Monday, May 5, 2008

REIT Credit Analysis: Public Storage Boosted by Operations, Opportunistic Approach

NEW YORK, NY-- Cash flows generated by Public Storage’s (PSA) sizeable portfolio and management’s opportunistic approach toward self-storage property acquisitions and refinancings through economic cycles are two integral factors that support the REIT’s Positive Outlook going forward, according to the latest credit analysis update by Fitch Ratings.

Fitch affirmed PSA's Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'A-' on April 18 and revised the REIT's Rating Outlook to Positive from Stable. Fitch's latest credit analysis update on PSA, which provides more detail supporting Fitch's ratings, is available on the Fitch Ratings web site at ''.

Fitch currently rates PSA and affiliate Shurgard Storage Centers, Inc. (Shurgard) as follows:
PSA --IDR ‘A–’.
Shurgard --IDR ‘A–’.
Primary credit strengths include the following:
--Low leverage;
--Large unencumbered asset pool;
--Solid and consistent coverage metrics;
--Strong liquidity position;
--Highly granular asset base.

Primary credit concerns include the following:
--Preference for more expensive capital;
--Occupancy below 90% in some markets.


Sean Pattap +1-212-908-0642 or
Steven Marks +1-212-908-9161, New York.

Media Relations:

Sandro Scenga, New York, Tel: +1 212-908-0278.

Sikon Starts The Current at Lee Vista, an 800,000-SF Open-Air Retail Center Near Orlando International Airport

(The Current at Lee Vista rendering above by Beame Architectural Partnership, Coral Gables, FL)

ORLANDO, FL – The Central Florida office of SIKON Construction Corporation is under way on The Current at Lee Vista, a much-anticipated, new multimillion-dollar, 800,000-square-foot mixed-use, open-air retail center to feature major national and local retailers within Orlando’s most vibrant quadrant near Orlando International Airport.

Developed by Premier Properties USA, Inc., Indianapolis, IN, the 85-acre project will be one of the largest mixed-use retail developments in the nation. The streetscape and landscaping will give The Current the edgy, energetic and youthful atmosphere which will position it as a world-class destination, creating a powerful, modern visual environment blending well-developed, exciting public pedestrian spaces with drama, simplicity and eclectic materials.

Designed by Beame Architectural Partnership, Coral Gables, the project is slated for completion in early spring 2009. One of the nation’s leading retail-commercial contractors, SIKON’s Central Florida office is located at 500 N. Maitland Avenue, Suite 303, Maitland, FL, phone 407-644-4447.

Longtime Florida construction veteran Dale E. Scott, (top right photo) Senior Vice President of SIKON, says that the company has begun grading, site work and underground infrastructure at the site fronting State Road 436 between Lee Vista Boulevard and Hazeltine National Drive. Scott added that vertical construction is expected to commence within ninety days.

SIKON Construction Corporation is a full-service general contractor and construction manager primarily to the retail industry as well as for office buildings, mixed-use and other commercial projects. The company is currently building a number of high-profile projects across Florida including the new multimillion-dollar Promenade at Coconut Creek, a 550,000-square-foot LEED-certified mixed-use development, and One Village Place, an upscale 10-story, 192,202-square-foot mixed-use development adjacent to The Village at Merrick Park in Coral Gables, FL.

SIKON is headquartered (photo at right) at 431 Fairway Drive, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441, phone 954-354-8338. For more information, visit the company’s website at

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

Cousins Announces More Retailers at The Avenue(R) Forsyth

Aeropostale, American Eagle and NY & Co. Among Latest Retailers Coming to 527,000-Square-foot Mixed-use Development in Suburban Atlanta

ATLANTA, GA--Cousins Properties Incorporated (NYSE:CUZ) announces a new list of retailers that have signed leases at The Avenue Forsyth, (photos at top and at left) a 527,000-square-foot mixed-use development atthe intersection of Georgia 400 and Georgia 141 (Peachtree Parkway) in Forsyth County, one of the U.S Census Bureau's top 10 fastest growing counties for 2007.

