Tuesday, April 7, 2009

General Growth Properties Stock Price Rise Puzzles Wall Street

NEW YORK, NY, April 7, 2009—Wall Street today is grappling with its biggest little mystery in months: What is triggering debt-loaded General Growth Properties’ stock price to jump 100 percent in the last 17 days?

The common stock of the nation’s second biggest shopping center developer was trading at $1.14 at noon today. On March 21 of this year, the stock was trading at 57 cents.

The stock began its flirtatious climb Friday, April 3, when it closed at 72 cents. On Monday, April 6, near the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange, the stock was trading at 98 cents, up 37 percent. It closed at $1.

The stock has climbed from a 52-week low of 24 cents on Nov. 12, 2009. Its 52-week high came on May 16, 2008 when it reached $44.23 per share.

The stock rise is particularly puzzling to knowledgeable Wall Street analysts because Chicago-based General Growth and its subsidiary, The Rouse Co. of Columbia, MD, are struggling under a combined debt load approaching $10 billion, according to previous company disclosures and as previously reported by Real Estate Channel.

General Growth CEO Adam Metz himself has alluded to a possible Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing if company lenders couldn’t or wouldn’t extend GGP’s outstanding loans. The company itself is solvent, with about $168 million in ready cash on hand.

Metz previously disclosed major company lenders already have agreed to wait until Dec. 31 of this year for payment on about 40 percent of $2.6 billion in past-due loans.

Now some Wall Street insiders are hinting General Growth officials may have quietly obtained further loan extensions in the past couple of days and that rumor may have triggered the stock’s buoyancy.

The stock price rise has even perplexed General Growth officials themselves.

In a prepared statement, the company said that “as a result of the unusual market activity” in the company’s stock price, the New York Stock Exchange asked GGP to “issue a public statement indicating whether there are any corporate developments that might explain the unusual activity.”

The company said in its statement it is “not aware of any corporate developments” that could have pushed up the stock price so quickly.

The NYSE often asks companies for similar public clarifications when their stock’s share price moves swiftly, up or down, on the Big Board.
The NYSE asks for the clarifications because it wants to ensure that all market players have access, at the same time, to all information and developments that might be moving a specific stock.

Developer Launches City-Wide Competition to Design Public Mural in Hell’s Kitchen, NY

Prizes Include $20,000 Stipend, Art Show and Private Consultation with an Art Dealer

NEW YORK, NY, April 7, 2009, (Business Wire)--Calling all artists!

New York City developer Alchemy Properties invites local artists to enter a mural design competition to create a mural that will be displayed on the side of its newest development, Griffin Court Condominium,(top right photo) located at 800 Tenth Ave.

The winning artist will receive a $20,000 stipend, an art show hosted by Alchemy Properties at the building to display the artist’s works, a private consultation with a top art dealer, and a permanent display of the artist’s work in the building’s lobby.

To participate, applicants are asked to submit a scale sketch of the proposed mural, a 500-word description of their vision for the design and its impact on the neighborhood, as well as a resume and portfolio of past artwork. The deadline for entries is July 15, 2009.

“This is a great opportunity for an artist to create an art fixture for public display, and an ever-lasting artistic presence in the community,” said Kenneth S. Horn, president of Alchemy Properties, Inc.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is something that a private developer has never undertaken before in New York City. We are doing this not only to give a talented local artist an opportunity to display their work, but also to enhance the beauty of the neighborhood and support the arts.”

Proposals will be reviewed by a panel of judges, including the chair of Columbia University’s Visual Arts department, Gregory Amenoff, (middle left photo) Art Market Monitor editor and New York Magazine contributor Marion Maneker,(middle right photo) and art dealer Deborah Davis.

The winning mural will be announced in August 2009 and, once completed, will be displayed on two large exterior walls measuring 1,800 sq ft. (31 ft. by 66 ft.) and 4,700 sq ft. (59 ft. by 83 ft.), facing Tenth Avenue. The mural competition is sponsored by Sam Flax, a top New York City art store, which will provide the supplies to create the winning mural.

To enter, please visit http://www.alchemy-properties.com/ to download the application form and a high-resolution image of the proposed site for the mural.

Entries can be submitted digitally to muralcompetition@alchemy-properties.com or via mail c/o Alchemy Properties, 200 Madison Avenue, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10016. For more information on the competition, please call 212-683-0044.

About Alchemy Properties Inc.

