Wednesday, January 28, 2009

HFF closes sale of Jefferson Building in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington, D.C. office of HFF (Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P.) announced today it has closed the sale of the Jefferson Building, (top right photo) a 72,756-square-foot, eight-story office building in Washington, D.C.

The HFF investment sales team was led by senior managing directors Dek Potts, (top left photo) Jim Meisel, (bottom right photo) and director Andy Pulliam who marketed the property on behalf of the seller, BlackRock Realty.

INVESCO Real Estate purchased the property for an undisclosed amount free and clear of debt.

Located at 1225 19th Street NW, the Jefferson Building is situated within the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District of Washington, D.C. with easy access to Connecticut and Massachusetts Avenues, K Street and Rock Creek Parkway as well as Dupont Circle Metro Station and Farragut North Metrorail Station.

The 93% leased property was most recently renovated in 2007 and has parking for 64 cars in a two-level underground parking garage.

“This boutique asset has enjoyed an excellent occupancy history due to its prominent corner location with windows on all four sides as well as 9,350-square-foot floor plates, which have attracted small law firms and associations.

"In addition, The Palm, the building’s landmark restaurant, recently expanded and renewed its lease,” said Potts.

BlackRock is one of the world’s largest publicly traded investment management firms.

As of September 30, 2008, BlackRock’s assets under management were $1.259 trillion. The firm manages assets on behalf of institutions and individuals worldwide through a variety of equity, fixed income, cash management and alternative investment products. For additional information, please visit the firm's website at

INVESCO is a leading independent global investment management company, dedicated to helping their clients build their financial security. INVESCO provides a comprehensive array of enduring investment solutions for retail, institutional and high-net-worth clients around the world.

Operating in 20 countries, the company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol IVZ. Additional information is available at

James A. Meisel, HFF Senior Managing Director, (202) 533-2500,
Stephen "Dek" Potts Jr., HFF Senior Managing Director, (202) 533-2500,
Kristen M. Murphy, HFF Associate Director, Marketing, (713) 852-3500,

Grubb & Ellis|Commercial Florida closes on Sale of Three Acre Parcel in Downtown Orlando for $7M

Broker Sees Signs of Economic Upturn

ORLANDO, Fla. --- Grubb & EllisCommercial Florida has closed on the sale of a three-acre commercial/mixed use land parcel at 100 W. Livingston St. in downtown Orlando for $7 million.

(The price equates to $2.3 million per acre or about $53.56 per square foot)

David G. Calcanis, (top right photo) vice president of the Land Group at Grubb & EllisCommercial Florida, negotiated the transaction on behalf of the seller, Orlando Land Trust, LLC of Aventura. Jain West Livingston, LLC of Orlando was the buyer.

Jeffrey Sweeney, (middle left photo) SIOR, managing director of Grubb & EllisCommercial Florida, associated with 200 Grubb & Ellis offices worldwide, said Calcanis, who joined the firm in 2004, ranks as the leading land broker at Grubb & EllisCommercial Florida for 2008.

His recent sales besides the Livingston Avenue parcel include a 5.6 acre parcel on N. Orange Ave. across from the Orange County Courthouse facility.

Altogether, the value of Calcanis’ transactions last year totaled more than $25 million.

“Bargain basement prices are beginning to attract more buyers and we see recent interest in land acquisitions as a major sign that economic conditions are beginning to improve,” said Calcanis.

Contact: Larry Vershel or Beth Payan, Vershel Communications, 407 644 4142.

Mercantile Commercial Capital Closes on Four Commercial Loans in December for over $6.3M in Total Project Costs

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, FL--- Mercantile Commercial Capital, LLC, which specializes in U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 loans for small business owners who want to acquire or develop their own facilities, reported it closed on four commercial loans in December that total over $6.3 million, and helped to create 42 new jobs.

