Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wells Retail Group of Marcus & Millichap Announces $5.5M Sale of Acworth, GA Shopping Center

Sale Represents Trend in Commercial Real Estate Deals Heading North from Florida, Says David Wells

ACWORTH, GA, March 27, 2008 – Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Brokerage
Company, has announced the sale of the Acworth Commons retail center in Acworth, GA for
$5,507,500. The sales price represents $158 per square foot.

David Wells (photo at right) with the Wells Retail Group of Marcus and Millichap, a top associate working out of the firm’s Tampa office, brought the buyer to the property. The seller is Hendon Group LLC. The buyer is Acworth Commons LLC, based out of CA. Ed Nutting and Michael Hubley marketed and listed the property out of the firm’s Atlanta, GA office.

“The sale represents a common theme of FL owners heading North out of the state in
search of more yield,” comments Mr. Wells. “My clients are an investment group out of CA who
have bought several anchored centers in FL from me over the past few years.

"Due to the increasing costs of owning and operating FL real estate they are headed out of the state to achieve higher returns. Until FL can get their incredible property tax rolls in check and control insurance costs our great state will continue to lose business, both from investors and from the smaller tenants who are particularly feeling the squeeze.

"Florida is seeing this trend on the residential side as well, a lot of people have begun buying second homes in the Carolina’s instead of FL for the same insurance and tax purposes.”

Built in 2002, Acworth Commons is located at 3344 Cobb Parkway in Acworth, GA an
affluent suburb outside of Atlanta. The property consists of 34,949 square feet and is situated on 3.82 acres. The center is anchored by Staples, other major tenants in the center are, Hibbett
Sports and Beef O’brady’s.

For more information about Acworth Commons or the FL shopping center market,
contact David Wells at (813) 387-4700 or 813 387 4778.

Focus Inc. Relocates and Expands Headquarters in Tampa, FL

Studley Represents Focus, Inc. in a 30,000-SF Lease

TAMPA, FL (March 27, 2008) – Focus, Inc., a direct response marketing company, will relocate its headquarters this summer from 8404 Wilsky Boulevard to Westlake Corporate Center, 9119 Corporate Lake Drive, Tampa. (photo top right)

The company will be moving from 9,000 square feet to a 30,832-square-foot space located in the Northwest Tampa market.

Focus is experiencing tremendous growth, which was the impetus for this relocation and expansion, according to managing director John Esposito (photo at right below) with Studley’s Tampa office, who represented the company in the lease.

“One of the primary reasons this particular building was selected was its proximity to their former location, minimizing any disruption for its employees,” said Esposito. “Westlake Corporate Center also offers Focus an above-average parking ratio, which was attractive to the company.”

Company CEO Raul Vasquez, Jr. said, “Westlake Corporate Center is a
first class facility in which we look forward to continuing our rapid growth.”

Esposito added that this transaction took considerable creative problem solving and negotiation with the landlord in order to accommodate some of Focus’ needs, such as prominent exterior building signage.

Chris Harak, an associate with Studley also represented Focus. The landlord, Osprey Real Estate Services, represented itself in the transaction.

About Focus

Focus, founded in 2001, is acomdirect response marketing company that specializes in lead generation and management for companies throughout the United States.

About Studley

Studley is the leading commercial real estate services firm specializing in tenant representation. Founded in 1954, Studley pioneered the conflict-free business model of representing only tenants in their commercial real estate transactions. Today, with 19 offices nationwide and an international presence through its London office and AOS Studley, a partnership with Paris-based AOS, Studley provides strategic real estate solutions to top-tier corporations, not-for-profit organizations and law firms. Information about Studley is available at

Bryna Jacobs
Thorp & Company

Concord Hospitality Enterprises Breaks Ground on Hilton Garden Inn in Arlington, TX

Hotel Marks Company’s Expansion into Southwest

ARLINGTON, Texas/RALEIGH-DURHAM, N.C., March 27, 2008—Concord Hospitality Enterprises, one of the nation’s top-ranked hotel developer/owner/operators, today announced it has broken ground on a 132-room Hilton Garden Inn in Arlington, Texas.

The property marks the beginning of Concord’s planned expansion into the Southwest, which will include additional new-builds in Texas and Arizona. The hotel is expected to open in the 2009 first quarter.

“The Southwest remains a high-growth region, and our expansion there will allow us to take advantage of the opportunities there and to geographically diversify our portfolio,” said Mark Laport, (photo top left) CEO of Concord. “Plans call for us to break ground on an additional five properties in Texas and one in Arizona by the end of the year.”

“We will also be breaking ground on additional new-build properties in areas where we are established and can take advantage of regional synergies, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Canada. At the same time, we are expanding the range of hotel brands in our portfolio, and
the Hilton Garden Inn Arlington marks a rekindling of our relationship with the Hilton Family of brands. We look forward to building on our relationship with them going forward.”

