Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Despite gloom, 2009 holds good commercial real estate opportunities

NEW BEDFORD, MA--Day after day, world, national and local news headlines are showing more doom and gloom in the real estate industry, notes Richard E. "Rick" Barnes, (top right photo) vice president, Whelan Associates LLC, New Bedford, MA.

Foreclosures are up, retail stores are closing and lay-offs continue, thereby reducing demand for commercial space.

Even the "luck of the Irish" has faded as Ireland's infamous real estate boom has fallen hard in this global financial crisis.

As the world economy continues to slump, commercial real estate assets are likely to see rents fall and vacancies raise throughout 2009 and into 2010, according to a new report issued by NAI Global Real Estate Company.

(One Financial Plaza, Hartford, CT, top left photo)

This has an obvious impact on real estate values. But as a business, real estate still holds opportunities both nationally and locally.

Despite the perception of doom and gloom, deals are happening.

What is not seen very often in the headlines is that real estate transactions are still getting done.
Yes, business activity continues, albeit not as robust as in previous years. Properties that offer solid real estate fundamentals are still attracting significant interest from real estate investors.
Nationally, major transactions occur every day, in every property sector, in every market across the country.

(300 South Wacker Drive, Chicago, middle right photo)

The industrial market is reeling from the impact of massive lay-offs across the country. However, 2008 proved to be a banner year for activity in the southeastern Massachusetts industrial parks.

The retail sector has been hammered nationally by slowing consumer spending resulting in many store chains declaring bankruptcy and some even closing entirely.

However, on the local level, stores and restaurants continue to open along the Southcoast. For example, in recent months, downtown New Bedford has seen new boutique stores and restaurants open for business.

(Galleria shopping center, Atlanta, middle left photo)

The office market across the country has continued to see declines in occupancy levels, thus putting pressure on the values and ultimate sale prices. Office buildings in major markets such as New York and Washington have seen values plunge 20 to 30 percent.

Conversely, a major Southcoast multi-tenant office building has gone from a 62 percent occupancy 18 months ago, to a 96 percent occupancy today. Another prominent Southcoast office building has recently sold at a record $200 per square foot.

All across the country, there is a countless number of properties available for sale, from Class A, 100 percent leased single and multi-tenant properties, to aged and vacant buildings providing a huge potential for an opportunistic developer.

While the headlines would lead you to believe investors are on the sidelines until the market rebounds, savvy investors are still at work closing deals.

This holds true in the Massachusetts Southcoast market as well. In the fourth quarter of 2008, more than $50 million of commercial real estate traded hands in Bristol County.
(John's Creek Shopping Center, Jacksonville, FL, bottom right photo)
A like amount traded in Plymouth County during the same period. This all occurred during an unprecedented election period overshadowed by a major financial meltdown.

As the crisis continues into 2009, leaders in the field recognize that the current real estate cycle provides a unique opportunity to expand their portfolios and create wealth. Despite the predictions of doom and gloom, many believe that the transactions during the next three to five years will prove to be the best buying opportunities that have come along in decades.

Richard E. "Rick" Barnes, vice president of capital markets, Whelan Associates, LLC, Union Square Office Centre, 174 Union St., New Bedford, Mass. 02740; 508-984-4100; or e-mail at

Arbor Closes 5 Fannie Mae DUS® Loans Totaling $14M

Carousel Apartments in Dallas, TX Gets $7,492,700 Fannie Mae DUS® Loan

UNIONDALE, NY,Feb. 25, 2009 - Arbor Commercial Funding, LLC (“Arbor”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Arbor Commercial Mortgage, LLC, announced the recent funding of a $7,492,700 loan under the Fannie Mae DUS® product line to refinance four the 276-unit property known as Carousel Apartments in Dallas, TX.

The 10-year loan amortizes on a 30-year schedule and carries a note rate of 6.70 percent.

The loan was originated by Bob Anderson, Director, in Arbor’s full-service Atlanta, GA lending office. “Arbor was able to provide a cash out refinance for an experienced borrower in the Dallas market, said Anderson. “Our underwriting team did a fantastic job in bringing this request to funding in 30 to meet the borrower’s time commitments.”

Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma Properties Receive $6.6M Total Loans

UNIONDALE, NY- Arbor Commercial Funding, LLC (“Arbor”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Arbor Commercial Mortgage, LLC, announced the recent funding of four (4) loans totaling $6,623,800 under the Fannie Mae DUS® product line. These loans include:

Amber Square, San Antonio, TX – 64-unit complex in the amount of $1,600,000 under the Fannie Mae DUS® product line. The 10-year loan amortizes on a 30-year schedule and carries a note rate of 6.11 percent.

