Friday, September 12, 2008

SPECIAL REPORT: Investment Needs, Tight Liquidity May Dim Russian Food Retailers' Bright Future, Says S&P

MOSCOW ---Russia's food retail sector is booming, but the need for significant investment in infrastructure, high debt burdens, and tight liquidity threaten to dampen this stellar performance, according to a new Standard & Poor's Ratings Services' report titled "Significant Investment Needs And Tight Liquidity May Dim Russian Food Retailers' Bright Future."

(St. Basile Spasskaya Tower in Red Square, Moscow, top left)

The retail food market grew more than 15% net of inflation in 2007, while retail spending per capita in Russia is still between one-half and one-third that of developed markets, indicating the potential for future growth.

However, underdeveloped logistics, such as a lack of transportation and warehouse facilities as well as the limited availability of commercial real estate will require heavy investment from retailers operating in Russia.

"This deficiency translates into a long-standing need for external capital from sources varying from equity to debt, from bilateral bank loans and private equity placements to public bond issues and IPOs on local and international stock exchanges," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Anton Geyze.

The retail sector has amassed a high debt burden as aggressive sector growth continues and companies require equity injections on a regular basis to keep financial policies manageable.

(Entrance to Kremlin Senate, middle right photo)

Consequently, companies with strong parental support in the form of either large multinational food retailers or local investment holdings enjoy better financial flexibility. However, Standard & Poor's does not always factor parental support to a full extent into the ratings, because in some cases this is difficult to quantify and far from certain.

Despite generally bright industry prospects, a downturn in the retailers' operating performances or financial market disruption may undermine support from investors and prevent companies from rolling over significant short-term debt.

(Russia's own White House complex, seat of Russia's government, middle left photo)
The report points to a series of recent defaults by Russian midsize food retailers, which serve as a vivid reminder of the risks that exist in the sector, and concludes that liquidity management practices are becoming a key factor for companies' credit quality.

(Typical Russian petrol (natural gas) station, lower right photo)

Overall, the credit quality of Russia's largest food retailers if viewed on a stand-alone basis falls mostly in the 'B' rating category, a level at which we expect companies to remain in the short to medium term unless their liquidity positions deteriorate.

The article is part of a special report titled "Ten Years After Default, New Risks Emerge For A Resurgent Russia," in the Sept. 17 issue of CreditWeek, Standard & Poor's weekly magazine on credit risk.

Media Contact:
David Wargin, New York, (1) 212-438-1579,

Analyst Contacts:
Anton Geyze, Moscow (7) 495-783-4134
Nicolas Baudouin, Paris (33) 1-4420-6672
Industrial Ratings Europe

The Lynd Company Expands Operations to South Florida

MIAMI, FL – The Lynd Company, a 25-year-old property management firm headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, has expanded its operations into South Florida and has hired seasoned real estate executive Andrew Ginsburg (top right photo) to head up its new regional office.

Ginsburg will serve as Regional Vice President and report directly to the company’s Chief Operating Officer David Lynd. (top left photo)

The Lynd Company specializes in the management of medium and large size apartment complexes. It currently has 35,000 units under management in 41 markets across13 states, primarily in Texas and the Southeast.
The company is also ranked as the 35th largest national operators on the Multi Housing Council’s list of “Top 50 Apartment Managers” in the United States for 2008.

The Lynd Company is targeting apartment complexes in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties with a minimum of 150 units. According to David Lynd, the company decided to expand into South Florida because it has identified a tremendous opportunity to leverage its technological and customer-centric competitive advantages.

(Biscayne Bay Bridge, linking Miami to Miami Beach, middle right photo)

“One of the biggest complaints with multi-family managers, especially in South Florida, is the lack of customer service and communication with tenants,” Lynd said.

“This is where we shine and what sets us apart. We believe we can bring in our brand of management and set a new standard for the region.”

Ginsburg plans to grow the new office by targeting both top-tier class “A” and “B” assets, as well as underperforming assets, where Lynd can add maximum value.

“We feel that there is a substantial opportunity to grow this market by tapping into the dissatisfaction of tenants and owners that are not happy with the way their apartments are currently being managed,” Ginsburg said.
“With our support systems and operational protocols already in place, we are able to implement effective changes to immediately reduce costs and turnover, and improve revenues and profits from operations."


Todd Templin or Marielle Sologuren, Boardroom Communications, 954-370-8999 or

NAI Realvest Negotiates $512,000 Sale of Office/Flex Building in Orlando

ORLANDO, FL -- NAI Realvest has negotiated the sale of a 3,664 square foot office/flex building at 220 Weber St. in Orlando

Tom Kelley CCIM, principal at NAI Realvest, negotiated the transaction representing the sellers, Ken Halbert and Richard Looper of Orlando.

