Friday, October 31, 2008

Economy and Election are Hot Topics as Realtors(R) Meet in Orlando

2008 Realtors(R) Conference & Expo Set for Nov. 7-10 at Orange County Convention Center

25,000 Attendees Expected to Register

ORLANDO, FL--The National Association of Realtors says the theme for this year's Realtors(r) Conference & Expo is "Destination Success - Full Speed Ahead" --- a slogan that is expected to draw 25,000 Realtors(R) and guests at the four-day event, Nov. 7--10 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

Sessions and meetings will address how the changing political and economic landscapes are likely to affect the real estate industry. Realtors(R) will be joined by industry experts, lawmakers, federal agency officials and other guests for a program that addresses the varied issues facing today's residential and commercial real estate markets.

Federal Housing Finance Agency Director James B. Lockhardt III (top right photo) and Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan (middle left photo) are among the public policy and industry leaders who will speak during the conference.

Also scheduled to speak are NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun (bottom left photo); Dr. Paul C. Light, (top left photo) New York University Wagner's Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service and founding principal investigator of the Organizational Performance Initiative; and Dr. Mark Dotzour, (bottom right photo) Chief Economist, Real Estate Center, Texas A&M University.

As part of the regular conference program, Lance Armstrong, (middle right photo) seven-time Tour de France winner and cancer survivor, will be a featured speaker on Saturday, Nov. 8. His message, "Choose to Be a Champion in Life," will set the tone for the week, inspiring and motivating attendees to new heights.

More than 500 exhibitors are expected to participate in the Realtors(R) Expo, which showcases the latest real estate products and innovations across various fields, including technology, data communications and financial programs and services.

Expo hours are Friday, Nov. 7, 4 p.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 8, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 9, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Monday, Nov. 10, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

During the Expo, take some time to come by booth 3741 to learn about NAR's four-point plan to help boost the economy and help calm jittery home buyers.

Realtors(R) visiting the booth will participate in a Call to Action, urging members of Congress to take further action to help families and invigorate the real estate market, and demonstrate their support by signing the walls of a miniature house designed to feature the four-point plan.


Stephanie Singer of NAR, +1-202-383-1050,

Wyndham Worldwide Outlook Revised To Negative

'BBB-' Corporate Credit Rating Affirmed

New York, Oct. 31, 2008--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has revised its outlook on Parsippany, NJ-based Wyndham Worldwide Corp. to negative from stable. At the same time, we affirmed the 'BBB-' corporate credit rating on the company.
(Wyndham's Chateau Bourbon Hotel, New Orleans, top left photo)

The negative outlook revision reflects:

Lower-than-expected EBITDA generation in 2008 and 2009.

We previously expected revenue and EBITDA would increase in the high-single-digit percentage area in 2008 and in the low-single-digit percentage area in 2009, and we now expect growth of flat-to-low-single digits in 2008 and flat-to-low-single digit declines in 2009.

This is primarily due to a reduction in expected timeshare segment EBITDA to flat in 2008 compared to up nearly 10%, and for an expected decline in that business in 2009 compared to modest growth previously.

We expect Wyndham's lodging franchise business will exhibit a low-single-digit decline in EBITDA driven by a modest decline in revenue in 2009 as revenue per available room declines of 5% or more (our current expectation for the U.S. lodging industry) offset low-single-digit room growth.
(Wyndham's Baolian Hotel, Shanghai, top right photo)

We also have a moderately lower view of expected EBITDA at the RCI timeshare exchange and vacation rental businesses, although we expect that business to maintain relatively stable cash flow characteristics; and

A meaningful increase in total lease-and-captive-finance adjusted debt balances over the intermediate term due to a decrease in the expected advance rate Wyndham would receive for selling its timeshare receivables.
(Wyndham brand, Ramada Plaza Zhangjiaje, China, middle left photo)
Wyndham stated it expects the advance rate to decline to about 60% from near-80% under its 364-day bank timeshare receivables conduit facility, which the company expects to refinance on or about Nov. 10, 2008, with capacity of at least $800 million (down from $1.2 billion in capacity at September 2008).

