and New Enterprise Associates (NEA) also participated in the $40 million round after previously investing in the company. The company  won our Startup Battlefield at Disrupt in 2014 , back when it was just “ Alfred .” With its Series B, Hello Alfred will execute its plan to expand from serving 10,000 homes (some in Alfred partnered apartment buildings) to serving 100,000 by the end of the year. The company also intends to invest further in its technology data operations and its own line of home goods, known as Alfred Home Essentials. Hello Alfred began in New York and currently operates in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Boston, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles with planned launches in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Miami, Portland, Raleigh and San Jose on the horizon. The company also intends to double the size of its team in 2018 while continuing to expand partnerships with vendors and products and real estate developers that fit its brand. While many startups work to to automate away the human aspect of their business, Hello Alfred is all about the human touch.

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CREXi raises $11 million to bring commercial real estate out of the Dark Ages

Managing, buying and selling commercial real estate is a fairly primitive process. CREXi founder Mike DeGiorgio remembers one experience in 2014 when he was required to fax and mail details about an urgent transaction to the leasing office, a move that made him think he was back in the era of Pogs and MTV’s Real World Season 1. “There simply was no great industry solution for researching markets, finding comps, transacting, connecting with key stakeholders, purchasing or investing in properties, renting or leasing space, getting a loan, finding partners to purchase properties with, marketing yourself or the properties you own, sell or lease etc.,” he said. “I started thinking about technology solutions for the commercial real estate industry to solve many of these inefficiencies in the CRE space. I could not figure out why it hadn’t been done and set out to build CREXi to help industry stakeholders be more efficient and to make the industry more liquid, transparent and easier to access.” CREXi — the CRE stands for “commercial real estate” — has been around since 2015, but recently announced an $11 million Series A as well as some interesting user numbers. Key investors include Jackson Square Ventures, Manifest Investment Partners, Lerer Hippeau, Freestyle Capital, TenOneTen Ventures and Founder Collective. The company has managed more than 100,000 “properties brought to market” on its platform and they have 200,000 users per month. They see more than 6,000 properties listed on the site each month. The service is a suite of tools that streamlines the entire CRE processing. “We give brokers the ability to find, manage and qualify leads, market their properties with customizable emails, and communicate with interested parties through in-app messaging. Additionally, our features help brokers interact with the industry and its stakeholders; solicit, make, accept, counter and negotiate offers; run competitive bidding processes; run escrow and closing processes; research markets and sold properties etc.,” said DeGiorgio

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OnePlus 6 Smartphone Features Dual Cameras, Portrait Mode and Slow Motion Video

The OnePlus 6 is the first in OnePlus' line of flagship smartphones to feature an all-glass design. With a 6.28-inch Full Optic AMOLED 19:9 display – OnePlus' largest-ever screen – the OnePlus 6 offers an immersive viewing experience, while keeping a similar form factor to that of the OnePlus 5T. The OnePlus 6 is also the fastest handset the company has ever produced. The OnePlus 6’s dual camera system features a 16MP main camera, supported by a 20MP secondary camera. With an f/1.7 aperture, the 16MP main camera has been bolstered by a 19 percent larger sensor and OIS for outstanding performance in a range of lighting conditions. The OnePlus 6 in 64 GB, 128 GB and 256 GB storage options will be available in North America and in Europe on May 22 nd  starting from USD 529 / EUR 519 / 469 GBP.

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Silver Lake makes a $3B offer to buy property portal Zoopla, the Zillow of the UK

The UK housing market has cooled down on the heels of the EU/Brexit referendum vote, but that hasn’t stopped M&A activity around property market companies. Property portal Zoopla  — a leader in the UK market with 50 million visits across its apps and sites, and 25,000 business partners integrated with its platform — has announced that Silver Lake has made a cash offer of 490 pence per share for the company, equivalent to about £2.2 billion ($3 billion at current rates). The figure represents a doubling of the company’s valuation since it  went public in 2014  at a valuation of $1.5 billion (it trades as ZPG on the London Stock Exchange). It’s also a  30 percent premium  on the company’s last closing price. Zoopla will still have to put the offer to the vote of shareholders and meet other regulatory approvals before the deal is sealed, and if all goes as planned it will close in the third quarter of 2018, Zoopla said. So far, the company directors — led by CEO Alex Chesterman, who founded the company in 2007 — and significant shareholder  DMGT (the Daily Mail group), which owns about 30 percent of Zoopla — have both endorsed the offer. “Silver Lake is the global leader in technology investing and I am firmly of the belief that ZPG will benefit from their technology expertise and global network which will help accelerate our growth,” Chesterman said in a statement. “The terms of the Acquisition represent an attractive premium that recognises the quality of ZPG’s businesses and the strength of its future prospects and allows shareholders to realise today in cash the potential future value of their holdings. I am very excited about the opportunity this offers to our employees, customers and partners as we move to the next stage of ZPG’s development and growth.” Zoopla said that Silver Lake first entered negotiations with it on April 16. The two parties kept the deal very quiet. There has been a surge in Zillow’s share price last week, although this might have been due to the company selling the Australian division of one of its analytics subsidiaries, Hometrack, to Australian group REA for £71 million

