Saturday, December 13, 2008

Edwards Construction Completes Intellitec Facility in DeLand, FL

DELAND, FL – Edwards Construction Services, Inc.’s Manufacturing and Distribution division completed Intellitec Corporation’s new $5.2 million, 62,870-square-foot manufacturing facility in DeLand, FL.

The world’s premier source for specialty vehicle electronics, Intellitec’s facility includes 37,445 square feet of factory/industrial space, 6,415 square feet of office space, six loading docks, and 19,010 square feet of future expansion space.

Edwards’ scope of work also included construction of roadways and associated water, sewer and drainage systems for the 8½ acre site. The project was designed by Horton Harley Carter, Tampa.

Contact: Kenneth H. Cristol, 407-774-2515

S&P: Ratings On Two LandAmerica Operating Companies Revised To ‘R’

NEW YORK, NY--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has revised its counterparty credit and financial strength ratings on Lawyers Title Insurance Corp. (Lawyers) and Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Co. (Commonwealth) to 'R' from 'BB-'.

Standard & Poor's also said that it withdrew its 'BB-' ratings on Land Title Insurance Co., Title Insurance Co. of America, Transnation Title Insurance Co., and Transnation Title Insurance Co. of NY. These entities were merged into other, larger title insurance subsidiaries. (Standard & Poor's never assigned a rating to United Capital Title Insurance Co., a key member of LandAmerica.)

We revised the ratings on Lawyers and Commonwealth to 'R' following the Nebraska Department of Insurance's (NEDOI) filing of orders of rehabilitation for these companies. Lawyers and Commonwealth are title insurance subsidiaries of LandAmerica Financial Group Inc. (LFG), which filed for bankruptcy protection on Nov. 26, 2008.

It is Standard & Poor's policy to revise the ratings on an insurer to 'R' anytime an insurer is placed under regulatory supervision. NEDOI's actions have no impact on Standard & Poor's 'BB-' ratings on LandAmerica New Jersey Title Insurance Co. (LandAmerica New Jersey), which remain on CreditWatch developing.

Despite the orders of rehabilitation, Standard & Poor's views Fidelity National Financial Inc.'s (FNF) planned acquisition of LFG's title insurance operations (LandAmerica)--including Lawyers and Commonwealth--as a positive for LandAmerica.

Applying FNF's historically effective strategy for managing mortgage cycles should improve LandAmerica's profitability. FNF believes combining the operations will lead to significant cost savings for the consolidated entity. FNF should also benefit from LandAmerica's strong presence in the commercial title insurance industry.

"If the merger is completed, we would likely assign ratings to all of the LandAmerica operating companies, including Lawyers and Commonwealth," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst James Brender.

"However, it is unlikely that we would align the ratings on these entities with those on FNF's title insurance subsidiaries unless the group provides additional explicit support to LandAmerica."

Standard & Poor's generally does not view recently acquired companies as core subsidiaries, but we could come to consider them core if they are fully integrated into the group's strategy and operations. Standard & Poor's would likely downgrade LandAmerica's subsidiaries (except Lawyers and Commonwealth) if the merger is not completed.

Media Contact: Jeff Sexton, New York, (1)
Analyst Contacts:
James Brender, New York (1) 212-438-3128
Rodney A Clark, FSA, New York (1) 212-438-7245

S&P Downgrades Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. to 'B'; Outlook Negative

NEW YORK, NY--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has lowered its ratings on St. Louis-based Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. (Isle), including its corporate credit rating to 'B' from 'B+'. The outlook is negative.

At the same time, we lowered the issue-level rating on Isle's senior secured credit facilities to 'B+' (one notch higher than the 'B' corporate credit rating on the company), from 'BB'. We revised the recovery rating on these loans to '2' from '1'. The '2' recovery rating indicates that lenders can expect substantial (70%-90%) recovery in the event of a payment default.

In addition, Standard & Poor's lowered its issue-level rating on Isle's 7% senior subordinated notes to 'CCC+' (two notches lower than the 'B' corporate credit rating), from 'B'. The recovery rating of '6' on these securities remains unchanged, indicating that lenders can expect negligible (0%-10%) recovery in the event of a payment default.

"The ratings downgrade reflects the challenging economic conditions affecting the U.S. gaming industry," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Ariel Silverberg, "and our expectation that credit measures will not improve to a level in line with the previous rating during the next few years."
Media Contact:
Mimi Barker, New York (1) 212.438.5054,

Analyst Contacts:
Ariel Silverberg, New York (1) 212.438.1807
Ben Bubeck, CFA, New York (1) 212.438.2176 (bottom right photo)

SchenkelShultz Designed Harmony Community School in Osceola County, FL

ORLANDO, FL – SchenkelShultz Architecture, Orlando, one of Florida’s leading green design firms, designed the cost-efficient “Osceola Plan” incorporating sustainable design principles for the School District of Osceola County’s newly-completed Harmony Community School, (above centered photo) a two-story, 105,531-square-foot facility at 3365 School House Road in St. Cloud, FL.