The buyer, Park Central Adventures II, LLC paid $512,000 for the property.

For more information, contact:
Tom Kelley, CCIM Principal NAI Realvest 407-875-9989
Janice Paiano, Director of Marketing NAI Realvest
Beth Payan, Larry Vershel Communications, 407-644-4142

Hampton Hotels Launches College Football Broadcast Ad Campaign and Promotion

“Touchdown at Hampton.Wake Up a Winner” Campaign Offers Traveling Tailgaters Chance to Win a Trip to “Three Bowl Games in Three Days”

MEMPHIS, TN, Sept. 12, 2008 – In anticipation of the 2008/2009 college football season, Hampton® Hotels, a leader in the hospitality industry, today unveiled its college football broadcast advertising campaign and promotion.

The initiative is designed to enhance brand image among the traveling college alumni community as well as future business travelers, encourages loyalty for Hampton Hotels that parallels guest appreciation for their favorite team.

(Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, IN, 80,795 capacity, top left photo)

The “Touchdown at Hampton. Wake Up a Winner” broadcast campaign will kick-off on September 13 with a series of 30 and 15 second television commercials.

The spots will highlight college super fans and their loyalty to Hampton in a laugh out loud “sportscaster spoof” kind of style.

In addition to the new TV ads, Hampton Hotels’ Touchdown Rate will be available online at now through October 27, 2008 (for a stay consumed by November 2, 2008), which includes 10 percent off the Best Available Rate.* The commercials will air on ESPN, FSN, Big 10 Network and Raycom.

The print aspect of the campaign will roll-out in mainstream daily newspapers, such as USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, as well as in the specialty magazine, Sporting News.
On high-traffic websites, such as USA and, Hampton Hotels will stream rich media banners and place interactive videos aimed to strengthen the image of the campaign and broaden its reach to web-based communities.

(Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN, 104,079 capacity, middle right photo)

Former college football All-American and Heisman Trophy winner, Marcus Allen, (top left photo) will participate in a series of public relations efforts in support of the advertising campaign, including an aggressive consumer outreach initiative targeting local coll ege football markets and major national sports media.

(Ben Hill Griffin-Florida Field, Gainesville, FL, 90,716 capacity,middle left photo)

“As a professional athlete and now a businessman, I’m on the road quite a bit,” said Marcus Allen.

“Where to stay is one of the most important decisions I make when booking travel and it’s important that I can rely on my hospitality destination for comfort and ease. Hampton Hotels regularly provides guests with friendly care that is unmatched anywhere else.”

The premier promotional element of the campaign is the “Three Bowl Games in Three Days” giveaway. Beginning September 4 through October 27, 2008, college football fanatics who secure their lodging at using promo code SCORE will be eligible to win a Grand Prize trip to three major college football bowl games in three consecutive days.

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to reward one person with the ultimate in sports travel packages,” stated Judy Christa-Cathey (top right photo) , vice president of brand marketing for Hampton Hotels.

“Attending three bowl games three days in a row is a challenge, but one that’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience for any college football fan.”

(Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI, 107,501 capacity, bottom right photo)

This Grand Prize consists of airfare and game tickets, accommodations at Hampton Hotels, $250 in spending money per person, per day and limo service for the entire trip. Secondary Prizes include GPS Systems, PlayStation 3 consoles.

This college football season marks Hampton Hotels’ second year as the official sponsor of ESPN Saturday Night Prime Time College Football. Those interested in learning more about the “Touchdown at Hampton. Wake up a Winner” campaign can visit .


Charmaine Easie-Samuels, Hampton Brand Communications,901-374-6462,

Andrew Garson, Cohn & Wolfe, 310-967-2907,

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

Two New Faces at Marcus & Millichap


The former partner at Massey Knakal Realty brings more than 10 years of experience to his new position

NEW YORK, N.Y.– Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, the nation’s largest real estate investment services firm, has hired Marco Lala (top right photo) as an associate vice president investments in the Manhattan office, according to Edward Jordan, (middle left photo) regional manager of the Manhattan office.

“Marco is one of the most active investment specialists in The Bronx, northern Manhattan and Westchester markets, generating nearly $1 billion in transactions and selling hundreds of properties during the last few years,” says Jordan. “We are honored to have Marco join the Marcus & Millichap team.”

As an associate vice president investments, Lala will handle a variety of property types, including multi-family, commercial, retail, industrial and vacant land investment sales.

“I’m very excited about joining the Manhattan office of Marcus & Millichap. My local investment sales experience, combined with the firm’s national platform, will enable my clients to access investors throughout the United States,” says Lala.

“The resources and tools offered by the Manhattan office will allow me to strengthen my core business in The Bronx, Manhattan and lower Westchester.”

