Saturday, December 29, 2012

4 Proposed Condo Towers Prepare To Launch Construction In South Florida

Sunny Isles East and Sunny Isles West Condo rendering
Sunny Isles, FL
MIAMI, FL -- With 15 condo towers currently under construction or recently completed in South Florida, the developers of four other proposed towers - 400 Sunny Isles East, 400 Sunny Isles West, ICON Bay, and the Porsche Design Tower - have each taken a key step in preparation of launching construction, according to a new report from

In the last 90 days, the developers of the four respective towers formally recorded their Declaration of Condominium documents in the county where the projects are slated to be built, according to Miami-Dade County records.

The Porsche Design Tower (declaration recorded on Dec. 13, 2012) and the 400 Sunny Isles East and West towers (declarations recorded on Oct. 12, 2012 and Nov. 13, 2012, respectively) are proposed for Sunny Isles Beach and the ICON Bay project (declaration recorded on Nov. 6, 2012) is proposed for Greater Downtown Miami, according to government records.

In the early stages of this newest South Florida condo building boom, an increasing number of developers are recording their condominium declarations documents in the county where the projects are to be located just prior to launching construction.

Contrast this with the last condo boom - and subsequent bust - where developers typically recorded their condominium declaration packages in the county where the projects are to be located only when the construction was nearly complete and the presale contracts were ready to be transacted, industry watchers said.

Peter Zalewski
"South Florida's preconstruction condo market is evolving to meet the demands of cash buyers," said Peter Zalewski, a principal with the Greater Downtown Miami real estate consultancy Condo Vultures® LLC.

"Given the challenges that have existed for condo construction financing to date, many developers have had to tinker with their approaches in order to ultimately build their proposed towers. The recording of condo declarations with the county prior to construction is just one of the variations that has emerged with this newest wave of condo construction."

For a complete copy of the company's news release, please contact:

Condo Vultures® LLC is a real estate consultancy and marketing company based in the 225 Midtown Building at 225 NE 34th St., Suite 209B, Downtown Miami, Florida, 33137. Condo Vultures® LLC can be reached at 800-750-0517.

Arne Sorenson, President and CEO of Marriott International, Calls on Leaders of Both Parties to Return to Negotiations to "Do No Harm."

Arne Sorenson
BETHESDA, MD /PRNewswire/ -- The following is a statement from Arne Sorenson, President and CEO of Marriott International:

"We've made good progress in 2012 in the hotel industry and in the general economy creating new jobs, re-building the real estate market and boosting consumer confidence. The last thing we need is another crisis of confidence in our political system and the economy like we experienced in August 2011.

The fiscal cliff we face now was created by politicians of both parties the last time they were unable to reach a comprehensive agreement to deal with our runaway federal deficits. 

President Barack Obama
“Our political leaders need to reach a balanced deal now, before we go off the fiscal cliff at year end and without creating a new set of future conditions that create a new fiscal cliff in the future.  We are proving today that deferral of the tough issues for future resolution is not a recipe for success.

“If there was one message in the election, it's that Americans want our leaders to govern and to do so in a balanced fashion. Revenue increases need to be part of the deal.

White House, Washington, DC
“At $1.2 trillion over ten years, the revenue piece seems fair, provided the spending cuts, including through entitlement reforms, match that level.  With $2.4 trillion from revenue increases and spending cuts, not counting interest or war savings, we can get our federal fiscal situation back on track towards a sustainable set of policies.

“There are many different ways to fill in the details of such a plan. I and many others urge our political leaders to get back to the table today and work out a deal by December 31st.  The President and Congress can do no harm only if they act. Act now, decisively, and comprehensively."


Global Communications,

First Green Foundation awards two new solar energy grants

MOUNT DORA, FL. --- The First Green Foundation, a 501(c)3 charitable organization established to promote the environmental mission of First Green Bank in Mount Dora, recently awarded grants worth $1,000 each to Dinesh V. Shah of Eustis and Randy VanBuskirk of Longwood for their projects installing residential solar energy equipment.

Kenneth LaRoe, chairman of the First Green Foundation, said Shah is installing a 10 KW solar panel system at his home. VanBuskirk is installing a 7.5 KW solar panel system, also at his home.