While we are pleased that investor appetite likely remains for lending against timeshare paper, it will be at a price that is adjusted for intermediate-term risk assessments.

As a result, lower current and expected advance rates over the intermediate term have led us to revisit the appropriate level of debt to be removed from the balance sheet in our captive finance adjustment, and to lower this amount to the equivalent of 60% of net securitized receivables from 80%.

The net effect is to raise adjusted debt balances in our credit measure calculations.
(Wyndham's Cap Cana Resort, Dominican Republic, bottom right photo)

"The rating on Wyndham reflects the company's leading market positions in each of its business units and the stable cash flow characteristics of the lodging and RCI vacation network businesses," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Emile Courtney.

We view Wyndham's business profile as investment grade, incorporating Standard & Poor's positive view of management as prudent business operators and a good level of business diversity.

High levels of capital intensity in the timeshare development industry and the company's participation in highly competitive markets offset these positive factors somewhat.

(Wyndham brand, Ramada Beirut Hotel, Lebanon, bottom left photo)

Another key rating factor is our expectation that the company will maintain investment-grade financial metrics, with lease-and-captive-finance-adjusted leverage at around 3.5x or less on average over the economic cycle.

We also expect the company to maintain access to the securitization markets as a source of funding during the long term, even if the cost of financing is likely to increase materially over the intermediate term.

Media Contact: Mimi Barker, New York (1) 212-438-5054,

Analyst Contacts:
Emile Courtney, CFA, New York (1) 212-438-7824
Liz Fairbanks, New York (1) 212-438-7459

Thomas D. Wood & Co. Brokers $7.5M on Three Loans

Midtown Professional Center, Tampa, Gets $2.3M Loan

MIAMI, FL— Thomas D. Wood and Company, a Strategic Alliance Mortgage LLC member, secured financing in the amount of $2,300,000 for the Midtown Professional Center (top right photo) in Tampa, Florida.

Alan R. Cohen, (top left photo) Company Vice President, financed the loan through a regional community bank at a rate of 5.95%. The loan term is three years, based on a 25-year amortization, and a loan-to-value of 63%.

The 21,382 square-foot medical office is home to major tenant Amsurg Tampa, and was built in 1967. Midtown Professional Center is located at 4809 N. Armenia Avenue, Tampa, Florida.

For further information, please contact:
Alan R. Cohen (305) 447-7820
Jessica Gurtowski (407) 937-0470

Tatiana's Apartments and Cypress Gardens RV Park Receive Separate Loans Totaling $1.66M

ORLANDO, FL— Thomas D. Wood and Company, a Strategic Alliance Mortgage LLC member, secured financing in the amount of $1,666,500 for Tatiana’s Apartments and Cypress Gardens RV Park. (middle right photo)

Jeff Schnupp (middle left photo), Company Vice President, financed Tatiana’s Apartments through a national lender at an interest rate of 6.57%.

The loan term is 10 years, based on a 30-year amortization, and a loan-to-value of 58%. The 16-unit multifamily complex was built in 1979 and renovated in 2007.

Tatiana’s Apartments are located at 6216 and 6224 Washington Street, Hollywood, Florida.

John Worrell, (middle right photo) Company Assistant Vice President, secured financing for the Cypress Gardens RV Park through a regional bank at an interest rate of Prime + 2.3%.

The loan term is five years, based on a 15-year amortization, and a loan-to-value of 75%. The 191-campsite RV park is located on 18.7 acres at 7400 Cypress Gardens Boulevard, Winter Haven, Florida.

For further information, please contact:
Jeff Schnupp (407) 937-0470
John Worrell (407) 937-0470
Jessica Gurtowski (407) 937-0470

Quail Park at El Dorado Hills, CA Wins $3.5M Loan

MIAMI, FL— Thomas D. Wood and Company, a Strategic Alliance Mortgage LLC member, secured financing in the amount of $3,500,000 for Quail Park at El Dorado Hills, (bottom right photo) an office complex in El Dorado Hills, California.