Prior to joining Marcus & Millichap, Lala was a partner at Massey Knakal Realty, where he spearheaded the company’s expansion effort in the outer Boroughs.

Under his leadership, Lala and his partners grew the office from 20 staff members to nearly 200 brokers and support staff.

In 2007, Lala had the second-highest number of transactions of any investment sales agent at Massey Knakal. In 2006, he generated one of the largest commissions in that firm’s 20-year history with the sale of a 22-building Bronx and Brooklyn portfolio for more than $50 million.

Lala’s first job in commercial real estate was with Marcus & Millichap in 1997. He graduated from Manhattan College with a bachelor’s degree in business marketing.


SAN FRANCISCO, CA— The board of directors of Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, the nation’s largest real estate investment services firm, has named Dean Sandquist (bottom right photo) to the position of first vice president investments.

The achievement of first vice president investment status is one of the highest levels of recognition the firm awards its sales agents. It represents excellence in client relationships, investment real estate expertise and sales volume, according to Jeffrey Mishkin, (bottom left photo) regional manager in the firm’s San Francisco office.

Sandquist joined Marcus & Millichap in 1981 and specializes in multi-family investment sales.

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

Marcus & Millichap Sells 173-Unit Student-Housing Community in Shippensburg, PA for $19.38M

SHIPPENSBURG, PA – Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, the nation’s largest real estate investment services firm, has arranged the sale of Bard Townhouses, (top right photo) a 173-unit student- housing community in Shippensburg.

The sales price of $19.38 million represents $112,023 per unit.

Brian Kelly, a student-housing investment specialist in the Indianapolis office of Marcus & Millichap, represented the seller, a Pennsylvania-based student-housing owner and manager. Spencer Yablon, (middle left photo) regional manager of the firm's Philadelphia office, assisted in this transaction.
“Bard Townhouse was an excellent opportunity for the investor to acquire a well-maintained student- housing community that is 100 percent occupied and located directly across the street from Shippenburg University, which has an enrollment of approximately 7,600 students,” says Kelly.

Located at 100 Bard Drive, the 176,280-square foot apartment community consists of 1423 two-story buildings situated on a 32.54 acre lot.

Bard Townhomes features a mix of two-, three- and four-bedroom units. Rents are collected before the start of each semester and leases are signed by the unit for nine months at a time with available summer leases.

Originally built in 1988, the apartment community has recently undergone the construction of new units on the property. Of the 173 total units, 83 were built after 2002, including 54 units in 2004.

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

HFF named to market sale of Jefferson at 55/77 Water St. in Norwalk, CT

CHICAGO, IL – The Chicago and Boston offices of HFF (Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P.) have been named to market for sale Jefferson at 55/77 Water Street, a mixed-use property containing 136 multifamily units and approximately 28,000 square feet of commercial space in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Senior managing director Matthew Lawton (top left photo) and director Sean Fogarty (middle right photo) of HFF Chicago along with directors Coleman Benedict (bottom left photo) and Janet Krolman (top right photo) of HFF Boston are representing the seller, JPI, Inc.

The property is listed without a formal asking price. JPI, Inc. specializes in the acquisition, development and management of residential communities in the U.S. and Canada.

Completed in the Fall of 2007, Jefferson at 55/77 Water Street has one- and two-bedroom units averaging 869 square feet each. Units feature stainless steel appliances, bamboo floors, full-size washers and dryers and waterfront views of the Long Island Sound.

Community amenities include a 24-hour fitness center, outdoor heated swimming pool, club lounge, business center and underground and surface parking.
The residential units are currently 97% occupied and ownership has recently signed a lease with Virgin Atlantic for more than 16,000 square feet, which will be their North American headquarters.
Located on the waterfront in the South Norwalk (SoNo) area of Norwalk, Jefferson at 55/77 Water Street is adjacent to the Maritime Aquarium and within walking distance of the MetroNorth commuter rail station providing access to Grand Central Station in New York City.

Jefferson at 55/77 Water Street (bottom right photo) is considered one of the finest multifamily assets available in today’s marketplace,” said Lawton. “It is located in SoNo, which has gone through a successful redevelopment and revitalization with a profusion of new restaurants, clubs, boutiques, antique stores and art galleries attracting young professionals and couples seeking a vibrant, trendy, pedestrian-friendly environment.”

“Given the quality of the units and the proximity to the commuter rail, ownership will be able to effectively compete within the market for the discriminating renter who will be willing to pay a premium for quality housing in a thriving, urban location,” added Benedict.

