Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hotels, operators begin to see booking cancellations in Thailand

BANGKOK, Thailand--In a copyrighted article, the Bangkok Post reports Thailand's tourism industry is starting to feel the pinch of political unrest, as tourists from South Korea, Australia, Japan, Canada and the United Kingdom are expected to turn to Bali, Vietnam and the Maldives.

The daily newsppaper reports at least five nations have issued warnings about travelling to Thailand following protests in Bangkok and the forced closures of airports in Phuket, Krabi and Hat Yai last week, according to the Tourism Crisis Management Centre, which comprises representatives from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and private organisations.

(Khao San Road shops and tourists in Bangkok, top right photo)

The Bangkok Post says Apichart Sankary, the president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, yesterday repeated his call for the government and the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) to settle their differences as soon as possible before the one-trillion-baht tourism industry is damaged further.

'I want to send this message to the PAD protesters, especially those in southern provinces, that closing airports will affect not only businesses in the provinces but also others, as the industry involves many sectors including the agricultural and food sectors,'' he said.

According to Mr Apichart, the protests have already scared away Asians who are more sensitive than Westerners about security issues. They could hurt the European market as well if the protests continue to the middle of this month.

He said the Thai tourism industry was likely to lose revenue during the five-month high season (October to February) if the protests were prolonged.

The Bangkok Post says normally, the country receives 1.5 million to two million visitors a month during the high season, generating income of more than 100 billion baht.

Prakit Shinamornpong, the president of the Thai Hotels Association, said he was particularly concerned about the impact on senior citizens from the United Kingdom.

Maiyarat Pheerayakoses, president of the Association of Domestic Travel (ADT), added the closures of airports and railways were unjustified and would damage the country's image.

Larry Cunningham, (middle left photo) the developer of Chava Resort (top left photo) on Surin Beach, said the airport closures had already hurt the tourism industry on Phuket. His recently opened hotel, which was gearing up for its first high season, has already received cancellations for some of its 45 high-end apartments.

The Bangkok Post quotes Cunningham as saysing Chava Resort had invested in promotion and staff training during the low season and now the employees cannot expect much from service charges.

''They are very sad. In the end, the biggest loser is Thailand as other surrounding countries like Malaysia and Cambodia have strengthened their tourism industries,'' Mr Cunningham said.
The operators of other five-star hotels also told him about their booking cancellations.

''If there is another airport closure, you can forget about tourism for the next 12 months. When we were hit by natural disasters, tourists said they would come back again to help Phuket people. But with this man-made disaster, they will not return,'' he said.

Marcus & Millichap Lists 35,000-SF DSW Store in Broomfield, CO for $16.45M

BROOMFIELD, CO, Sept. 2, 2008 – Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, the nation’s largest real estate investment services firm, has retained the exclusive listing for a 35,000-square retail building leased to DSW (top right photo) in Broomfield.

The listing price of $16.45 million represents $470 per square foot.

Marc Strauss, (middle left photo) a vice president investments in the Fort Lauderdale office and senior director of Marcus & Millichap’s Net Leased Properties Group, is representing the seller.

“This property provides an investor with an excellent opportunity to acquire a national brand-name retail store located near Denver that continues to perform well even as other retailers struggle with store closures and bankruptcies,” says Strauss.

“A leading U.S. specialty branded footwear retailer with locations in 37 states, DSW saw a year-over-year increase in sales, earning a net income of $11 million on net sales of $357.2 million for the second quarter.”

Located at 595 Flatiron Blvd., the DSW store is situated on a 3.3-acre lot at the entrance of the 1.5 million-square foot Flatiron Crossings Mall (bottom right photo) in the north metro area between Denver and Boulder.

The area surrounding the Flatiron Crossing Mall has excellent demographics including an average household income of more than $92,000 within a 3-mile radius.

Built in 2001, this DSW asset has nine years remaining on its original 15-year triple-net lease. A 10 percent base-rent increase is scheduled for 2012 and in each of the three 5-year option periods.

Press Contact: Stacey Corso, Communications Department, (925) 953-1716

Home Prices Stabilize as Bargain Hunters Arrive, Says S&P's Weekly Market Analysis

By David Wyss, S&P Chief Economist (top left photo) and Beth Ann Bovino, S&P Senior Economist (top right photo)

For a complete copy of S&P's Weekly Market Analysis or for additional information, please contact the S&P media hotline (+1) 212 438 6667 or media_relations@standardandpoors.com

NEW YORK, NY--The economic data looked much brighter this week, led by the sharp upward revision of second-quarter growth to 3.3% from the 1.9% reported last month.