Steven Hayes Wood, (bottom left photo) Company Chief Operation Officer, financed the loan through StanCorp Mortgage Investors, one of Thomas D. Wood and Company’s correspondent life insurance lenders, at a rate of 6.50%.

The loan term is five years, and can be reset every five years, based on a 25-year amortization and a loan-to-value of 71.28%. The 16,800 square-foot office complex is comprised of two one-story multi-tenant buildings, and was built in 2005. Quail Park at El Dorado Hills is located at 1190 and 1192 Suncast Lane, El Dorado Hills, California.

For further information, please contact:
Steven Hayes Wood (305) 447-7820
Jessica Gurtowski (407) 937-0470

Cousins Properties Corrects Erroneous AP Wire Story

ATLANTA, GA (Oct. 31, 2008) - Cousins Properties Incorporated(NYSE:CUZ) offered the following comment on an October 29 news story from the Associated Press that incorrectly summarized a Goldman Sachs research report assessing credit concerns among REITs.

The wire story had erroneously assumed the Goldman report included Cousins Properties as a company with major refinancing concerns in the near term when Cousins was included in the report as a REIT with "development exposure."

Cousins Properties has only $8.6 million of debt maturing between now and December 31, 2009. Therefore, there are no near-term refinancing concerns.

In addition, the Company has enough cash on-hand, without accessing the $233 million of availability on its credit facility, to fund all anticipated development costs through 2009.

"Given the difficulties some real estate companies are having withrefinancing and liquidity, we felt it was important to correct therecord on this widely read story," said Jim Fleming, (top right photo) executive vice president and chief financial officer of Cousins.

Cousins will announce its third quarter 2008 earnings on next Wednesday, Nov. 5 and hold its quarterly conference call with analysts and investors at 10 a.m.ET on Thursday, Nov. 6.
Investment Community: Elli Kaplan Vice President, , Investor Relations & Research, (404) 407-1972,

Media, Matt Gove, Senior Vice President, 404 407 1490,

Grubb & Ellis|Commercial Florida Executive Jeff Sweeney projects 2009 will mirror image of 2008 in Central Florida: Slow but broad recovery

ORLANDO --- Next year Florida’s commercial real estate market will look much like it did this year, only in reverse. That’s the word from longtime area commercial real estate analyst Jeff Sweeney, (top right photo) SIOR, principal and managing partner of Grubb & EllisCommercial Florida.

Sweeney, who presents his annual market overview for the Central Florida Council of Bankruptcy Attorneys in Orlando, said 2008 began slow and is ending stagnant.

“Central Florida’s commercial real estate market in 2009 will be just the reverse,” Sweeney explained. “We expect it to start out stagnant and end with a pulse.”

The good news is the recovery should span all sectors, Sweeney said.

We think we’re going to see a broad-based return of the office, industrial and retail markets in Florida. Currently we have a broad-based downturn in all of those markets,” Sweeney said.

Job growth---a leading indicator in the commercial real estate markets---is likely to be anemic for the first half of the year and improve in the second half, Sweeney added.

“In an aggregate comparison, job growth in 2009 will be similar to 2008,” Sweeney said.

“It was slow and getting worse this year, next year it will be slow and getting better. I expect to see a lot more optimism in 12 months,” he said.

Jeff Sweeney, SIOR, Independently Owned & Operated, Grubb & EllisCommercial Florida, 407-481-5387,

Larry Vershel Communications Inc., 407-644-4142,

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Shaw Mechanical Services secures contract with Welbro Building Corp. for Haines City, FL park

ORLANDO, FL, Oct. 30, 2008 — Welbro Building Corp. has awarded a $900,000 contract to Orlando, Fla.-based Shaw Mechanical Services LLC for mechanical contracting for new buildings and additions currently under construction in Lake Eva Park, (top right rendering) a 28-acre park being renovated and expanded by Haines City under the Haines City Community Redevelopment Agency in Polk County, Fla.

