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

Upscale Shopping Centers Nudge Out Down-Market Malls by Suzanne Kapner, WSJ

Key excerpt:

“Retailers from Gap Inc. to Abercrombie & Fitch Inc. are abandoning a decades-old strategy of growing sales by blanketing cities with stores as consumers do more of their shopping online and less at the mall. The shifting shopping habits have prompted chains such as Williams-Sonoma Inc. and Macy’s Inc. to close stores in secondary malls to focus on web sales and more upscale shopping centers.”

• What Regulatory Warning? Banks Continue CRE Lending In Q1 by Erika Morphy, GlobeSt.

Key excerpt:

“Banks not only continued to lend in the sector, but reading through the earnings reports and investor calls, one gets the sense that banks would have lent even more if the market weren’t so competitive.”

• Developers Are Turning Rust Belt Hulks Into Luxury Hotels by Patrick Clark, Bloomberg

Key excerpt:

“There are more than 150,000 hotel rooms currently under construction in the U.S., up from a low of about 80,000 in 2009, just after the financial crisis. Using old buildings helps developers differentiate their products in a bustling market, and it may help hotels entice travelers increasingly lured to the more idiosyncratic experience of booking a room on Airbnb.”

• Second-Tier Malls Have Their Fans by Liam Pleven, WSJ

Key excerpt:

“Mall owners such as Simon Property Group and General Growth Properties Inc. in recent years have been shifting their focus to prime properties in desirable locations that generate heavy foot traffic and are attractive to high-end retailers. That has opened a door for investors who believe the value of second-tier malls has fallen too far, amid growing fears of e-commerce and worries over the supply of retail space.”

U.S. Office Market Sending Mixed Signals as Recovery Enters Later Stages by Randyl Drummer, CoStar

Key excerpt:

“Even within the nation’s generally healthy office vacancy rates, analysts are finding some mixed messages. After five years of consistent quarterly increases in the number of U.S. markets posting office vacancies lower than their 2006-2007 peaks, the number decreased in the first quarter, while the number of office submarkets that saw an increase in office vacancies during the first quarter went up.”