Construction of phase I of the project, which includes 64,000 square feet of office space, began in January 2007 and the project will open on May 14. In addition, Cousins owns 39 adjacent acres for future expansion of the project.

The retailers with signed leases at The Avenue Forsyth include Aeropostale, AMC Avenue Forsyth 12, American Eagle, Ann Taylor Loft, Aria (Aveda), Avalon Nails, Barnes & Noble, Bath & Body Works, Chico's, The Chocolatier;

Christopher and Banks, Circuit City, CJBanks, Claire's, Coldwater Creek, Dreamy Gelato, DSW, Fuzzwig's CandyFactory, Game Stop, GNC, Ichiban Steak & Sushi, J. Jill, Jos. A. Bank, Lane Bryant;

Lenscrafters, Limited Too, Little Azio, Movie Stop, Natural Body Spa & Shop, New York & Company, Origins, Outside World, Rack Room Shoes, Relax the Back, Select Comfort, Straw Dog, StrideRite, Sunglass Hut, Surftown USA, Sweet & Sassy, Tailgaters Alley, Talbots, Ted's Montana Grill, Victoria's Secret, White House/Black Market and Yogurberry.

Outparcel leases include Chick-fil-A, Colonial Bank, CVS, Jim & Nick's BBQ, The Firkin & Crown, Red Robin andSunTrust. In addition to these signed leases, there are additional retailer commitments that bring the retail space in phase I to 70 percent committed.

"The quality of these retailer and restaurant commitments speaks volumes about the dynamic and affluent trade area around The Avenue Forsyth," said Joel Murphy, (top right photo) president of Cousins' Retail Division. "We look forward to bringing The Avenue concept to the great communities that make Forsyth County such a wonderful place to live, work, shop and dine."

The Avenue Forsyth is Cousins' fifth Atlanta-area Avenue-concept center and the ninth the Company has developed since 1998. The Avenue concept, introduced by Cousins Properties in 1998, has been extremely well received by consumers and retailers alike.

In contrast to a mall, these open-air, pedestrian friendly centers appeal to the discriminating and often time-constrained shopper looking for premier national retailers, select local merchants and specialty restaurants in a convenient setting.

Cousins Properties has opened or has under construction five Avenues in the Atlanta area, one in suburban Memphis, one in suburban Nashville and one in Viera, Fla.

For more information about The Avenue, please visit

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2008, Cousins Properties Incorporated is a leading diversified real estate company with extensive experience in development, acquisition, financing, management and leasing.

Based in Atlanta, the Company actively invests in office, multi-family, retail, industrial and land developmentprojects. Since its founding, Cousins has developed 20 million square feet of office space, 20 million square feet of retail space, more than 3,500 multi-family units and more than 60 single-family neighborhoods.

The Company is a fully integrated equity real estate investment trust (REIT) and trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CUZ. For more, please


Cousins Properties Incorporated Investment Community:
Mark Russell, Senior Vice President,

Media: Matt Gove, Vice President,

Interstate Hotels & Resorts Joint Venture Signs First Management Contract in India

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, announces its joint venture management company, JHM Interstate Hotels India, has signed a contract to manage its first property in India.

The 50-50 joint venture was formed between Interstate and JHM Hotels, one of the largest independent developers and owners of hotels in the U.S., to operate and selectively invest in hotels in India. The joint venture was announced in late February 2008.

The venture’s first executed contract is for a 124-room, under construction hotel located in Vizag (Visakhapatnam), India, a coastal city in the state of Andhra Pradesh on India’s eastern shore.

Interstate is in the process of securing a major U.S. brand for the hotel and expects to announce an affiliation shortly. The hotel, owned by Vishnupriya Hotels Resorts Private Limited, broke ground in July 2007 and is expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2008.

“This contract marks our official entry into India’s fast-growing lodging market and establishes JHM Interstate Hotels India as one of the first independent, international hotel management companies to be located there,” said Thomas F. Hewitt, (top right photo) chief executive officer of Interstate.

