Monday, June 1, 2009

Columbus Retail Sector Outperforms Other Ohio Metros

COLUMBUS, OH, June 1, 2009 — In the first quarter, Columbus continued to affirm its stature as the top-performing retail market among the state’s three primary metro areas, according to a second-quarter Retail Research Report by Marcus & Millichap, the nation’s largest real estate investment services firm.

(Downtown Columbus, top right photo)

Positive net absorption was posted in Columbus during that time, while retailers in Cincinnati and Cleveland gave back space.

“While fundamentals have been fairly stable, investment activity is subdued,” says Michael Glass, (middle left photo) regional manager of the Columbus office of Marcus & Millichap.

“Despite the current slowdown, the market’s status as a growing Midwestern metro with a diverse employment base and high incomes will generate interest once the economy stabilizes.”

Following are some of the most significant aspects of the Columbus Retail Research Report:

· Employers in Columbus are forecast to cut 19,000 workers this year, a 2 percent decrease. In 2008, 13,400 positions were eliminated in the market. The projected decline in employment will put pressure on incomes and contribute to a drop in retail spending of approximately 5 percent.

· Builders will deliver 500,000 square feet of space in 2009, down from 750,000 square feet last year. Projects scheduled for completion will expand retail property stock 0.5 percent. Overall, stock will decrease with the demolition of City Center Mall in the second quarter.
· The vacancy rate is expected to decline 110 basis points in 2009 to 10.1 percent as a result of stock removal.

· This year, asking rents are expected to fall 2.1 percent to $12.35 per square foot, and effective rents are forecast to slip 3.9 percent to $10.52 per square foot. In 2008, asking and effective rents declined 0.2 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.

For a copy of the complete Columbus Retail Research Report, as well as reports on other markets nationwide, visit our website at

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

HFF secures $6.4M financing for Long Beach, CA multifamily community

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Los Angeles office of HFF (Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P.) announced today that it has secured $6.4 million in financing for Esther Ridge Apartments, a 78-unit multifamily community in Long Beach, California.

Working on behalf of Westland Industries Group, HFF managing director Mark Wintner (top left photo) placed the 10-year, fixed-rate loan with Wachovia Multifamily Capital, Inc. – FNMA (Fannie Mae).

Westland Industries Group is a diversified real estate development and management organization headquartered in Long Beach, California.

Esther Ridge Apartments is located at 630-800 East Esther Avenue close to the Long Beach and San Diego Freeways in Long Beach.

The 100 percent occupied property has 20 one-bedroom/one-bath units averaging 525 square feet each, 40 two-bedroom/one-bath units averaging 750 square feet each, eight two-bedroom/two-bath units averaging 832 square feet each and 10 three-bedroom/one-bath units averaging 880 square feet each.

“This is the first loan with Wachovia’s Multifamily Capital and Westland. Wachovia was able to aggressively underwrite the asset and provide 77 percent loan-to-value at a rate of 5.53 percent fixed for 10 years,” said Wintner.


Mark Wintner, HFF Managing Director, 310 407 2100,

Kristen Murphy, HFF Associate Director, Marketing, 713 852 3500,

Wyndham Hotel Group Appoints International Business Leaders

PARSIPPANY, N.J. (June 1, 2009) – Wyndham Hotel Group, the world’s largest hotel company with approximately 7,000 hotels around the world, today announced the appointments of hospitality industry leaders Ken Greene (top right photo) and Michael Poynter to oversee the company’s efforts outside of the Americas, further exemplifying the Hotel Group’s commitment to its portfolio in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific (APAC).

As of March 31st, 2009, the company has a combined total of nearly 500 hotels across both regions. In the past year, Wyndham Hotel Group opened 78 additional hotels, including 23 hotels in EMEA and 55 hotels in the APAC region.

“Strategic global growth and operational excellence are top priorities for Wyndham Hotel Group and therefore, we are committed to appointing the best and most talented leaders who will continue to build our business and help ensure that our stakeholders want to be with us and stay with us,” said Eric Danziger, (top left photo) Wyndham Hotel Group president and chief executive officer.
“The experience, dedication and passion that Ken and Michael bring to our global operations are what our company and brands need to flourish.”

Greene will serve as president and managing director for the APAC region and will be based in Wyndham Hotel Group’s Hong Kong office. Poynter will be senior vice president and managing director for the EMEA region and will be based in the company’s London office.

Additional information is available at

CONTACT: Christine Da Silva, +1 (973) 753-6590

Steve Mellon Joins Grubb & Ellis as Vice President, Director, Self Storage Group

SANTA ANA, Calif. (June 1, 2009) – Grubb & Ellis Company (NYSE: GBE), a leading real estate services and investment firm, today announced that Steve Mellon, (top right photo) an expert on the self storage industry, has joined the company as vice president, director, Self Storage Group.

Effective immediately, he will lead Grubb & Ellis’ Self Storage Group, providing real estate services to the self storage industry. Mellon will be based in the company’s Houston office.

The hire reinforces Grubb & Ellis’ strategy of strengthening and expanding its practice groups as part of its overall objective to provide customized solutions that meet the specific needs of its clients, providing deeper specialization and collaboration across service lines and geography.

“One of Grubb & Ellis’ core strategies is to move deeper into the world of practice groups to provide a higher level of expertise to clients that may require different strategies or execution standards to facilitate their business needs,” said Greg Coxon, president, Transaction Services.

“Steve brings to Grubb & Ellis an established set of clients and a profound understanding of the real estate needs of self storage companies. I am confident that with his expertise, Grubb & Ellis’ Self Storage Group will be in good hands.”

For further information regarding Grubb & Ellis’ Self Storage Group, please contact Mellon at 713.599.5130.

Julia McCartney, 714.975.2230,
Erin Mays, 312.698.6735,

Hodges Ward Elliott to Introduce New Marketing Concepts in Response to Change in Hotel Real Estate Dynamics

ATLANTA, GA, June 1, 2009—Hodges Ward Elliott, Inc. (HWE), the nation’s premier hotel brokerage and investment banking firm, today announced that it will introduce new proprietary marketing concepts to respond to the change in hotel real estate dynamics and the expected market shift in hotel real estate transactions over the next six to 24 months.

Hotel veteran Bill Linehan (top right photo) has joined the firm to spearhead the new marketing and new business development program.

In addition, the company announced that Chris Martin has joined its London office.

“We see similar opportunities in the coming months that we experienced when the RTC came into being in the early 1990s,” said Mark Elliott, (middle right photo) principal of Hodges Ward Elliott.

“We responded then by introducing the next generation of highly creative and information-rich sales and marketing documents that provided better information to the investor market.

"We believe the stagnation of transactions caused by the current credit crisis is creating another ‘perfect storm’ that will require new tools and techniques, as well as introduce a new generation of buyers.”

Elliott noted that a variety of capital approaches are recalibrating the playing field. “We are consulting with a number of new private investors that are gearing up for a surge in acquisitions.

"We also are working closely with existing clients to help crystallize their capital strategies. This combination, which includes new debt and equity structures, demands new approaches to the hotel investment banking and transaction market.”

“In our nearly 35 years as a firm through numerous real estate cycles, we know that the first-in investor will generate the highest returns,” said Bill Hodges, (top left photo) principal of HWE.

“However, those investors will require data, insight, strategies and a strong courage of conviction.
“Over the past three years, our firm completed more than $12 billion in transactions and our goal is to continue to be the industry-leader,” he said. “The largest transfer of wealth in a generation has begun and it will affect the hotel industry well into the future.”

“The current economic crisis has created a new paradigm, and we expect the next 12 to 24 months to be game-changing as the credit crisis has brought more rigor to the process,” said Bob Webster, (bottom right photo) HWE managing director.

“Although there has been only nominal transaction activity during the first half of 2009, prospective buyers are becoming more engaged and decisive in their acquisition initiatives. On the sell side, we are listing a number of portfolios and strategic individual assets, which we believe is a leading indicator of the next series of transactions.”

Contact: Jerry Daly or Chris Daly, (703) 435-6293

Multifamily Markets Getting Loans Ahead of Commercial Properties, RECI Says

CHICAGO, IL, June 1, 2009 -The Real Estate Capital Institute reports today late spring realty capital markets are starting to show more signs of life, although caution is the word.

The agencies continue to provide liquidity to the multifamily markets, while banks and life companies cherry-pick commercial property loans.

(Mallory Square Apartments, Miami, FL, top left photo)

Focal market dynamics include the following:

* Building activity is winding down to trickle levels, particularly in office and commercial construction, which includes multi-tenant retail space. The economic downturn and tight credit conditions dampen any prospects for non-residential construction, at least for the next couple of years as oversupply imbalances prevail. Moreover, lower prices for commercial real estate as acquisitions are much more viable than development.

* Bank stress tests are succeeding in mildly boosting confidence by persuading investors that no more major negative news is on the horizon. In fact, many banks scored higher than expected.

(Regal Brook Apartments, Dallas, TX, top right photo)

* Credit remains tight as a lack of confidence plagues bond ratings. Investors still feel that the Rating Agencies are miscalculating risk with more defaults on the horizon.

* By historical standards, real estate debt pricing is still very widely priced in comparison to treasuries. Highest-grade corporate bonds are trading as low as 100 to 200 basis points and average investment-grade corporate debt is priced in the 450 basis point range.

(Stonebrook Apartments, Sarasota, FL, middle left photo)
Meanwhile, the most favorable pricing for multifamily properties is below 300 basis points; commercial properties start at 450 basis points reflecting the perceived tenancy risk for that type.

(Cedarcrest Apartments, Lexington, SC, bottom right photo)

* As treasury yields spiked upward most of the month, some lenders are holding down, or reducing spreads by 20 to 30 bps, to maintain reasonable levels of loan production for the highest-quality properties.

* More assets are repriced and lenders are unloading impaired legacy assets at discounts of 30% or more. More assets are expected to enter the market during the remainder of the year as valuation and mark-to-market issues are synchronized.

According to Jeanne Peck, an advisory board member of the Real Estate Capital Institute, "sellers without a dire need to for immediate liquidity are taking a 'wait and see' position. Today's indecision could lead totomorrow's panic to sell against upcoming CMBS and bank loan maturities without refinancing options."

(Union Square Apartments, Manhattan, NYC, bottom left photo)

CONTACT: Nat Zvislo, Research Director, Toll Free 800-994-RECI (7324),

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