Sunday, February 1, 2009

InterContinental CEO Sees up to $200M in Energy Savings at 4,000 Hotels

LONDON—InterContinental Hotels Group PLC, which calls itself the world’s largest hotel company based on its 4,000 global properties, is betting it can save up to $200 million in energy costs beginning this year with a new online system called Green Engage.

The system includes various savings tools from insulating a hotel’s hot water pipes to introducing a recycling program and switching to organic cleaning materials to appointing one of the employees as a green champion.

IHG CEO Andrew Cosslett (top right photo) says early trials show potential savings of up to 25%.

Developed by IHG, the system will be rolled out across the company’s seven brands following final trials which started last week in 650 hotels. Among the brands are Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and InterContinental.

Cosslett expects the system will be offered as an option to all of InterContinental’s 4,000 hotels from mid 2009.

The IHG ‘Green Engage’ software works by hotels directly recording data on site. The system automatically compares hotels of a similar nature across the world and lists a series of actions that each hotel can take to reduce waste and the consumption of energy and water.

“This is an important initiative for IHG, our hotel owners and our guests,” says Cosslett.

“Green Engage is a practical tool designed to help improve environmental performance, reduce costs and respond to our guests increasing awareness of this issue.

“Across our estate, we estimate Green Engage has the potential to drive up to $200 million of savings for our hotel owners and significantly reduce energy consumption.”

(Crowne Plaza Hotel, Downtown Washington, D.C., middle right photo)

Thomas J. Corcoran Jr., (top left photo) chairman of the Owners’ Association of InterContinental Hotels Group (IAHI) and owner of a number of hotels taking part in the Green Engage pilot, says, “Green Engage is not only good for the environment, but is also good for business.

“In the current economic climate and with rising energy bills, this tool will help us to identify significant cost savings. At the same time it delivers what our guests want – a greater sense of well-being and less impact on our planet when traveling.”

Corcoran says Green Engage “responds to growing levels of interest from guests who are looking for sustainable hotels that manage their environmental impact. As well as location, price and amenities, guests are now factoring in a hotel’s environmental credentials when booking a place to stay.”

(Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Branson, MO, bottom left photo)

IHG’s Cosslett says that “by utilizing ‘Green Engage’, hotels will now have for the first time, a comprehensive on-line system which gives them the means to:
“Measure their usage of energy and water, waste produced and their carbon emissions. They can then benchmark themselves against other hotels and set demanding, but achievable reduction targets.

“Manage the elements of their hotel that most impact the environment.

“Report on progress to date both internally and to guests and corporate clients.”
In 2008, IHG launched Innovation Hotel, an online example of what a future hotel might look like if it used new green technologies.

“Guests can provide feedback on which of these they feel are important, allowing IHG to consider how they can be implemented as part of the Green Engage program,” adds Cosslett. #

For more information about corporate responsibility at IHG, visit:

Gulf Building Corp. Completes New $16M, High-Tech Public Safety Complex at Big Cypress Seminole Community

BIG CYPRESS, FL /PRNewswire/ -- Gulf Building Corp. has completed the design and construction of the new 50,000-square-foot, $16 million Public Safety Complex at the Big Cypress Seminole Community, said John Scherer, Partner and Vice President of Construction.

Located in the heart of the Big Cypress Community on Josie Billie Highway, the new complex will house more than two-dozen members of the Seminole Tribe's Public Safety Department and equipment for both police and fire/rescue operations.

"We are especially proud to be involved in this project as this is a facility that will serve to safeguard a wonderful community of people," said Scherer.

"The new complex is an accomplishment in which everyone living there can take great pride."

Scherer said the two-story structure has an Old Florida architectural design and is painted naturalistic brown and beige colors that blend in with the surrounding beauty of the Everglades and the Seminole Tribe.

The complex houses the fire/rescue personnel on the north and the police personnel on south. In between is a large bay for emergency vehicles.

There are comfortable dormitories, stainless steel-equipped kitchens, break rooms, gymnasium, and training rooms throughout. The building will also prominently feature a new U.S. Post Office serving the Big Cypress community.
CONTACT: Media: Kevin Boyd, +1-954-288-9509, for Gulf Building Corp. Web site:

Cole Whitaker of Hendricks & Partners predicts Orlando region on front end of upcoming rental apartment rebound

ORLANDO, FL - Rental apartment owners will be granting more concessions in the foreseeable future but conditions have positioned the Orlando region for a sharp turnaround once conditions improve, says one leading multi-family broker.

