Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hunter Realty Associates, Inc. Brokers Three Hotel Transactions in One Week

Mid-market Transactions Under $15M Still Actively Trading

ATLANTA, GA, Dec. 2, 2008—Hunter Realty, a leading national hotel investment services firm, today announced they successfully closed three separate transactions valued at more than $28 million, all in the past week.

The three properties include a Courtyard by Marriott in Bristol, Va., a Comfort Inn & Suites in Birmingham, Ala. and a Best Western in Atlanta, Ga. Hunter Realty was both the listing and selling agent in all three transactions.

“It is well known that the hotel industry is facing both tough economic times and difficult financial markets,” said Lee Hunter, (top right photo) chief operating officer of Hunter Realty.

“However, despite the flood of negative economic news, transactions are and will continue to close, especially in the under $15 million-sized deals.”

Multiple financing arrangements were used to consummate the three transactions, reflecting the current economic climate. One was a SBA loan, one was a conventional loan in which the owner had a strong relationship with the lender and the third was cash above an assumed CMBS loan.

“Financing is certainly more difficult and requires greater equity than a year ago, but the economics of these transactions were compelling for both the buyers and sellers,” said Teague Hunter, (middle left photo) president.
“Strong banking relationships, a proven track record and creative approaches will certainly pay off in this environment.

“There are several factors favoring buyers in the current environment,” he added. “First, capitalization rates are moving upward. Also, with significant new cash being poured into the economy by the government, inflation is likely to affect values in the future. And, with the likelihood of higher tax rates ahead, the tax advantages of owning real estate will again become meaningful.”

The five-story Courtyard by Marriott in Bristol, Va., (top left photo) built in 2003, was purchased by Apple Nine SPE Bristol, Inc., and the two-story Best Western in Atlanta was purchased by Kennesaw Hospitality, LLC. The Comfort Inn & Suites, (middle right photo) located in the heart of Birmingham, was purchased by DR & MV Hospitality, LLC.

“Despite a decelerating economy throughout the year, Hunter expects to finish strong, in both number of properties and dollar volume,” said Bob Hunter, (bottom right photo) CEO. “We believe many more properties will come to market in 2009. Our recent move to new larger offices underscores our confidence in the hotel real estate market, and we look forward to a very active year in 2009.”

Hunter Hotels, founded in 1978, has offices in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. Hunter’s exclusive focus is in hotel brokerage.

For more information or to view current listings, please visit http://www.hunterhotels.net/ or contact us at 770-916-0300 in Atlanta, or 703-246-0035 in Washington, D.C.

Melanie Boyer, Account Executive, Daly Gray Public Relations. (703) 435 6293,

Thinking outside the box’ Voted UK’s Most Despised Business Phrase

LONDON – “Thinking outside the box” has been voted the United Kingdom’s most despised business waffling, or ‘buffling’ term, according to research unveiled today in a YouGov survey commissioned by business traveller-friendly Ramada Encore hotels.

“Buffling” refers to business phrases that do not say anything that is important or useful. The research found the top twenty most hated ‘buffling’ phrases to be:

(Ramada Hotel Wuxi, China, top right photo)

The survey also reveals that nearly half of working Britons (49 per cent) think buffling is on the rise in the workplace primarily because employees want to impress their bosses. Twenty per cent of respondents reported that they believe buffling has had or would have a positive impact on their career.

Business-speak also appears to be spreading outside the confines of the office. Forty six per cent of working respondents report they believed buffling outside the workplace occurs more than ever including in their own home and among their friends.

(Ramada Beirut, Downtown Lebanon, middle left photo)

Across Great Britain, the biggest bufflers are those who live in the East Midlands, with one in six (15 per cent), saying they buffle on a regular basis. In contrast, people in Liverpool and people in the Northwest are the least tolerant of buffling with seven out of ten stating they find it “very irritating.”

“As the vibrant and contemporary hotel offering for business travellers, Ramada Encore hotels commissioned this survey to better understand the “buffling” phenomenon,” said Zory Radnay-Florian, Wyndham Hotel Group’s marketing director for Ramada Encore hotels in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

“It’s bad enough when people at work talk about ‘blue-sky thinking’ and ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’, but now we’re starting to use these clich├ęd phrases at home.”

Radnay-Florian continued, “Buffling outside of the office could be due in part to the explosion in business reality TV shows, such as Dragons Den, The Apprentice and more recently, Natural Born Sellers, where buffling is commonplace and often positively encouraged among those fighting it out for fame and the best job.”

To see buffling in action, click here for the Ramada Encore buffling videos.

Ramada Encore hotels are part of Ramada Worldwide, a member of the Wyndham Hotel Group family of lodging brands. The Ramada Encore hotel experience is simple – fresh, vibrant and upbeat with comfortable and contemporary accommodations and innovative design.

