Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cousins Properties Declares Third Quarter Common and Preferred Stock Dividends

ATLANTA, GA-- Cousins Properties Incorporated (NYSE: CUZ) announced today that its Board of Directors has declared a quarterly dividend of $0.15 per share, payable September 16, 2009, to common stockholders of record as of August 3, 2009.

The dividend will be payable in a combination of cash and shares of the Company’s common stock with the cash component of the dividend not to exceed 33.34% of the aggregate dividend amount.

“We made the decision to reduce our quarterly dividend to $0.15 based on our current estimate of taxable income,” said Larry Gellerstedt, (top right photo) Chief Executive Officer of Cousins Properties.

“The reduced dividend level, combined with the stock component of the dividend, will allow us to retain significant capital. We anticipate significant investment opportunities coming out of this downturn and continue to take the steps necessary to ensure that Cousins is well positioned to take advantage of those opportunities.”

Contact: Cameron Golden, 404-407-1984, Director of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications,

Arbor Closes $2,239,700 Fannie Mae DUS® Loan for Riverside Townhomes Coop in Riverside, MO

Uniondale, NY (July 15, 2009) – Arbor Commercial Funding, LLC (“Arbor”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Arbor Commercial Mortgage, LLC, announced the recent funding of a $2,239,700 loan under the Fannie Mae DUS® product line for the 116-unit complex known as Riverside Townhomes Coop in Riverside, MO.

The 30-year loan amortizes on a 30-year schedule and carries a note rate of 7.23 percent.

The loan was originated by Michael Jehle, (top right photo) Midwest Regional Director, in Arbor’s full-service Bloomfield Hills, MI lending office.
“The members of this cooperative were interested in tapping their cash equity to invest in significant capital improvements to their property,” said Jehle.
“We were able to fully meet their expectations, including the decoupling of their 236 mortgage for maximum proceeds.”
Contact: Ingrid Principe,

Cuhaci & Peterson Architects launches new website to promote energy conservation and smart commercial design

ORLANDO, FL— Cuhaci & Peterson Architects LLC, the Baldwin Park-based architectural firm, has launched a new user-friendly website that offers dozens of pages of information about company projects, services and people.

Lonnie Peterson, (top right photo) chairman of Cuhaci & Peterson Architects LLC, said he hopes to utilize the website to promote big changes in the way commercial facilities are designed.

“We are seeing a profound evolution in energy-efficient design that incorporates everything from low-energy lighting to more functional space,” said Peterson.

“Architecture is entering a new era where function, efficiency and durability are on par with exciting design, and that translates to substantially more value for the developer, the user and the customer,” Peterson said.

The company’s new website can be visited at

For more information, contact:
Lonnie Peterson, Chairman Cuhaci & Peterson Architects, LLC, 407-661-9100
Jed Downs, President Cuhaci & Peterson Architects, LLC, 407-661-9100

Larry Vershel or Beth Payan, Larry Vershel Communications, 407-644-4142

Grubb & Ellis Presents U.S. Office Market First Look: 2009-Q2

SANTA ANA, CA--Bob Bach (top right photo), senior vice president and chief economist, Grubb & Ellis Co., takes a look at the national office market for the second quarter of 2009. He notes:

--The office market has settled into an aggressive softening cycle, the length of which will depend on when job losses dissipate.
-- The vacancy rate ended the second quarter at 16.6 percent, an increase of 100 basis points from the first quarter and 180 basis points since the start of the year. These movements are on par with the 2001-03 softening cycle during which vacancy rose by an average of 85 basis points per quarter.

--Manhattan, the New York Outer Boroughs and Long Island are holding onto their sub-10 percent vacancy rates, but spiking availability rates and sublease inventories suggest they will lose their grip within the next quarter or two.

Sixteen markets posted vacancy rates above 20 percent, double the number from the first quarter and quadruple the number from the year-ago quarter.

More than one-quarter of Phoenix’s office inventory is empty, followed closely by Detroit and California’s Inland Empire.
--Net absorption has recorded steep negatives this year at -19.3 million square feet in the second quarter and -18.2 million square feet in the first quarter. As with the vacancy rate, this performance is on par with the losses recorded in the thick of the softening cycle earlier this decade.

-- New York City (Wall Street, middle right photo) led all other markets on the downside by giving up 3.3 million square feet of occupied space in the second quarter, i.e. negative absorption.
Markets posting between negative 1 and 2 million square feet included Northern and Central New Jersey, Chicago and Los Angeles, a sign of how the recession has spread across all regions. A small handful of markets did manage to post positive absorption, led by Seattle (bottom left night skyline photo) with 561,000 square feet absorbed in the second quarter.

