Monday, September 28, 2009

Grubb & Ellis Commercial Florida Eyes Big Growth in Tax Advisory Work for Commercial Property Owners

ORLANDO, Fla. --- Grubb & Ellis Commercial Florida, which ranks as one of Florida’s most active commercial property firms, sees tax advisory work as a major growth center.

Jeff Sweeney, (top right photo) SIOR, president of Grubb & Ellis Commercial Florida, with offices in Orlando, Tampa and Melbourne, said work for the firm‘s Tax Advisory Group has grown by more than 100 percent over the past six months.

Earlier this year Sweeney appointed tax specialist Don Lombardi  (bottom left photo) director of Tax Assessment Services to head the division in the firm’s Tampa office. Brett Felberg serves as associate director of Tax Assessment Services in Orlando and Melbourne.

“We have saved our commercial property clients literally thousands of dollars by addressing their tax valuations,” Sweeney said. “Property values have declined across the board due to the recession, but many local government agencies have failed to adjust their assessments accordingly,” Sweeney said.

“In addition, a myriad of tax incentives, benefits and deferments are available to commercial property owners who, for example, retrofit their properties to reduce energy consumption,” Sweeney explained.

“We see this as a major growth market for our firm over the next 24 months,” he said.

Sweeney said the Grubb & Ellis Commercial Florida Tax Assessment Group serves commercial property clients throughout the state of Florida.


Jeff Sweeney, SIOR 407-481-5387,
Larry Vershel Communications, 407-644-4142

Howard Johnson Pays Tribute to its Happy Heritage with

PARSIPPANY, NJ – The iconic Howard Johnson® hotel brand, remembered fondly for its happy beginnings as an ice cream shop, orange roofs and restaurants serving fried clams, has announced the launch of, a one-stop destination for all things happy.

Featuring interactive games; a happy wheel that offers Web site visitors a chance to win prizes including $1,000; and a free happy playlist and download of the brand’s highly-requested official happy song, is a tribute to the brand’s happy heritage.

“HoJo, as avid fans affectionately refer to the brand, has been synonymous with happiness so we’re reminding people that it doesn’t take much to get happy, even in the current economic climate,” said Daniel Hughes, senior director of marketing for the Howard Johnson brand. “Whether consumers are planning a trip or simply looking for a smile, we want them to think of Howard Johnson. We’re a hospitality company that’s in the happiness business, and is a great expression of this online.”

Howard Johnson enthusiasts can join the brand’s Facebook page at and follow the brand on twitter

Howard Johnson’s Facebook fans have access to travel tips and happy thoughts such as “Have you ever seen someone look upset when they’re holding a s’more? Just might be the key to world peace.”, and the brand’s followers on twitter are greeted with timely travel suggestions and even more happy thoughts. is part of the Howard Johnson brand’s “go happy. go hojo.” campaign developed with the help of Berlin Cameron United of New York. The agency, which is known for its ability to transform traditional brands into contemporary icons, is part of The WPP Group.

“The Howard Johnson team understands the power of the social web and is open to exploring programs that give fans the tools to converse, share and participate with HoJo,” said Berlin Cameron’s Director of Digital, Lynn Fischer.

 “The campaign has proven to be very successful with over 100,000 visitors and 10,000 fans on Facebook in its first month.”


Christine Da Silva,  973-753-6590,

Grubb & Ellis Represents Belmont & Grove Land Holdings in 101,690-SF Industrial Lease in CA

ONTARIO, CA– Grubb & Ellis Company (NYSE: GBE), a leading real estate services and investment firm, today announced that it represented Belmont & Grove Land Holdings LLC, a division of Panattoni Development Company, in securing a 63-month lease of 101,690 square feet of industrial space to Office Master Inc. at 1110 S. Mildred Ave.

Roger Rhoades, senior vice president, Milo Lipson, senior vice president, and Michael Arens, associate, represented Belmont & Grove Land Holdings LLC in the transaction.

“The building is located within the Belmont and Grove Business Park, a prime west Ontario location,” said Arens. “It is well-fitted for distribution throughout California and the United States, which accommodates the tenant’s needs.”

Office Master Inc., an office furniture manufacturer, was represented by CB Richard Ellis in the transaction.

Contact:  Julia McCartney,  Phone: 714.975.2230,  Email:

HFF arranges $4.1M recapitalization for foreclosed mixed-use property in National City (San Diego), CA

SAN DIEGO, CA – The Indianapolis and San Diego offices of HFF (Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P.) have arranged a $4.1 million recapitalization of Harborview Mixed-Use Development (centered photo below) in National City, California.

Working on behalf of Pedcor Commercial Development (“PCD”), HFF associate directors David Ross and Zach Koucos (bottom right photo) placed the three-year construction loan with Embarcadero Bank.

The borrower will use loan proceeds to complete construction on the property, which it will then operate as a for-rent multi-housing complex until the condo sale market returns. PCD seeks to acquire and reposition distressed assets throughout the midwestern and western United States and will have acquired approximately $20 million in distressed assets by the end of the fourth quarter of 2009.

“We were thrilled to have the opportunity to work with PCD,” said Ross. “The issues that inherently accompany any foreclosure combined with the development, construction and lease-up risk made this assignment particularly challenging in today’s risk-averse lending market.”

“We faced a difficult capital market landscape and were pleased to identify a local lender who truly understood how PCD would reposition the Harborview development to fill a need for Class-A rental product in National City,” added Koucos.

Due for completion in early 2010, Harborview Mixed-Use Development will have 75 multi-housing units and 12,000 square feet of office and retail space. The property features one-, two- and three-bedroom units and once complete will offer condo-quality finishes at market rental rates. The Harborview Development is located at 404 East 8th Street in National City, close to Interstate 5 and downtown San Diego.


Zachary E. Koucos, HFF Associate Director,  (858) 552-7690,
 J. David Ross, HFF Associate Director, (317) 630-3191,    
Kristen M. Murphy,  HFF Associate Director, Marketing, (713) 852-3500,