Saturday, November 22, 2008

Starwood Land Ventures Acquires More Than 2,500 Homesites in Three States

BRADENTON, FL/PRNewswire/ -- Starwood Land Ventures LLC has completed the acquisition of more than 2,500 homesites in communities located in Arizona, California and Florida as part of its ongoing strategy to obtain well-located, highly-rated residential properties throughout the country.

"We are confident that our latest asset addition provides the opportunity for solid long-term investment," said Starwood Land Ventures West Region President Mike Forsum. (top right photo)

"These properties are in our select markets in attractive locations of sought-after regions that have experienced high housing demand and are poised for lasting growth."

All of the residential land procured in the three-state purchase is located in high-growth areas and the majority of the homesites are substantially complete.

The properties dovetail with Starwood Land Ventures' existing operations.

The firm currently has operations in Arizona, California, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

Starwood Land Ventures, LLC is a Bradenton, Florida-based residential real estate investment firm focused on land acquisition, development and financing nationwide.

The firm is a controlled affiliate of Greenwich, CT based Starwood Capital Group Global, LLC. Starwood Land partners with builders, developers, lenders and land holders and will provide creative solutions to recapitalize assets with both debt and equity.

The firm also purchases debt and specializes in the acquisition, entitlement and development of large, master-planned communities, which may include mixed-use components.

Through its platform of partnerships with leading development firms, Starwood Land and its experienced team aim to be the capital partners of choice to land owners, developers and builders in select markets.

Starwood Land currently has operations in Arizona, California, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.
For more information about Starwood Land, visit the website at . Source: Starwood Land Ventures LLC

CONTACT: Amy Ogden, Public Relations Manager, Clockwork Marketing Services, Inc., +1-904-280-7960,,

Davidson Hotel Company Announces Completion of $20M Renovation of Holiday Inn Stamford Downtown in Stamford, CT

MEMPHIS, TN—Davidson Hotel Company, one of the nation’s largest hotel management companies, has completed a $20 million renovation of the 380-room Holiday Inn Stamford Downtown. (top right photo)

To commemorate the event, the hotel held a special ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy, officials of Davidson and Rockbridge Capital, joint venture owners of the property, and InterContinental Hotels Group, the franchisor.
Davidson also manages the hotel.

The comprehensive renovation included a complete redesign of the hotel’s public spaces, front façade, meeting facilities, guest rooms and suites. The existing porte-cochere, landscaping and parking garage frontage were enhanced to create a more welcoming feel.

The lobby lounge, front desk and pool were relocated and outfitted with new hard and soft goods that enhance the dramatic appearance of the soaring atrium lobby. Additionally, the hotel received a new state-of-the-art health club with an indoor lap pool. Guest rooms also received new hard and soft goods.

DiLeonardo International was the design firm, StudioAD was the architect and Shakman Construction was the primary contractor.

“With the completion of the $20 million renovation, we believe the Holiday Inn Stamford Downtown is well positioned to serve the corporate, leisure and group/meeting needs of Stamford and Fairfield County,” said John A. Belden, Davidson’s (top left photo) president and chief executive officer. “The property’s ‘like-new’ condition creates an appealing alternative for both business and leisure travelers to the area.”

Located at 700 E. Main Street, the 10-story hotel is within walking distance of more than 75 restaurants, clubs and restaurants, as well as the Stamford railroad station and just miles from Westchester County Airport.

The property features 20,000 square feet of meeting space, on-site guest laundry facilities and a full-service business center. The new 700 Main restaurant specializes in American cuisine. Guest rooms are equipped with complimentary high speed, wireless Internet access.

“What we have is essentially a brand new hotel within the walls of an existing building,” said Mike Bennett, hotel general manager. “There is almost no resemblance to our old facility.

"From the look of our upgraded entrance on Main Street with its new façade, as well as the reception area and spacious marbled lobby, cutting edge business center, stylish bistro and café, to the well-appointed guest rooms and formal meeting rooms and ballroom, this is truly an exceptional property for both Stamford and the Holiday Inn brand.”

Cyndi Norwood, Davidson Hotel Company, 901 821 4155,
Jerry Daly, Chris Daly, Daly Gray Public Relations, (703) 435 6293,

ChampionsGate Resort Marketing Director Michael Weinberg earns CCIM Pin

CHAMPIONSGATE, FL— Michael Weinberg, (top right photo) marketing director for real estate at ChampionsGate Resort South of Orlando at I-4 and ChampionsGate Blvd., has been earning commendations lately.