Founded in 1990, Alchemy Properties Inc.'s mission is to develop real estate in New York metropolitan areas that are historically or architecturally significant.
Alchemy has made 23 acquisitions in the New York City metropolitan area since 1996.
As principal, it has developed over 1,000 apartments and is currently developing the following new condominium projects: 462 West 58th Street, 800 Tenth Avenue, 125 West 21st Street, and 50 West 15th Street in Manhattan.

Contact: Quinn & Co., Jessica Forman, 212-868-1900 x246, jforman@quinnandco.com

Texas Now Brightest Star in National Realty Values, Says Lewis Realty Advisors

HOUSTON--(Business Wire))--Texas property values have not suffered the serious declines that have swept over the real estate markets on the east and west coasts, according to Lewis Realty Advisors, one of the nation’s leading eminent domain consultants and real estate advisory firms.

“Texas property values did not soar as high as what we saw in California and Florida earlier in this decade, and the recent declines in Texas real estate are also moderate,” said David Lewis, (top right photo) chief executive officer of Lewis Realty Advisors.

Realty values in the Lone Star State are outperforming other states partly because supply and demand have maintained a reasonable balance. “The Port of Houston enjoyed its ninth record year in 2008 despite Hurricane Ike,” said Jim Edmonds, a national leader in government counseling and consultant for Lewis Realty Advisors.

(26-story Bank of America Building, Austin, TX, top left photo)

Texas leads the nation in job growth and Houston, Austin, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Dallas were recently named the top 5 healthiest home building markets in the nation by Builder magazine.

“The state of Texas has a completely different outlook in 2009, compared to where we were 20 years ago in 1989,” Lewis said.

“In the 1980s, federal bank regulators had seized our savings and loan institutions and property was sold off for a dime on the dollar.”
“In the 1980s, Texas was overbuilt, thousands of jobs were being lost and oil went to $8 a barrel. Texas was first to go into decline then and the last to rebound in 1990s,” Lewis said. “Today, Texas is a more secure location.”

Today, as values are placed on Texas property, it is critical that Texas real estate is not incorrectly diminished because of the declines in other parts of the nation, Lewis said. In this same vein, many out-of-state banks have failed to finance excellent Texas ventures because of concerns about the national economy, even though Texas is in better condition.

(Downtown Houston office buildings, middle left photo)

“Whether it’s federal banking regulators insisting on a mark-down of real estate asset values, the state government undertaking an eminent domain condemnation, or a local appraisal for property taxes, Texas realty must be valued with fairness,” said Jim Julian of Lewis Realty Advisors.

Other threats to property owners loom as federal stimulus funds are spent for expansion of roadways, transportation systems or energy easements. These projects will require property to be taken through eminent domain.

“Our firm believes eminent domain must be undertaken with complete transparency and full disclosure of all the facts by the entity with the power of condemnation,” Lewis said. “The government has vast power and it must diligently follow the American Constitution.”

Lewis is a founding board member of the Harris County Appraisal District, a former member of the City of Houston Planning Commission and a past president of the Houston Chapter of the Appraisal Institute.

Fellow consultant, Jim Edmonds, is a former assistant to Governor John Connally and Houston Mayor Louie Welch, and has also served in leadership for various charitable and public institutions including the Port of Houston, Texas’ major Port Authority.

Julian, who has been a member of the Appraisal Institute since 1965, was also an instructor for the International Society of Real Estate Appraisers, and served in leadership roles for the Appraisal Institute.

Contact: Lewis Realty Advisors, David Lewis, 713-461-1466, DLewis@LewisRealty.com

World’s Largest Ramada Hotel Furthers Brand’s Expansion in China

PARSIPPANY, N.J. (April 7, 2009) – Ramada Worldwide, one of the world’s leading international hotel chains with nearly 900 properties around the globe, today announced its continued expansion with two new hotels in China: the world’s largest Ramada hotel, the 1000-room Ramada Hotel & Suites Boao in the Hainan province, and the 548-room Ramada Huangshan in the Anhui province.

Currently under development on Hainan Island (middle left photo) just off the south coast of mainland China, the upscale, 24-story Ramada Hotel & Suites property is expected to open in December 2010.

The all-new construction hotel is being developed by Hainan Baolian City (Boao) Company Ltd., a subsidiary of the Shanghai Baolian Real Estate Company, Ltd., which is also developing the 337-room Shanghai Wyndham Baolian. (bottom right photo)

The all new construction hotel will feature oversized rooms and suites, three full-service restaurants, a lobby bar, 1,150 square meters of meeting space, a swimming pool, gym and other recreational facilities.