Having met the challenge of designing a highly functional facility that delivers maximum space at minimum cost, the school’s construction costs were approximately $130 per square foot, well below the statewide average for new school construction.

The Florida Division of Clancy & Theys Construction Company, Orlando, served as Construction Manager for the project which accommodates 950 students.

Designed to blend with the fabric of the local community, the $13.7 million school serves as a gathering space for local events.

Contact: Kenneth H. Cristol, 407-774-2515.

Stalled Orlando Commercial Development Sites Could be in Trouble, Livingston Cautions

Commercial property foreclosures are minor compared to residential, says longtime area real estate investment analyst

MAITLAND, Fla. --- Commercial property foreclosures in the Central Florida area are almost negligible compared to residential foreclosures, according to longtime area real estate analyst George Livingston, (top right photo) chairman of NAI Realvest in Maitland.

“There are few commercial property foreclosures so far and most of them comprise small, stand-alone facilities that do not represent massive risk for lenders,” Livingston said.

Foreclosures on stalled development projects could be more worrisome, Livingston added.
“A few large-scale development projects in the area are under the microscope,” Livingston said.

“For the most part, they reflect the current turmoil in the financial markets and lack of demand, as well as poor development planning,” Livingston cautioned.

Livingston said troubled development deals fall into three main classes.

“Some developers partner with land owners or acquire an option on a development site,” he said. “In those cases, property taxes, insurance and maintenance costs are still a drain, but options costs help to limit a developer’s risk.”

Developers who borrowed capital to acquire sites outright in anticipation of additional loans to develop the property are the ones most at risk, Livingston explained.

“A lender will usually require interest payments, and while rates may be low the payments on a $5 million loan are substantial,” he said. “And maintenance, taxes and insurance are still due.”

“The least risk scenario is to pay cash for the land. That lets you delay development if need be,” he added.

For more information please contact:
George Livingston, Principal, NAI Realvest 407-875-9989

Janice Paiano, Director of Marketing NAI Realvest

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

CB Richard Ellis Orlando Represents Taylor & Carls in Office Building Sales Transaction

ORLANDO, FL – The Orlando office of CB Richard Ellis is pleased to announce that Michael Phipps, (top right photo) Senior Vice President, represented the law firm of Taylor & Carls, P.A. in the purchase of a 14,514 sq. ft. office building that will be used as the new main office for their firm.

The property is located at 150 North Westmonte Drive, Altamonte Springs, Florida. The seller, X-Ray Associates, was represented by Greg Kainz of Commercial Equity Partners.

Contact: Angelique Greven, 407.839.3158,

Polk County transportation facility built by Construct Two Group wins trade award

ORLANDO, FL — Associated Builders & Contractors’ Central Florida chapter recognized the quality of construction demonstrated by Construct Two Group, an Orlando-based construction management company, for its work on the new Winter Haven Area Transit (W.H.A.T.) facility (top right photo) in Polk County, Fla.

Construct Two Group earned an Eagle award for best-in-category in the Industrial $1 million to $5 million group. Excellence In Construction competition winners were announced at the Association’s annual banquet held on October 24 at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate.

The $3.2 million W.H.A.T. project was completed earlier this year under Construct Two Group’s comprehensive construction management contract with Polk County and the City of Winter Haven.

Along with a 5,800-square-foot core building that houses ticket sales, administrative office, break room, and both public and staff restrooms, the transit facility is composed of twelve covered pavilions averaging 1,500-square-feet each, twelve bus bays and canopied walkways.

The two-acre site located within the urban core of the City of Winter Haven provided several challenges to the construction team such as limited laydown area for contractors to store materials and equipment.

Close coordination between the Construct Two project management team and its subcontractors insured that equipment and materials arrived as crews were ready to install.

Additionally, the 100,000-yard concrete pour needed to cover the site with an 8-inch foundation was scheduled to begin at 3:00 a.m. to avoid interference with morning traffic.

Pickett-Hunter Associates of Bartow, Fla., was the project’s architect. Keith Williams (bottom right photo) is president and CEO of Construct Two.

Please visit for additional information.

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

Thomas D. Wood & Co. Brokers $3M Borders Book Shop Loan in Miami

MIAMI, FL— Thomas D. Wood and Company, a Strategic Alliance Mortgage LLC member, secured financing in the amount of $3,000,000 for Borders Book Shop (top right photo) in Miami, Florida.