(Christopher Hurn, top right photo), is president of Mercantile Commercial Capital. Geof Longstaff, top left photo, is vice president)

Mercantile Commercial Capital’s December loans included:

• $1,185,000 to Beckman & Associates, Inc, to provide 80 percent financing for refinance of a 3,532 square foot office condo located in Maitland, Fla;

• $1,675,000 to Mississippi Embroidery, LLC to provide 90 percent financing for the purchase of an approximately 17,000 square foot building located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi;

• $2,107,200 to Irish Properties, LP, to provide 85 percent financing to purchase a mix-used restaurant with eight residential apartments -- an 11,030 square foot facility in New Cumberland, Penn. and

• $1,345,000 to Autogalaxy USA, LLC/Miami Car Sales, Inc., to provide 75 percent financing for the purchase of an 8,000 square foot office/warehouse condo located in Hallandale, Fla.
In 2008, Mercantile Commercial Capital closed on 43 Commercial Loans valued at more than $75 Million. Altogether, their loans helped to create 483 new jobs.

For more information, visit and

For more information about this press release, contact:

Chris Hurn, Mercantile Commercial Capital, LLC 407-786-5040
Robin Lashley, Mercantile Commercial Capital, LLC 407-786-5040
Larry Vershel or Beth Payan, Larry Vershel Communications, 407-644-4142

Starwood to open 1,000th hotel this year

SAN DIEGO, CA – Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) announces it will open its 1000th hotel in 2009. The milestone comes as part of the company’s plan to open 100 hotels this year in diverse markets throughout the world.

Focused on opening the right properties in the right places with the right partners, Starwood remains on-track to expand its portfolio by more than 40 percent in the next five years. Starwood’s pipeline consists of more than 400 hotels – 60 percent of which currently are outside of the United States.

“By working closely with our development partners, we are able to open high caliber, best-in-class hotels around the world, even during challenging economic times” said Simon Turner, (top right photo) President of Global Development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

“Starwood is building, opening, converting, renovating and innovating for the recovery and beyond, and these new hotels will further position Starwood and its development partners for long term growth and success.”

2009 marks a year of significant milestones and meaningful growth for Starwood and its portfolio of nine distinctive and compelling brands.

Celebrating 10 years of proven success, W Hotels will triple its portfolio in the next three years.

The once New York-centric wonder is transforming into a global phenomenon, opening 13 properties this year in markets including Barcelona, Bali, Doha and Santiago, as well as Atlanta, South Beach, Hollywood and Washington D.C.
As part of its $4 billion revitalization program, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts expects to open 18 hotels in high-profile destinations like New York City; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Istanbul, Turkey; Prague, Czech Republic; and Qiandao, China.

The iconic brand is also scheduled to complete its goal of renovating nearly 100 hotels at an investment of $1.3 billion.

Westin Hotels & Resorts expects to open 11 hotels this year in dynamic international cities including Montreal, Mumbai, Shanghai, Mexico City and Houston.

(Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, middle left photo)

After opening 17 hotels in the U.S., Canada and China in 2008, Aloft will double its portfolio in 2009 with openings in Houston; Phoenix; and Abu Dhabi, UAE, among others.

And Starwood’s green trailblazer, Element, expects to open five more hotels this year in U.S. markets such as Houston and Denver.

Four Points by Sheraton continues to be a major growth vehicle for Starwood and is set to open nearly 30 hotels in 2009, including one in New York City’s Times Square; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Winnipeg, Canada, and its first new prototype, which is slated to be in San Antonio.

(Aloft Beijing Haidian Hotel lobby, middle left photo)

2009 began with St. Regis opening a new resort in Punta Mita, Mexico. The luxury brand will ramp up its global expansion with plans to open an additional four hotels in 2009, including properties in Atlanta; Park City, Utah; Mexico City; and Lhasa, China.

The Luxury Collection entered the year celebrating the recent opening of a hotel in Beverly Hills and continues to grow with more than 10 hotels in its pipeline.

And Le Méridien has nearly 20 hotels in development and four openings planned this year in markets around the world. Notably, the brand is making further inroads in North America, with plans to open hotels in Dallas and Philadelphia.
(Shimei Bay Beach Resort & Spa, China, bottom right photo)


Brad Minor, Senior Manager, Corporate Public Relations, Phone: 914.640.3687

Hwee-Peng Yeo
Director, Corporate Communications
Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels & Resorts Ltd
9 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City Tower 2
#24-02, Singapore 038989

Tel : +65 6335 4837; Cell : +65 9768 6087; +65 9248 0424
Fax : +65 6335 4820;

New Mortgage Metrics Redefine Capital Markets

Mortgage Availability Emerges as Key Funding Variable

CHICAGO, IL - Starting more than a year ago,dramatic re-pricing of mortgage markets still leads to a downward spiral of property values of which the full impact is yet to be felt.