The grants to Shah and VanBuskirk are the second and third solar energy grants the Foundation has awarded.  LaRoe said the Foundation has budgeted $20,000 for alternative energy grants. Shah and VanBuskirk are First Green Bank depositors, LaRoe said.

The First Green Foundation awards grants of up to $1,000 for residential solar energy systems and higher amounts for commercial systems, LaRoe explained.

Grant applications are available online at


Kenneth E. LaRoe, CEO and Chairman, First GREEN Bank, 352-483-9100,
Paul Rountree, President, First GREEN Bank, 352-483-9100,
Larry Vershel or Beth Payan, Larry Vershel Communications 407-644-4142 or 407-461-3780,   

NAI Realvest Negotiates $14 Million+ sale of former Hertz property North of Orlando International Airport on SR 436

Kevin O'Connor

 Orlando, FL. --- NAI Realvest recently negotiated the sale of the former Hertz rental facility which includes 19.44 acres of land for development at 5601 Butler National Drive off Semoran Blvd. (S.R. 436) north of Orlando International Airport.

 NAI Realvest principals Kevin O’Connor and Matt Cichocki negotiated the transaction representing the seller, The Hertz Corporation of Park Ridge, N.J. who closed the operation to move it onto airport grounds.

Matt Cichocki
 Los Angeles based L&R Investment Company purchased the property for $14,250,000 and intends to obtain a master plan for mixed use development including retail outparcels that front on Semoran Blvd. and an off-airport parking facility in the rear.

For more information, contact

 Kevin O’Connor and Matt Cichocki, NAI Realvest 407-857-9989 or
Patrick Mahoney, President, NAI Realvest, 407-875-9989;
Larry Vershel or Beth Payan, Larry Vershel Communications 407-644-4142

Ashford Hospitality Trust Completes $112.6 Million Financing On Renaissance Nashville And Westin Princeton

Renaissance Hotel, Nashville, TN
DALLAS, FL /PRNewswire/ -- Ashford Hospitality Trust, Inc. (NYSE: AHT)  announced that the Company, along with its joint venture partner, has closed a $112.6 million loan secured by the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee and the Westin Hotel in Princeton, New Jersey. 

These hotels are part of the Company's Highland Hospitality Portfolio of which Ashford has a 71.74% ownership interest.  Terms described in this press release refer to 100% of the loan indebtedness unless otherwise indicated.

The new financing, which has a five-year term and bears interest at a fixed interest rate of 4.44%, replaces two existing loans with a combined balance of $76.8 million and a weighted average interest rate of 6.05%.

Westin Hotel, Princeton, NJ
At closing, $30 million of the excess loan proceeds were deposited into reserve accounts to be used predominantly for future capital expenditures and $3.8 million were used to pay down the mezzanine debt balance on the overall Highland Hospitality Portfolio.

"This transaction completes the refinancing of the three CIGNA loans in our Highland Hospitality Portfolio," said Monty J. Bennett, Chief Executive Officer of Ashford Hospitality Trust. 

Monty J. Bennett
"With this financing, and the recently announced financing on the Hilton Boston Back Bay, we have increased the weighted average maturity of our debt, lowered our interest expense, paid down more expensive debt with some of the excess proceeds, and reserved funds for future capital expenditures.  

"We continue to actively pursue other early refinancing opportunities in our portfolio to capitalize on the current attractive debt capital markets."

For a complete copy of the company’s news release, please contact:

David Kimichik,
Chief Financial Officer,

Elise Chittick,
 Investor Relations,

Scott Eckstein,
Financial Relations Board,

NAI Realvest negotiates $3.9 Million sale of property to be developed as restaurant complex to include Bahama Breeze and Olive Garden brands

Paul P. Partyka
MAITLAND, FL--- NAI Realvest negotiated a $3.9 million price in the sale of the 127-room former Ramada Inn hotel at 1798 International Speedway Blvd. in Daytona Beach.

Paul P. Partyka, managing partner at NAI Realvest, negotiated the sale representing seller Consolidated Inns of Daytona Beach, Inc.

Development Options Center, LLC of Chattanooga, Tenn. acquired the 4.1-acre property to develop as a three-restaurant complex that will include a Bahama Breeze restaurant and an Olive Garden restaurant, Partyka said.