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New York City report pins millions in rent hikes on Airbnb

A report from the New York City Comptroller’s office asserts that New York residents are paying hundreds of millions in extra rent linked to the effects of Airbnb . Naturally, the company bitterly rejects these findings. The report, which you can read here , is fairly straightforward. It looks at hundreds of neighborhoods and their various demographics and characteristics, along with how much their rents rose over the last ten years or so. It finds that when controlling for other variables, Airbnb contributes to a part of the rise on its own: We find that as the share of units listed on Airbnb goes up by one percentage point, rental rates in the neighborhood go up by 1.58 percent, after controlling for neighborhood level demographic and economic changes. The result is statistically significant at the 1-percent level. By the researchers’ calculations, the total cost of these increases across the city amounted to about $616 million. That came from running their numbers with Airbnb rentals set to zero instead of the actual tens of thousands of listings and seeing what rents would be in that alternative universe. The amounts of rent increases and the number of Airbnb listings are tightly and reliably correlated, the Comptroller’s office explained. They were careful to control for other factors, for instance a neighborhood becoming trendy or new housing changing the supply. The hypothesis is that Airbnb listings, contrary to the company’s assertions, do in face reduce housing supply, which has a knock-on effect on rent in remaining rentals. The increases, the report and its accompanying press release say, are concentrated in midtown and lower Manhattan, where 20 percent of the rent increases were attributed to Airbnb effects. The effect was much weaker in the outer boroughs, as you might expect, where density is lower and fewer listings are available. Airbnb, of course, calls it a pack of lies and takes the opportunity to pontificate a bit (which, to be fair,  Comptroller Stringer did too): Unfortunately, this report is wrong on the facts, falsely asserting that middle class New Yorkers who share their space are responsible for the rising cost of housing in New York… Pandering to the powerful by attacking middle class families won’t do a thing to make New York more affordable. It’s time to stop the scapegoating and work with us on a solution.

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SoFi founder Mike Cagney is back with a new startup and $50 million in funding

Mike Cagney, who was ousted last summer from the lending company he founded, is back with a new startup and a whole lot of funding from at least one of his previous investors. According to a new report in Bloomberg, Cagney, who earlier this year formed a new lending startup called Figure , has raised $50 million to grow the company, which plans to use the blockchain to facilitate loan approvals in minutes instead of days. According to the company’s site, its lending products will include home equity lines of credit, home improvement loans and home buy-lease back offerings for retirement. The round was led by DCM Ventures and Ribbit Capital and included participation from Mithril Capital Management, Cagney confirmed to Bloomberg. Ribbit Capital in Palo Alto, Calif., has been leading investments in the world of fintech and digital currencies from its founding nearly six years ago. Others of its many bets include the online consumer lending company Affirm and Point, a startup that buys equity in U.S. homes. Mithril, co-founded by Peter Thiel, prides itself on funding companies that take time to build, with funds that have longer investing timelines than do most traditional venture vehicles. The cross-border firm DCM Ventures, meanwhile, is perhaps the most interesting participant in this round. The reason: Back in 2012, DCM began investing in Social Finance, or SoFi, the company that Cagney founded previously. It isn’t uncommon for VCs to invest in founders with whom they’ve worked before, of course. And SoFi — which initially focused on refinancing student loans, today provides personal and mortgage loans and wealth management services, and appears to be pushing further into bank-like services — has grown by leaps and bounds since its August 2011 launch. But Cagney was forced out of the company last summer, not long after a sexual harassment lawsuit was filed by a former employee who claimed he’d witnessed female employees being harassed by managers and was fired after he reported it. Another former employer who’d worked at the company’s office in Healdsburg, Calif., told The New York Times that her work environment had been akin to a “ frat house ,” with employees “having sex in their cars and in the parking lot.” That same story, based on conversations with 30 then-current and former employees, also reported that Cagney himself had raised questions with staff because of his own behavior, including bragging about his sexual conquests

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