Marc Reicher, (middle left photo) senior vice president of operations at ChampionsGate Resort, said Weinberg recently earned his CCIM accreditation as a certified Commercial Investment Member of the CCIM Institute.

The accreditation is one of the most coveted professional commendations among commercial real estate executives.

Reicher said Weinberg who joined ChampionsGate Resort one year ago, was also recently appointed to the Transportation Corridor Task Force of the Central Florida Partnership.

For more information, contact:
Marc S. Reicher, Senior VP Development ChampionsGate, 407-397-2500
Larry Vershel or Beth Payan, Larry Vershel Communications, 407-644-4142

Amerilodge Opens Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in Howell, MI

ROCHESTER HILLS, MI--Amerilodge Hospitality Group has opened the 77-room Howell Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites (top right photo) in Howell, MI.

Attending the Nov. 20 grand opening ceremonies were Tony Baltimore from the office of Congressman Mike Rogers, Cindy Denby and Mary Helfmann from Rep. Joe Hune’s office, Pat Convery, President of Howell Area Chamber of Commerce, Asad Malik and Terry Riddle from Rochester Hills based Amerilodge Hospitality Group, the project’s developer.

The hotel blends into the contour of Historic Howell with a “Traditional Feel”. It has traditional brick to enhance the upscale feel of the development. It blends a combination of upscale suites enhanced by rich decor with beautifully appointed executive suites.

It includes suites for families, an indoor pool, fitness center, and an executive conference room accommodating up to 15 people. Hotel amenities include complimentary high speed internet access, 32” flat screen televisions,

Express Start breakfast bar served in our Great Room, local telephone calls and triple sheeting on pillow top bedding. Whirlpool suites are also available. The hotel’s architects were Romeo based Burmann, Simpson, & Associates. The hotel was financed by The Private Bank in Bloomfield Hills.

Jenny Richardson at (810) 841-6668 or

Ardaman & Associates secures Lake County contract

ORLANDO, FL— The Orlando office of Ardaman & Associates Inc. has secured its first continuing services contract with the Public Works Department of Lake County, Fla.

The scope of services includes geotechnical engineering, construction materials testing and road construction inspection services for county facilities including buildings, sites, parks, roadways and signalization.

(Dr. Anwar Wissa, top right photo, is president of Ardaman & Associates)

The contract also includes geotechnical engineering services for investigative services, construction inspection and materials testing related to the Lake County Transportation Construction Program’s 2008 – 2012 projects.

The one-year continuing service contract has an option for four additional one-year renewals.

Ardaman & Associates currently has continuing services contracts with Orange County Utilities Department, Osceola County, Polk County, Seminole County and the City of Orlando.

Ardaman & Associates Inc. is an engineering practice providing geotechnical, environmental, water resources and facilities engineering, and construction materials testing to public, industrial and private clients worldwide.

The Company is headquartered in Orlando with offices in Bartow, Cocoa, Fort Myers, Miami, Pasco County, Port St. Lucie, Sarasota, Tallahassee, Tampa, and West Palm Beach, Fla., and in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Monroe and Alexandria, La.

Established in 1959, Ardaman employs a professional, support and field staff of 550. Please visit for more details about services and experience.

Contact: Elaine Ingra, PR WORKS!, PH: 407 384-1344,,

Palmer Electric Co. snags two awards for excellence from electrical trade association

WINTER PARK, FL — Winter Park, Fla.-based Palmer Electric Co. was honored with two awards from the Florida Association of Electrical Contractors at the statewide organization’s annual convention held on October 25 at the Marriott Resort & Spa in Marco Island, Fla.

In the Commercial Mega Project category, Palmer garnered an Award of Excellence for its work on the 32-story Dynetech Centre in Orlando, Fla., and won Special Recognition in the Medical/Industrial category for Hospice of the Comforter, a healthcare facility in Altamonte Springs, Fla.

Thomas G. Beard (top right photo) is Chairman, President and CEO of Palmer Electric.

Palmer Electric Co. is a provider of electrical contracting and service to contractors and builders for new construction and renovations of residential, commercial, institutional and industrial buildings as well as providing service and repairs to utilities, businesses and consumers. Founded in 1951, the Company employs a staff of 350 from its headquarters in Winter Park, Fla.

For additional information, visit

Contact: Elaine Ingra, PR WORKS!, PH: 407 384-1344,,

Thomas D. Wood & Co. Closes $4M Loan on Miami Area Industrial Park

MIAMI, FL— Thomas D. Wood and Company, a Strategic Alliance Mortgage LLC member, secured financing in the amount of $4,000,000 for Medley Industrial (top right photo) in Miami, Florida.

