Friday, July 23, 2010

Comptroller Says Orange County, FL Bonds Not Downgraded

 ORLANDO, FL--Orange County Comptroller Martha Haynie responded this afternoon to a county mayor candidate’s email message that incorrectly states, “Just this week the credit rating of the bonds for Orange County were downgraded because of ‘too much debt’.”

Comptroller Haynie said, “My office checked directly with the rating agencies after I saw this message, and confirmed that no debt issued by Orange County government has been downgraded.

"Our citizens are not well served when misleading information is disseminated in campaign messages. Mr. Falconer owes it to voters to check his facts before sending out inaccurate and potentially damaging statements.”

Contact: Martha O. Haynie or Jim Moye, 407-836-5690

Stirling Sotheby’s International Realty named exclusive broker for Tavares Estate Home at Squirrel Point on Lake Dora, FL

ORLANDO - Stirling Sotheby’s International Realty has been named exclusive broker for a magnificent 5,460 square foot estate home on Lake Dora at 16001 Acorn Circle in Tavares.

Janice McGeough (middle right photo), certified luxury home marketing specialist at Stirling Sotheby’s International Realty, said the three-acre, $1.5 million Squirrel Point home offers five bedrooms, five-and-a-half baths, a banquet-sized dining room, a huge family room with see-through fireplace, a seven-car garage, a private swimming pool with outdoor terrace, and 800 feet of Lake Dora shoreline.

The gated Spanish-style estate was completed in 1981, said Roger Soderstrom, founder and owner of Stirling Sotheby’s International Realty.

“This is a rare find,” Soderstrom said. “For the buyer who aspires to ultimate privacy with a magnificent view of Mount Dora’s ‘Riviera skyline,’ this estate fits the bill.”

For a video tour of the home go to

For more information, contact:
Roger Soderstrom, Founder/Owner, Stirling Sotheby’s International Realty 407-581-7890;;
Janice McGeough, Stirling Sotheby's International Realty, 352-217-0465;;
Larry Vershel or Beth Payan, Larry Vershel Communications, 407-644-4142;

HFF completes first mortgage loan sale secured by Village at Camp Bowie in Fort Worth, TX

DALLAS, TX – The Dallas and Chicago offices of HFF (Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P.) announced today that they have completed the sale of a first mortgage loan secured by The Village at Camp Bowie, (bottom left photo)  a 270,069-square-foot, six-building retail and office development in Fort Worth, Texas.

HFF senior managing directors Doug Hazelbaker (top right photo)  and Jim Batjer (top left photo)  and managing director Bill Mitchell (bottom right photo)  marketed the loan on behalf of the seller, Wells Fargo Bank.

The loan sale was launched on May 20th. All-in-all, 92 firms signed confidentiality agreements, with 20 firms bidding. Western Real Estate Equities, LLC purchased the loan for an undisclosed price on June 30th.

The Village at Camp Bowie is situated on a 19-acre site on the north and south sides of Camp Bowie Boulevard (US Route 377), one-half mile south of Interstate 30 in western Fort Worth.

 The property was renovated from 2004 to 2007, and is 76% leased to tenants including Frost Bank, Starbucks, Sprint, Edward Jones and State Farm.

“This was an excellent opportunity to purchase a first-mortgage position on a renovated retail center that is located in one of Fort Worth’s best submarkets,” said Hazelbaker.

Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $1.2 trillion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 10,000 stores and 12,000 ATMs and the Internet ( and across North America and internationally.

Western Real Estate Equities (“Western”) of Fort Worth, Texas seeks out commercial real estate opportunities primarily in Texas MSA markets focusing on income-producing, multi-tenant, retail, and office properties with either a leasing upside or a rehabilitation value-add component.

Western is an affiliate of Joint Resources Company, an exploration, and production company engaged in the development of oil and natural gas properties.