The hotel is part of a larger plan by the developer to transform more than two square kilometers of the city’s ocean front real-estate into an upscale resort destination that will feature multiple retail and entertainment spaces.

Owned and operated by Huangshan Xinhui Investment Co., Ltd., the newly constructed eight-story Ramada Huangshan hotel is the Ramada brand’s first hotel in the Anhui province.

Located on the south bank of the Xin’an River, an area famous for the Yellow Mountains and other natural wonders, the property will feature oversized rooms and suites; a multi-lingual staff that is fluent in English, Japanese and Cantonese; a full-service restaurant specializing in Western cuisine; meeting and conference facilities capable of accommodating up to 600 guests; a fitness center and express check-out. All guest rooms and suites will feature 26” flat-screen televisions and free high-speed Internet access.

“The cities of Boao and Huangshan serve as key destinations for both business and leisure travelers,” said Tom Monahan, (top right photo) Wyndham Hotel Group executive vice president of international development. “With the addition of these hotels, the Ramada brand is well poised to capture the business of those travelers and maintain Wyndham Hotel Group’s position as the leading lodging franchisor in China.”

Wyndham Hotel Group, the world’s largest U.S. based hotel company in China, currently franchises over 170 hotels throughout China, 34 of which are a part of the Ramada brand.

Ramada Worldwide, a member of the Wyndham Hotel Group family of lodging brands, is a global chain of mid-and-upscale hotels with locations in key destinations throughout the world.

Wyndham Hotel Group, one of three principal components of Wyndham Worldwide Corporation (NYSE: WYN), encompasses over 7,000 hotels representing nearly 593,000 rooms under the Wyndham Hotels and Resorts®, Ramada®, Days Inn®, Super 8®, Wingate® by Wyndham, Baymont Inn & Suites®, Microtel Inns & Suites®, Hawthorn Suites®, Howard Johnson®, Travelodge®, Knights Inn® and AmeriHost Inn® brands.

All hotels are owned individually and operated independently or by Wyndham Hotel Management. Wyndham Hotel Group is based in Parsippany, N.J. For additional information or to make a reservation, please visit http://www.wyndhamworldwide.com/.

CONTACT: Christine Da Silva, +1 (973) 753-6590, Christine.DaSilva@WyndhamWorldwide.com

Terranova Corp. Signs 7 New Retail Leases

MIAMI BEACH, FL, April 7, 2009 – Showing strong performance in a challenging business environment, Terranova Corp. has signed seven new retail leases in the last sixty days, bringing valuable new tenants to several of its shopping centers.

Patagonia Deli Market has signed an 2,675-square foot, five-year lease on Miracle Mile, (top right photo)at 244 Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, where it will offer an open air style gourmet market selling for on and off premise consumption barbecue style meats, Argentinean wines, pastries and imported Latin American grocery items.

· Rob’s Bageland has signed a 4,518-square foot, five-year lease at Shops at San Marco, a Publix-anchored center at 13800 S. Jog Road in Delray Beach. This is the deli’s second location in Broward County where it is creating a following for its breakfast, lunch and dinner menu.
· Cine-It Burger and Grill has signed a 2,517-square foot, five-year lease at 11509 S. Dixie Highway, in the Suniland Shopping Center, (top left photo) where it will introduce its original restaurant concept: serving homemade burger meals and other favorites, while showing clips of popular films on large screen TVs.
· One Price Dry Cleaning has signed an 822-square foot, three-year lease also at Suniland, where it will offer professional, reliable and affordable dry cleaning services to the Pinecrest area.

· Nuevo Mundo Multiservices has signed a 1,600-square foot, five-year lease at Parkhill Plaza, a Winn Dixie anchored center at 9535 W. Flagler Street in Miami, where it will sell cellular phones and offer services that range from money transfers to Central and South America to U-Haul truck rentals.

· Pines Discount Pharmacy has signed a five-year, 987-square foot lease at Palm Johnson, a Winn Dixie anchored center at 9940 Johnson Street just north of Pines Boulevard in Pembroke Pines, where it will provide the personalized service of an independently owned pharmacy.

· Low Price Insurance has signed an 861-square foot, three-year lease at Palm Plaza, at 16801 NW 87th Avenue in Miami, where it will offer consumer and commercial insurance, document preparation for certain transactions and notary public services.

“With our leasing team’s creativity and hard work, we keep adding value to our properties, even in these tough times,” said Terranova executive vice president Mindy McIlroy. “In this economy, deals don’t fall on your lap, which makes me especially proud of our performance this year.