Thursday, July 15, 2010

Construction Underway on West M Apartments in Lake Charles, LA

Atlanta, GA/Lake Charles, LA (July 15, 2010) – Construction is now underway on West M Apartments (rendering top left) – a new luxury multifamily community in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The $25 million first phase of the 23-acre gated community includes 222 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.

Reservations for the new residences, which will be completed early next year, are now being accepted.

The product is a mid-density, center corridor type design surrounding a resort-style amenities package including the residents’ club and infinity-edge swimming pool with fountains, cabanas and an outdoor kitchen equipped for social functions.

 Other upscale amenities of the controlled access community include a state-of-the-art fitness center, java cafĂ©, theater and pet park all set in a heavily landscaped setting more typically found in a high-end resort.

 Interiors feature modern kitchens with granite countertops, high-end wood cabinetry and top-of-the-line appliances.

 Each apartment has its own washer and dryer as well as garden tub, contemporary lighting and upgraded flooring. Most apartments will have built-in desks as well as storage closets located on their patios or hardwood balconies.

Some loft-style floorplans are available. Residents can also rent convenient enclosed garages. The architect for the project is Dallas-based JH+P Architects. Interiors were designed by Faulkner Design Group, also of Dallas.

“West M is going to be the most appealing apartment community in Lake Charles,” said Cortland Partners president Steven DeFrancis.

“While it is difficult to get any deal financed in today’s market, we were able to take advantage of the excess slack in the construction market and the particular strength of the south Louisiana market to bring an unprecedented level of product and design to the area.”

“Getting a project of this scope off the ground in this very challenging financing environment took tenacity, but we are confident we will bring a new experience to Lake Charles,” he added. “The first residents should be able to move in early next year, and I am sure they will be as excited about moving here as I am about getting construction started.”

Construction first began in late May. The address is 1330 West McNeese Street in Lake Charles.

The community near I-210 is easily accessible to McNeese State University (lower left rendering) .

 Future phases will bring the total number of apartments to 330. M&T Capital Realty Corp., which financed the project, received a HUD 221d4 loan guarantee for the $21.5 million construction and permanent loan.

For more information, send an e-mail to or visit

Media Contact: Terri Thornton 404-932-4347

morrison commercial real estate completes three Central Florida office lease transactions totaling 12,534± SF

ORLANDO, FL (July 15, 2010): Greg Morrison, (top right photo)  CCIM, SIOR, Principal of Morrison Commercial Real Estate, announced the completion of three office lease transactions totaling 12,534± square feet.

Christi Davis (top left photo)  of Morrison Commercial Real Estate represented the Landlord at 1035 Primera Boulevard, Lake Mary in leasing a 4,778± square foot space to Florida Office Group on June 21st . Brian Ball with Sansone Group represented the Tenant in this transaction.

Damien Madsen (lower right photo) of Morrison Commercial Real Estate and Steve Farrar of Newburger Andes represented Prommis Solutions in securing a direct lease and a sublease for a total of 7,756± square feet at CNL Center I in Orlando on June 28 for a little over 3 years.

 Alex Rosario with CNL Commercial Real Estate represented the Landlord in this transaction and John Gay of Cresa Partners represented the Sub-Landlord.

Contact: Buffy Gillette, Phone: 407.219.3500, Email:

National Retail Properties, Inc. Increases 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 38 cents per share payable August 16, 2010 to common shareholders of record on July 30, 2010.

The dividend represents a 1.3% increase in the quarterly dividend rate.

National Retail Properties has paid increased annual dividends per share for 20 consecutive years and is one of only 114 publicly traded companies in America that have increased annual dividends paid to shareholders for 20 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, 2010, the company owned 1,014 Investment Properties in 43 states with a gross leasable area of approximately 11.4 million square feet. For more information on the company, visit

Contact: Kevin B. Habicht, Chief Financial Officer of National Retail Properties, Inc., +1-407-265-7348

Meetings Stigma Impacts Conference Centers

PHILADELPHIA,  PA– All segments of the lodging industry struggled in 2009. However, the combined impact of the economic recession and the demonizing of corporate meetings, resulted in an even more dramatic fall off in performance for North American conference centers.

