Sunday, October 11, 2009

Grubb & Ellis Commercial Florida Negotiates Three New Lease transactions

TAMPA, FL--- Grubb & Ellis Commercial Florida recently negotiated three new Class A office lease agreements that total 16,754 square feet of space at Laurel Place, 5102 W. Laurel St. in Tampa’s Westshore district.

Paula Buffa,  (top right photo) CCIM, senior vice president of Grubb & Ellis Commercial Florida’s Tampa Office Group and Associate Maria Camarinos Hall (bottom left photo) negotiated all three lease agreements representing the landlord, Tampa-based Arcis Investments, Inc., a private equity real estate investment group.

The three leases resulted in 100 percent occupancy at Laurel Place.

Idearc Media Sales-West, Inc., a Delaware corporation, leased 3,380 square feet of office space, Alaska-based Tyonek Manufacturing Group leased 5,035 square feet, and IT Authorities, Inc., of Tampa leased 8,339 square feet.

Paula Buffa, 813-830--7887
Maria Camarinos Hall, 813-830-7894
Jeffrey Sweeney,  407-481-5387
Larry Vershel,  407-644-4142

New Faces and Duties at Mortgage Bankers Association

Tom Koonce to Join MBA as Vice President of Legislative Affairs

WASHINGTON, D.C.--- John A. Courson, Chief Executive Officer of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), today announced that Tom Koonce (top right photo) will join MBA as Vice President of Legislative Affairs, effective November 2, 2009.

In this role, Koonce will lead MBA's day-to-day lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill working with Members of Congress and their staff on issues important to MBA's members. He will report to Steve O'Connor, MBA's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.

"We are very fortunate to have someone with Tom's expertise leading MBA's legislative team," said Courson. "Tom has valuable experience working on the Hill on issues related to housing and mortgage finance, and he knows how to work with a variety of constituencies in a major trade association."

Cheny and Bradshaw Get New Posts

WASHINGTON, D.C. - John A. Courson, President and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), today announced the appointment of Brad Cheney as Director of Legislative Affairs. In addition, he also announced the promotion of Pace Bradshaw to Director of Government Affairs.

"Promoting Pace and adding Brad will ensure MBA's voice on Capitol Hill continues to be strong and effective on behalf of our members," said Courson. "Given the issues facing our industry, we believe that having our strong and experienced lobbying team is more important than ever."

Cheney is joining MBA from the office of Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), where he served as Chief of Staff. In that role, he was responsible for managing all operations of the Washington, DC office, including developing and implementing critical strategy during the recent financial crisis and stabilization efforts. In his new role, Cheney will join MBA's lobbying team on Capitol Hill working with Members of the House of Representatives and Senate. He will begin on November 10.

"MBA is excited to add Brad's energy and expertise in lobbying for the issues important to our members," said Steve O'Connor, (top left photo) MBA's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs. "He brings with him valuable experience and knowledge which he will put to use on the industry's behalf."

CONTACT: John Mechem, (202) 557-2924,
MBA, CMSA Comment to Regulators on Proposed Treatment of Assets Coming on Books as a Result of FAS 166 and FAS 167

Washington, DC-- The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and the Commercial Mortgage Securities Association (CMSA) filed a comment letter with banking regulators Wednesday to address the proposed risk-based capital (RBC) treatment of assets coming on the books of banks on January 1, 2010, as a result of FAS 166 and FAS 167.

FAS 166 and FAS 167, issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in June 2009, will generally require that assets and liabilities of prior private label residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) and commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) be put on the balance sheet of the issuer, servicer or special servicer for all deals prior to January 1, 2010. These new guidelines will also apply to all deals commencing on or after that date.

A copy of the joint comment letter can be found on both and


MBA CMSA, John Mechem , (202) 557-2924,
Kenneth Reed (212) 589-0961,

Grubb & Ellis's Bach Says Commercial Real Estate Not as Dark as Pictured

SANTA ANA, CA--Bob Bach, (top right photo) senior vice president and chief economist, Grubb & Ellis Co., shares his views on the current commercial real estate markets:

Smart Money called “second derivative” one of those “needlessly nerdy financial words.”

 In the context of the recession, it means that conditions are still getting worse but at a slowing rate – a prelude to bottoming out. A number of economic indicators have seen improvement in their second derivatives and some are signaling expansion. But because commercial real estate is a lagging indicator, we haven’t seen second derivative improvement… until now.

Preliminary third quarter data from Grubb & Ellis show an abatement in the pace of deterioration compared with the past two quarters.

The national office vacancy rate appears to be about 50 basis points higher than in the second quarter, which would take it to just above 17 percent.

By comparison, vacancy in the first and second quarters increased by 80 and 100 basis points, respectively. Negative net absorption and sublease space also appear to be moderating.

What could explain this slowdown in the rate of decline?

One theory is that panicked employers “over-fired” after the credit markets froze in September 2008. The faster deterioration in the leasing market during the first and second quarters likely reflected this panic. Now that the recession appears to be ending, tenants may feel less of a need to further slash their space requirements, although we won’t see positive absorption until job growth returns.

A couple of other notable data releases this week:

The Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims fell 33,000 to 521,000 last week, beating analyst expectations.

The decline, which was the fourth in the past five weeks, brought the four-week moving average to its lowest level since January 17th. Continuing claims for the previous week slipped by 72,000 to 6.04 million.

Chain store sales rose 0.1 percent in September according to ICSC, the first increase since July 2008. The increase was driven more by calendar and weather effects than by underlying strength in spending, but we’ll take what we can get.