Christine Da Silva
Director, Media Relations
Wyndham Hotel Group
1 Sylvan Way
Parsippany, NJ 07054

+1 (973) 753-6590

The Dow Hotel Company Promotes Two to Regional Vice President of Operations

Part of Company’s Plan to Enhance Management Bench Strength to Respond to Opportunities in this Phase of the Economic Cycle

SEATTLE, WA—The Dow Hotel Company, LLC (DHC), a leading hotel owner and third-party management company, has promoted two of its senior general managers, Michael Pitstick (top right photo) and Steven Falciani, (top left photo) to the newly created position of regional vice president of operations.

Both positions will be based out of The Dow Hotel Company’s corporate office in Seattle. Pitstick and Falciani each will be responsible for all operational aspects of the company-owned and managed hotels in their respective regions.

“As we enter what may be the most difficult operating period since at least the early ‘90s, we believe that hotel owners will seek out experienced operators who have the depth and expertise to succeed in difficult times,” said Murray Dow,(middle right photo) president of The Dow Hotel Company.

“In anticipation of the downturn in the economy, we began expanding our senior team earlier this year to not only operate our existing hotels better but to be prepared to quickly respond to the expected rise in third-party hotel management contracts coming to the market.

"Combined, Mike and Steve have more than 40 years of hotel operations, food and beverage, and marketing experience that represent a significant competitive advantage for our properties.”
Pitstick was promoted from general manager of the Bellevue (Washington) Hilton. Previously, he served as DHC’s vice president of sales and marketing.

Prior to joining the company, he was vice president of sales and marketing at Carlson Companies, responsible for all sales and marketing functions for the hotel ownership and operating division. Pitstick holds a restaurant, hotel and institutional management degree from Purdue University.

Falciani was promoted from general manager and regional director of the 371-room Marriott Suites Anaheim, (bottom left photo) where he nearly doubled net operating income in a highly competitive market.
He formerly worked for Winegardner and Hammons, a large hotel management company, as general manager of the Marriott Suites in Clearwater Beach, Fla., where he led the market in overall revenue per available room penetration.
He graduated from Widener University with a Bachelor of Science degree in hotel and restaurant administration.
Seattle-based The Dow Hotel Company is a hotel owner and operator of first-class, full-service hotels with properties throughout the United States.

DHC is currently completing renovations at its Houston and Portland properties totaling more than $10 million.
The company’s portfolio of owned and managed properties consists of institutional-grade hotels, under such brands as Marriott, Hilton, Embassy Suites, Sheraton, and Crowne Plaza.

The company aggressively seeks to acquire, co-invest with joint venture partners and/or manage mid- to large-size, first-class, full-service hotels, especially those with extensive food and beverage capabilities.

Contact: Jerry Daly or Chris Daly. Phone: (703) 435-6293, jerry@dalygray.com

Marcus & Millichap Sells Sam's Club Ground Lease in Citrus Heights, CA for $15.6M

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA – Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, the nation’s largest real estate investment services firm, has arranged the sale of a Sam’s Club (top right photo) ground lease in Citrus Heights. The sales price is $15.6 million
Mark Mason (bottom left photo), a first vice president investments in the San Francisco office of Marcus & Millichap, represented the seller, Trestle Regency LLC, based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
John Bailey, an associate vice president investments in the firm’s Chicago Downtown office, William Bailey, a senior associate also in the firm’s Chicago Downtown office, and Jordan Apostolov, an investment specialist in the firm’s Oak Brook office, represented the buyer, Illinois-based First Acorn LLC.

“This property offered the buyer a management-free investment with an unparalleled location: a densely populated market with high barriers to entry,” says Mason. “The entire site is leased on a long-term basis to Sam’s Club, a wholly owned division of Wal-Mart Stores, the world’s largest retailer.”

Located at 7147 Greenback Lane, the 129,346-square foot Sam’s Club is situated on approximately 12.42 acres and anchors Regency Plaza, which includes other retailers as Big Lots!, Western Warehouse and SAS Shoemakers.

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

Federal Loan Purchase Program Might Include Commercial Real Estate

SANTA ANA, CA--Bob Bach, (top right photo) senior vice president and chief economist, Grubb & Ellis Co., reports national existing home sales on an annualized basis have stabilized around the 5 million mark, with short sales and sales of foreclosed properties boosting the totals in California and other hard-hit markets.

New home sales continue to fall, hitting their lowest level since January 1991.

Last week the government announced that it will purchase up to $500 billion of home loans and securities backed by home loans and another $200 billion of securities backed by credit cards, auto loans and student loans in an effort to free up credit in these sectors.

This program could be expanded to include commercial real estate.

Source: Census Bureau, National Association of Realtors, Grubb & Ellis

CONTACT: Janice McDill at 312.698.6707.

