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The Friday Five: The Midwest CRE stories you need to know

  
The Friday Five: The Midwest CRE stories you need to know,ph01
The Kansas City Royals might be weighing a move to downtown Kansas City.

Big commercial real estate news is happening across the Midwest all the time. Here are five CRE stories you need to know:

Kansas City: Are Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals set to move to a new stadium in downtown Kansas City? And what impact could that have on the city’s core? This story by the Kansas City Star tackles these questions.

The city of Kansas City is funding a study of at least four possible sites for a downtown baseball stadium for the Royals. Two of the sites are immediately adjacent to the Sprint Center downtown arena.

Whatever happens, though, it won’t happen too soon. The Royals are in a lease with Jackson County, Missouri, which owns the Truman Sports Complex. The Royals play at one facility in the complex while the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs play in the other. The Royals’ lease here runs through 2030.

But after 13 years? Who knows? Kansas City might get its downtown baseball stadium.

In Nashville: Are Nashville city officials passing out too many financial incentives to lure companies to the city? It's a question that at's the heart of this story by the Nashville Tennessean.

And it's actually a good question. Opponents of the tax breaks that Nashville is doling out to companies argue that the city is one of the hottest markets in the country. Companies want to open locations in Nashville anyway. So why are city officials dangling so many incentives in front of these businesses?

According to the Tennessean story, as of September of 2016, Nashville had $171.8 million of outstanding TIF loan balances on 36 properties. The big debate: Is that too much?

In Cincinnati: A new Residence Inn by Marriot has opened in Norwood, a city about 9 miles from Cincinnati. The 118-room hotel is important because it is the final part of the $100-million-plus Rookwood Exchange mixed-use development here.

The new hotel joins an existing Courtyard by Marriott hotel already operating at the mixed-use development. The Residence Inn, as its name suggests, will cater to business travelers who are planning longer stays.

The Cincinnati Business Courier ran several photos of the $15 million hotel here. Take a look. It's always interesting to see how hotels are evolving to better serve business travelers.

In Minneapolis: Alatus LLC has big plans for a slice of land sitting across the street from the Minneapolis Convention Center: a residential tower that would rise at least 20 stories in the sky.

Alatus presented its plans for the new high-rise to the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association's land-use committee, according to this story by the Minneapolis StarTribune. This means that the plans are still a ways off. Still, the high-rise could bring a dramatic change to Minneapolis' skyline if approved.

The site that Alatus has agreed to purchase includes a one-story building that had long been the home of the Church of Christ, Scientist. Alatus hopes to demolish that building to make way for its residential tower that would include 360 apartments or condos.

The StarTribune story quotes Gina Dingman, president of NAI Everest, who complimented Alatus on its track record of identifying solid sites for its projects. Dingman told the paper that she is confident that Alatus' proposal would represent the highest and best use of this land.

In Memphis: Memphis has a serious problem with abandoned and decayed homes and commercial properties. As long-time residents say in this story by the American Prospect, Memphis is a bit like a checkerboard: One street is choked with boarded-up or abandoned buildings, the next is thriving.

The problem is that all these patches of blight are reducing the quality of life for those who live in Memphis. At the same time, all the empty buildings are causing property values in the city, the second in Tennessee, to fall.

There is hope, though. The non profit group Neighborhood Preservation Inc. is taking on the problem. A recent success story? Its efforts to help renovate the 124-year-old Clayborn Temple. The temple, which was crumbling, is the largest church building in the United States south of the Ohio River.

The challenge in Memphis is great, though. The city lost its manufacturing base, something that came to a head in 1983 when Firestone closed a plant that once employed more than 3,000 people, according to the American Prospect story. Between 1970 and 2010, Memphis grew in size from 208 square miles to 323. That's a boost of 55 percent. But the city's population during this time rose only 4 percent, from 619,757 to 645,237.

You should read more about the issues that Memphis faces in the American Prospect story. The issues are the same ones that many Midwest cities are facing.