Monday, February 2, 2009

Heather Densmore Shover Joins Grubb & Ellis's Dallas Office as Vice President, Agency Leasing

DALLAS (Feb. 2, 2009) – Grubb & Ellis Company (NYSE: GBE), a leading real estate services and investment firm, today announced that Heather Densmore Shover (top right photo) has joined its Dallas office as vice president, Agency Leasing where she will primarily focus on agency leasing in the far north Dallas submarket.

“Grubb & Ellis is dedicated to building the most talented and hard working team of professionals in order to provide our clients with the finest service and highest value in the commercial real estate arena,” said Moody Younger, executive managing director of Grubb & Ellis’ Texas operations. “Heather exemplifies these qualities and is a tremendous addition to our team in Dallas.”

Since assuming his role with Grubb & Ellis in April 2008, Younger has recruited 10 experienced transaction professionals to the company’s Dallas office.

Prior to joining Grubb & Ellis, Shover spent nearly three years as a senior associate at Stream Realty Partners L.P., a local full-service real estate investment, development and services company . Prior to entering the commercial real estate field, she was a senior consultant at Deloitte Consulting LLP.

Shover received an MBA from the University of Texas, Austin.

Contacts: Julia McCartney, Damon Elder Phone: 714.975.2230; 714.975.2659. Email:;

Tilt-Con Completes Osceola, FL Emergency Communications Center

KISSIMMEE, FL – Altamonte Springs-based Tilt-Con Corporation completed the new 53,893-square-foot Osceola County Joint Communication Emergency Operations Center at 2588 Partin Settlement Road in Kissimmee, FL.

The project consisted of a 2-story building, chiller yard and command vehicle shelter.

Ranked as the nation’s largest tilt-up concrete constructor by Engineering News-Record magazine, Tilt-Con utilized its economical system for tilt-up concrete walls. Designed by Architects Design Group, Inc., Winter Park, FL, Tilt-Con’s scope of work included foundations, slab-on-grade and tilt-up concrete wall panels.

Contact: Kenneth H. Cristol 407-774-2515

Entrust's Mather Says Private Retirement Accounts Could Play Leading Role in U.S. Economic Recovery

LAKE MARY, FL --- Private retirement accounts such as IRAs, Roth accounts and 401K plans---the patient savings of a generation of workers---could pave the way to a quicker national economic recovery, says one of the nation’s leading fund administrators.

Glen Mather, (top right photo) president of Entrust Administrative Services, which provides IRA administrative services to over 2,000 account holders self-directed IRA funds in Florida valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, said private equity investments could fill the lending void left as the nation’s banking system recovers.

Most tax-deferred retirement accounts---Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, Seff IRAs and Simple IRAs, the preferred choice of small businesses---can be reformatted as self-directed IRA accounts that open the door to a wide range of investment opportunities, from stock markets to private lending for commercial or resort properties.

That, says Mather, represents enormous opportunities for investors---and a big boost for the national economy.

“In the U.S., IRAs is where the money is,” Mather said.

Bank startups, new companies seeking startup capital---they’re all looking at self-directed IRAs as potential funding sources,” he said.

Most IRA accounts are relatively small, Mather said. Entrust Administrative Services clients average about $100,000 per account, but many accounts total well into the millions of dollars.

“Cumulatively, IRAs represent enormous equity that has been traditionally undervalued by the financial markets,” Mather said. Younger account owners---Mather’s clients typically range from age 40 to age 65---are more astute about finance and the economy and tend to explore their options.

Retirement funds typically earn low but safe returns in the three-to-five-percent range, Mather said. But well-managed self-directed IRAs can earn tax-deferred returns in the 15-20 percent range when invested in real estate or similar vehicles.

“Real estate can be especially productive in this market,” Mather said.

“Smart investors who recognize that the real estate market is readjusting are lending about 50 percent of the new value in order to be on the safe side.
" If the worst happens and they foreclose, they own an asset at approximately half its current value that will produce substantial returns,” Mather said.

Mather said some self-directed IRAs are lending operating capital to businesses backed by accounts receivables.

“That has been a market traditionally dominated by banks and private equity lenders,” Mather said. “But more owners of self-directed IRAs are stepping in to fill the gap the banks have left,” he said.

For more information about this news release, contact:

Glen Mather, President, Entrust Administrative Services, Inc., 407-367-3472.;

Larry Vershel, Larry Vershel Communications, 407-644-4142,

Hawaii hotels slash rates

HONOLULU /PRNewswire/ -- According to online retailer Travel Hawaii LLC, Hawaii's hotels are slashing rates in a variety of ways in order to stimulate demand.