Cole Whitaker, (top right photo) who heads the Florida office of Hendricks & Partners, one of the nation’s leading service providers to the multi-family housing market, said the Orlando region was one of the top markets listed to rebound at the National Multi Housing Council’s annual meeting recently in Palm Springs, Calif.

“Orlando will be on the front end of the recovering markets in the U.S. once the recovery begins. The big question for everyone is when that will be,” Whitaker said.

The lack of new construction will help existing property owners in the long run, Whitaker said, and property sale transactions will continue as investors comb the region for choice properties.

But declining rent rolls, increasing CAP rates, tough new underwriting standards by both FREDDIE MAC and FANNIE MAE and the high cost of equity will make brokers’ jobs much more difficult.
“Unfortunately we will see some sellers and buyers continue to experience a gap between sales expectations and the cost of funds for apartment transactions,” Whitaker said.

“We foresee increased concessions to renters for the foreseeable future as competition for good tenants increases,” Whitaker said.

For more information, please contact:
Cole Whitaker, Partner, Hendricks & Partners, 407-256-9594
Larry Vershel, Larry Vershel Communications 407-644-4142

Kim Barkwell Named President of Ambling Management

Former COO Brings 25 Years Real Estate Experience

ATLANTA (Jan. 27, 2008) – Ambling Management Company, an affiliate of Ambling Companies, Inc. specializing in student, affordable and conventional housing, appointed Kimberly A. Barkwell (top right photo) president.

Barkwell is responsible for all facets of the company’soperations, including strategic planning, overall property management, new business development and company culture preservation.

“Kimberly has played an integral role in the growth and success of Ambling
Management Company for more than six years and is very deserving of her new title andresponsibilities,” said Mike Godwin, (middle left photo) president and CEO of Ambling Companies, Inc.

“Her leadership has made Ambling Management one of the most respected companies inthe industry, and we are excited to see where she will lead the organization in the future.”

Most recently, Barkwell held the position of chief operating officer of Ambling
Management Company.

With more than 25 years of experience in real estate property management, Barkwell previously served as regional vice president with Brisben Companies/National Realty Management where she directed the overall operations of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

Prior to that, she worked with AIMCO/Insignia Management Group as both regional vice president and vice president of business development where she directed operations of large conventional and affordable residential portfolios of up to 21,000 units. Barkwell also held various roles with the Duddlesten Companies.

Contact: Bryan Harris, Jackson Spalding, (404) 874-7164;

GVA Presents Richmond, VA Industrial Market 2008 Wrapup

RICHMOND, VA--Perry H. Moss, regional director, research, GVA Advantis, presents the 2008 review of the Richmond, VA industrial market:


The market survived 2008, not the most pleasant of years. 2009 will be a continuation of last year.

The leasing market may show signs of continued sluggishness in 09 as the economic lag catches up to the industrial base.

The sales market on the other hand, which had a steep decline in 2008, will continue on the same path with the possibility of reaching a bottom by late 09.

2008 is over, it was challenging, and introduced market issues we haven’t seen in a long time.

The reliance of major corporate institutions upon federal funds and a virtual freezing of the credit market are two conditions that are rare, but far-reaching.

The industrial market suffered in the last 2/3’s of 2008, albeit not to the same degree as the office market.

It would be great to say that we’ve made it through 2008, and now the market can pull itself together and get back on a positive track.

2009 will be another challenging year. All market participants need to be prepared for a turbulent year.

Recurring trends for next year include: a continued shift in negotiating leverage towards tenants; willingness of landlords to make concessions to secure occupants; sale leaseback activity rising considerably; further declines in asset price points; and gradual deterioration of key fundamentals such as vacancy, absorption, and rental rates.


Tenants are opting for renewals and shorter terms while pushing harder for concessions such as free rent and tenant improvements.

In 2009, landlords will be more willing to accept slightly lower rental income in order to provide occupancy to their assets. They will need the capital.

If owners attempt to tap into the near zero rate debt market, they will need evidence of their ability to re-pay the loan. This would be highly unlikely without a reasonable and reliable net operating income stream


2009 will be a great opportunity for well capitalized investors, those able to get financing, and bargain hunters.

Continued erosion of REIT and portfolio purchases will hold down volume for the next several quarters. Landlords will pay very close attention to the offer of sale leaseback opportunities as the infusion of capital will be of paramount importance.

Prices will fall in 2009, while cap rates rise. A mitigating factor for rising cap rates will be an erosion of operating income as reliable, long-term tenants will carry a tremendous premium due to their scarcity.

Contact: Perry H. Moss, Regional Director, Research, 804 644 4066,