Matthew D. Lawton, HFF Senior Managing Director, 312 528 3650,
Laurie Fish McDowell, HFF Associate Director, Marketing, 617 338 0990,

SPECIAL REPORT: Foreclosure Activity Increases 12 Percent in August, According to RealtyTrac

Activity Up 27 Percent From August 2007

For a detailed state-by-state breakdown, please contact
Tammy Chan, Atomic PR, 415-402-0230,

IRVINE, Calif. – Sept. 12, 2008 – RealtyTrac®, the leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties, today released its August 2008 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™, which shows foreclosure filings — default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions — were reported on 303,879 U.S. properties during the month, a 12 percent increase from the previous month and a 27 percent increase from August 2007.

The report also shows one in every 416 U.S. households received a foreclosure filing during the month.

“In August the total number of U.S. properties that received foreclosure filings as well as the national foreclosure rate were both the highest we’ve seen in any month since we began issuing our report in January 2005; however, the annual increase of 27 percent was actually substantially lower than in previous months this year, when it was hovering around 50 to 65 percent,” said James J. Saccacio, (top right photo) chief executive officer of RealtyTrac.

“The lower annual percentage increase this month is due to a big spike in activity last August — particularly in default activity. Over the past few months we’ve seen annual increases in default activity and auction activity moderating, and that trend continued in August, with default activity up just 10 percent from a year ago and auction activity up 7 percent from a year ago.

“The increases in default and auction activity could be slowing down partly as the result of new legislation passed in several states that is designed to give homeowners in distress more time before foreclosure proceedings are initiated.

"In addition, some lenders are adopting loan servicing guidelines that encourage more pro-active approaches to helping homeowners avoid foreclosure. The question now is whether these measures will actually reduce foreclosures or simply cause a temporary lull in foreclosure activity.”

Nevada, California, Arizona post top state foreclosure rates
With one in every 91 households receiving a foreclosure filing in August, Nevada continued to document the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the 20th consecutive month. Foreclosure filings were reported on 11,706 Nevada properties, a 16 percent increase from the previous month and an 89 percent increase from August 2007.

California continued to document the nation’s second highest state foreclosure rate, with one in every 130 households receiving a foreclosure filing in August, and Arizona registered the third highest state foreclosure rate, with one in every 182 households receiving a foreclosure filing during the month.

Other states with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 were Florida, Michigan, Georgia, Ohio, Colorado, Illinois and Indiana. Michigan, Georgia, Ohio and Colorado all reported annual decreases in foreclosure activity.

California accounts for one-third of U.S. foreclosure activity.
Foreclosure filings were reported on 101,724 California properties in August, one-third of the national total and the most of any state. The state’s foreclosure activity increased more than 40 percent from the previous month and more than 75 percent from August 2007.

Florida posted the second highest total in August, with foreclosure filings reported on 44,000 properties during the month — a 4 percent decrease from the previous month but still up nearly 30 percent from August 2007. One in every 194 Florida properties received a foreclosure filing in August, the nation’s fourth highest state foreclosure rate.

Foreclosure filings were reported on 14,333 Arizona properties in August, the nation’s third highest state total. Arizona foreclosure activity was up 7 percent from the previous month and nearly 63 percent from August 2007.

California, Florida and Arizona together accounted for more than half of the nation’s foreclosure activity.

Despite a nearly 13 percent annual decrease in foreclosure activity, Michigan documented the nation’s fourth highest state foreclosure total in August, with foreclosure filings reported on 13,605 properties during the month.

Other states with total properties with foreclosure filings among the 10 highest were Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, Georgia and New Jersey.

California cities dominate top metro foreclosure rates
California cities accounted for eight of the top 10 metro foreclosure rates out of the 230 metro areas tracked in the August report.

Stockton was No. 1, with one in every 50 households receiving a foreclosure filing during the month, followed by Merced, Modesto, Vallejo-Fairfield and Riverside-San Bernardino in the Nos. 2 to 5 spots. Other California cities in the top 10 were Bakersfield, Salinas-Monterey and Sacramento in the Nos. 8 to 10 spots.

The Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., metro area dropped from the top spot in the metro foreclosure rate rankings in July to No. 6 in August thanks in part to a 3 percent dip in foreclosure activity. One in every 66 Cape Coral-Fort Myers households received a foreclosure filing in August, more than six times the national average.

Las Vegas registered the seventh highest metro foreclosure rate in August, with one in every 75 households receiving a foreclosure filing during the month. The metro area’s foreclosure activity was up nearly 14 percent from the previous month and 83 percent from August 2007.

RealtyTrac publishes the largest and most comprehensive national database of foreclosure and bank-owned properties, with over 1.5 million properties from over 2,200 counties across the country, and is the foreclosure data provider to MSN Real Estate, Yahoo! Real Estate and The Wall Street Journal’s Real Estate Journal.