Combined with record low airfares to Hawaii, the overall cost of a Hawaii vacation has tumbled dramatically.

"3rd Night Free is the new norm," said John Lindelow, owner of Travel Hawaii.

"We track all the offers from Hawaii's hotels, and we now have 33 hotels offering 3rd Night Free.
"Combined with already discounted rates, this can make the cost of a hotel stay half of what it was a couple years ago at this time."

The Outrigger Hotel chain, (above centered photo) for example, is offering 3rd Night Free at 19 of its 23 Hawaii hotels and condo properties. All of the 3rd Night Free specials can be found on Travel Hawaii's special page at

Some hotels have simply slashed their basic rates. The Sheraton Waikiki, (top right photo) for example, is selling Ocean Front rooms through Travel Hawaii for $206/night through mid-May. And the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach has City View rooms for $161/night for all of 2009.

Record low airfares round out the equation, with fares from the East Coast well under $500 to Honolulu round trip, and those from Los Angeles under $350.

"So two people traveling from the East Coast and staying a week in an Ocean Front room on Waikiki would pay around $2400 for airfare and hotel," said Lindelow, "which is pretty astounding since this is normally the busiest, and most expensive, time of the year for the Hawaii tourism industry."

Founded in 1997 by computer scientist John Lindelow and travel agency owner Roz Rapozo, (bottom left photo)Travel Hawaii has become a leading Internet booking service for consumers wishing to vacation in Hawaii. Travel Hawaii maintains sophisticated online booking systems and databases focused on Hawaii travel.

For more information on 3rd Night Free rates at Hawaii hotels, visit

HFF arranges $47.5M loan for SunTrust International Center in downtown Miami

MIAMI, FL – The Los Angeles and Miami offices of HFF (Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P.) announced today that they have arranged a $47.5 million loan for SunTrust International Center, (top right photo) a 420,080-square-foot office tower in downtown Miami, Florida.

Managing director Todd Sugimoto (middle left photo) of HFF Los Angeles and managing director Fred Welker (bottom right photo) of HFF Miami worked exclusively on behalf of Guggenheim Real Estate LLC and its partner, Stiles Corporation, to secure the five-year, fixed-rate loan through a life insurance company.

Loan proceeds are replacing an existing loan that matured in January 2009.

SunTrust International Center is a 31-story marble and glass office tower located at the corner of Flagler Street and Southeast Third Avenue in downtown Miami, convenient to Metromover and Metrorail, Miami Dade County and Federal Courthouses, as well as Bayside Marketplace and American Airlines Arena.

Renovated in 2002, the property is 88% leased to tenants including Akerman, Senterfitt & Eidson; Bank of America; Rachlin, Cohen & Holtz; SunTrust Bank; and Walgreen’s Pharmacy.

On-site amenities include a deli; full-service dry cleaning; security card reader system for controlled access; duplicating, imaging and print shop; and UPS, Airborne Express, DHL and FedEx drop boxes.

“The capital markets are extremely difficult; however, this transaction proves that HFF is successfully completing larger debt transactions with the right combination of sponsorship, asset and capitalization,” said Sugimoto.

Guggenheim Real Estate manages an open-end diversified real estate portfolio.

Guggenheim Real Estate LLC is a dedicated real estate investment manager with offices in New York, Boston, Chapel Hill, Charlotte and San Francisco that provides investors with a diversified core-plus real estate portfolio across a wide spectrum of the real estate market, including REITs, direct properties, mezzanine debt and private funds.

Stiles Corporation is one of Florida’s largest full service real estate development companies and has developed more than 27 million square feet of office, retail and industrial facilities.

HFF (NYSE: HF) operates out of 18 offices nationwide and is a leading provider of commercial real estate and capital markets services to the U.S. commercial real estate industry.

HFF offers clients a fully integrated national capital markets platform including debt placement, investment sales, structured finance, private equity, loan sales and commercial loan servicing.


TODD SUGIMOTO, HFF Managing Director, (310) 407-2100,
FRED E. WELKER III, HFF Managing Director, (305) 448-1333,
KRISTEN M. MURPHY, HFF Associate Director, Marketing, (713) 852-3500,

Realty Capital Markets Remain Disruptive, Says RECI

CHICAGO, IL, Feb. 2, 2009 - The realty capital markets remain disruptive, raising stress levels for borrowers with pending maturities.