Located at 2190 East Lamar in the heart of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, the property is less than 10 minutes from DFW Airport and the new Dallas Cowboys Complex and Glory Park Entertainment District. The hotel will feature more than 2,000 square feet of meeting space, a ballroom and a full-service dining restaurant lounge and bar. Other amenities include and an outdoor pool and Jacuzzi. Each guestroom will feature HD plasma TVs and high-speed Internet access.

In addition to a full array of Marriott-affiliated properties the company owns and manages, Concord also is an approved developer of Element, a Starwood brand; Hyatt; Hilton Garden Inn; and Hampton Inn and Suites.

About Concord Hospitality
Concord Hospitality Enterprises Company, an award-winning hotel management and development company based in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., manages 50 hotels and with over 6,000 guest rooms in 11 states and two Canadian providences under such well-known brands as Renaissance, Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott, Residence Inn by Marriott, Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott, SpringHill Suites by Marriott, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn and Suites, and an independent boutique hotel.

Formed in 1985, the company was recently listed as one of the top management companies in the nation. Concord properties are some of the most awarded hotels in the country, having won nearly 30 honors in the past two years alone. For more information, visit


Jerry Daly or
Melanie Boyer
Daly Gray Public Relations
(703) 435-6293

Florida Realtors(R) See Signs of Improving Housing Market

(Photo of Gov. Charlie Crist at left; Chuck Bonfiglio at right)

TALLAHASSEE, FL, PRNewswire/ -- Only weeks after Florida voters passed Amendment 1 in late January, Florida Realtors(R) have noted signs of increased interest from potential homebuyers heartened by the measure's property tax relief benefits, especially the portability provision.

In a recent online poll conducted by the Florida Association of Realtors(R) (FAR), about one-third -- 35.5 percent -- of the Realtor respondents answered yes, when asked if more property owners were interested in buying or selling property, thanks to portability.

Property tax portability is one of the benefits now made law under Amendment 1, which allows Florida homeowners to transfer their Save Our Homes tax benefits from their old homestead to a newly purchased home. Portability applies to homes purchased in 2007 and later, and the benefit is capped at $500,000.

FAR's informal survey also asked Realtors if "the property tax relief afforded by Amendment 1 is encouraging prospects to get off the fence and buy." Again, of those polled, about one-third -- 30.4 percent -- said yes. The online survey was conducted on FAR's member website at from March 5 through March 10, 2008.

"This is only the beginning," says 2008 FAR President Chuck Bonfiglio (photo top right). "Conducted just seven weeks after passage of Amendment 1, this poll shows that many of our Realtor members are starting to see heightened interest in the state's housing market and reporting signs of increased activity. That's encouraging news, and the ink on this new law has barely had time to dry.

" We're looking forward to more positive activity in the coming months, as current Florida property owners and those looking to become Florida property owners gain a better understanding of what the new law means and start to take advantage of portability and its other benefits."

Gov. Charlie Crist (photo top left) joined a crowd of about 1,000 Realtors from across Florida in Tallahassee to share their concerns with legislators during Great American Realtor Days, which began Tuesday and continue through today. He thanked Realtors for their efforts in supporting Amendment 1 to its successful passage by Florida voters.

The online survey was conducted for the Florida Association of Realtors during a six-day period from March 5 through March 10 and powered by Vovici EFM on FAR's member website at A total of 1931 completed responses were received to the survey during this time.

The Florida Association of Realtors (FAR), the voice for real estate in Florida, provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 150,000 members in 67 boards/associations.

Marla Martin,
Communications Manager, or
Jeff Zipper,
VicePresident of Communications,
+1-407-438-1400, ext. 2326 or 2314,
both of The Florida Association of Realtors
Web site:

Hilton Eugene & Conference Center Opens Following Multi-Million Dollar Renovation

(Conference center photo above)

Renovation Re-establishes Hotel as City’s Premier Hotel and Meeting Facility

EUGENE, OR, March 27, 2008—Officials of Davidson Hotel Company (DHC), one of the nation’s largest hotel management companies, today announced it has completed a $3.5 million renovation of the 269-room Hilton Eugene & Conference Center in Oregon. (photo at right)

Davidson, which owns and has managed the property since 1997, completed the renovation in several phases to minimize guest disruptions.

“The renovation of the Hilton Eugene & Conference Center essentially brings the hotel to ‘like-new’ status,” said John Belden, (photo at right below) Davidson’s president and chief executive officer. “The hotel now is well positioned to maintain its standing as Eugene’s premier hotel and meeting facility.”

Highlights of the major upgrade include a complete redesign of all of the hotel’s guest rooms and suites, to incorporate the Hilton Serenity Bed & Bath Collection, which includes a plush-top mattress, fine European-style linens and Crabtree & Evelyn bath amenities; 32” LCD televisions; and Cuisinart direct brew coffee maker. The renovations also include a refurbished fitness center with Fitness by Precor facilities, which utilize Precor-developed strength, cardio and entertainment equipment.