Pebble Beach Apartments, Universal City, TX – 61-unit complex in the amount of $1,339,800 under the Fannie Mae DUS® product line. The 10-year loan amortizes on a 30-year schedule and carries a note rate of 6.11 percent.

South Park Apartments, Baton Rouge, LA – Refinance of a 56-unit complex in the amount of $1,500,000 under the Fannie Mae DUS® Small Loan product line. The 10-year loan amortizes on a 30-year schedule and carries a note rate of 6.33 percent.

Treetops Apartments, Broken Arrow, OK – Refinance of a 120-unit complex in the amount of $2,184,000 under the Fannie Mae DUS® Small Loan product line. The 10-year loan amortizes on a 30-year schedule and carries a note rate of 6.83 percent.

The loans were originated by Jay Porterfield, (top right photo) Vice President, in Arbor’s full-service Dallas, TX lending.

“Arbor utilized the Fannie DUS® line for four differing structures on the subject loans, illustrating the versatility of the product line,” said Porterfield. “Arbor’s team worked diligently on all of these deals to provide financing that helped each Borrower meet his or her specific goals.”

Contact: Ingrid Principe, 516 506 4298. FX 516 542 2555.

Bulls Capital Partners Arranges $2.3M Refinance of 116-Unit Apartment Property in Washington, D.C.

VIENNA, VA, Feb. 25, 2009 -- Bulls Capital Partners LLC, a multi-family financial services provider and Fannie Mae Delegated Underwriting & Servicing (DUS®) lender, today announced it has provided financing to Connecticut Park, LLC in the amount of $2.3 million for the refinance of Connecticut Park Apartments (top right photo) in Washington, D.C.

Connecticut Park Apartments is a 116-unit mid-rise apartment complex built in 1955 with a mixture of one- and two-bedroom units.
Property amenities include a rooftop deck, 24-hour concierge/security service, underground parking and laundry facilities.

The property is located in the Woodley Park neighborhood of Washington, D.C. and is close to the National Zoo, the Adams-Morgan and Dupont Circle neighborhoods, and is minutes from the National Mall.

The loan was originated by Diane Taylor of SunTrust Bank and Alicia Cotton, (bottom right photo) Assistant Vice President at Bulls Capital Partners, LLC.

"We are pleased to provide low leverage financing for this well located and maintained asset," said Herman Bulls, (middle right photo) President and CEO of Bulls Capital Partners.

"This transaction is testament to Bulls Capital Partners' and Fannie Mae's commitment to providing capital for well positioned assets during this critical time in the capital markets."

"The owners' ability to monetize a portion of their equity in a short timeframe allowed them to close on another property acquisition the following day," said Mark B. Van Kirk, (bottom left photo) COO of Bulls Capital Partners.

"In order to meet that need, the entire team focused on speed of execution and efficiency from completion of the application to the funding."

DUS is a registered trademark of Fannie Mae.

About Bulls Capital Partners, LLC

Bulls Capital Partners, LLC is a Fannie Mae-approved Delegated Underwriting and Servicing (DUS®) lender that offers a full array of financing solutions to owners of multifamily property.

Bulls Capital Partners' key capabilities under the DUS program include small loan solutions, affordable housing solutions, student housing, seniors housing, market-rate multifamily mortgages, and credit facilities, among other offerings.

Bulls Capital Partners is a joint venture of Goldman Sachs Commercial Mortgage Capital, L.P. and Bulls Multifamily, LLC, a minority-controlled firm headed by President and CEO Herman Bulls.

Bulls previously ran a successful DUS lending operation, and has extensive commercial real estate experience with one of the world's leading real estate service providers.

Co-founding Bulls Capital Partners with Bulls is Mark Van Kirk, Chief Operating Officer. Van Kirk previously served as Director of Counterparty Risk at Fannie Mae.

Herman Bulls, President & CEO, Bulls Capital Partners, LLC,
phone: (202)256-1814

Mark B. Van Kirk, Co-Founder & COO,
phone: (703)848-8001

Wyndham Hotel Group Promotes Operations Executives

LONDON – Wyndham Hotel Group announces that franchising and hospitality industry veterans, Belinda Atkins and Michael Zager, (top right photos) have been promoted to vice president of operations for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India.

In her new role, Atkins will be responsible for overseeing the international operations of Wyndham Hotel Group’s Days Inn®, Super 8® and Microtel Inns & Suites® brands as well as the Ramada Encore® tier.