Shaw Mechanical Services is providing pre-construction services and installation of HVAC systems, including an air-cooled chiller, chilled water air handlers, controls and associated sheet metal work for a new banquet facility, aquatic center, pro shop, band shell, restrooms, maintenance building and an addition to the community center totaling 63,400-square-feet.

The project is scheduled for completion in July 2009.

The park also includes tennis and basketball courts, two playgrounds, a band shell, bike and pedestrian paths, an aquatic park, a fishing pier and boat ramp.

Welbro Building Corp. of Maitland, Fla., is the general contractor. Orlando, Fla.-based Rhodes + Brito Architects is the architect, and BCA-GAS Inc. of Maitland, Fla., is the mechanical engineer.

Shaw Mechanical Services LLC is a Central Florida-based provider of mechanical contracting and service to building owners, property managers, facility managers, plant engineers, general contractors and consumers.

Comprehensive services provided by Shaw Mechanical include retrofits, renovations, preventative maintenance, commissioning and installation of heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems, process piping, automatic temperature controls and custom climate applications for existing structures and new construction.

Founded in 2001 by David L. Shaw, (top left photo) the privately-held company employs a staff of seventy from its headquarters in Orlando, Fla.

Contact: Elaine Ingra, PR WORKS!, PH: 407 384-1344, and

Starmer Ranaldi completes new Lake County fire station

OVIEDO, FL, Oct. 30, 2008 — Starmer Ranaldi Planning and Architecture Inc. has completed Lake Jem Fire Station No. 78 (bottom left photo) located on County Road 448 in Lake Jem, Fla.

(Joe Ranaldi, top right photo, is a principal at Starmer Ranaldi)

Under contract with the Lake County Board of County Commissioners, Starmer Ranaldi utilized its two-story fire station prototype for the architectural and engineering design of the two-apparatus bay, 7,700-square-foot facility.

Sited on 1.75-acres, the facility features masonry bearing walls with a brick veneer and a standing seam metal roof system. Along with two apparatus bays, fitness room, kitchen, dormitory, and administrative space, the new fire station houses a substation for the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. The fire station was built by Aagaard-McNary Construction Inc. of Orlando, Fla.

Engineering design for this project was provided by the following Central Florida-based firms:

OCI Associates Inc., Altamonte Springs, mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering; MITZO Engineering LLC., Orlando, structural engineering; and Klima Weeks Civil Engineering, Altamonte Springs, civil engineering.

Starmer Ranaldi Planning and Architecture Inc. is a consulting design practice dedicated to the design of public-use facilities for municipal and county governments, K through 12 schools, community colleges, universities and institutional buildings. Established in Central Florida in 1997, the firm is headquartered in Oviedo, Fla., and employs a professional and support staff of eighteen.

Please visit for additional information.

Contact: Elaine Ingra, PR WORKS!, PH: 407 384-1344,,

Housing Market Suffers Biggest Drop Since World War Two

NOVATO, CA Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. new home prices are now down 17%, new home sales have been reduced by 57% and new property listings are down by 27% since the real estate market's historic peak set in March of 2007.

This marks the worst residential real estate bear market in price decline and duration since 1945.

While this is humbling news to millions of homeowners nationwide, not everyone is feeling the pain to the same degree.As can be seen in the table below, the greatest declines in home prices have been felt in the Western states.
The Northeast is actually seeing price increases since earlier this year, but on significantly reduced levels of sales and listings.
In comparing today's housing market to past real estate bear markets, it is interesting to note that while price declines are only slightly worse than the 1969/70 bear market, sales and listings have "dried up" much worse today than 38 years ago.

Fortunately, while the current condition is bad it is not record setting.

Winans International Real Estate Index (New U.S. Homes) Percentage Change Since March 31, 2007:

The worst decline of U.S. new home prices in the last 150-years was the -68% decline from 1929 to 1932."When will this bear market end? Probably not for a while.

Past real estate bear markets ended when the average time it took to sell a new house dropped to 3 1/2 months.

Currently, it is taking over 9 months!" says Ken Winans, (top right photo) author of "Investment Atlas". The Winans International Real Estate Index (WIREI) measures U.S. new home prices from 1830 to present day.