The Hilton Eugene & Conference Center is centrally located at 66 East Sixth Avenue in the heart of downtown Eugene, adjacent to the nationally renowned Hult Center for the Performing Arts. It is easily accessible to the University of Oregon, 5th Street Public Market, the Eugene Federal Courthouse and the Willamette river front with miles of beautiful scenery.

The hotel offers more than 30,000 square feet of flexible conference and exhibit space, complemented by a first-class catering department. Conference rooms atop the hotel feature floor-to-ceiling windows, crystal chandeliers and a breathtaking panoramic view of the city and surrounding mountains. The Hilton also offers a complimentary shuttle to and from the Mahlon-Sweet Field Airport.

Two executive floors with added amenities offer access to a newly renovated private lounge with concierge services, including complimentary continental breakfast, hors d’oeuvres and evening turndown service.

The Big River Grille, the property’s on-site restaurant, offers Pacific Northwest cuisine using only the freshest local and regional ingredients. The restaurant also provides East Right and Healthy Options, offering meal choices that are rich in nutrition and designed with such health-conscious attributes as increased protein and reduced saturated fats, cholesterol, carbohydrates and calories.

The Hilton Eugene has taken steps to become the first green hotel in Lane County and has applied with the Green Seal Organization to become a Green Seal Certified Hotel.

About Davidson Hotel Company

Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., Davidson Hotel Company is an award-winning, full-service hotel owner and third-party management company that provides management, development/renovation, acquisition, consulting and accounting expertise for the hospitality industry.

The company currently owns and/or manages 31 upscale hotels with nearly 8,800 rooms across the United States, including such brands as Westin, Sheraton, Hyatt, Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Embassy Suites, Doubletree, Marriott, Renaissance, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn. Additional information on Davidson may be found at the company’s Web site,


Cyndi Carl )
Davidson Hotel Company
(901) 821-4155

Chris Daly, Jerry Daly
Daly Gray Public Relations
ph: 703-435-6293

Noble Investment Group Acquires the Kansas City Marriott-Country Club Plaza Hotel

Acquisition Consistent with Noble’s Value-Added Investment Strategy

ATLANTA, GA- March 27, 2008 – Privately held Noble Investment Group (“Noble”), a leading sponsor of private equity real estate funds and an integrated lodging and hospitality operating and development organization, today announced the acquisition of the 295-room Kansas City Marriott—Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri.

The hotel will undergo an $8.8 million comprehensive renovation to all guestrooms, meeting space and public areas and will be operated by Noble under a long-term license agreement with Marriott International. The investment marks the company’s tenth acquisition in Noble Hospitality Fund, LLC, the organization’s current fully discretionary private equity real estate fund.

“Notwithstanding the major dislocation in the capital markets, our fund team continues to source and execute strong investment opportunities where our operating and development teams can use their core competencies to create value,” said Mit Shah, (photo top right) Noble’s senior managing principal and chief executive officer.

The 19-story hotel is located approximately four miles south of Downtown Kansas City in the renowned Country Club Plaza district. Home to the region’s most established high-end retail, commercial and residential area, Country Club Plaza is the sophisticated center of Kansas City's dining, shopping and cultural scene. The hotel boasts 16,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 42-seat amphitheatre, two concierge levels, Main Street Grill, lobby lounge, executive business center, fitness center and indoor swimming pool.

“The acquisition of this first-class hotel is not only consistent with Noble’s investment strategy, it also represents the strength of our discretionary fund platform, as we were able to secure the opportunity, perform due diligence and close an all-cash transaction in a total of six weeks,” said Rodney Williams, (photo at left) Noble’s managing principal and chief investment officer.

“Our team will now focus on increasing market share, revenue and profitability through the combination of the completion of the planned physical enhancements to all guest rooms, meeting space and food and beverage outlets in conjunction with our process-based, balanced scored operational framework.”

The $8.8 million dollar renovation will begin this year and will result in substantial property improvements to all guestrooms, ballroom and meeting space, as well as public areas to include Marriott’s “Great Room,” which will provide a comfortable living room atmosphere and an ideal spot for guests to gather and socialize.

About Noble

Noble Investment Group sponsors a series of private equity real estate funds and is an integrated operating and development organization that specializes in making value-added investments in hotels and resorts throughout North America.

An award winning operator of more than 8,000 hotel and resort guest rooms, convention and conference centers with approximately 1,000,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, as well as championship golf, day and resort spa’s, upscale restaurants, and branded retail coffee stores, Noble and its predecessors have realized superior risk-adjusted returns while acquiring and developing nearly $2 billion in lodging and hospitality assets.

Noble’s current discretionary private equity fund represents $310 million of equity commitments and the organization expects to invest more than $1 billion in assets during the next two years.


Chris Daly
Vice President
Daly Gray Public Relations
ph: 703-435-6293:

Bonnie Herring
Noble Investment Group