She will also lead the company’s international quality management program and help oversee Wyndham Rewards®, the world’s largest hotel loyalty program based on number of participating hotels.

In his new role, Zager will be responsible for overseeing the international operations of Wyndham Hotel Group’s Wyndham®, Ramada and Hawthorn Suites® brands.

In their previous roles, Atkins and Zager served as senior directors of brand services, responsible for international franchising.

“Belinda and Michael are driven leaders who continually go above and beyond the call of service,” said Sean Worker, (bottom left photo) senior vice president and managing director of international operations. “They have been instrumental in the success of our brands and Wyndham Hotel Group will continue to benefit from their experience, dedication and passion.”

Christine Da Silva, Director, Media Relations, Wyndham Hotel Group, 1 Sylvan Way, Parsippany, NJ 07054. +1 (973) 753-6590.

Tremont Structures $9.36M Financing for Richland Meadows MHC

ANNAPOLIS, MD--The Annapolis office of Tremont Realty Capital structured capital with a correspondent lender for the refinance of Richland Meadows MHC, (middle left photo) a 70 acre, 406-unit manufactured housing community located in Quakertown, PA.

John Chase, (top right photo) a Senior Director with Tremont, arranged the $9,360,000 loan, which was funded through one of Tremont’s correspondent relationships.

The 10 year, non-recourse loan provided for roughly 65% loan-to-value with a 6.4% interest rate.

The property is located within three miles of Interstate 476, which provides easy access to Philadelphia.

According to Chase, “It was tricky to navigate this loan closing through the turbulence of the current capital markets. Strict and ever evolving underwriting criteria resulted in a $300,000 shortfall in loan proceeds.

"A creative structured was devised which enabled the sponsor to borrow the additional funds as an unsecured personal loan from an affiliate lender.”

Chase also added, “At rate lock interest rates had fallen 18 basis points below the sponsor-approved pricing. Legally, the lender could have added it to their spread, but instead the reduction was passed through to the borrower resulting in interest savings of $168,000 over the life of the loan.”

Tremont Realty Capital, LLC is a national real estate investment and advisory firm, which makes direct debt and equity investments and provides institutional advisory services.

Direct programs include high leverage bridge loans, short and long term mezzanine loans and equity capital.

The Annapolis office of Tremont Realty Capital is located at 101 Log Canoe Circle, Suite F, Stevensville, MD 21666. The phone number is 410.604.1744 and the fax number is 410.604.1742. You can visit Tremont on the Internet at


Aimee Munsey, Senior Associate, Marketing & Communications, Tremont Realty Capital,
The Prudential Tower, 800 Boylston Street, 45th Floor, Boston, MA 02199. p: 617.867.0700 x784. f: 617.867.0077.

John Chase, 410.604.1744

GVA Advantis Negotiates Land Sale in Santa Rosa Beach, FL

PANAMA CITY, FL – (Feb. 25, 2009) – GVA Advantis is pleased to announce the sale of
10.6 acres of land along Highway 98 in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.

Jason Carnes, (middle right photo) Associate
Director of GVA Advantis’ Panama City office, represented Windcrest Development, Orlando,
and Publix Supermarkets in the transaction that closed late last year.

The land is being developed into a Publix-anchored retail center that should be completed late in the third quarter of 2009.

The property also includes two available outparcels available. Publix will occupy nearly 40,000 square feet of space in the new center, called Publix at South Walton, and an additional 17,000 square feet of retail space is planned. Carnes has the exclusive listing assignment for the retail space.

GVA Advantis Orlando Awarded 5900 Lake Ellenor Drive Sale Listing
ORLANDO, FL – GVA Advantis is pleased to announce that Lisa Bailey, (bottom left photo) senior director of office and industrial services, has been awarded the exclusive listing assignment of the 128,000 SF class A office building located at 5900 Lake Ellenor Drive in Orlando Central Park.

The property is currently occupied by the corporate offices of Darden Restaurants, Inc., the world's largest full-service owned and operated restaurant company with nearly $6.7 billion in annual sales.

The property is one of several in Florida owned by D Group Equities North America, Inc., based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. D Group also owns Jacksonville’s Midtown Centre, a 32-building office park with over 735,000 square feet.

Darden is relocating later this year to its new 450,000 square-foot campus being built in at the intersection of John Young Parkway and Central Florida Parkway in South Orlando. D Group plans modest renovations at the Lake Ellenor property to prepare it for multiple tenants. It should be ready for occupancy in the first quarter of 2010.

Media Contact: Shelli Browning, 255 South Orange Avenue, Suite 750. Orlando, FL 32801. 407.999.4775, Email: