Thursday, June 5, 2008

MBA Announces Nomination of Michael D. Berman, CMB as Vice Chairman-Elect

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) announces the nomination of Michael D. Berman, (top right photo) CMB, President of CWCapital as its Vice Chairman-Elect. Berman will be elected by MBA members at the Association's 95th Annual Convention, which will be held in October in San Francisco, California.

Berman's nomination was announced at MBA's President's Conference, which is held each June. An active member for more than two decades, his nomination reflects his ongoing service and dedication to MBA and its members.

Berman currently serves on MBA's Board of Directors, Commercial/Multifamily Board of Governors (COMBOG) and the 2008 Fannie Mae DUS Advisory Council.

He also served on the Audit Committee and Chaired the Strategic Planning Committee in 2007 and served on MBA's Council to Shape Change in 2006.

"Michael's invaluable contributions and over 20 years of active involvement with MBA have proven he is an exceptional choice for the Vice Chairman position," said MBA Chairman Kieran P. Quinn, CMB (photo at left)

"His extensive real estate finance background and innovative vision within the real estate finance industry will help him serve as a strong leader for the association as we, on behalf of our members, continue to provide safe and affordable housing opportunities to Americans in this ever evolving market."

"Michael is a very accomplished and respected professional in the mortgage industry and we are very fortunate to have him serve as MBA's Vice Chairman", said Jonathan L. Kempner, MBA's President and Chief Executive Officer. "As a longtime friend and colleague, I look forward to working with him as an officer of the association in the years ahead."
Berman has been in the mortgage finance industry since 1985, when he served as Executive Vice President, Co-Director of Originations and a member of the Loan Committee of CWCapital.

Berman is a founder and principal of CWFinancial Services and serves as the company's Chief Operating Officer. Berman is also the President of CWCapital, the company's multifamily and commercial lending subsidiary.

In these capacities, he is responsible for supervising all loan production, underwriting, closing and servicing activities, as well as the management of approximately 200 employees in 13 offices nationwide.

CONTACT: John Mechem, (202) 557-2924,

HFF Closes $38.5M Sale of Distribution Buildings in Auburn, MA

BOSTON, MA – The Boston office of HFF (Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P.) has closed the sale of 26 and 28 Millbury Street,(above photo) two distribution buildings totaling 667,000 square feet in Auburn, Massachusetts.

HFF senior managing director Riaz Cassum (top right photo), director Coleman Benedict (photo at left) and senior real estate analyst Porter Terry led the investment sales team on behalf of the seller, Liberty Properties of Boston.

Rabina Properties of Scarsdale, New York purchased the property for $38.5 million. The sale was structured as a forward commitment to accommodate the construction schedule of 26 Millbury Street. (Liberty Properties' headquarters building is at right)

26 and 18 Millbury Street are located close to the Massachusetts Turnpike/Interstate 290 interchange in Auburn, approximately 40 miles west of Boston.

26 Millbury is a 210,000-square-foot, build-to-suit distribution facility for Interline Brands that was completed in May 2008. 28 Millbury is a 457,000-square-foot distribution building that serves as the main distribution hub for Filene’s Basement.

“Liberty Properties and Rabina Properties worked together to close a complicated deal involving a forward purchase, a very specific loan assumption timeline and a challenging real estate capital market environment,” said Cassum.

“26 Millbury is a state-of-the-art distribution center that will allow Interline Brands to consolidate its operations into this facility from several locations. 28 Millbury Street has been continually upgraded by Filene’s Basement and serves as the backbone of its northeast distribution infrastructure,” added Benedict.

Liberty Properties Corporation acquires, redevelops and markets under-performing or surplus commercial property, and is currently managing more than five million square feet of industrial and office properties located primarily in New England.

Rabina Properties is a privately-held owner, developer and manager of more than 12 million square feet of retail, residential, office and technology real estate, and an active purchaser of distressed debt.

Riaz A. Cassum, HFF Senior Managing Director, 617 338 0990,
Laurie Fish McDowell, HFF Associate Director, Marketing, 617 338 0990,

MISMO® Releases Version 1.2 Commercial Reference Model

Model contains detailed specifications related to the data fields used in all commercial standards to date

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- MISMO, the not-for-profit data standards subsidiary of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), today announced the release of its Version 1.2 Commercial Reference Model which contains detailed specifications related to the data fields used in all commercial standards to date.

Version 1.2 augments three commercial standards that were released in February by the Environmental and PCA Reports Workgroup which include the Property Condition Assessment (PCA) Synopsis, Seismic Synopsis and revised Work Order Request and Response (WORR).

"Firms throughout the commercial and multifamily finance industry are extremely interested in MISMO's Commercial Reference Model" said Dan Szparaga, (top right photo) Executive Vice President of MISMO. "It provides a combined snapshot of the content for all of MISMO's commercial standards, and shows how all the pieces fit together.

"As new standards are released it will be evident where the new content fits within the model and how logical and orderly it is for the industry's use."

