Friday, October 2, 2009

Pizzuti's Fresh Approach to Public-Private Partnerships Pays Off With New Development Projects Across U.S.

ORLANDO, FL-- In a real estate market dogged by recession and cutbacks, Pizzuti SolutionsTM is turning a fresh approach to public-private partnerships into an expanding development model that currently has projects underway in locations around the U.S.

The Pizzuti Companies, founded in Columbus, Ohio in 1976, is a full-service real estate development firm headquartered in Columbus with offices in Orlando and Chicago.

Pizzuti Vice President Tom Harmer, (middle  right photo) head of Pizzuti Solutions, the division that focuses on the firm’s public-private programs, said the new approach is raising the bar of public-private planning and development.

“In the past, developers tended to look at public-private projects as too complicated, especially when other markets were performing well,” Harmer said. “That has all changed with the current economic situation, and public projects have generated much more interest across the board.”

With the difficult economy, though, the public sector is also feeling the pressure and must scrutinize shrinking tax dollars and find more creative ways to meet their agencies’ needs.

Pizzuti Solutions was created at the height of the real estate boom back in 2005.

“Our timing was right and Solutions has quickly become a natural extension of our core business,” said Joel Pizzuti, (top left photo)  president and chief operating officer for The Pizzuti Companies.

“We are fortunate to have a great team in place that truly understand planning and development from a public perspective,” Pizzuti added. “Our public-sector clients quickly recognize the value we add by serving as an extension of their staff.”

The associates of Pizzuti Solutions have more than 100 years of collective experience working for public agencies in areas such as city management, economic development, planning and zoning, public safety and communications.

The team focuses on five business clusters: public facilities, sports and entertainment, education, cultural facilities and strategic planning.

“Our core service is helping to plan and oversee public projects related to these areas,” Harmer said. “We have the added benefit of bringing more than 30 years of private ‘at-risk’ development to the table.

"As a result, we not only understand the ‘ownership’ perspective, but also are able to invest in projects or identify investors that can assist a community in reaching its development or redevelopment goals.”

In Columbus, Franklin County commissioners engaged Pizzuti to serve as owner’s representative for the new Franklin County Courthouse project, (top left photo)  a spectacular seven-story, 300,000-square-foot building with translucent glass walls, a creative rain garden water filtration system and LEED-inspired design and engineering that should rank the project one of the most sustainable and energy efficient facilities in the U.S. when it opens in 2011.

“Working with the leadership of Franklin County, we threw the standard courthouse plan in the recycling bin and started from scratch,” Harmer said. “We hosted an eco-charrette that included all the stakeholders – from budget watchdogs to civic boosters – to identify the goals that would make all of us proud of the project.”

“This project is an excellent example of Pizzuti Solutions serving in that role as an extension of the County staff,” he added.

At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Space Florida selected Pizzuti Solutions to serve as master developer for Exploration Park®, (middle right photo)  a state-of-the-art, mixed-use, multi-tenant technology and commerce park to support government and commercial space activities and to create technology clusters related to energy and energy technologies.

Harmer said the project will help leverage a trained and experienced workforce and the premier address for aerospace research on land adjacent to the world-class Space Life Sciences Laboratory and existing launch and payload processing facilities.

The first phase of the project includes eight buildings that total 315,000 square feet of space on 60 acres, set to break ground in 2010, with the first buildings to be delivered in 2011.

In Dunedin, Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico near Tampa, Pizzuti Solutions is working with the City of Dunedin to develop a 4.1-acre downtown parcel on Main Street and S.R. 580 as Dunedin Gateway, (middle  right photo under Exploration Park photo) a striking, new $30 million retail and office facility that includes plans for a market and Class A medical office space.

Pizzuti’s project list also includes a unique public-private partnership for construction of a 120-room hotel and conference center for Kent State University (bottom left photo)  as part of the City of Kent’s downtown redevelopment efforts, and a site analysis and economic impact study for a new city hall facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“We look at development from the public side of the equation, and our projects are recasting public-private ventures to focus on the highest possible quality, innovative aesthetics, efficiency, sustainability, and accountability, and the best and highest use that can be achieved while meeting the community’s goals,” Harmer said.

For more information,  contact:

Bob Monds, Director of Marketing and Communications, The Pizzuti Companies; 614-280-4058;

Tom Harmer, Vice President, The Pizzuti Companies; 407-841-0000;

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

Post Properties Announces Dismissal of Lawsuit on Alleged Violations of the Fair Housing Act and ADA Act

ATLANTA, GA--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Post Properties, Inc. (NYSE: PPS) announced the United States District Court for the District of Columbia has dismissed in its entirety the lawsuit filed against the Company by the Equal Rights Center alleging various violations of the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The lawsuit involved properties designed, constructed or operated by Post Properties. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff sought compensatory and punitive damages, an award of attorneys’ fees and costs of suit, as well as preliminary and permanent injunctive relief that included retrofitting multi-family units and public use areas to comply with the FHA and the ADA and prohibiting construction or sale of noncompliant units or communities.

 In granting the Company’s request to dismiss the suit, the Court held that the plaintiff lacked standing to bring the claims.

Contact: David Stockert, (top right photo) CEO, Post Properties, Inc., 404-846-5000

Positive Signs Shining on Capital Markets, RECI Finds

The Real Estate Capital Scoreboard - October 2009

CHICAGO, IL,  Oct. 2, 2009 - The Fed announced that the recession is starting to fade away. The real estate capital markets remain in the doldrums, with more news of increasing delinquencies and foreclosures,looming loan maturities with limited refinancing prospects, declining occupancies, tenant bankruptcies, oversupply and contracting space demand well into the foreseeable future.

Yet fresh transactions are trickling into the markets, filling value data points. As financial markets are recovering and lenders shore up their balance sheets, deals are repriced, sometimes at levels of 20% to 40% lower than the peak era of 2006-07. This fall's positive signs shining on the capital markets include the following:

* Treasuries and corresponding mortgages spreads tightened by more than 10 basis points during the past month, as overall rates continue trending downward.

* Substantial amounts of capital funds are flowing into the public markets, mainly into mortgage and equity REITs. However, finding qualified investments at "distressed" pricing remains the most significant challenge.

* Life companies trickling back into the mortgage market, as overall bond pricing has improved. However, many life companies still feel minimal pressure to originate new loans, continuing to adhere to minimum loan floor rates.

* For high-quality assets with conservative leverage, no "cash out" rules are relaxed as funding sources compete for the premium properties.

* As equity positions vanish in newer legacy ventures, mezzanine and other subordinate lenders work to maximize their ownership positions, hoping to protect their investments as markets gradually recover.

In many instances, some of the same lenders converting into ownership positions as also raising additional funds for buying other properties to profit from the currently distressed environment.

Randal Dawson, (top right photo) a member of the Real Estate Capital Institute's research and senior vice president, Valuation Advisory Services, CB Richard Ellis Co., Los Angeles, notes, "Valuation driven by lower-leverage debt pricing and higher equity yields offers the most effective methodology for understanding values in today's illiquid markets." Adding, "Equity yields continue climbing, as commercial property values show more signs of stress."

The Real Estate Capital Institute(r)
3517 West Arthington Street
Chicago, Illinois USA 60624
Contact: Nat Zvislo, Research Director
Toll Free 800-994-RECI (7324) /