Lenders and buyers alike are trying to understand new pricing realities that are based on more conservative mortgage underwriting parameters.

Furthermore, given today's unpredictable markets, lenders seldom rely upon any current sales transactions for appraisal purposes. Most properties sold prior to the mortgage market meltdown are based on metrics using more favorable mortgage terms and leverage not available now.

While many investors are uncertain how to price properties based on current leverage, the following underwriting benchmarks are currently in favor with the funding community:

* Actual Cash Flow: Current cash flow is mandatory. Three years operating history preferred, if available. Projects with deferred cash flow require additional collateral and/or recourse

.* Properties: Gravitating toward conventional property types(apartment, industrial, office and retail). Properties with too much "story" avoided as risk aversion prevails.

* Valuation: Cap rates priced 50 basis points or more above mortgage constant

* Leverage: 65% or less loan-to-value for commercial properties; 75%f or apartments

* Debt Coverage: 125% debt service coverage or more for conventional properties (apartment, industrial, office and retail); 140% or higher for special-purpose.

* Guarantees: Life companies continue providing non-recourse debt. Full recourse required as well as deposit relationships with banks and most other financial institutions.

* Sponsorship: Seasoned borrowers with established track records sought. Qualified borrowers typically normally support net worth statements equaling the loan amount. Liquidity test of 25%+/- desired.

Observation: As strange as it sounds, pricing is not mentioned above. The availability of funds is the most important criteria above all else. In fact, a standard contingency in most purchase contracts today is buyers to prove to sellers that reliable financing is in place. Buyers need to specifically disclose their funding source and provide reasonable proof that loan proceeds are available at closing.

Nat Zvislo, Research Director, Toll Free 800-994-RECI (7324),,

Ardaman wins Indian River County, FL contract

ORLANDO, FL — Ardaman & Associates Inc. was awarded a contract by the Indian River County Board of Commissioners.

The scope of services includes geotechnical engineering, construction materials testing, environmental engineering and consulting.

The one-year continuing services contract has an option for three additional one-year renewals. Services for this contract will be performed by Ardaman’s Port St. Lucie office.

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

The Port St. Lucie office of Ardaman & Associates, located at 460 N.W. Concourse Place, was established in 1987. Clients include St. Lucie County, Martin County, the City of Fort Pierce and the City of Port St. Lucie.

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,,

Eggert earns certification from North American Technician Excellence organization

ORLANDO, FL — Kenneth A. Eggert,(top right photo) residential division manager at Shaw Mechanical Services LLC, has earned service technician and HVAC equipment certification from North American Technician Excellence Inc., an independent, third-party organization that promotes and develops excellence of installation and service of mechanical systems.

Eggert, who joined Shaw Mechanical Services in early 2008, has 20 years of experience.
Additionally, he is certified by as an Environmental Control System Installer-Servicer by the Florida Department of Labor, as a Refrigerant Transition and Recovery Universal Technician by Ferris State University, is factory-trained and certified by major manufacturers of heating ventilating and air conditioning equipment, and received training for OTI 500 Occupational Safety and Health for the Construction Industry.

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

Palmer Electric Promotes Howard to Manage Two Divisions

WINTER PARK, FL – Palmer Electric Company is pleased to announce the promotion of Ronald G. Howard, Jr. (top right photo) to manager of the service division and the special projects division.

Howard, who joined Palmer in 1998, previously served as assistant manager of both divisions. His new responsibilities include managing operations, scheduling, quality control and staffing.

Howard has 21-years of experience in electrical contracting. He is a graduate of the electrical contracting program at Mid Florida Tech, and is a Florida licensed journeyman electrician.
Additionally, Howard graduated from the Construction Management and the Electrical Inspection programs at Valencia Community College, Orlando, Fla., completed the Construction Management Academy program at Clemson University, Clemson, S.C., and completed the mini MBA program at Rollins College, Winter Park, Fla.

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