Meanwhile, sellers are unable to generate liquidity as pricing volatility prevails.
Smaller transactions are more fluid with recourse requirements much more common as borrowers weigh their options using shorter-term debt.

Industry leaders expect minimal positive changes in short-term market dynamics as the financial sector digests unsettling news.

Starting this year, evolving trends are as follows:

* Minimum yield requirements - not spreads over benchmark indices --dictate loan pricing. Mortgage rates are somewhat stable, as lenders set floors on long-term fixed rate debt in the 6.25-to-7.5%+ range for most conventional properties.

* While rates are within historically favorable limits, continued tightening of other key underwriting parameters restricts meaningful funding volume. More constraints that are conservative include lower valuations, limited leverage, shorter amortization payment schedules, higher debt coverage and substantial escrow/reserve requirements.

* On the public market debt front, CMBS is unlikely to return in the foreseeable future - at least not in the current format. Balance-sheetlenders also struggle with the "denominator" effect, limiting over all funds available for real estate investment, as portfolios are devalued. Furthermore, real estate investments must compete with attractively priced stocks and bonds as astute fund managers hunt among abundant bargains.

* Mezzanine and opportunity funds offer capital, but underwriting is cautious and existing note sales compete for these funds. Pricing on mezz debt starts in the lower-teens.

* Transaction volume flirts with the lowest levels in decades as capital sources wait on the sidelines in hopes of finding the bottom. Substantial pricing discounts are expected throughout 2009, in any case.

* Equity returns are under upward pressure. Overall equity yields for Class A "Core" institutional properties trade from the low to middle teens; "Core Plus" assets trade within the upper-teen range and opportunistic ventures offer returns in excess of 20%.

* Given illiquidity within the equity markets with few comparable trades, numerous lenders are setting valuation parameters for debt fundings.

In general, the 8%-to-9%-capitalization-rate range is a popular appraisal benchmark for higher-quality commercial properties in most markets throughout the country.

Multifamily properties start at 7% cap rates, although limited trading volume prevents identifying clear and reliable pricing trends.

Jim Postweiler, (top right photo) advisory board member of the Real Estate Capital Institute, suggests, "Buyers and sellers are still reluctant to transact, mostly due to stingy debt markets. However signs of improvement are emerging as buyers realize few opportunities for core properties are available."

ABOUT US: The Real Estate Capital Institute(r) is a volunteer-based researchorganization that tracks realty rates data for debt and equity yields. TheInstitute posts daily and historical benchmark rates including treasuries,bank prime and LIBOR.

Furthermore, call the Real Estate Capital RateLine at7RE-CAPITAL (773-227-4825) for hourly rate updates. ###

The Real Estate Capital Institute(r), 3517 West Arthington Street, Chicago, Illinois USA 60624.

Contact: Nat Zvislo, Research Director. Toll Free 800-994-RECI (7324). /

GVA Advantis Presents 4th Quarter Orlando Office Market Review

ORLANDO, FL--GVA Advantis presents its fourth quarter overview on the Orlando office market:

Clearly in the grasp of a long-lasting recession, Orlando’s office market is holding its own in this economy. Here is a look at how The City Beautiful fared at the close of the year compared with two prior years.

Interestingly, at least two fundamental measures saw slight progress or remained stable in 2008: asking lease rates and sublet vacancy rates. Investment sales are off around the country by approximately 75%, according to informed sources.

While enjoying a healthy increase from 2006 to 2007, Orlando suffered a 60% dip in sales for 2008 in transactions of properties over 10,000 SF.

The metro area’s office sector vacancy rate improved by 0.2% over the third quarter to a still-too-high 15.1% to end the year.

Individually, most submarkets remained fairly flat in terms of availability with the only significant activity happening in two regions: direct vacancy in the Airport submarket rose from a third quarter showing of 4.7% to 7.1%, with Class A available space more than doubling.

Disproportionate swings continue in Lake Mary/Heathrow/Sanford, which dropped five percentage points from 13.5% to 8.5% for the third quarter, but is now back up to 10.2%, with increases in availability among all classes, especially C space.

Net absorption suffered, adding another (121,316) for a YTD figure of (437,712). Five of 12 submarkets – Kissimmee/Celebration; Lake Mary/Heathrow/ Sanford; Northwest Orlando; University/Research; and Winter Springs/Oviedo – showed modest positive absorption for the year. However, it was not significant enough to override the other seven submarkets’ annual activity.