Commercial standards are based on MISMO's Logical Data Dictionary (LDD) and Reference Model which provide the framework for development of consistent vocabulary, syntax, and structures across all commercial specifications. Each individual standards package includes transaction-specific LDD files.

The data used for electronic exchange are linked tightly with the Reference Model, and each subject-area transaction is generated from, and consistent with, the common schema.

The Version 1.2 Reference Model package includes an XML schema file illustrating data relationships, a full LDD in Microsoft ® Excel format with the data fields, data types and definitions used in all commercial specifications. It also hosts an extensive HTML report which details the containers, attributes, and enumerations along with diagrams and source code.

The Version 1.2 Reference Model is available for download on MISMO's Web site at
CONTACT: Aleis Stokes, (202) 557-2741,

New Resort MLS Launches National Resort Real Estate Network

NASHVILLE, TN, PRNewswire/ -- Nationally-known resort real estate guru Jim Olin (top right photo) has joined forces with residential real estate veteran Buddy Boone to launch Resort Connection,( the only national real estate network focused exclusively on resort real estate, including condominiums, vacation homes, undeveloped property, and urban resort condos.

"We funnel resort real estate through one hub, giving agents one-stop access to a virtual endless list of available resort real estate for every type of destination," said Olin. "It is a tremendous boost to the slow real estate market, and a win-win for buyers, agents, and developers."

The Resort Connection concept was originally founded by Boone, Resort Connection's Chief Operating Officer, and RE/MAX(R) Greater Atlanta, the eighteenth-largest real estate broker in the nation. The firm's owners are still partners in the company, but Olin, Resort Connection CEO and Managing Partner, now has controlling interest.

Previously, Olin was CEO of ResortQuest International, which has over 20,000 rental units and 350 resort real estate agents throughout the country.

CONTACT: James Olin, Managing Partner & CEO of Resort Connection, LLC,+1-615-764-3949, +1-800-866-533-3526Web site:

European Retailers Could Struggle In A Prolonged Sluggish Economic Environment, Says S&P Report

(The Eiffel Tower, Paris, above. London skylines at top right.)

LONDON June 5, 2008--The challenging economic environment looks set to last longer than expected in Europe as the financial crisis continues, according to a recent report published by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services.

In the industry report card, titled "European Retail Continues To Enjoy Sound Fundamentals, But Some Companies Could Struggle If The Sluggish Environment Persists," Standard & Poor's considers individual markets and companies, commenting that performance will vary significantly depending on the country of operation, store format, and the degree of exposure to the nonfood market.

"Western European retailers have so far proven resilient, as demonstrated by relatively good trading performance in 2007, but this resilience will be tested in the longer term," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Nicolas Baudouin.

(Downtown Berlin at left)

In France, retailers have been able to pass on rising prices to customers. However, French households are increasingly demanding better value for money, and the government has started to pledge low prices on the premise that retailers should contribute.

U.K. retailers, meanwhile, continue to face a tough operating environment. High utility bills and increasing difficulties in obtaining credit weigh on consumer sentiment, while rising prices for commodities such as wheat and milk and intense competition put pressure on top-line growth and margins.

While most reported headline figures for the German retail segment were depressed for the full-year 2007, the outlook for 2008 and beyond looks slightly better than the European average.

(Paris skyline and the Seine River at left)

This mainly reflects the positive fundamentals of the German economy, such as higher year-on-year employment and wages, which, in combination with a positive swing in consumers' attitude to spending, support expectations for improved purchasing power.

The Russian retail market again demonstrated very rapid growth in 2007, and we expect this trend to continue for a number of years.

The favorable environment is proving especially beneficial for the larger retail chains, which continue to strive for rapid expansion to retain their competitive position in this lucrative market.

(Moskav River in Downtown Moscow at right)

"Emerging markets will undoubtedly continue to see marked growth momentum, putting players with substantial overseas operations in a stronger position to offset lackluster domestic trading," Mr. Baudouin added.

Media Contact:
David Wargin, New York (1) 212-438-1579,
Analyst Contacts:
Nicolas Baudouin, Paris (33) 1-4420-6672
Marketa Horkova, London (44) 20-7176-3743
Industrial Ratings Europe

CBRE's Central Florida Multi-Housing Group Closes More Than $384M in Local Apartment Sales

ORLANDO, FL, June 5, 2008--CB Richard Ellis is pleased to announce that CBRE’s Central Florida Multi-Housing Group has closed more than $384 million in local apartment sales during the last twelve months.

Most recently, the Group closed a $28 million transaction last month. CBRE exclusively
represented the seller in that confidential Orlando sale, and currently has
other projects valued at about $105 million under contract.

CBRE’s Central Florida Multi-Housing Group has sold more multihousing
properties in Orlando over the last twelve months than any other
company. The assets sold range from “fractured” projects – communities that converted and sold units as condominiums and reverted the remaining units back to rentals – to value add and core opportunities.
Shelton Granade and Luke Wickham of CBRE’s Orlando office represented the seller in all transactions.