William Kaler, Company Assistant Vice President, financed the loan through Aviva Capital Management, one of Thomas D. Wood and Company’s correspondent life insurance companies, at a permanent fixed-rate of 6.44%.

The loan term is 10 years, based on a 25-year amortization, and a loan-to-value of 70%. The 118,000 square-foot multi-tenant industrial building was built in 1970 and is located at 7650 NW 69th Avenue, Miami, Florida.

For further information, please contact:
William Kaler, (305) 447-7820,
Jessica Gurtowski, (407) 937-0470,

Crescent Resources Secures 65,000-SF Lease at Newly Completed Corporate Center Four at International Plaza, Tampa, FL

TAMPA, FL -- Crescent Resources has negotiated a new long-term lease agreement for 65,000 square feet of Class A office space in Corporate Center Four (top right photo) at International Plaza.

The 247,000 square foot Crescent development at 4301 W. Boy Scout Blvd. is the first LEED® Certified high-rise in Tampa’s Westshore business district.

Sharon Bragg, Leasing Associate, and Lud Hodges, (bottom left photo) Vice President of Commercial Development for Crescent Resources LLC, negotiated the agreement on behalf of the owner. Paula Buffa (bottom right photo) of GVA Advantis represented the Tampa-based tenant who plans to move into its new offices in 2009.

This lease represents the second signed tenant for the building. Crescent Resources completed construction of the eight-story project in November and the building is currently 40 percent leased.

Crescent Resources is a joint venture between Duke Energy and Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund. Formed in 1969, Crescent grew to its position today as a real estate force in the Southeast and Southwest and remains a dominant development and land management company. More information about Crescent Resources is available at

For more information, contact:
Lud Hodges, Vice President of Commercial Development, Crescent Resources, LLC

Sharon P. Bragg, Leasing Associate, Crescent Resources, LLC

Larry Vershel or Beth Payan, Larry Vershel Communications, Inc.

Grubb & Ellis|Commercial Florida Completes Deals Totaling Almost 100,000 SF

Tampa Bay retail landlords cutting lease renewal deals to keep Tenants happy

TAMPA, Fla. – Commercial property landlords in the Tampa Bay region have been cutting generous deals to lure new tenants to empty spaces and now they are extending those offers to keep good retail tenants happy, reports Michelle Seifert, (top right photo) associate vice president of the Retail Services Group at Grubb & EllisCommercial Florida.

Lease renewal deals range from rent concessions and interior improvements to legal fees, lease administration, brokerage costs and common area maintenance, Seifert explained.

Landlords are relaxing terms, reducing minimum lease periods or locking in reduced rents for longer periods.

Some property owners are willing to lose a little money in order to avoid a big empty storefront suite, and that means strong tenant representation by an experienced commercial property broker can result in savings worth thousands of dollars.

“This stage of the economic cycle has really shined a spotlight on lease renewals and the value of knowledgeable tenant representation,” Seifert said.

Tenant representation services can earn brokers a paycheck in a slow leasing market, even if brokerage commissions for lease renewals total about half of what new leases generate.

Seifert said her clients have seen a dramatic increase in concessions landlords are willing to offer.

"I just had a landlord agree to a fixed rent and CAM charge for five years--at the same rate the tenant had been paying for the previous five years," Seifert said.

“Right now retail landlords are renegotiating early renewals at minimum market rent even though it might be less than the rate spelled out in the original lease,” she added.

Grubb & EllisCommercial Florida Negotiates Multiple Lease Renewals totaling 29,000 Square Feet in Tampa and Tarpon Springs, FL

TAMPA, FL -- Grubb & EllisCommercial Florida, which is associated with 200 Grubb & Ellis offices worldwide, has negotiated multiple lease renewals totaling more than 29,000 square feet of retail space in Tampa and Tarpon Springs.

Michelle Seifert, associate vice president of the firm’s Retail Services Group, negotiated the transactions representing the landlords. “The change in the economy and the adjustments being made within the commercial real estate industry is providing vast opportunities for the discount retailers.” Seifert said. Some of the most recent renewals include;

Family Dollar Stores of Florida, Inc. renewed its lease of 15,000 square feet at Tampa Festival Centre, (top left photo) 2525 E. Hillsborough Ave. Simply Fashions renewed for 3,900 square feet and City Nails also renewed its lease for 1,200 square feet at Tampa Festival Centre.