According to the recently released Trends® in the Conference Center Industry report prepared by Colliers PKF Consulting USA, the average center in the survey sample reported a decline in net operating income of 43.5 percent in 2009. This compares to an average hotel income decline of 35.4 percent for the nation as a whole.

“During economic recessions it is not uncommon to see associations and corporations cut their meetings budget,” said Dave Arnold,  (top right photo) CEO East, Colliers PKF Consulting USA.

  “However, never before have we seen the stigma attached to organizations that attempted to hold valuable training and planning conferences. With the average conference center occupancy level falling below 50 percent, the negative impact is obvious.”

Since the majority of conference center guests stay as part of a package plan, total conference center revenue is typically measured on a dollar-per-occupied-room basis (POR).

 In 2009, the centers in the Trends® survey sample reported a 9.2 percent decline in total revenue POR.

Executive and resort conference centers, the two property types most dependent on business organizations as the source for their meetings, suffered the greatest declines in total revenue POR.

(Arizona Biltmore middle right photo)

On the other hand, total revenue POR at College/University centers declined just 2.4 percent. This shows the relative stability of educational institutions during the economic recession.

“In 2008, conference demand accounted for 72.2 percent of the rooms occupied at the centers in our survey. In 2009, this ratio dropped to 63.9 percent, meaning that conference centers relied on transient business to fill over one-third of its rooms last year,” Arnold observed.

 To combat the deterioration in conference demand, centers turned to local organizations for business.

(Hotel Celebration, Celebration, FL, middle left photo)

Local based conference attendees increased 2.4 percent in 2009. Conversely, guests attending conferences of a national scope declined 1.9 percent.

The greater dependence on locally based business contributed to the decline in rooms occupied.

Like all hotel managers, conference center operators have historically responded to declines in revenue by cutting costs. Such was the case in 2009.

On average, undistributed operating expenses declined 10.4 percent during the year. This is comparable to the cost savings achieved at comparable transient hotels.

(Hotel Ramada Plaza, Kuwait City, lower right photo)

“Because of the high level of service offered by conference centers, labor related expenditures are the greatest operating expense. Therefore, it is not surprising that salaries and benefits were cut in 2009 in an effort to control costs,” Arnold said.

On average, base salaries were reduced by 7.3 percent in 2009. Given the fall off in conference center revenues and profits it is not surprising that incentive pay declined by an average of 65.1 percent as well.

Despite management’s best efforts to control costs, the average center in the Trends® survey reported a 43.5 percent decline in the bottom-line in 2009. Resort centers suffered the most (-55.1%), while corporate centers’ profits fell less precipitously (-33.5%).

(Days Inn Maui Oceanfront lower left photo)

Consistent with historical recovery patterns, conference center managers expect occupancy levels to rise, but room and package rates to lag.

On average, the managers in the survey budgeted for a 4.8 percent increase in occupancy in 2010. On the other hand, their expectations for CMP rate movement are a minimal increase of just 0.5 percent.

“It is still a buyers market in the short term. This is good news for meeting planners, but still presents challenges for property owners and operators,” Arnold concludes.

The 2010 Trends® in the Conference Center Industry report provides conference center statistics and financial profiles of the industry. In addition, it presents information on facilities offered, package pricing and occupancy statistics, source of meetings, marketing tactics, and human resources.

 (Fairmont Dubai hotel,  lower right photo)

 Data is presented for Executive, Corporate, Resort, and College/University centers and is a standard reference resource for conference center owner and managers, as well as meeting and convention planners.

Copies of the 2010 Trends® in the Conference Center Industry report are available for purchase and immediate download at, or by calling 866-842-8754.

For further information,  please contact:
Dave Arnold, CEO East Colliers – PKF Consulting USA
Tel: 215 563 5300, ext 32 Email:,

Chris Daly, Daly Gray Public Relations, Tel: 703 435 6293, Email: