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.

“Store
Opening Train Starting to Roll? Openings Seen Reaching New High”
by Mark
Heschmeyer of CoStar.com.

Planned store openings are growing, but the planned delivery
of new regional malls or community centers remains subdued, according to
analysis of the retail market by RBC Capital Markets.

Retailers that are part of RBC’s database are planning to
open 83,749 stores over the next 24 months and 42,757 stores over the next 12
months. Those numbers represent five-year highs, according to RBC.

RBC also noted that national tenants are continuing to lease
spaces that are 5,000 square feet or smaller, while big-box users are
struggling to find sufficient space for planned store openings.

“Office
Market Sees Consistent Momentum”
by Douglas Sams of the Atlanta Business
Chronicle.

Atlanta is seeing a spike in office space leasing activity
at the year’s halfway point, a sign the market could avoid another second-half lull,
Sams reports.

The resurgence was evident with two major deals in the past
month: Coca-Cola’s relocation of its IT department to downtown and the
announcement that Spanx will be a tenant at Buckhead Atlanta, a mixed-use
development currently under development, Sams reports.

In the second quarter, Atlanta posted its strongest
quarterly tally of leasing activity since the April-June period of 2012, which
could indicate a continued rise in activity for the second half of the year,
according to analysis by Cushman & Wakefield.

“Mid-Market
Grocers Continue to Struggle in Fiercely Competitive Sector”
by Elaine
Misonzhnik of National Real Estate Investor.

Kroger’s acquisition of Harris Teeter highlights the fight
traditional grocery operators are having as they face off against a crowded
field of competitors, Misonzhnik reports.

Encroaching competition from Walmart and Publix probably
played a role in Harris Teeter’s decision to put itself up for sale, according
to supermarket consultant David Livingston of DJL Research.

Harris Teeter was able to attract the interest of another
supermarket operator and get premium pricing because it’s a strong regional
chain with an attractive upscale offering, noted Neil Stern, senior partner
with McMillanDoolittle.

The grocery sector continues to be a challenging market
because of the number of companies — everyone from dollar stores to drugstores —
that want to sell food, Stern told NREI.  

“Ranch
Fixer-Upper Flips”
by Craig Karmin of The Wall Street Journal.

One real-estate private-equity firm, Sporting Ranch Capital,
“thinks it can profit from one of the last unconquered corners of the property
market: recreational ranches,” Karmin reports.

The fund has acquired four ranches in Western states over
the past year and is in negotiations to acquire two more, according to founder
Jay Ellis.

Many private-equity funds are having a tough time
fundraising, but Sporting Ranch offers investors the chance to use the
properties for themselves while they are up for sale, Karmin reports.

Sporting Ranch, which is backed by a $30 million
private-equity fund, buys ranches and flips them for profit. The ranch market
can be tricky because of the lack of public information for transactions,
unlike with conventional real estate, Karmin notes. 

VIDEO:
“Commercial Real Estate in Cycle’s Sweet Spot, Fund Manager Says”
from
REIT.com.

In
this clip
, Allen Kenney from REIT.com sits down with Keith Pauley, managing
director with LaSalle Investment Management, during REITWeek 2013 to discuss
the current REIT market. Topics included the effects of commercial property
values on the market, which sector Pauley finds most appealing and his
short-term predictions.