New graphics from The Real Estate Capital Institute in Chicago also show:

Former CNL Executives Form Legacy Hotel Advisors

Strategic Focus on Hotel Repositioning and Complex Transactions to Drive Value during Turbulent Economy

ORLANDO, FL – Three seasoned commercial real estate executives have formed Legacy Hotel Advisors (Legacy), a firm specializing in strategic hotel positioning, debt and equity capital sourcing, complex transactions, condo and mixed-use conversions, site selection, opportunistic development and asset management.

The company is headquartered in Orlando, Fla., with offices downtown in The Plaza South.

“Collectively, our firm brings more than 100 years of experience in the hospitality, development and real estate industries, and together have completed more than $4 billion in hotel and real estate transactions, ranging from limited-service assets and independent boutique hotels to iconic luxury resorts,” said Thomas J. Hutchison III, (top right photo) founding member and chairman of Legacy.

Hutchison was previously the CEO of CNL Hotels & Resorts, Inc., responsible for building the hotel REIT from $250 million to $7.2 billion during a seven-year period before selling the company to Morgan Stanley in April 2007.

Reflecting on the firm’s depth of transaction experience, Hutchison noted that Legacy offers several defining advantages.

“Our team has invested our entire careers in capitalizing on down cycles, with a credible track record of creating tremendous value for our clients," he says. " From capital sourcing to strategic repositioning, we bring first-hand experience, innovative solutions and collaborative transactional expertise, with an ability to achieve win-win relationships in every facet of the business.”

The firm is undertaking a multiple hotel project in Orlando, located along the Western Beltway at the new entrance of Walt Disney World.

Development details are forthcoming, with additional major projects expected to be announced in the coming months.

(Skyline view of several downtown Orlando office properties, middle left photo)

Particularly in the wake of the current market crisis, Legacy’s pipeline of assignments is expanding rapidly to meet a growing industry demand to find value-enhancing solutions for existing properties and well positioned new properties.

The firm’s senior leadership team includes:

Thomas J. Hutchison III, chairman and founder, brings more than 35 years of experience focused in the lodging, hospitality, real estate development and financial services industries.

Hutchison previously held key executive positions for CNL Financial Group, Inc., including serving as CEO of several companies: CNL Hotels & Resorts, Inc., CNL Retirement Properties, Inc., CNL Income Properties, Inc. and CNL Realty & Development, Inc.

Under his leadership, CNL Hotels & Resorts transformed from a start-up hotel REIT into one of the largest and most distinctive lodging companies in the country, acquiring such assets as the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa in Maui, the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix and the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott at Grande Lakes in Orlando.

Hutchison also led more than $3.8 billion in acquisitions through his tenure at CNL Retirement Properties, as well as holding prior roles as chairman and CEO of Atlantic Realty Service, Inc. and TJH Development Corporation.

(CNL Center II, next to City Hall building, bottom right photo)

Additional experience includes serving as the court-appointed president and CEO of General Development Corporation through the reorganization process, as well as president and CEO of Murdock Development Corporation and Murdock Investment Corporation, where he managed an average of $350 million of new development per year for nine years.

Jay H. Berlinsky,(top left photo) president and CEO, offers more than 25 years of experience in finance and real estate development.

He has executed $1 billion in purchase, sale, lease and trade transactions; developed or advised on 3,000,000 square feet of corporate and special-use facilities; developed 3,500 acres in master-planned mixed-use development; and secured $100 million in capitalization and debt financing.

Prior leadership roles include serving as executive vice president of CNL Realty & Development Corp. and as an independent real estate developer.

In 2005, Berlinsky founded SC Advisors, a firm that oversees large-scale development projects, with more than $570 million in projects currently under management.

(Lake Eola, downtown Orlando, bottom left photo)

David F. Urban, senior vice president of planning, is responsible for the management of hotel development activities with 20 years of expertise in architectural and engineering design, commercial real estate development and construction.

Most recently, Urban served as vice president of capital planning for Pyramid Advisors, where he led the master planning efforts for the resort division with a budget exceeding $1 billion. Prior to that, Urban led luxury hotel, resort and condominium development efforts at such companies as CNL Hotels & Resorts, Inc., Beach Colony Resorts, and Wyndham International.

Legacy Hotel Advisors provides specialized hotel real estate services to leading and independent hospitality companies. Comprised of industry professionals from the hospitality sector, development and real estate disciplines, the firm’s members provide advisory services that align with their expertise in asset repositioning, site selection, hotel real estate valuation, debt and equity capital sourcing, asset management, and construction management.

Media Contacts:
Thomas J. Hutchison III
Legacy Hotel Advisors

Jay H. Berlinsky
Legacy Hotel Advisors