Each Wednesday, The Wrap
presents a compilation of recent noteworthy commercial real estate stories from
a variety of publications. Below are five stories that caught our eyes in
recent days.

“Report:
Apartments worth $2.9B to Atlanta economy”
by Jacques Couret of The Atlanta
Business Chronicle.

Apartment construction and operations contributed $2.9
billion to the Atlanta economy and supported 26,400 local jobs in 2011,
according to a new report by the National Multi Housing Council and the
National Apartment Association. 

Metro Atlanta has roughly 383,800 apartments housing about
761,300 people, Couret reports.

The report also noted that building permits for apartments
fell 82 percent from 2007 to 2011. According to the report, new apartment
construction has accelerated lately, but is insufficient to meet current
demand. 

“Survey:
U.S. Expansion Is Key Growth Strategy for Retailers in 2013”
by Marianne
Wilson of Chain Store Age.

Expansion within the United States remains a key growth strategy
for retailers, according to a new report from BDO USA, which surveyed 100
retail chief financial officers. 

Thirty percent of the executives said U.S. expansion will be
their top growth tactic in 2013, while 24 percent said improving merchandise
assortment is their priority, and 22 percent responded that they will focus on e-commerce
and mobile commerce, according to the survey.

“The opportunities abroad and online are clear, but retail
executives still believe that U.S. stores are a core part of the business,” Ted
Vaughan, partner in the retail and consumer products practice as BDO USA, told
Chain Store Age.

“Boston
Booms as Workers Say No to Suburbs”
by Nadja Brandt of Bloomberg.

In one of the biggest neighborhood transformations in Boston
history, commercial development is booming along the South Boston waterfront,
Brandt reports.

A growing workforce of educated young adults has fueled the
boom in Boston, where the office vacancy rate is among the lowest of the major
markets in the United States, Brandt notes.

Construction spending in Boston increased an estimated 37
percent in the year that ended June 30, the most since 2008, according to the
mayor’s office. 

As home to 50 universities and colleges, including Harvard
University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston’s thriving
technology and life sciences industries are expected to further facilitate the
growth of commercial development in the city, Brandt reports.  

“Construction
That Focuses on Health of Residents”
by Joe Gose of The New York Times.

Doctors, social agencies and community groups are arguing
that land-use planning can improve the public’s health, and developers are
starting to test the theory, Gose reports.

For instance, the housing authority in Denver used a new
tool known as a health impact assessment to help encourage physical activity
and environmental sustainability while drafting the plans for the redevelopment
of a 17-acre site near downtown, Gose notes.

The development will feature geothermal and solar power
technologies, centrally located and well-lit elevators, and neighborhood gardens
for growing healthy foods, Gose reports.

A typical health impact assessment comprises six steps to
identify a project’s potential health impacts and ways to mitigate them, Gose
notes.

“Al
Jazeera in Site Hunt”
by Keach Hagey and Eliot Brown of The Wall Street
Journal.

News network Al Jazeera is looking for a space for its New
York headquarters, where it plans to launch a U.S. cable channel, Hagey and
Brown report. 

Al Jazeera has taken a look at the former New York Times
building and is reportedly working with CBRE Group, the reporters note.

The office space the network considered incorporates the top
11 floors of the former New York Times building, which is owned by the
Blackstone Group, Hagey and Brown report.