For further information, please contact the Central Florida Multi-Housing
Group of CB Richard Ellis. Shelton Granade and Luke Wickham, First Vice President, Director of Operations, Central Florida Multi-Housing Group
T 407.839.3103 T 407.839.3130
F 407.404.5001 F 407.404.5001, Licensed Real Estate Broker, 189 S. Orange Avenue, Suite 1900, Orlando, FL 32801

CMA Brokers $2M Land Loan in Osceola County, FL

ORLANDO, FL--Tom Byers (top right photo) of Commercial Mortgage Advisors is pleased to announce the closing of a $2 million land loan secured by a credit tenant lease at 9000 Irlo Bronson Highway, Kissimmee, FL.

Commercial Mortgage Advisors originates loans with life insurance companies, conduit lenders, multifamily DUS lenders, commercial banks, SBA lenders, IDB, private equity and equity-mezzanine lenders.
CMA places long-term, fixed-rate loans on income producing and owner occupied properties and credit tenant leased properties. CMA also represents several institutions and individuals seeking acquisition, equity or joint venture opportunities.


David J. Patten, CMB and Thomas A. Byers, partners, Commercial Mortgage Advisors, 605 East Robinson Street, Suite 420, Orlando, FL 32801.
407-420-9191 Office; 407-420-9589 Fax; Cell 407-808-7273

Marcus & Millichap Arranges Sale of Two Flex Properties in Tampa, FL for $15.06M

TAMPA, FL – Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, the nation’s largest real estate investment services firm, has arranged the sale of President’s Plaza and Corporex Plaza, (top right photo) totaling 135,818 square feet, in Tampa. The sales price was $15.06 million.

Douglas K. Mandel, (photo at left) an associate vice president investments and associate director of Marcus & Millichap’s National Office and Industrial Properties Group (NOIPG) in Fort Lauderdale, and Ben Holzhauer, (photo at bottom right) a senior associate and a member of the firm’s NOIPG in Fort Lauderdale, represented the seller, an affiliate of The Leder Group.

Bruce Harris, a vice president of investments in the firm’s Chicago office, represented the buyer, a New Jersey-based private partnership.

“This was an excellent opportunity for the buyer to acquire two well-maintained multi-tenant flex properties located in a high-demand market and close to an international airport, downtown areas and interstates,” says Mandel.

The two properties include:

· President’s Plaza — Located at 4801 and 4803 George Road, Tampa, the 41,513-square foot office property consists of two single-story buildings situated on a 3.96-acre lot within one mile of the Tampa International Airport.

· Corporex Plaza — Located at 3902 and 3904 Corporex Park Drive, Tampa, the 94,305-square foot property consists of three office buildings situated on a 6.55-acre lot, near Interstate 4, I-75 and the Selmon Crosstown Expressway.

Press contact: Stacey Corso, Communications Department, 925 953 1716

Credit Crunch Continues to Spread from Residential Sector to Commercial Real Estate Side

CHICAGO, IL- Despite unprecedented measures by the Federal Reserve to control housing policy, the credit crunch continues to spread from the residential sector to the commercial real estate sector.

The volume of real estate transactions remains light and credit spreads have recently started to tighten while overall rates are rising -- with a net effect of mortgage rates climbing about a quarter point.

(Federal Reserve Bank Building, Washington, DC, at left)

Return requirements continue rising as do construction costs, greatly limiting new construction projects. As far as key developments during the month, the following are noteworthy:

Private Equity - Raising private equity in light of lower conventional leverage is a top priority among developers. Most funds require at least 15% or more for value-add properties.

Deep discounts - Most sectors within the conventional income-property arena are fairing reasonably well in maintaining pricing with pricing off as much as 20% in some sectors. However, vacant land values have plummeted as new-construction projects are nearly at a standstill. Discounts of 50%+ arenot uncommon for motivated sellers.

Fund Supply - Given the vacuum left by CMBS lenders retreating from the capital markets, many life companies and banks expect limited fund allocations for the remainder of the year.

Mortgage Rates - While mortgage spreads over treasuries decreased by about 10 basis points or more, higher benchmark treasuries absorbed any gains as rates remain relatively similar - starting at 5.75% for terms of 5 years and longer. Libor-based funding is still available at lower levels, but reducedleverage and recourse tip the pricing scale.

The Real Estate Capital Institute's Editorial Advisory Group's member, Aaron Gruen, (top right photo) suggests, "The resulting reduction in new supply, continued export growth, and the Fed's highly aggressive monetary policy/fiscal stimulus, should limit the scope and length of the effects of a [real estaterecession in many parts of the United States."

The Real Estate Capital Institute(r) is a volunteer-based research organization that tracks realty rates data for debt and equity yields.

The Institute posts daily and historical benchmark rates including treasuries, bank prime and LIBOR. For hourly updates, please call The Real Estate Capital Rate Line at 7RE-CAPITAL (773-227-4825).

Contact: Nat Zvislo, Research DirectorToll Free 800-994-RECI (7324) /

The Real Estate Capital Institute(r), 3517 West Arthington Street, Chicago, Illinois USA 60624