Saturday, May 31, 2008

Randy Anderson Heads New Real Estate Chair at UCF

ORLANDO, FL -- Randy I. Anderson, (top right photo) Ph.D., has been named the inaugural Howard Phillips Eminent Scholar Chair in Real Estate.

In this role, he will direct the research and education institute in the Dr. P. Phillips School of Real Estate, which is located in the College of Business Administration at the University of Central Florida.

“I look forward to being a part of this program and intend to build it into a top 10 School of Real Estate within the next five years,” Anderson said.

“Central Florida has a dynamic real estate market and UCF has already received tremendous support from the industry as evidenced by the generous gift from Dr. Phillips Inc. and the Central Florida Chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP),” he added.

Anderson has been active in the real estate business since 1991 as a researcher, owner, investor and strategist. He is the owner of 1776 Financial Services, a boutique investment banking firm in Winter Park, FL, that provides debt, mezzanine, and equity financing for real estate projects throughout the United States.

The company also participates in developing and acquiring multi-family properties in the southeast. (The university's Reflecting Pond is at left.)

Prior to forming 1776 Financial Services, he served as president of CNL Real Estate Advisors in Orlando where he was responsible for overseeing CNL’s non-REIT real estate transactions including research, origination, acquisition, finance and management. Under his leadership, CNL Real Estate Advisors was one of the most successful start-ups in CNL’s history and managed nearly $700 million of real estate deals in its first year of operation.

For additional information on the new Chair and background on Anderson, please contact:

Kenneth H. Cristol, President, Cristol Marketing Company, 237 Hunt Club Blvd., Suite 102, Longwood, FL 32779 USA. PH 407-774-2515. FX 407-774-6647. Strategic Marketing, Brand Management, Publicity and Advertising, and Corporate Communications

Interstate Hotels & Resorts to Manage Crowne Plaza New Orleans International Airport

(The Pontchartrain Convention Center, above, in Kenner, LA is one mile from the planned Crowne Plaza New Orleans International Airport Hotel.)

Former Holiday Inn Select Kenner to be Reflagged Following $26 Million Renovation

ARLINGTON, VA—Interstate Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: IHR), a leading hotel real estate investor and the nation’s largest independent operator of full- and select-service hotels, has signed an agreement to manage the 292-room Crowne Plaza New Orleans Airport in Kenner, La.

The former Holiday Inn Select Kenner, (middle left photo) which has been closed since Hurricane Katrina, has been undergoing a major, $26 million renovation, and is scheduled to reopen this October as the Crowne Plaza New Orleans Airport.

“The addition of this management contract to our portfolio continues the upward trend in new contracts we’ve seen for the past few quarters,” said Thomas F. Hewitt, (top right photo) chief executive officer.

“It is also our fourth New Orleans property with MCC Real Estate and Development, LLC, a major New Orleans-based hotel investor. This demonstrates their confidence in Interstate’s ability as their hotel operator of choice.

“New Orleans continues to show encouraging signs of recovery, and we are optimistic about the area’s continued economic renaissance,” Hewitt added. “The hotel’s exceptional location less than a mile from the New Orleans International Airport, (photo at right) coupled with the complete renovation of its guest rooms and public space, will enable the property to quickly assume a prominent position among its peers in the marketplace.”

Located at 2829 Williams Boulevard, Kenner, La. the hotel is a half-mile from the airport and within a mile of the Ponchartrain Convention Center, a flexible, multi-purpose event venue with more than 61,000 square feet of meeting space.

The multi-million renovation will touch virtually every area of the hotel, including all guestrooms and all public areas. Approximately 7,000 square feet of new ballroom space will be created, bringing the total meeting space to 12,000 square feet.

The restaurant space is being totally revamped with a new full-service restaurant that will serve local cuisine made with fresh, indigenous products. Other upgrades include a new outdoor pool area and a state-of-the-art fitness center.

“One of our most reliable sources of new management contracts is current owners, and our ability to deliver results has been instrumental in helping us build a successful relationship with this ownership group,” said Leslie Ng, chief investment officer.

“As an operator, Interstate offers so many advantages, including their size and experience with the complete spectrum of hotel types,” said Joe Jaeger, a partner in the hotel’s ownership group. “They have produced excellent results for us under challenging circumstances, and we look forward to further expanding our relationship.”