More information on the Winans International Real Estate Index can be found at and

CONTACT: Liz Boaz, Communications, Assistant of Winans International, Investment Management & Research, +1-415-506-3070,

Post Properties Sells Post Woods® in Atlanta for $52.8M

Developer Announces Hurricane Damage Estimates in Houston

ATLANTA, GA (Business Wire))-- Post Properties, Inc. (NYSE: PPS) has sold its Post Woods® apartment community (top right photo) located in Atlanta, GA for a gross sales price of approximately $52.8 million.

Post Woods® is a 494-unit garden-style apartment community located in the Cumberland/Vinings area of Atlanta that was completed in phases in the 1970’s and early 1980’s.

The buyer is BPG Investment Partnership VIII & VIIIA, L.P., a fully discretionary private equity fund operated by BPG Properties, Ltd.

Post expects to report a gain of approximately $37 million relating to this sale in the fourth quarter of 2008.
In addition, Post announced that it expects to report casualty losses of approximately $2.8 million in the third quarter of 2008 relating to preliminary estimates of the damage it sustained at its Houston, TX properties as a result of Hurricane Ike. The damage related primarily to roofing, windows, exterior siding, interior restoration and landscaping.

CONTACT: Post Properties, Inc., Christopher Papa, 404-846-5028

Oaks Development Group Closes on 2.1 Acres for Medical Office Building in Palm Coast, FL

PALM COAST, FL /PRNewswire/ -- North Carolina-based Oaks Development Group announced closing on the construction loan for 2.1 acres at Pinnacles Park in Palm Coast, FL.

Oaks will develop a planned medical office building on the property. SunTrust Bank in Cary, NC handled the loan closing for the project.

Site work is scheduled to begin by the end of the year. Oaks is developing the 20,000-square-foot building using its unique ownership model that provides tenants with a piece of the ownership pie without requiring upfront equity.

Just over 10,000 square feet is already under contract for a family dental practice, pediatrician and Doctor's Choice Lab.

"We are very pleased that we have achieved this milestone in the project. In the wake of unprecedented market turbulence and uncertainty in lending, this closing demonstrates the strength of the Oaks business model and the fact that real estate projects based on sound economic fundamentals are still financeable," says Charlie Barker, developer and partner in Oaks Development Group's Florida office.

Located in Pinnacles Park right off State Road 100, the Oaks building will sit across from the Florida Hospital Flagler. There is approximately 10,000 square feet still available under the Oaks ownership model for additional healthcare and professional tenants.

Ann Close of Oaks Development Group, +1-919-460-6779,;
or Debi Pfitzenmaier, +1-210-669-6911,,
for Oaks Development GroupWeb site:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Military and Port Trafficc Support Strong Apartment Fundamentals in Southeast Virginia

WILLIAMSBURG, VA— Despite a rise in deliveries, healthy employment gains continue to support a strong outlook for Norfolk/Hampton Roads apartments, according to a third-quarter Apartment Research Report by Marcus & Millichap, the nation’s largest real estate investment services firm.

The presence of the port (bottom left photo) and military is driving the steady job growth, a trend that should persist during the extended term.

“Tight market conditions and forecasts for revenue growth point to a strong investment outlook for the Norfolk/Hampton Roads market,” says Gary R. Lucas, (top right photo) regional manager of the Southern Virginia office of Marcus & Millichap.

Following are some of the most significant aspects of the Southeast Virginia Apartment Research Report:
· Following expansion of 1 percent in 2007, total employment in the Norfolk/Hampton Roads market is expected to gain 0.9 percent this year with the addition of 7,000 jobs.

· Developers are expected to bring 1,500 rental units online in 2008, representing a 1.7 percent increase in rental inventory.

· Vacancy in the metro is expected to finish the year at 4.3 percent, up 40 basis points from the rate recorded at year-end 2007.

· Asking rents are expected to increase 3.6 percent to $862 per month.

· Effective rents will advance 3.5 percent to $851 per month.