Other economic releases this week included:
· Home sales improved as bargain hunters came out. Sales of existing homes rose 3.1% in July to 5.0 million units (annual rate), while sales of new homes were up 2.4% to 515,000.Home prices stabilized.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index (20 city) fell 15.8% from a year ago in June, about the same as the 15.8% a month earlier, and it is down 18.8% from its July 2006 peak.

The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) reported that the national index fell 5.0% from its April 2007 peak. The median existing home price dropped 7.1% from a year ago.

Housing Looks Up

The housing data are looking significantly better. Both new and existing home sales rose in July, by 2.4% and 3.1%, respectively, but both remain sharply lower than a year earlier (down 35.3% and 13.2%, respectively).

The recent data suggest that bargain hunters are entering the market. New home sales rose in the Northeast and West, while existing home sales rose everywhere except the South. The reports make us more hopeful that sales and starts will find a bottom by year end.

Prices will probably drop for longer. The inventory of unsold homes remains high, dropping to a 10.1 months’ supply for new homes but rising to 11.2 months’ for existing homes.

The rise in existing homes was concentrated in condos and could reflect the usual behavior that when owners see a better possibility of a sale, they are more likely to put the house on the market. The overhang of unsold homes will continue to put downward pressure on prices through most of next year.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index of house prices fell 15.9% from a year earlier in June and is now down 18.8% from its July 2006 peak. However, nine of the 20 cities showed increases in June, though all 20 remain below their year-ago levels. The biggest year-over-year declines remain in the Sunbelt, led by Las Vegas (down 28.6%) and Miami (down 28.3%).

The OFHEO index is even more upbeat, showing a quarterly drop of 1.4% (4.8% from a year earlier) in the second quarter. The monthly index was flat in June and down 5.0% from its April 2007 peak.

The difference between the two indices is partially accounted for by the geographical mix but apparently mostly by the very weak performance of low-end housing, which is generally excluded from the conforming loans used in the OFHEO calculation.
A third measure of existing home prices—the Realtor’s median home price—fell 7.1% from a year ago, to $212,400.

WELBRO Building Corp. Completes Construction on Harriett Coleman Center for the Arts in Orlando

ORLANDO, FL-- On Sunday, Aug. 24, 2008 The Harriett Coleman Center for the Arts (top right and middle left photos) at Lake Highland Preparatory School was dedicated just 15 months after the ground breaking on Tuesday, May 16, 2007.

WELBRO Building Corporation was the General Contractor for the project which consists of a Proscenium Theatre with Balcony, a Black Box Theatre, Three-level lobby with Gallery Spaces, State-of-the-Art Acoustics and Lighting and much more.

WELBRO provided demolition work and construction of the 29,200 square foot, three-story masonry facility. The facility will be used for assemblies, combined class lectures, science fair award programs, college and career events, professional development speakers and many more functions.

It is a way to showcase the schools talented students and programs provided to educate and inspire outstanding students with critical thinking abilities and interpersonal skills that will allow them to thrive in their communities as adults.

Lake Highland first opened its doors in 1970 and welcomed 352 students in grades 1 – 12. Today the school has grown to over 2,000 students and 1,400 families

For More Information, please contact:
Patricia A. Werner, CEcD, Vice President Community & Economic Development WELBRO Building Corporation, Telephone: 407/475-0800; mobile: 407/766-3951. 2301 Maitland Center Pkwy, Suite 250, Maitland, Florida 32751

Some Retail Sellers Reconsidering Prices (Finally)

WASHINGTON, DC--Kurt Ivey, (top left photo) Senior Vice President, Marketing, MadisonMarquette, posted the following analysis on his Places Magazine blog. The analysis was written by MadisonMarquette investment associate Kinnery Ardeshna, (top right photo).

Retail property sales volumes hit a 6-year low in July, according to Real Capital Analytic’s recently released August retail report.

Between financing issues and general uncertainty in the market, no one should be surprised by that news. However, we are starting to see some flexibility from sellers depending on their situation.

Two brokers recently came back to me on two separate deals saying that the seller would now consider prices lower than what we had originally offered or had priced the deal at just a few months ago.

Many brokers are also telling me that they have no idea where pricing will come in on any deal, so we need to take their price range and capitalization rate expectations with a grain of salt.

That is a remarkable change in posture from several months ago and a strong sign that perhaps volumes may pick up a little as sellers become more realistic about changes in the market.

While September could be an active month with more deals coming to market, it will be interesting to see how many deals actually close. Even if seller expectations are more realistic, supply will only further outpace demand since many investors are still likely to sit on the sidelines.

Smaller deals will also likely continue to dominate while larger regional mall and lifestyle center deals will come to market only if desperate sellers are willing to take price reductions — obviously, a great opportunity for buyers.

CONTACT: Kurt Ivey, Senior Vice President, Marketing, MadisonMarquette, kurt.ivey@madisonmarquette.com