As of today, Interstate Hotels & Resorts has ownership interests in 54 hotels and resorts, including seven wholly owned assets.

Together with these properties, the company and its affiliates manage a total of 217 hospitality properties with over 45,000 rooms in 36 states, the District of Columbia, Russia, Mexico, Belgium, Canada, and Ireland.

Interstate Hotels & Resorts also has contracts to manage 17 to be built hospitality properties with approximately 4,000 rooms.

For more information about Interstate Hotels & Resorts, visit the company’s Web site:

Julie Tullbane, Daly Gray Public Relations, T 703-435-6293, F 703-435-6297

Carrie McIntyre, SVP, Treasurer, (703) 387-3320

ChampionsGate Resort to Start Construction of New Downtown District

CHAMPIONSGATE, FL --- ChampionsGate Resort will start construction of its new resort-style downtown district (rendering above) this summer, says Marc Reicher, senior vice president of operations.

Site plans have been approved and building permits are ready to be issued, Reicher said.

Reicher said he has firm letters of intent from retailers who want to lease approximately 40 percent of the 63,000 square feet of retail space planned, including a sushi restaurant, an English pub, a wine bar, a steak and seafood restaurant, a jewelry store, a gift shop, and a smoke shop, Reicher said.

“The Four Corners area does not currently have enough retail facilities to support all of the residential here,” said Reicher.

“Currently, ChampionsGate Village (top right photo) retail venues post an average of $60 million in annual sales. Our new downtown district is focused squarely on the resort retail lifestyle,” he said.

For more information, please contact:
Marc S. Reicher, Senior Vice President Development ChampionsGate, 407-397-2500;

Larry Vershel or Beth Payan, Larry Vershel Communications, 407-644-4142

Orlando-based Tilt-Con Corp. Starts Miami-Dade County Public Schools' New High School

MIAMI, FL – Orlando-based Tilt-Con Corporation is under way on Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ new 6-building 157,735-square-foot High School YYY-1 at 11035 SW 84th Street, Miami, FL, under its contract with Betancourt Castellon Associates, Inc. (BCA), FL.

Selected for its unrivaled performance and speed of execution, Tilt-Con utilizes its economical system for tilt-up concrete walls. Mark. W. Theisen Sr. (top right photo) is president of Tilt-Con Corp.

Ranked as Florida’s largest tilt-up concrete constructor by Engineering News-Record magazine, Tilt-Con’s scope of work includes foundations, slab-on-grade and tilt-up concrete wall panels. Slated for completion in September 2008, the project was designed by Silva Architects, Miami, FL.

Tilt-Con’s South Florida office is located at 10601 State Street, Suite 10, Tamarac, FL 33321, phone 1-800-446-8458.

With approximately 500 employees, Tilt-Con Corporation’s headquarters is located at 1003 Orienta Avenue, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701. For more information, visit


Kenneth H. Cristol, President, Cristol Marketing Company, 237 Hunt Club Blvd., Suite 102, Longwood, FL 32779 USA. PH 407-774-2515, FX 407-774-6647. Strategic Marketing, Brand Management, Publicity and Advertising, and Corporate Communications

Thomas D. Wood & Co. Brokers $4.74M in Two Loans for Vegas and Miami Properties

MIAMI, FL—Thomas D. Wood and Company secured financing in the amount of $4,740,000 for Quail Park V and Johany Interiors.

Steve Wood, (top right photo) Chief Operating Officer for Thomas D. Wood and Company, secured financing in the amount of $4,100,000 for Quail Park V Office Building in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Wood financed the loan through Advantus Capital Management, one of Thomas D. Wood and Company’s correspondent lenders, at a permanent fixed rate of 5.98%.

The loan term is 10 years with a 25-year amortization, and a loan-to-value of 39.05%. The 47,336 square-foot office building was built in 1988. Quail Park V is located at 500 S. Rancho Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ben Jimenez, (top left photo) Assistant Vice President for Thomas D. Wood and Company, secured financing in the amount of $640,000 for Johany Interiors in Miami, Florida.
Jimenez financed the loan through StanCorp Mortgage Investors, one of Thomas D. Wood and Company’s correspondent lenders, at an interest rate of 5.87%, fixed for five years.
The loan term is 20 years with a 20-year amortization, and a loan-to-value of 75%. The 5,641 square-foot retail building is located at 859-863 NE 79th Street, Miami, Florida.

For further information, please contact:

Steve Wood (305) 447-7820

Ben Jimenez (305) 447-7820

Jessica Gurtowski (407) 937-0470

Tampa, FL Office Space Demand Weakens but Rents Rise

TAMPA, FL--The increasing economic turmoil during the first quarter of 2008 proved to be detrimental to Tampa’s office market activity as tenants, investors and lenders largely remained on the sidelines, according to the First Quarter 2008 Tampa Office Market Report announced by Randy Smith (top right photo), Director of Research in the Tampa office of GVA Advantis.

Unoccupied space, including sublet, jumped almost 600,000 square feet in the first period pushing the overall vacancy rate to 15.3 percent.

Demand for office space weakened, but overall rental rate growth continued to move forward. The average asking rate for Tampa’s office space reached $22.61 per square foot, up 4.4 percent over this time last year.

The bumpy economic road of 2008 will persist until at least to the mid-year point and the lagging effects on commercial real estate will likely dampen activity for most of this year. The weakness in Tampa’s employment market will inhibit demand for office space, although certain sectors such as medical businesses and educational institutions will continue to have needs in the market.

Tampa’s sales activity in the first quarter was an improvement over last year’s weak start, but there is little chance that 2008 investment activity will match the $567 million in transaction volume posted in 2007. Office sales for the first three months of this year totaled $51.5 million and were lacking in any class A transactions or portfolio sales.

Additional reports will be forthcoming as we monitor significant real estate activity and trends in the market.

For a complete copy of the report, please contact Randy Smith at the address below.

Randy Smith, Director of Research, Advantis Real Estate Services Company,
3000 Bayport Drive, Suite 100, Tampa, FL 33607. Tel 813.342.4725 Fax 813.372.4004 E-mail

Friday, May 30, 2008

London Remains World's Most Expensive Office Market

Rapidly-Rising Moscow Jumps to Second Place.
Ho Chi Minh City Sets Pace For Fastest Occupancy Cost Growth

LOS ANGELES, CA- London's West End (photo at middle left) is once again the world's most expensive office market, while rapidly-rising Moscow climbed to second place, according to CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc. (CBRE) Research's semi-annual Global Market Rents survey.

The report tracks world markets with the highest as well as fastest-growing occupancy costs for the 12 months ended March 31, 2008. Tokyo's Inner Central Five Wards, Mumbai's Nariman Point and Tokyo's Outer Central Five Wards rounded out the top five most expensive markets.

"Office occupancy costs are continuing to defy sluggish economic conditions and the credit crunch, as they rise faster than global inflation," said Dr. Raymond Torto, (top right photo) CBRE's Global Chief Economist. "These cost increases are dominated by emerging markets, caused by both supply and demand imbalance and the depreciation of the dollar relative to local currencies. In some of these emerging markets, Class A office space is seriously lacking."

Ho Chi Minh City (photo at right, showing Downtown and Saigon River) had the fastest-growing occupancy costs during this period, up 94%. Moscow was not far behind at 93%, followed by Singapore at 86%.

Overall, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) dominated the list of markets with the fastest growing occupancy costs, accounting for five of the top 10 and 19 of the top 50 markets. Worldwide, 88% of the 173 office markets monitored posted higher occupancy costs.

Among the most expensive markets, Singapore and Dubai were newcomers to the top 10.

Singapore ranked ninth with an occupancy cost of $139.31 (occupancy cost in US$/sq. ft./annum used throughout this release), while Dubai debuted at number 10 with an occupancy cost of $128.49. With a near-doubling of occupancy costs, Moscow rose four places to second at $232.37.

(Moscow Kremlin and Moskva River photo at left, below London skyline)

Midtown Manhattan was still the priciest market in North America, at $103.43, and ranked number 13 worldwide.

