Wednesday, March 25, 2009

National Economic Slowdown Fuels Alternative Finance Solutions Demand

AIC Ventures Acquires $37 Million in Real Estate Assets and Prepares for More Nationwide

AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Austin, Texas-based AIC Ventures, L.P., an investment fund manager providing alternative finance solutions to middle-market companies nationwide, has completed three commercial real estate sale-leaseback transactions, representing 1.3 million square feet of commercial real estate and totaling $37.2 million in value.

“We’re seeing an increase in demand for sale-leasebacks as a strategic capital solution for middle-market companies,” said David Steinwedell, (top right photo) managing partner, AIC Ventures. “This year we’re investing $350 million and actively pursuing the acquisition of real estate assets nationwide.”

In recent weeks, AIC Ventures has acquired real estate assets, and entered into long-term, triple net leases, with three companies in different regions of the country:
Hollywood, Florida-based St. Ives, a print and design firm; Charlotte, North Carolina-based Otto Industries, a leader in the solid waste container industry; and Chicago-based The Great Escape, an indoor/outdoor recreational and leisure product retailer.

In 2008, AIC Ventures nearly doubled its transactions to $250 million with its seventh fund. In each transaction, the company acquired the facility and property according to the original terms outlined.

The capital infusion is used by companies to strengthen their corporate balance sheet fundamentals, fund growth initiatives or acquisitions and/or support other strategic investments. With fewer restrictions and requirements in comparison to more traditional financing options, sale-leasebacks offer sellers flexible capital that can be redeployed at the company’s discretion.

“With the credit markets still tight, our sale-leaseback solutions offer companies a strategic resource to further their growth and pursue market opportunities,” said Peter Carlsen, (top left photo) managing partner and president, AIC Ventures.

Founded in 1990, AIC Ventures has acquired and entered into long-term leases with over 100 commercial real estate assets owned by middle-market companies. The firm’s total transaction value is nearly $900 million.

AIC Ventures is a leading provider of capital to middle-market companies. With nearly $900 million in completed transactions, AIC Ventures structures innovative corporate finance solutions for companies facing limited, short-term or expensive alternatives for capital.

The company has closed more than 100 transactions in 28 states. Whether sellers need to close quickly, have private equity interests, environmental or other challenges, AIC Ventures can help.

For more information, visit

Contact: Melissa Anthony, 512-329-2766

Starwood Hotels & Resorts to Relocate Its Luxury and Design-Led Brands to New Headquarters in SoHo

Hotel Giant to Create Design, Branding and Retail Think Tank
Merging with the Bliss and Remède Spa Headquarters

NEW YORK, NY, Mar. 25, 2009--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) today announced plans to relocate its Manhattan-based luxury and design-led brands from Chelsea to a new headquarters space downtown on Varick Street, where SoHo (top right photo) and Tribeca meet.

Global marketing, brand management and design teams for W Hotels, Le Méridien, St. Regis and The Luxury Collection will join Starwood’s Bliss and Remède Spa teams in a redesigned space meant to inspire creativity and innovation and serve as a design, branding and retail think tank.

“This move is illustrative of Starwood’s commitment to design, innovation and brand building,” said Phil McAveety, Chief Brand Officer, Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
“As we continue to attract and inspire the best and the brightest creative talent, we look forward to being part of a vibrant community that appreciates, cultivates and inspires our brands’ passion points including fashion, entertainment, art and design.”

VM Design Studio, a New York-based collective of renowned architects and designers, will lead the renovation of Bliss and Remède Spa’s existing 20,000 square foot office space located at 75 Varick Street.

When the redesign is completed in September, 2009, Starwood will unveil a modern office space for 150 associates, which will also serve as showcase space to immerse owners, developers, designers and creative agencies in Starwood’s signature luxury and lifestyle brands, which continue to meaningfully grow around the world.

VM Design Studio’s design portfolio includes work on the world headquarters of Pixar Animation Studios in California and the West Elm corporate headquarters in New York, in addition to several St. Regis properties, including four new St. Regis hotels currently under construction in Hawaii, The Bahamas, Puerto Rico and Deer Valley, Utah.

“In addition to establishing a creative hub, we are excited to merge space with our Bliss and Remède Spa brands which work closely with our brands to develop signature spas and bath amenities in our hotels around the globe,” said McAveety.

“We are, of course, sensitive to the current economic environment. By consolidating the two offices we will drive efficiencies which will offset the investment needed to create this new brand and design space.”

While the space is under construction, the design, marketing and brand management teams for these brands will temporarily move from their current space in West Chelsea’s Starrett-Lehigh Building to Starwood’s global corporate headquarters in White Plains, NY.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with more than 940 properties in approximately 97 countries and 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties.

Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, and the recently launched Aloft®, and Element SM. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts.

K.C. Kavanagh, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, 914-640-8339

Interstate Hotels & Resorts’ CEO Thomas F. Hewitt Named Chairman

ARLINGTON, VA—Interstate Hotels & Resorts (OTC: IHRI), a leading hotel real estate investor and the nation’s largest independent management company, today announced that Thomas F. Hewitt, (top right photo) chief executive officer, has been named chairman of the board.