Dollar General Stores renewed its lease of 6,700 square feet at Anclote Corner Shopping Center in Tarpon Springs.

At Tarpon Olympic Plaza, (middle right photo) in Tarpon Springs, Seifert represented Tarpon Associates of St Petersburg in negotiating long-term lease renewals for MetroPCS Partners, Inc. with 1,200 square feet and Bright House Networks LLC 1,000 square feet.

“The common dominator between these lease renewals and the economic slowdown is that the most active retail renewals today are the discount retailers,” Seifert said.
Chapin and Sands Negotiate Sale and Lease Transactions for 70,000 SF of Office and Industrial Space in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. – Grubb & EllisCommercial Florida recently negotiated sale and lease transactions for a total of 70,000 square feet of industrial and office space in Orlando.

Fulfillment Partners, Inc., d/b/a Millennium Marketing Group, a 31- year-old Orlando company, leased 49,011 square feet of industrial space for 10 years at 1978 Stanhome Way, in southwest Orlando.

David Chapin, (bottom left photo) senior vice president and associate Nick Sands (bottom right photo) at Grubb & EllisCommercial Florida represented the tenant. The landlord, Dr. Phillips, Inc. was represented by Geoff Brown and John Thatcher of Dr. Phillips.

Chapin and Jay Dixon, vice president in the firm’s Office Group, represented Leland Management/Lake Gloria Holdings, LLC in the purchase of Lake Gloria Office Plaza (bottom right photo) for $3,170,000.
The 20,893 square foot office building at 6972 Lake Gloria Blvd. was sold by RAM Development Partners. John Hines and Dan Colachicco of Marcus and Millichap represented the seller.

David Chapin, 407 481 5402,
Jay Dixon, 407 481 5382,
Larry Vershel Communications, 407 644 4142,

Biotraits Inc. wins contract for Security Systems at The Vue Condominium Tower in Downtown Orlando

ORLANDO, FL--- BioTraits, a company that specializes in sophisticated biometrics technology, has been awarded a contract to manage and maintain biometric security systems at The Vue, (top right photo) the 36-story luxury condominium tower overlooking Lake Eola in downtown Orlando.

“Condominium owners at The Vue enjoy one of the most advanced biometric security systems in the U.S.,” said Peter A. Wengert, founder and president of BioTraits, Inc.

BioTraits will be responsible for magnetic door locks, electric strikes, locksmithing, and access control functions, as well as security cameras, DVR systems and internal networks that include computers, printers, and IT security.

“We are uniquely qualified in that our IT team will be able to make service calls remotely as well as on-site to minimize down time,” Wengert said.

BioTraits was recently awarded a contract to provide a similar range of services at Solaire, (middle left photo) a luxury condominium tower in the Plaza located on Orange Ave. at Church St. in downtown Orlando.

Wengert said the contract with The Vue Condominium tower resulted from owners of the Solaire sharing how satisfied they were with their relationship with Biotraits.

“Companies that rely on biometric security systems are on the cutting edge of electronic security hardware and software and they all talk to each other regularly,” said Wengert. “We welcome evidence that our reputation in this field is growing,” he said.

Biotraits’ co-founder and chief operating officer, Ricardo Aguilar (bottom left photo) and his team use a hands-on approach by finding the solution that works for each individual client. “Once we find great customers like The Vue and Solaire, we know we’ll keep them for life because we take full responsibility for the success of the plan that’s been executed for them,” Wengert added.

BioTraits is a client of the UCF Incubation Program at the Technology Incubator in the Central Florida Research Park.

For more information about this release, contact:

Peter Wengert, BioTraits CEO, 866-609-4711 or

Carol Ann Dykes, Site Manager, UCF Technology Incubator, 407-882-0211,; or
Tom O’Neal, UCF Incubation Program Director, 407-882-1120

Larry Vershel or Beth Payan, LV Communications, 407-644-4142 or

About BioTraits:

Founded in 2003 at the UCF Technology Incubator as Biometrics Data Solutions, the name later was changed to BioTraits A Biometric Company to better describe their solutions for biometric identification and verification products and software development. For more information, visit

About the UCF Incubation Program
Since its founding in 1999, the UCF Incubation Program has helped more than 100 emerging companies create over $300 million in annual revenue and more than 900 new jobs with an average salary of $59,000.
With five facilities across the metro Orlando community, the Incubation Program is a collaboration in economic development between UCF, Orange County, the City of Orlando, Seminole County, the City of Winter Springs, and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council.
For more information, please visit