Also participating in the transaction as a financial partner to both Western and Joint was B-29 Investments, LP (“B-29”), a private equity firm based in Gainesville, Texas.

B-29 deploys capital in opportunities within the upstream and midstream segments of the oil and gas space, in commercial and industrial facilities in the South and Southeastern regions of the United States, and in raw land with mineral right potential upside.


T. Douglas Hazelbaker, HFF Senior Managing Director, (214) 265-0880,
William G. Mitchell, HFF Managing Director, (312) 528-3650,
Kristen M. Murphy, HFF Associate Director, Marketing, (713) 852-3500,

Marcus & Millichap Sells 14,490-SF Single-Tenant, Net-Leased Building in Kissimmee, FL

KISSIMMEE, FL, July 23, 2010 – Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, the nation’s largest real estate investment services firm, has announced the sale of a 14,490-square foot Walgreens (top left photo)  located in Kissimmee, FL, according to Bryn D. Merrey, Regional Manager of the firm’s Tampa office.

The asset commanded a sales price of $5,600,000.

Michael J Jaworski, (bottom right photo)  an investment specialist in Marcus & Millichap’s Tampa office, had the exclusive listing to market the property on behalf of the seller, a Florida-based developer.

The buyer, a limited liability company based out of Florida, was secured and represented by Paul D. Nudelman, an investment specialist in the firm’s Miami office.

Walgreens is located at 5180 US-192. This investment is a fee simple, new construction triple-net property that opened in September 2009.

The property is located on a major road to Disney World and I-4 into Orlando. Many major retailers are situated in the immediate area. As of August 2009, the company operated 7,496 located in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.

Press Contact: Bryn D. Merrey, Regional Manager, Tampa, (813) 387-4700

Condo Tower Sells At 69% Discount In Miami's Coconut Grove

MIAMI, FL--A bulk buyer has purchased a majority of a troubled 30-unit residential condo project in Miami's Coconut Grove neighborhood (top left, middle right and bottom left photos) for $138 per square foot, representing a 69 percent discount of the average closed sales price in the complex to date, according to a new report from

The buyer, a newly created Delaware entity called 27 Grove LLC, paid nearly $2.5 million on July 16 for the project's remaining 19 units with nearly 18,000 square feet in the South Two Seven Lofts condominium at the intersection of Southwest 27th Avenue and Bird Road, according to the report based on Miami-Dade County records.

"As the new, class A condo product disappears, bulk buyers are increasing being forced to look in the interior of the city for distressed properties," said Peter Zalewski, (bottom right photo)  a principal with the Bal Harbour, Fla.-based real estate consultancy Condo Vultures® LLC.

"This is the first bulk deal to occur in the artsy Coconut Grove district but surely not the last. Developers put up several small projects of 50 units or less in the area during the boom years that may or may not have sold out."

This is the 54th condo bulk deal to close in the tricounty South Florida region - 44 deals have been in Miami-Dade County - since July 2008.

 During the last 24 months, bulk buyers have acquired for nearly 5,000 units with more than 6.2 million square feet for $1.5 billion, according to the Condo Vultures® Bulk Deals Database™.

Besides the private equity groups, discount-minded, individual buyers are also picking off units, which is depleting the new, class A inventory.

An average of nearly 500 new condos traded per month in Greater Downtown Miami between April and June 2010, representing a 105 percent increase compared to the 241 units per month average in second quarter of 2009, according to a new Condo Vultures® White Paper™.

Transactions for nearly 1,500 units with 1.8 million square feet of saleable space generated a gross sales amount of $584 million, or $333 per square foot.

The flurry of sales activity has reduced the number of new condos under developers' control in Greater Downtown Miami to less than 5,100 units, according to the report based on the Condo Vultures® Official Condo Buyers Guide To Miami™.

The unsold new condos represent about 23 percent of the total inventory constructed in a 60-block stretch of Greater Downtown Miami between 2003 and 2010.