He will succeed Paul W. Whetsell, (bottom left photo) who will step down as chairman and as a member of the board of directors, effective March 31.

“This transition is part of our regular succession planning that we’ve been working on for some time,” Whetsell said. “Tom has a long and distinguished career with Interstate and is the natural choice to continue to lead the company as chairman and chief executive officer. As CEO, he has compiled an impressive record over the past four years as we have grown and diversified the company.”

“As a founder of CapStar Hotel Company, one of our predecessor companies, Paul’s vision and entrepreneurial spirit were instrumental in the formation and growth of our company,” Hewitt noted. “He remains a strong supporter and significant shareholder of Interstate.”

Interstate Hotels & Resorts has ownership interests in 57 hotels and resorts, including seven wholly owned assets.
Together with these properties, the company and its affiliates manage a total of 225 hospitality properties with more than 46,000 rooms in 37 states, the District of Columbia, Russia, Mexico, Belgium, Canada and Ireland.
Interstate Hotels & Resorts also has contracts to manage 16 to be built hospitality properties with approximately 4,000 rooms.
For more information about Interstate Hotels & Resorts, visit the company’s Web site:

Contact: Bruce Riggins, Chief Financial Officer, (703) 387-3344

Marcus & Millichap Sells Goodnoe's Corner Development in Newtown, PA for $14.87M

NEWTON, PA – Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, the nation’s largest real estate investment services firm, has arranged the sale of Goodnoe’s Corner, (top right photo) a Class A, 35,653-square foot retail and apartment development in Newtown.

The selling price of $14.87 million represents $417 per square foot.

Jeffrey W. Marquis Sr., Thomas Gorman, and Matthew Gorman in Marcus & Millichap’s Philadelphia office represented the seller, a local developer, and also represented the Philadelphia-based buyer.

“We have worked closely with the developer of Goodnoe’s Corner for more than two years,” says Marquis. “Marcus & Millichap became involved during the center’s development and we remained integral right up to the ultimate closing.

"The timeline of this development project and the marketing of the asset forced us to work through an extremely challenging retail market.

"Construction delays caused challenges as the market continued to deteriorate, but we ultimately negotiated a price per square foot well above the market average in this region.”

Located at 290 North Sycamore St., the two-story Goodnoe’s Corner development consists of six well-positioned buildings at the signaled intersection of Highway 532 and Highway 332.

On-site parking is complemented by off-street parking and new bricked walkways, which encourage foot traffic and to drive-in customers.

The main tenants include Rite Aid, Firstrust Bank and the Green Parrot Inn, an Irish pub. The remaining seven inline retail tenants are a mix of national, regional and local retailers. Four luxury apartments are located on the second floor.

Goodnoe’s Corner is situated in the heart of Newtown in a densely populated area with more than 104,000 people within a five-mile radius. The median household income in the area exceeds $102,000.

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

StarPoint Commercial Properties Purchases The Tower in Downtown Fort Worth’s Sundance Square

The High-Profile Retail and Office Tower is Part of a 37-Story, Mixed Use Development

FORT WORTH, TX-(BUSINESS WIRE)--In proving that there’s equity available for good deals despite a tough economic market, Beverly Hills, Calif.-based StarPoint Commercial Properties, a leading real estate company that specializes in the acquisition, redevelopment and repositioning of commercial properties, has purchased The Tower Complex, (top right photo) located at 500 Throckmorton Street in Downtown Fort Worth, Texas.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The 182,000-square-foot famed mixed-use retail and office development, which also includes 253 parking spaces, is part of the Sundance Square, (middle left photo) Fort Worth's premier entertainment and cultural center located in the center of downtown.

“We are proud to be the owners of such a successful project in one of the tightest commercial submarkets in the country,” said Evan Farahnik, principal of StarPoint Commercial Properties.

“We were able to acquire a prominent well-performing asset with the potential for significant upside through the creation of additional rentable square feet, and capitalizing on immediate operational efficiencies.”

Indeed, the prominence of the property is spelled out in the submarket occupancy which stands at 98% for retail and 95% for office. In addition, the condominium towers’ residential units are 98% sold out.

The Tower Complex consists of two buildings, The Tower and The Annex, and totals 182,000 current leasable square feet combined for office and retail.

StarPoint Commercial Properties LLC represented itself in the transaction. The seller, TLC Green Property Associates of Chicago was represented by Tom Salanty, executive director in the Dallas office of Cushman & Wakefield of Texas, Inc.

About StarPoint Commercial Properties

StarPoint Commercial Properties – a real estate company based in Beverly Hills, Calif. with an office in Dallas, specializes in the acquisition, redevelopment and repositioning of commercial properties located within high barrier to entry, infill and high population growth markets throughout the nation.

The firm, which has properties in 10 states, has been involved in the commercial real estate market since 1995, has closed transactions close to a billion dollars of real estate and currently operates a portfolio in excess of 5 million square feet of rentable space.

The Hoyt Organization, Erik Hamilton,,
Leeza Hoyt,, 310-373-0103