Former Ramada Inn, Daytona Beach, FL
“We were able to negotiate successfully on the property due to its prime location and the development plan with very popular Darden Restaurant brands is just perfect for the site,” said Partyka. “This has been a win-win-win transaction all around,” he said.

The site is located directly across International Speedway Blvd. from Daytona International Speedway.

For more information, please contact:

Paul P. Partyka, Managing Partner, NAI Realvest, 407-875-9989,
Patrick Mahoney, President, NAI Realvest, 407-875-9989,
Larry Vershel or Beth Payan, Larry Vershel Communications, Inc., 407-644-4142

‘Sustainable’ is the Standard for New Breed of Community Banks, Says First Green Bank Chairman Ken LaRoe

Kenneth M. LaRoe
Mount Dora, FL --- “Sustainable” is the standard for a new generation of bankers who aim to make a difference along with a profit in the market that’s emerged since the collapse of too-big-to-fail Lehman Brothers four years ago.

Kenneth M. LaRoe, chairman of First Green Bank in Mount Dora, said sustainable banking practices will steer the industry back to its original course---stable and solid financial returns and resiliency through strong capital positions---and restore the world economy.

A critical industry analysis issued last month by the Global Alliance for Banking on Values---a worldwide network of proponents of sustainable banking practices---proves LaRoe’s point.

First Green Bank Headquarters, Mount Dora, FL
“Sustainable banks allocate almost twice as much of their balance sheet to lending to the real economy than the too-big to-fail banks,” LaRoe said. 

“Dominant big banks lend less, attract fewer deposits and have a weaker capital base than sustainable banks, and financial results over the last 10 years show sustainable banks are resilient, support the real economy, and provide stable returns,” he said.

LaRoe, whose First Green Bank opened its award-winning headquarters facility in Mount Dora last year and a branch facility in bustling downtown Orlando recently, said sustainable banking practices form the core of First Green’s expanding business model.  First Green Bank also has locations in Ormond Beach, Clermont and a planned branch in Winter Park sometime next year.
 For a complete copy of the company’s news release, please contact:

Kenneth E. LaRoe, CEO and Chairman, First GREEN Bank, 352-483-9100,
Paul Rountree, President, First GREEN Bank, 352-483-9100,
Larry Vershel or Beth Payan, Larry Vershel Communications 407-644-4142 or 407-461-3780,  

DoubleTree by Hilton Enters China’s Fujian Province With The Opening Of DoubleTree by Hilton Putian

DoubleTree by Hilton Putian
 MCLEAN, VA– Hilton Worldwide announced the opening of its first hotel in Fujian province.

DoubleTree by Hilton Putian, the 12th DoubleTree by Hilton property in China, offers 337 contemporary guestrooms; including 23 suites, three restaurants, a lobby lounge and a well-equipped fitness center with a 25-meter heated indoor swimming pool and a spa. It is the first internationally branded hotel in Putian.

 “The opening of DoubleTree by Hilton Putian marks Hilton Worldwide’s entry into Fujian Province and is another milestone in our ongoing expansion in China, where we have more than 110 properties in the pipeline," said Martin Rinck, president, Hilton Worldwide, Asia Pacific.

"We plan to continue to accelerate our growth and bring world class brands like DoubleTree by Hilton to more cities across China.” 

Martin Rinck
Situated in the central Chenxiang diplomatic and commercial district, DoubleTree by Hilton Putian is located across the street from the new government center. It is convenient to the Putian railway station, where high speed trains can whisk passengers to the nearby cities of Fuzhou Xiamen in less than an hour.

The hotel also offers business and leisure travelers easy access to many local attractions such as Meizhou Island, the hometown of Mazu and the origin of Mazu Culture, Putian South Shaolin Temple and Jiulong Valley National Forest Park.

“Putian is the latest in a long list of growth markets in China for DoubleTree by Hilton,” said John Greenleaf, global head, DoubleTree by Hilton. “We are delighted to introduce our world class, yet locally resonant brand of warm hospitality to the city. Business and leisure travellers will experience our warm, caring service culture and understand why guests of our DoubleTree by Hilton hotels become loyal, repeat customers.”

 For a complete copy of the company’s news release, please contact:

Maggie Giddens
DoubleTree by Hilton
+1 703 883 5346

 Suki Pan
Hilton Worldwide
+86(21)2321 6819