“This five-star, business-class hotel is typical of the properties the partnership seeks. It is situated in an upscale neighborhood of Vizag, which has the largest port in India. It is strategically located between Kolkata and Chennai and is one of the fastest growing cities in the world, according to a recent United Nations study.
"We look forward to expanding our relationship with Vishnupriya Hotels Resorts, which is exploring additional hotel opportunities.” (Photo at right shows fishing vessel in Bay of Bengal)

“We sourced the hotel through our strategic partner, JNB Hotels and Resorts Private Limited, a subsidiary of JNB LLC, a U.S.-based real estate investment group with strong ties to India. JNB has developed a robust pipeline of hotel management opportunities throughout the country for us,” said Leslie Ng, Interstate chief investment officer. “The joint venture also is actively sourcing other management opportunities throughout key markets in India.”

Located at 10-28-3, Uplands, Waltair Main Road, Visakhapatnam, India, the upscale, full-service hotel is nestled among the hills of the Eastern Ghats (map at right below) and faces the Bay of Bengal (top left map) to the east. (Photo at left shows seaport at Vizag.)

The property features panoramic ocean and city views and includes three restaurants, a spa/gym and two presidential suites. The hotel is being designed by D.M. Upasni, a prominent India based architect specializing in the hospitality industry with significant experience throughout the world.

His unique approach to the Vizag project combines an architecturally distinctive design and the natural beauty of the site in a property destined to become a new landmark in Vizag.
JHM Interstate Hotels India is a joint venture partnership between JHM Hotels and Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Inc, formed to operate and invest in hotels in India. (Photo at right shows the High Court at Hyderabad, the main judicial body for the state of Andhra Pradesh.)

JHM Hotels, a premier lodging company based in Greenville S.C., with offices in Mumbai and Surat, India, has developed, acquired, owned and operated hotels throughout the United States for more than 34 years.

The company currently owns and operates 30 U.S. hotels with more than 5,000 guestrooms and has over 1,500 additional rooms under development/construction, operating under such well-known brands as Marriott, Hilton, Starwood and Hyatt.

For more information about JHM Hotels, visit the company’s Web site:
(Photo at left shows Kakateeya sculpture at Warangal, in state of Andhra Pradesh, India, )

As of March 31, 2008, 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 approximately 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:
(Photo at left shows Cyber Towers at Hyderabad, the state capital and largest city in the state of Andhra Pradesh)

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

Carrie McIntyre
SVP, Treasurer
(703) 387-3320

$960M Loan Arranged by HFF for iStar Portfolio of Office, R&D and Industrial Properties

BOSTON, MA – The Boston and New York offices of HFF (Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P.) announced today that they arranged a $960 million loan for a portfolio of 34 single-tenant office, R&D and industrial properties on behalf of iStar Financial Inc.

HFF directors Janet Krolman and Greg LaBine and executive managing director John Fowler (New York) worked exclusively on behalf of the borrower to secure the adjustable-rate, interest only, cross-collateralized and cross-defaulted loan with GE Real Estate.

The 34-property portfolio is located in 12 states with a strong concentration on both coasts and is currently 99.6% occupied with an average lease term of 9.2 years. Nearly half of the approximately 11.9 million-square-foot portfolio is leased to tenants who are rated investment grade.

“Historically, iStar would have obtained financing on an unsecured basis by utilizing the Company’s BBB, investment grade credit rating. However, the current market conditions are such that it was more efficient and cost effective to finance a subset of their existing single tenant portfolio on a secured basis,” said Krolman.

“There were a number of ways to accomplish this including putting together a club deal to finance the portfolio, splitting the portfolio into smaller sub-portfolios or financing the whole portfolio with one source,” LaBine added.

“iStar concluded that a one-stop-shop alternative with GE was the best fit for their needs, as it was a simpler, cost-effective alternative that was accomplished in a very short time frame,” Fowler said.

Additional information on iStar Financial is available on the Company's website at


Laurie Fish McDowell
HFF Associate Director, Marketing
One Post Office Square, Suite 3500
Boston, MA 02109
tel 617.338.0990
fax 617.338.2150

Janet N. Krolman
HFF Director
617 338 0990

Greg F. Labine
HFF Director
617 338 0990