(For a complete copy of CBRE's news release, showing other top office markets, please contact

Robert McGrath, CBRE, 212 984 8267,, or Jessica Wilhoite,

Gemstone Hotels & Resorts to Manage Whiteface Lodge Resort in Lake Placid

PARK CITY, UT—Officials of Gemstone Hotels & Resorts, a full-service hotel management and asset management company that specializes in luxury and upscale urban hotels and complex resorts, has signed a management agreement to operate The Whiteface Lodge Resort, (above photo) a AAA four diamond resort in Lake Placid, N.Y.

“The demand for hotels and resorts that deliver a one-of-a-kind experience continues to rise,” said Thomas Prins, (top right photo) Gemstone principal. “This new addition to our portfolio matches up well with our core strength or implementing a new strategy for an existing resort that has either lost its focus in the market or has not performed up to its full potential.”

Opened in 2005, the luxury Whiteface Lodge Resort is a member of Leading Hotels of the World. The resort offers 94, one- to four-bedroom suites with a Private Residence Club.

The property features a 5,800-square-foot treatment spa, which was just named by Conde Nast as one of the top three hotel or resort spas in North America.
The spa has six treatment rooms and a fully equipped fitness center. Other amenities include an indoor/outdoor swimming pool, an ice-skating rink, 54-seat movie theater, bowling lanes, tennis courts, snowshoe/cross-country trails and a private beach and canoe club on the lake.

“We have extensive experience in operating ski resorts as four-season destinations,” said Prins. “We work closely with our home communities to create special events and activities to attract guests year-round.

“Gemstone also has a proven track record in fractional resort projects and homeowner associations,” Prins noted. “This is the most significant development in Lake Placid since the 1980 Olympics, and we look forward to taking full advantage of all that the region offers.

“We have perhaps the most active pipeline in our history for both existing and planned hotels,” he noted. “As we enter more difficult economic times, hotel developers and owners seek operators with the expertise to create a unique environment for the hotel’s guests, while optimizing the bottom line.”

Headquartered in Park City, Utah, with an office in Stamford, Conn., Gemstone Hotels & Resorts is a full-service management and asset management company that specializes in luxury and upscale urban hotels and complex resorts.

The company is engaged in resort and unique hotel marketing and management and asset management for a variety of major hotel real estate investors and owners. Gemstone currently manages or asset manages more than 20 projects.
Additional information about the company may be found at


Jerry Daly or Chris Daly, media, (703) 435-6293
Julie Tullbane, Daly Gray Public Relations, T 703-435-6293, F 703-435-6297

EastGroup Properties Announces 114th Quarterly Dividend

JACKSON, MS– EastGroup Properties' (NYSE-EGP) Board of Directors has declared a quarterly dividend of $.52 per share payable on June 30, 2008 to shareholders of record of Common Stock on June 20, 2008.

This dividend is the 114th consecutive quarterly distribution to EastGroup's shareholders and represents an annualized dividend rate of $2.08 per share.

EastGroup also announced that its Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $.4969 per share payable on July 15, 2008 to shareholders of record of Series D Preferred Stock on June 30, 2008.
EastGroup Properties, Inc. is a self-administered equity real estate investment trust focused on the development, acquisition and operation of industrial properties in major Sunbelt markets throughout the United States with an emphasis in the states of Arizona, California, Florida and Texas.

Its strategy for growth is based on its property portfolio orientation toward premier business distribution facilities clustered near major transportation features. EastGroup's portfolio currently includes 25.0 million square feet with an additional 1.9 million square feet of properties under development.

EastGroup Properties, Inc. press releases are available at
P.O. Box 22728, Jackson, MS 39225-2728
Telephone: 601/354-3555 Fax: 601/352-1441

For more information, please contact:
David H. Hoster II, President and Chief Executive Officer (top right photo)

N. Keith McKey, Chief Financial Officer (bottom left photo)
(601) 354-3555

Thursday, May 29, 2008

HFF Secures $10M Refinancing for Shaw’s Plaza in Tilton, NH

WESTPORT, CT – The Westport office of HFF (Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P.) has announced that it secured a $10 million first mortgage for an 89,888-square-foot shopping center (photo above) anchored by Shaw’s and Staples in Tilton, New Hampshire.

Working on behalf of Exchange Holdings, LLC, HFF managing director Al Epstein and director Christine Riniti placed the 10-year, fixed-rate loan with TD Banknorth.
The refinancing replaced an existing CMBS loan that was coming due. Exchange Holdings, LLC is affiliated with Hoffman Investment Partners, a family real estate investment business with properties in Portland, Oregon, Connecticut and New Hampshire.

