CoStar News Wins Eight Awards in Nation’s Largest Real Estate Journalism Contest
CoStar News won eight awards, including three gold medals, in the largest real estate journalism competition in the United States for work on international topics, breaking news, economic research and investigative reporting.
The National Association of Real Estate Editors awards were announced at the organization’s annual conference in Miami. The winners of the work published in 2020 were selected by an external jury in a competition that included well-known national news organizations such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News and the Washington Post.
CoStar writers Clare Kennedy and Randy Drummer received a gold medal for Best Current Real Estate News Story for “Netflix doubles in Disney Country with a major lease in Burbank, California.” The judges said, “The CoStar team has left other releases in the dust, forcing competitors to quote the team’s exclusive details in this story about Netflix’s mega-lease in LA for its first stand-alone animation studio. Kennedy and Drummer went way beyond the news of the day with plenty of regional and industry context. They tell a full, clear story and explain what it means to readers. “
Senior CoStar writer Candace Carlisle, who covers Dallas, won a gold medal in the economic analysis category for “Nation’s Truck Hub takes Elon Musk’s Tesla for a spin in hopes of a landing pad.” The judges said: “Using text, an interactive timeline and charts, Carlisle tells the story of the Texans’ love affair with trucks and how the state jockeys, despite being the largest producer of oil and gas, have a facility that will build Elon’s first battery-powered truck Musk. Carlisle checked a handful of documents in her research, including SEC filings. Her reporting was forward-looking: A month after its story, Tesla announced that it would build the manufacturing facility near Austin. “
Senior CoStar writer Garry Marr, who lives in Toronto, won the gold medal for international coverage for the story “Canadians shuffle to Buffalo.” The judges said, “This is a new take on sky-high property prices in Toronto. Who would have thought Canadian investors would take their money across the border to buy real estate in the often overlooked city of Buffalo, New York? In this compelling story, Marr gives us strong writing, examples from “real people,” lots of supporting data, and the kinds of details that add value to a story. “
In the “Best Breaking Real Estate Story” category, employee Marissa Luck, who reports on Houston, won a bronze medal for “Tesla is proposing 2,100 acres in Austin as a potential home for a large auto plant.” Choosing Austin as the location for a new electric car maker Tesla plant was one of the biggest business stories of 2020 in West Texas. Luck used documents filed with the county to identify the Austin location where Tesla was considering building the plant, and provided comments from analysts who turned out to be predictive of why the location would likely be chosen, an event that entered later. Luck used the district assessment records to provide instant details on the website, while stepping back to also provide the national context of how the move fits into corporate migration patterns.
Author Richard Lawson and senior writer Mark Heschmeyer won a bronze medal for Best Investigation Report or Best Series for “US hotel buyers overcome lending shortages by using their creativity to close deals.” Lawson and Heschmeyer go through loan records to document how hotel companies use stock sales, unsecured debt, cash, and other techniques to finance real estate transactions. The authors show that given the low lending options of buyers, sellers have stepped up to fund high-profile real estate deals, often located in the center of downtown areas across America. The story explains that sellers were so desperate to part with troubled hotels that they funded most of the deals across the industry.
In the category of the best overall series, CoStar News authors Drummer, Kennedy, Marr, Katie Burke in San Francisco, Senior Writer Tony Wilbert in Atlanta and Creative Director Jelena Schulz won a bronze medal for the eight-part series “Year of the fault” who investigated the disturbance in commercial real estate in the United States. In “How an industrial broker shook off the pandemic shock and took care of business” Drummer shows how a JLL dealmaker turned premonitions into success and let readers both empathize and learn. Luck, in “What it’s like to open a coworking space in a pandemic” brings readers to a shared office during the coronavirus outbreak to experience the techniques used to stay in business. And Burke and Schulz, in “A time of disruption”, guide readers through the year with pictures and events, both financial and personal, that unfolded across America.
Luck also won a bronze medal for in the category of best online commercial real estate history “Why Tesla uses batteries to power properties.” While last year attention focused on a proposal from Tesla to expand in Austin, few noticed the company’s role in another big Texas story: a boom in battery storage projects that could change the way the oil-driven one State drives its largest companies. The article weaves together expert analysis, public data, and information from documents to explain how Tesla’s move could fundamentally transform Texas’ energy-dependent economy and help the country meet climate change goals.
Senior writer Linda Moss, who lives out of New York City, received an Honorable Mention for Best Commercial Real Estate Online Stories for “Too high a skyscraper in New York? Court of Appeal is examining whether 20 stories should be chopped off. “ New York City is known for its towering skyscrapers that have become representative of the largest city in the country. As a result, it is unusual for officials to hold a building so high for its neighborhood that it may need to be cut back. Moss examined both the local and national effects of wrestling in New York City, with a problem that is playing out in cities like Seattle and San Francisco.