For a copy of the complete Southeast Virginia Apartment Research Report, as well as reports on other markets nationwide, visit our website at
Press Contact: Stacey Corso, Communications Department, (925) 953-1716

Wyndham Hotel Group Promotes Development Executive Don Li

PARSIPPANY, N.J. (Oct. 29, 2008) – Wyndham Hotel Group today announced the promotion of Don Li (top right photo) to regional vice president of development in China and Japan, responsible for the growth and development of the Wyndham®, Ramada®, Days Inn®, Super 8® and Howard Johnson® brands.

He previously served the company as director of development in China and Japan, a position he was promoted to after serving two years as director of development in China.

Li was responsible for key development deals, including an agreement with Green Hospitality Management Co. of Tokyo to open nine hotels in Japan over the next five years under the Ramada and Days Inn brands.
Additionally, he was instrumental in the signing of the 337-room Wyndham Baolian (bottom right photo) in Shanghai, China and the 700-room Ramada Plaza Zhangjiajie (top left photo) in China.

Prior to joining Wyndham Hotel Group, Li served in operations positions for Marriott Hotels International, most recently as general manager of the Residence Inn by Marriott New Rochelle in New York. He began his career with Marriott in 1996.

Li received his master’s degree in organizational development in 2003 from Columbia University in New York. He is proficient in Mandarin and English and conversational in Cantonese. He is a certified hotel administrator by the American Hotel & Lodging Association and in 2008 received the Gold Vessel Award for outstanding hospitality professional by the China Hotel Association.

He is based in Wyndham Hotel Group’s Shanghai offices.


Rob Myers, Communications Coordinator , Wyndham Hotel Group, 1 Sylvan Way Parsippany, NJ 07054. PH (973) 753-6590,

Tri-City Electrical Completes $1.2M Job in Port Orange, FL

PORT ORANGE, FL – The Residential and Multi-family Division of Tri-City Electrical Contractors, Inc. completed $1.2 million of work at the new 242-unit Legacy at Crystal Lake Apartments, (top right photo) Phase II, located at 1200 Floral Springs Boulevard in Port Orange, FL, under its contract with SSW & Bush Construction

In Orlando, the Central Florida Commercial Division of Tri-City Electrical Contractors, Inc. is wrapping up approximately $325,000 of work at the new 5,800-square-foot Lake Nona Central Energy Plant in Orlando, FL, under its contract with S.I. Goldman, Longwood, FL. Completion is slated for November.

In Naples, FL, the Fort Myers division of Tri-City Electrical Contractors, Inc. completed $853,000 of work at the new 43,000-square-foot Ave Maria University Undergraduate Housing Building 8 in Naples, FL, under its contract with Suffolk/Kraft Construction Co., West Palm Beach, FL. The Fort Myers office of Tri-City is located at Airport Woods, Suite A-3, 12296 Matterhorn Road, phone (239) 768-5566.

Contact: Kenneth H. Cristol 407-774-2515

HFF arranges refinancing for Dairy Ashford Plaza in Houston

HOUSTON, TX – The Houston office of HFF (Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P.) announced today that it arranged refinancing for Dairy Ashford Plaza, two office buildings in the Westchase submarket of Houston, Texas.

HFF managing director Tucker Knight (top right photo) and real estate analyst Steven Gautier exclusively represented the borrower, DAP Plaza, Ltd. in securing the fixed-rate, non-recourse financing through Ohio National Financial Services. The loan will be serviced by HFF.

Built in 1979, the properties are located at 2000 and 2020 South Dairy Ashford Road between Interstate 10, The Westpark Tollway and Beltway 8 in West Houston. 2000 Dairy Ashford is comprised of 105,419 square feet and 2020 Dairy Ashford is comprised of 107,890 square feet.

“Due to Houston’s strong office market, deal sponsorship and low loan to value, Ohio National was able to originate the loan with an appealing rate on a non-recourse basis,” said Gautier.

Tucker S. Knight, HFF Managing Director, 713 852 3500,
Laurie Fish McDowell, HFF Associate Director, Marketing, 617 338 0990,