Situated on a 10-acre site in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, (Squam Lake photo at left), the property is 200 yards from the entrance of Interstate 93 on Laconia Road, the main retail thoroughfare for the region.
Within a one mile radius of the property is more than 800,000 square feet of retail space including the Tanger Outlet Center, Home Depot, BJ’s, Kohl’s, Wal-Mart, Market Basket and other prominent retail chains.
Completed in 1998, the property is fully leased to tenants including Shaw’s, Staples and Applebee’s.

“Shaw’s is one of the dominant food grocers in New Hampshire,” said Epstein. “The 55,000-square-foot, Tilton store is one of three Shaw’s located in the Lakes Region. The others are in Belmont and Gilford.”
Alvin J. Epstein, HFF Managing Director, 203 226 8171,
Laurie Fish McDowell, HFF Associate Director, Marketing, 617 338 0990,

HFF Arranges $43.37M Bridge Loan for Historic San Francisco Office Building

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Los Angeles and San Francisco offices of HFF (Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P.) announced today that they arranged a $43.37 million bridge loan for the Rialto Building, (above photo) a 140,000-square-foot historic office building in downtown San Francisco, California.

HFF managing director Larry Wilemon (top right photo) and director Zane Sweet (HFF San Francisco) worked on behalf of Steven Firtel, corporate counsel and director of development for Bomel Companies, to secure the loan through GE Real Estate.

Loan proceeds will retire existing debt, pay off an unsecured note, fund tenant improvements, leasing costs and capital expenditures, and return equity to the borrowers upon stabilization as ownership seeks a long-term hold and operation of this historic property.

“We are thrilled to be able to secure the financing required by Bomel and our partners on this property, which will enable us to implement a long-term leasing and capital improvements plan on the Rialto,” said Firtel.

“The entire team we worked with at HFF was diligent, knowledgeable, responsive as well as effective and most importantly successful in obtaining key required elements associated with this transaction.”

Originally completed in 1902, the Rialto Building has eight stories of office space situated above ground floor and mezzanine retail space. The property is 88% occupied by tenants including Trust for Public Land, Walgreens and Chipotle Grill. The Rialto Building is located at 116 New Montgomery Street in the south financial district submarket of San Francisco.

“The Rialto Building is a tremendous value-add opportunity due to a majority of the leases being below market and expiring within the next 6-to-36 months,” Wilemon said. “In a market that has seen rents increase from $24 per square foot to roughly $40 per square foot for Class B office space, this is a perfect time for the current owners to reposition the building and raise rents to market levels.”

Bomel Companies is an opportunistic development firm specializing in urban infill projects, with active or recent projects in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Culver City, Miami, New York, Kauai, Las Vegas and Israel. Bomel’s focus is on multifamily, retail and mixed-use urban infill projects predominately within key markets in the Western U.S. where there is an opportunity to add value and generate positive cash flow long-term.

Larry Wilemon, HFF Managing Director, 310 407 2100,
Laurie Fish McDowell, HFF Associate Director, Marketing, 617 339 0990,

Grubb & Ellis|Commercial Florida Negotiates Long-Term Office Lease in Westshore/Airport Submarket

TAMPA, FL – Grubb & EllisCommercial Florida recently negotiated the long term lease of 31,414-square-feet of office space lease in Tampa’s Westshore/Airport submarket.

Mia Jarrell, (middle left photo) vice president in the company’s Office Group and Neil Resnick, (middle right photo) executive vice president with Grubb & Ellis Company’s Transaction Services Group negotiated the lease of 31,414-square feet at Woodland Corporate Center, (top left photo) located at 7920 Woodland Center Blvd. in Tampa, FL.

(Woodland Corporate Center photo courtesy Tampa Bay Business Journal).

Jarrell and Resnick represented the tenant, Hilton Reservation Worldwide. The landlord is Liberty Property Limited.

For more information, contact:
Mia Jarrell, Grubb & EllisCommercial Florida 813-830-7522,;
Larry Lietzman, Grubb & EllisCommercial Florida, 813-639-1111