A year ago in July 2009 about 40 percent of the new condos in the same submarket were unsold, according to the licensed Florida brokerage Condo Vultures® Realty LLC.

In Coconut Grove, the South Two Seven Lofts condo was developed by Fadi A. Bahri's Grove Developers LLC in 2007. Construction on the project began in 2005 using an $8.4 million construction loan from Miami-based U.S. Century Bank, according to Miami-Dade County records.

Despite being completed just as prices in the Miami condo market were free falling, the developer was able to sell 11 residential units in the project for $3.7 million, or $444 per square foot, between February and November of 2008.

The project's two ground floor commercial units were also sold during that same period in 2008 for a combined $1.1 million, or $364 per square foot, according to the report.

Before the bulk deal, nothing had sold in the condo project in the last 20 months.

U.S. Century Bank filed to foreclose on the project's remaining 19 units in January 2010. The last time the constructon loan was modified in September 2008, the principal was set at $4.05 million, or $226 per square foot, and the maturity date for repayment was scheduled for July 18, 2009, according to Miami-Dade County records.

The 19 bulk deal units are currently assessed at a value of $5.3 million, or $296 per square foot, which is 53 percent higher than the bulk price paid, according to the Miami-Dade County Property Tax Appraiser's Office.

Contact: Peter Zalewski of Condo Vultures®,  800-750-0517 or by email at

Marketplace Advisors Negotiates Three Lease Agreements at Shoppes of Aloma Walk in Oviedo, FL

ORLANDO – Marketplace Advisors, Inc. recently negotiated three new lease agreements for retail space at Shoppes at Aloma Walk, a new Publix anchored shopping center, located at Aloma Avenue and Hwy 417 in Oviedo.

David Marks, president of Marketplace Advisors, Inc. negotiated all three lease agreements representing the landlord Aloma Walk Commercial Venture, LLC of St. Louis, Mo.

Hair Cuttery and Fresh Cleaners each leased 1,050 square feet of space and Paris Nails and Tan leased 1,400 square feet.

Charlotte Struth of For the Rite Site! LLC represented Fresh Cleaners in its lease agreement.

For more information, contact:
David Marks, Marketplace Advisors, Inc., 407-599-0007,;
Larry Vershel or Beth Payan, LV Communications, 407-644-4142

Ruffin Rhodes, co-founder at Rhodes+Brito Architects, Appointed to Board of Directors of Harbor House

ORLANDO - Ruffin Rhodes (top right photo), co-founder and partner at Rhodes+Brito Architects in Orlando has been appointed to the board of directors at Harbor House, a shelter for women and children.

Rhodes, who earned his architectural degree from Florida A&M University, co-founded Rhodes+Brito Architects with partner Max Brito several years ago.

Rhodes will serve a two-year term on the board for Harbor House.

Rhodes+Brito Architects, which opened in Orlando in 1996, currently employs a staff of 17, including seven registered architects. The firm served as lead architect for the Florida A&M University College of Law facility in downtown Orlando.

For more information,  contact:
Ruffin Rhodes, Rhodes+Brito Architects, 407-648-7288;
 Maximiano Brito, Rhodes+Brito Architects, 407-648-7288;
 Larry Vershel or Beth Payan, Larry Vershel Communications 407-644-4142 (fax: 4410)

NAI Realvest Negotiates Long Term Lease of 16,000 SF+ of Industrial Space for Countertop Distributor at OCP in Orlando

MAITLAND – NAI Realvest recently negotiated a new five-year lease agreement for 16,126 square feet of industrial space at 2007 Viscount Row in Orlando Central Park (top left photo) in south Orlando.

Robert Blackwell, (top right photo) SIOR principal at the firm and associate Sean DuPree CCIM, negotiated the transaction representing new tenant AA Gulf Coast Countertops LLC of Pensacola.

The landlord, OCP Portfolio, LLC of West Palm Beach was represented by Lisa Bailey and Phil Marchese of Morrison Commercial Real Estate.

For more information,  contact:
Robert Blackwell, SIOR of Sean DuPree, CCIM, NAI Realvest 407-875-9989; or;;
Patrick Mahoney, President, NAI Realvest 407-875-9989;
Beth Payan, Larry Vershel Communications, 407-644-4142,

NAI Realvest Chairman and CommerCenters Counsel Return from Exploratory China Trip seeking Chinese Investors, Report on Economy

MAITLAND, FL - An Orlando-based group is looking seriously for foreign investors seeking US Visas. Two of its principals, NAI Realvest chairman George Livingston (lower right photo)  and CommerCenters counsel Richard Hostetter returned recently from an exploratory trip there with good news.

Livingston and Hostetter represented the Orlando based EB-5 Investment group during the journey, which included visits to Shanghai, Beijing, Wenzhou and Hangzhou in China and talks with individual investors, government, banking and development officials there.

(Shanghai skyline,  middle right photo)

“Until recently, China’s housing market was booming” Livingston said. “Real estate prices jumped 11.7 percent in March and April before government action cooled the market. It has since stabilized, but risk remains.”

“China is experiencing a significant real estate bubble,” Livingston reported to his investment group. “Analysts at Bloomberg and Morgan Stanley call it ‘Dubai times 1,000,’” he said.

(Beijing skyline, middle left photo)

Livingston said Chinese government officials have closely monitored the residential real estate bubble. “They aren’t so concerned with the commercial sectors. Their number one goal is to avoid social unrest, and the housing market is a key to that.”

“The primary goal of the Chinese central government is maintaining internal stability,” Hostetter said. “They are very conscious of the market. Local governments bolster their budgets by selling land to developers. The central government has curtailed this in order to land this bubble gently,” Hostetter explained.

Livingston and Hostetter are optimistic about obtaining Chinese investors who seek US visas through their proposed Regional Center in Orlando.

For more information, contact:
G. Richard Hostetter, Senior VP, Capital Markets/General Counsel, CommerCenters LLC 407-875-9989;
George Livingston, Chairman, NAI Realvest, 407-875-9989;
Larry Vershel or Beth Payan, Larry Vershel Communications 407-644-4142,

Marcus & Millichap Opens New Office in Western Massachusetts

AMHERST, MA– Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, the nation’s largest real estate investment services firm, has opened a new office in Amherst, Mass., according to Gary R. Lucas, (top right photo)  regional manager.

 The office is located at 71 Country Corners Road, Amherst, MA 01002. The telephone number is (413) 253-3700 and the fax number is (206) 337-1316.

“We are pleased to bring Marcus & Millichap’s national brand and unique marketing platform to Western Massachusetts,” says Lucas. “The addition of this office boosts our growing position in the New England marketplace.

“During the next several years as the economy improves, there will be tremendous opportunity for growth in Massachusetts and across New England,” continues Lucas. “By acting as long-term advisers to investors throughout this region, we will assist them in acquiring both local and out-of-state investment properties.”

In New England, Marcus & Millichap has offices in Albany, Boston, New Haven and Boston.

Marcus & Millichap Lists $26M Apartment Complex in Portage, Indiana

PORTAGE, IN – Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, the nation’s largest real estate investment services firm, has retained the exclusive listing for Willow Creek Estates (lower left photo), a 342-unit 334,776-square foot apartment complex in Portage.

The listing price of $26,050,000 represents $76,170 per unit and $78 per square foot.

Scott Harris, a senior vice president investments and senior director of the firm’s National Multi Housing Group, and Kyle Shoemaker, a multifamily investment specialist, both in Marcus & Millichap’s Oak Brook office, are representing the seller.

“Willow Creek Estates is an immaculate, well-located asset that is performing well at a high-occupancy level,” says Harris. “The property is well positioned to continue its current strong operations and to achieve growth for the foreseeable future,” adds Harris.

The property is located at 5990 Wonderland Drive, a densely populated northwestern Indiana market approximately 31 miles from downtown Chicago. The South Shore train line directly connects Portage to downtown Chicago.

Willow Creek Estates is a three-phase apartment complex.

The first phase, Willow Creek Estates South, consists of 130 units, was constructed in the mid-1970s and substantially remodeled in 2001.

The second phase, Sundance, features 72 units and underwent substantial exterior renovation in 2009 and 2010. The final phase, the 140-unit The Reserve at Willowcreek, was completed in 2008.

The entire Willow Creek Estates complex features an attractive and diverse unit mix of traditional one-, two- and three-bedroom units as well as townhome and loft-style floor plans.

Located at the southern tip of Lake Michigan, Portage is the largest city in Porter County, Indiana.

Contact: Stacey Corso, Public Relations Manager, (925) 953-1716

Luxe Condominium Approved for Fannie Mae Financing

ATLANTA, GA-– LUXE, (centered photo below) the striking 22-story boutique-style Midtown condominium tower, received approval by Fannie Mae this week giving traditional mortgage lenders the assurance their loans would be backed by the government-sponsored enterprise.

"We are delighted that Fannie Mae has approved of this beautiful property in the heart of Atlanta so we may re-launch sales efforts and inform prospective homeowners that financing is available at LUXE," said Wade Hundley, CEO.

Fannie Mae works with mortgage bankers, brokers and other primary mortgage market partners to help ensure they have funds to lend to home buyers at affordable rates.

LUXE was granted the approval for meeting Fannie Mae’s strict criteria for condominium complexes based on the quality of each project’s construction and maintenance as well as the financial health of the owners’ association.

When completed in 2008, LUXE was the first high-rise to be built on Piedmont Park in over 20 years.

 Its unparalleled location is just steps from Piedmont Park (middle right photo) and the entire spectrum of Midtown’s appeal from first-class retail, to renowned dining and entertainment, to world class cultural venues.

The building is marked by an iconic vertical cylindrical glass element reaching a signature rooftop curved glass and steel structure, which is illuminated at night.

There are one-, two- and three-bedroom homes priced from the $230,000s to over $500,000 as well as penthouses.

Homeowners can enjoy a distinctive 6th floor Amenity Level including a picturesque pool overlooking Piedmont Park; a clubroom with catering kitchen; business center/card room; his and her steam rooms; spa treatment room; furnished guest suite; state of the art fitness center; dog-walk area; 24-hour concierge services and controlled-access entries with security cameras.

Exclusive sales and marketing is handled by The Marketing Directors, LLC. Interested parties can obtain more information at or by calling the Sales Gallery at 404.347.2223, which is located on-site at 222 12th Street.

ST is building a contemporary, high-quality lifestyle brand that provides an exciting experience for its homeowners.

 It has a nationwide portfolio of properties with the highest level of style, quality and consistency. ST offers a combination of strong financial backing and a unique public private partnership with the FDIC.

Contact: traci buch, liz lapidus pr, 772 edgewood avenue ne, atlanta, ga 30307, p 404-688-1466 f 404-681-5204,

MBA Names Kathy Marquardt Associate Vice President of Commercial Servicing and Council Coordinator

WASHINGTON, DC-- John A. Courson (top right photo), President and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), today announced the appointment of Kathy Marquardt as Associate Vice President of Commercial Servicing and Council Coordinator, effective August 9, 2010.

In this role, Marquardt will serve as MBA's expert on commercial real estate loan servicing issues.

 In addition, she will coordinate all commercial business activities, including programs and industry standards efforts and manage all activities related to the Commercial business councils of the Commercial Real Estate/Multifamily Finance Board of Governors (COMBOG).

She will report to MBA's Senior Vice President of Commercial/Multifamily, Gail Cardwell.

Contact: Sarah Tinsley, (202) 557-2730,