--The construction pipeline is emptying quickly; space under construction plummeted by more than 18 million square feet to end the quarter at 48 million square feet, its lowest level in four years.

-- A hopeful sign was that the inventory of available sublease space added a negligible 1.4 million square feet, by far the smallest quarterly gain since the market began to soften. In each of the prior two quarters, sublease space had increased by an average of 10.2 million square feet.

The sudden leveling off is one more indicator that the financial panic of last fall and spring has subsided. The sublease inventory totaled 113 million square feet at the end of the second quarter, its highest level since 2004-Q1 but well below the prior peak of 146 million square feet recorded in 2002-Q1.

--Asking rental rates, typically the last real estate indicator to register a change in the cycle, have turned lower. Year over year, the average rates across the U.S. are down by 3.2 percent for Class A space and 3.7 percent for Class B space.

The average effective rate, however, is down by 16 percent for all classes of space. In the early stages of a softening cycle, landlords and tenants typically negotiate over free rent, improvement allowances and other incentives that figure in the calculation of effective rates but do not impact asking rates. In the later stages of a softening cycle, asking rates finally begin to come down.


As mentioned at the beginning of this note, the length of the office market softening cycle depends on when job losses finally abate. The following sequence of events seems plausible:

§ GDP turns positive: 2nd half of 2009
§ Labor market bottoms out: mid-2010 but growth is negligible until 2011
§ Vacancies peak and begin to turn down: 1st half of 2011
§ Rents bottom out and begin to turn up: 2nd half of 2011
§ The strength of the office market recovery in 2011and beyond will depend on the strength of the labor market recovery, which most economists expect will be weak.

A forecast based on the loss of office jobs (information, finance and professional and business services excluding temporary positions) through the middle of next year suggests that the vacancy rate could rise above 20 percent in the first half of 2011 from its mid-2009 reading of 16.6 percent.

Asking and effective rental rates may decline another 10 percent before they reach bottom sometime in 2011. The erosion in net operating incomes during this period will put additional pressure on owners who are struggling to refinance their loans in tight capital markets.


Janice McDill
Vice President, Public & Investor Relations
Grubb & Ellis Company
500 West Monroe Street, Suite 2700, Chicago, IL 60661
Direct: 312.698.6707• Fax: 312.698.5941

Cushman & Wakefield Orlando Project Manager Tracy Thom-Palumbo earns LEED AP Certification

Orlando, FL -- Cushman & Wakefield Project Manager Tracy Thom-Palumbo (top right photo) has earned the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Professional Accreditation (LEED AP) designation.

Administered through the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED Accredited Professionals have demonstrated a thorough understanding of green building practices, and have the knowledge and skill set to successfully steward the LEED certification process for buildings and construction projects.

"Even in the down economy, we're seeing more interest in green practices all the time," says Thom-Palumbo.

"With the LEED AP certification, I will be able to assist clients in the LEED certification process of their projects, in addition to helping them design and build more healthful, durable, affordable and environmentally sound construction for commercial buildings."

Ms. Thom-Palumbo joins Industrial Brokerage Director, Lee Morris (bottom right photo who was designated as a LEED Accredited Professional in May.

Morris says that LEED standards help clients save money by identifying and magnifying efficiencies. "We’re in the process of establishing baselines for our clients which has allowed us to identify a lot of ‘low hanging fruit’ providing immediate, low-cost value.
As the economy improves, we can evolve these efficiencies into initiatives that are higher-cost, with a higher return on investment," Morris said.

Other C&W-Orlando associates in the process of acquiring their LEED AP designation include Office Associate Betsy Owens and Portfolio Manager Michael Agnew.

As the first real estate services firm in the country to commit to environmental Best Practices under a formal agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) Cushman & Wakefield is viewed as a leader in greening commercial real estate practices.

The Orlando branch of C&W is keeping step with this national policy by instituting a number of green initiatives, such as sponsorship for associates seeking the LEED AP designation.

Contact: Brook Hines, Tel: 407-541-4401,

Fitch: Gray Clouds Persist for Equity REITs Despite Rays of Sunshine

NEW YORK, NY--While recent financial market improvements are allowing equity REITs to execute opportunistic actions to reduce financial pressures, several challenges remain, according to Fitch Ratings in the latest edition of its 'REIT Report Quarterly'.

"Most REITs will need to address tenuous access to financing across the capital markets,’ said Managing Director and REIT group head Steven Marks. (top right photo)

"REITs are also contending with an unprecedented downturn in property markets, as indicated by increasing tenant defaults and reductions in net operating income."

Other potentially adverse developments awaiting equity REITs include the sizable overhang of debt maturities in 2011 and 2012 and limited visibility regarding net operating income capitalization rates, which continues to stress commercial property values. Many equity REITs will face challenges to maintain current rating levels.

During the second quarter of 2009, Fitch assigned a rating to SL Green Realty Corp and assigned a new security-specific rating to Westfield Group’s US$700 million debt issue.

While Fitch affirmed 11 REITs, Fitch also revised the Rating Outlook on six of these companies to Negative from Stable. Fitch downgraded nine REITs, with eight of the companies remaining either on Rating Watch Negative or with a Negative Outlook.

Fitch maintains a Negative Outlook for the U.S. Equity REIT sector, indicating an increased likelihood for downgrades or Negative Rating Watches/Outlooks.

Additionally, due to falling valuations and rents, and despite the fact that Fitch-rated issuers in this sector generally have liquidity surpluses, the rating outlook for European REITS is negative. However, individual issuer Outlooks and Watches are the best indicators of future rating direction.

Other items in this edition of Fitch's 'REIT Report Quarterly' include an overview of recent rating actions, summary of two special reports, seven market commentaries, and links to recent Fitch research.

The newsletter is available on the Fitch Ratings web site at '' under the following headers: Financial Institutions >> REITs >> Newsletters

Contacts: Steven Marks +1-212-908-9161, New York; Julian Crush +44 20 7682 7370, London; or Ben McCarthy +61 2 8256 0388, Sydney.

Media Relations: Sandro Scenga, New York, Tel: +1 212-908-0278, Email:;

Peter Fitzpatrick, London, Tel: +44 (0)20 44 20 7417 4364, London, Email:

HFF secures financing on behalf of Tower Management Company for northeastern New Jersey multifamily complex

FLORHAM PARK, NJ – The New Jersey office of HFF (Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P.) announced has arranged a $4.9 million refinancing on behalf of Tower Management Company for Tower Spring Gardens II, (top left photo) a multifamily complex in New Providence, New Jersey.

Working exclusively on behalf of the borrower, HFF senior managing director Tom Didio (middle right photo) placed the five-year, fixed-rate loan with a regional bank. Loan proceeds were used to take out an existing construction loan.
Tower Management Company focuses on acquiring underperforming multifamily properties in well-established markets in which it has utilized its expertise in property management and operations to increase cash flows and value.

Tower currently owns and operates more than 2,000 multifamily units in 21 garden communities in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Completed in 2008, Tower Spring Gardens II features 27 one-, two- and three-bedroom units averaging 1,300 square feet each.

The fully-leased property is situated on a 2.5-acre site at 851 Springfield Avenue across from the New Jersey Transit’s New Providence train station in the northeastern New Jersey town of New Providence.

The borrower also owns the adjacent property, Tower Spring Gardens I.

Thomas R. Didio, HFF Senior Managing Director, (973) 549-2000,
Kristen M. Murphy, HFF Associate Director, Marketing, (713) 852-3500,

National Retail Properties, Inc. Declares Common Dividend

ORLANDO, FL, July 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Board of Directors of National Retail Properties, Inc. (NYSE: NNN), a real estate investment trust, declared a quarterly dividend of 37.5 cents per share payable August 14, 2009 to common shareholders of record on July 31, 2009.

The dividend represents an annualized rate of $1.50 per share. National Retail Properties has paid increased annual dividends per share for 19 consecutive years. It is one of only 156 publicly traded companies in America that have increased annual dividends paid to shareholders for 19 or more consecutive years.

National Retail Properties invests primarily in high-quality retail properties subject generally to long-term, net leases. As of March 31, 2009, the company owned 1,002 Investment properties in 44 states with a gross leasable area of approximately 11.3 million square feet.

For more information on the company, visit
SOURCE National Retail Properties, Inc.

Contact: Kevin B. Habicht, (top right photo) Chief Financial Officer, National Retail Properties, Inc., +1-407-265-7348

Interstate Hotels & Resorts Extends Senior Credit Facility to March 2012

ARLINGTON, VA—Interstate Hotels & Resorts (OTC: IHRI), a leading hotel real estate investor and the nation’s largest independent management company, has extended the maturity of its senior credit facility to March 2012 by converting the facility’s outstanding balance of $161.2 million to a new term loan.

Banc of America Securities LLC was sole lead arranger and sole book runner and Bank of America, N.A. is the administrative agent.

“Bank of America did a tremendous job leading this credit facility amendment, and we really appreciate the continued support of all 10 of our credit facility lenders,” said Bruce Riggins, chief financial officer. “This credit facility extension provides us much greater flexibility to execute our business plan through the current recession and positions us to emerge a stronger company as the industry recovers. We expect to be in compliance with all financial covenants for 2009.”

Contact: Carrie McIntyre, SVP, Treasurer, (703) 387-3320