Jonathan H. Brinsden appointed as ULI Americas chairman

Jonathan H. Brinsden, chief executive officer of Houston-based real estate investment and development firm, Midway, has been appointed as ULI Americas chairman. Brinsden, who succeeds Jack Chandler, founder of Majesteka Investment Holdings, will serve on a voluntary basis for a two-year term starting on July 1, 2020 and will also join the ULI global board of directors. Brinsden brings extensive ULI leadership experience to his new role having previously served as a global board director, governing trustee, ULI Foundation governor and as chair of ULI Houston. Brinsden is active in a number of civic leadership and charitable organizations including serving as chairman of Central Houston, on the executive committee, and board, of Buffalo Bayou Partnership, the board of SEARCH Homeless Services and the board of Coalition for the Homeless. Brinsden is a former adjunct professor at the University of Houston Bauer Graduate Real Estate Program and a frequent guest lecturer at Texas A&M University and Rice University. “We are excited to welcome Jonathan as ULI Americas chairman,” said Gwyneth Jones Cote, president of ULI Americas. “He has a wealth of experience in both the industry as well as within ULI. He is very passionate about real estate working for everyone in society and is a strong advocate of ULI’s mission. Jonathan’s drive to work with ULI members and communities to accomplish meaningful and lasting change is inspiring and I look forward to working with him closely over the next two years.” “For more than 25 years, ULI has always been an important part of my career and it is an honor to be named as ULI Americas chairman,” said Brinsden. “ULI is my primary place to connect with other industry leaders, share best practices and work to positively impact communities. ULI has always shaped how I think about real estate, the role our company can play in the industry, and the impact we can have in communities in which we work.” Brinsden starts his role at a critically important time for the real estate industry following the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and widespread demonstrations on racial inequity and said: “Although we are navigating incredibly challenging times, like all successful organizations, ULI will be agile and adapt to change. The fundamental goals of the Strategic Plan for the Americas are still relevant, more so now than ever. I see my role as supporting the ULI staff leadership team to help find opportunities in the midst of change and strengthen the Institute for the long term.” Brinsden has outlined that his priority will be diversity in ULI and the wider real estate industry. “Over the next two years, I have particular interest in focusing on how ULI can take a greater leadership role in tackling racial inequity and systematic racism in our industry and communities. ULI is committed to working with our members and communities to accomplish impactful and lasting change.”

Flex Space and Coworking 2.0

The falloff in WeWork’s leasing activity in the fourth quarter dragged down the average flexible space transaction size from 48,620 s.f. in Q3 2019 vs. 30,117 s.f. in Q4, a decline of 38%. WeWork’s average deal size (69,625 s.f.) is significantly larger than most other flexible space operators (21,153 s.f.), and the more conservative, moderate growth of most operators is likely to result in typical flexible space transactions spanning a single floor or less, rather than the multiple floors WeWork typically leased at a time. Additionally, investor concerns regarding the share of flexible space within an asset is likely to restrict the size of transactions – at least until there is a better understanding of the business model and investors are able to underwrite coworking leases with greater certainty. Click to read more at

Jamie Dimon Says WeWork Will Survive And That He’s Learned Some Tough Lessons From The Debacle

Jamie Dimon says that he has learned lessons from his bank’s advisory work for WeWork this year and that he believes the coworking company has a shot to avoid bankruptcy. “I think they’ll have a future life,” Dimon, CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase, said in an interview with CNBC’s Wilfred Frost from the bank’s offices in London. “We want them to do that,” Dimon said. “We don’t want them to lay off 14,000 people and have bankruptcy or something like that. There are a lot of lessons to be learned on the way by everybody involved, and I’ve learned a few myself.” Among the lessons are that companies should have “proper corporate governance” and an independent board before filing to go public, he said. Shareholders should be treated like partners, rather than figuring out how to extract the highest valuation, he said. Click to read more at

Pooch Power: On-site Doggie Daycare Can Help Companies Keep Workers

Office workers log long hours these days. What if their favorite pooch is left at home all day alone? That could be stressful, for both workers and their pets. At one Michigan office, though, this isn’t a concern: This office offers an on-site doggie daycare. Employees can sign their dogs in for the day and get to work, knowing that their dogs will be played with and cared for. When the workday ends, employees can pick up their dogs and head home. This might sound like an unusual luxury. But with unemployment still low and demand for talented workers higher, companies that want to attract and retain young workers have to offer perks to set themselves apart. That’s why Rockford, Michigan-based footwear manufacturer Wolverine Worldwide earlier this year opened its on-site dog daycare service. This service comes courtesy of Dogtopia, a Phoenix, Arizona-based dog daycare and boarding provider. The Wolverine Worldwide location is the first of the company’s Dogtopia@Work campuses. But Kathy Halter, vice president of new center development for Dogtopia, says that she expects a growing number of companies to take advantage of this service. “Millennial workers are really mobile. They are also focused on their pets because many are starting families later in life,” Halter said. “Millennials have this sense of adventure. They’re not averse to moving from job to job to take on new challenges. They are very comfortable looking for the next business opportunity.” Click to read more at

California Man Pleads Guilty In Florida To $1.3B Fraud Scam

MIAMI (AP) — A California man pleaded guilty in Florida to orchestrating a $1.3 billion real estate fraud scheme that stole money from thousands of investors nationwide and agreed to forfeit valuable jewelry, wine, and paintings by artists such as Picasso and Renoir. Court records show 61-year-old Robert Shapiro, of Sherman Oaks, California, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Miami federal court to mail and wire fraud and tax evasion. He faces up to 25 years in prison at sentencing in October before U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga. At least 9,000 people, many of them elderly who invested their retirement savings, suffered losses in the scheme, Miami federal prosecutors say. Prosecutors say Shapiro’s Woodbridge Group had offices employing 130 people in California, Florida, Tennessee, Colorado, and Connecticut. The pitch to investors was that Woodbridge held real estate loans that would pay them rates of interest between 5% and 10%. In fact, the real estate was also owned by Shapiro through 270 shell companies and did not generate the necessary money for investors. Sometimes, the properties didn’t even exist. Click to read more at

Reservations for Taco Bell’s Hotel Sell Out in 2 Minutes

If you’re a Taco Bell superfan looking to stay at the Mexican fast-food chain’s limited-time hotel, you’re already too late. All available rooms were snatched up just two minutes into taking reservations. And with that, the Yum Brands unit proved once again how much its customers love Taco Bell. The chain started taking reservations at 1 p.m. ET Thursday for the roughly 70 rooms at its Palm Springs hotel. Less than a minute after bookings went live, the website was already overwhelmed by the demand. Some users attempting to book a room received a message saying the website was experiencing “higher than normal traffic” and to “keep your crossed fingers on that refresh button.” Click to read more at