Overall sublet vacancy rates dropped significantly by almost 148,000 SF for the quarter, from 3.1% to a year-end total of 2.7%.

For a complete copy of the report, please contact:

Shelli H. Browning, Director of Marketing, Advantis Real Estate Services Company, 255 South Orange Avenue, Suite 750,Orlando, FL 32801. Office 407.849.6600. Direct 407.999.4775. Fax 407.849-6010.

Premier Capital Arranges $7.1M Development Financing for Holiday Inn Express

BELLEVUE, WA., Feb. 2, 2009 – Premier Capital Associates, LLC, a national, full-service real estate investment company specializing in debt and advisory services for hospitality real estate, announced today that it had arranged and closed a $7.1 million financing transaction for development of a 77-unit Holiday Inn Express, located in Sequim, Washington.

The project is under construction and is expected to open later this year. “We are working in a very challenging financing market,” said Jeff McKee,(top right photo) managing director of Premier Capital Associates, LLC.

“The developer asked us to act as financial advisor for all aspects of the financing, which included all the detail work involved in the closing. This arrangement allowed the developer to focus more on the final design, permitting and construction aspects of the hotel while we dealt with the credit market turmoil.”

“The ownership group handed over all the financing responsibilities to Premier Capital Associates because of our strong hotel lending experience and longevity in the industry,” said Greg Morris, (bottom left photo) managing director of Premier Capital Associates, LLC.

“Construction financing is certainly the most difficult to arrange in today’s economic environment, but we were able to call upon our 25-plus years of hotel lending experience and work closely with the lender and owner to find a solution that provided adequate capital at a fair rate for this project.”

“Despite extremely difficult credit markets, capital remains available for patient, credit-worthy hoteliers and viable projects,” Morris noted. “Capital for transactions under $10 million for both acquisitions and refiancings are available at historically attractive terms. Larger deals and development transactions are more difficult, but can be negotiated.”

Premier Capital Associates, LLC, located in Bellevue, Washington, is a national, full-service real estate investment company specializing in debt and advisory services for hospitality and other income-producing commercial real estate, with relationships across the United States.

The company arranges debt for construction loans, acquisition, refinancing, and reposition financing.

For additional information, please contact either Jeff McKee at 425-957-0600 or Greg Morris at 425-957-0700. Or, visit the company’s Web site:
Jerry Daly, Chris Daly, (703) 435-6293.

Wyndham Hotel Group Appoints Human Resources Executive

PARSIPPANY, N.J. (Feb. 2, 2009) – Wyndham Hotel Group, the world’s largest franchisor of hotels, today announced the appointment of Kathleen Chiechi Flores (top right photo) as executive vice president of Human Resources.

Based in the company’s Parsippany, N.J. offices, Flores will be responsible for overseeing the development and execution of Wyndham Hotel Group’s global human resources strategies, including talent selection, talent management, workforce planning and administration.

She brings to the company more than 15 years of progressive human resources experience from a variety of industries including technology, healthcare, banking and telecommunications.

Prior to joining Wyndham Hotel Group, Flores was chief administrative officer of WhiteFence, an e-commerce company based in Houston, Texas. In that role, she oversaw the company’s legal and human resources teams and was responsible for risk management, compensation and benefits, talent acquisition, training and development, and organizational effectiveness.

Flores is a certified senior professional in human resources and holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California Irvine as well as a master’s degree in education from the University of San Francisco.

Rob Myers, Communications Coordinator, Wyndham Hotel Group, 1 Sylvan Way, Parsippany, NJ 07054. PH +1 (973) 753-6590

Sarah's Beauty Supply Takes 1,706 SF in Lauderhill, FL

LAUDERHILL, FL – Deerfield-based Konover South, LLC, one of the Southeast’s premier retail developers, announced that Sarah’s Beauty Supply & Accessories has signed a lease for 1,706 square feet at its Publix-anchored, 85,000-square-foot Inverrary Falls retail center (top right photo) at Oakland Park Boulevard and Inverrary Boulevard in Lauderhill, FL.

Company leasing specialist Vivian Ricardo represented Konover South in the transaction.

Other major tenants include Bank Atlantic, Blockbuster Video, Footmart, Golden Krust, Gourmet China, and H&R Block as well as Little Caesar’s, Metro PCS, the UPS Store, Wachovia Bank and others.

Contact: Kenneth H. Cristol 407-774-2515