Steve Wood, Company Chief Operating Officer, financed the loan through Minnesota Life Insurance Company, one of Thomas D. Wood and Company’s correspondent life insurance companies, at a permanent fixed-rate of 6.55%.

The fully-amortizing loan has a term of 15 years and a 28% loan-to-value. The 17,850 square-foot free-standing retail store was built in 1993 and is located at 9205 South Dixie Highway, Miami, Florida.

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

Marcus & Millichap Reports Highest Number of Special Asset Assignments Since 1993

Pipeline indicates major wave of distressed property sales starting in 2009.

ATLANTA, GA – Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, the nation’s largest real estate investment services firm, will complete the highest volume of distressed asset valuations and sales since 1993.

Turmoil in the financial services sector, which has led to an increased number of bankruptcies, mergers and consolidations — combined with the worsening economic downturn — has placed upward pressure on vacancies in a number of commercial real estate sectors, resulting in a higher number of distressed situations.

“To date we have completed more than 1,500 special asset assignments for financial institutions, asset managers and large owners – and we expect that number to exceed 2,000 by year-end 2008, including valuations, advisory work and dispositions,” says Bernard J. Haddigan, (top right photo) senior vice president and managing director of Marcus & Millichap, and executive in charge of the Special Assets Services division.

“Distressed properties and portfolios are being well received by private investors so far, and we expect to market a large volume of these properties during the next several months. This is driven by our lender clients’ need to clear their balance sheets and various types of funds, which are actively working to free up capital,” he adds.

The Special Assets Services division, which was formed in 2006 and expanded earlier this year, is comprised of eight regional directors who oversee a team of experienced investment brokers, located throughout Marcus & Millichap’s network of offices.

“There has been a marked increase in the number of distressed property sales being arranged by Marcus & Millichap investment specialists,” explains Haddigan.

“The macro trend is driven more by banks’ exposure to construction loans, property rehab loans and high-leverage transactions closed between 2006 and 2007 that are facing cash-flow problems due to higher-than-anticipated vacancies.”

Some regions of the United States face greater exposure to distressed assets than others.

“Many of the secondary Midwestern markets are experiencing hardship in the manufacturing sector, including Detroit, which is also experiencing continuing job losses and higher commercial vacancy rates,” explains Haddigan.

Distressed asset acquisitions are dominated by private investors, says Haddigan.

“Some of these investors are new to the market, and some have a higher level of experience. Private investors have the most flexibility and risk tolerance and can obtain financing for smaller transactions, which constitute the majority of the distressed situations.

"We expect this to continue for some time and there appears to be a significant amount of capital on the sidelines that will become more aggressive as the inventory of distressed properties increases next year.

Many of the larger opportunity funds are focused on purchasing commercial paper instead of specific properties, but we expect that trend to shift in 2009 and 2010 as opportunity funds resume their focus on property acquisitions.”

Marcus & Millichap brings several key advantages to owners and lenders of distressed properties including its market research, extensive local market coverage, particularly in secondary and tertiary markets where much of the distressed inventory is concentrated, and most important, its industry-leading access to private capital.

“We engage a team that can assess properties thoroughly and quickly, and expose the appropriate assets to the largest pool of private investors nationally who comprise more than 90 percent of sales in the current market,” says Haddigan.

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

The Mele Group of Marcus & Millichap Completes Equity Infusion Deal

TAMPA, FL-The Mele Group of Marcus & Millichap has announced the completion of an equity infusion deal with Son Light Self Storage out of Ocala, FL and a private investor based in Tampa, FL.

Led by Vice President/ Investments Michael Mele,(top right photo) The Mele Group of Marcus & Millichap was able to take Son Light Self Storage, currently in lease-up, and put together a deal that made sense for both parties.

Son Light Self Storage was 30% occupied and lease-up remained flat due to market conditions and construction in front of the facility.

It was in need of a partner or joint venture which could infuse some equity and restructure the management of the facility.

“Despite all of the challenges Son Light was facing we were able to find an equity partner that believed in this project. He was able to take a 50% ownership stake in Son Light and believes in the potential of the deal” says Mele. Mele goes on to say

“The new equity partner has the intentions of increasing profitability of operations with better management and increased advertising of the facility.”

Market conditions are proving more of these types of deals maybe necessary; banks are dry and it’s hard to find institutional capital. The Mele Group of Marcus & Millichap was able to find a private investor to meet the needs of the client, proving the wrong market takes the right broker.

Michael A.Mele, Marcus & Millichap, (813) 387-4700,