Thursday, December 23, 2010

Analysis, Renegotiation Saves Developer More Than $2 Million, in Project Stalled By Real Estate Downturn

ST. PETERSBURG, FL --- In November 2009 development of the Meres Town Center (middle left photo)  grocery-anchored retail project in Tarpon Springs, Florida nearly ground to a halt when the site contractor – crippled by the real estate downturn – filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy and stopped paying subcontractors working on the project.

For investor/developer Forge Capital Partners, Meres Town Center was a $12 million, 55,000 square foot headache and a 20 year lease with a major grocery anchor hung in the balance.

Forge Capital Partners oversees Community Reinvestment Partners II, a real estate investment fund, and had little time to sort through the morass of details that endangered the Meres Town Center project.  

They turned to WeinPlus Real Estate Advisory Services in St. Petersburg for help.

Racl Elias Wein, AIA (top right photo), who heads WeinPlus, is a former development manager with the Sembler Company in St. Petersburg and senior associate with Ernst & Young’s Construction and Real Estate Advisory Services in Philadelphia.

With a Bachelor of Design, Master of Architecture and Master of Science in Real Estate Degrees from the University of Florida, Wein has the academic credentials to match her background in project analysis, management, finance, accounting and construction.

Wein started with a thorough review and analysis of the Meres Town Center project documents, including contracts, work orders, change orders and leases.

She identified ways Forge could cut losses, collect reimbursements, and negotiate new contracts to eliminate unnecessary fees.  She was hired immediately.

Wein oversaw the transition to a new contractor, assisting in negotiations and ensuring that the new contract protected Forge from any future legal complications.

An agreement with the city tested Wein’s forensic skills. Forge was owed substantial reimbursements for a nearly-built road, but the progress of payments required volumes of documentation proving project costs---an administrative nightmare.

Wein spent months working with subcontractors to segregate invoices that proved the reimbursements were due. 

She established relationships with a local government agency holding the reimbursement funds.

“The goal was to arm ourselves with information so that when the government asked for proof, we were able to respond in a very expeditious manner,” a Forge official says. “Our weapon was information, lots of detailed, verifiable information.”

Wein then turned her attention to the anchor tenant relationship, a critical one. Forge was at the beginning of a 20 year relationship with the anchor that could affect future Forge projects as well.

Wein identified LEED certification costs and construction utilities that could be recouped if Forge could document numerous payments. Wein worked with the anchor tenant to prepare documents that maximized reimbursements.

The  result?  Wein was able to recover or save more than $2 million for Forge, including $250,000 in defrayed contractor costs, $1.3 million for roadway reimbursements from the city and $500,000 in reimbursements from the anchor tenant.

Most importantly, Wein shored up a strong and trusting relationship with the tenant that promises future partnerships.

“I’m very familiar with bankruptcy situations and technically I could have done this on my own,” a Forge official explained, “but it would have been physically impossible. With Rachel on board, we could focus on deals that will yield a higher return on investment.”

Retaining a consultant with expertise in complicated construction projects was well worth the cost.  “The WeinPlus fee amounted to about five percent of the recovered monies, or a 20-fold return,” the official at Forge said.

Wein’s expertise and skills saved Forge time and money.   “We didn’t like the situation, but doing nothing wasn’t an option,” he said.

For more information, contact
Rachel Elias Wein, AIA, Founder / Principal, WeinPlus, 727-403-1595,;
Larry Vershel or Beth Payan, Larry Vershel Communications 407-644-4142,

Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors Names Lavista Associates’ Heather Lamb Young Realtor of the Year in Atlanta

ATLANTA - The Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors (ACBR) recently named Lavista Associates’ Heather Lamb (top right photo) the Young Realtor of the Year in Atlanta.

Tom Davenport (middle left photo) president of Lavista Associates, said the ACBR also named Lamb its Member of the Month for December.

The ACBR’s Young Council of Realtors (YCR) names the region’s Young Realtor of the Year annually at the ACBR annual business meeting.

Nominees must be 36 years of age or younger, actively involved in the YCR and the Commercial Board of Realtors, display the Realtor spirit and represent a Realtor of high integrity in the Atlanta region.

The ACBR Board of Directors approved Lamb’s awards, Davenport said.  She was recognized in front of more than 300 of the industry’s most reputable professionals at the InterContinental Hotel in Buckhead. 

“It’s such an honor and quite humbling to be recognized by my peers in the profession,” Lamb said. “I am truly grateful that Lavista Associates afforded me the flexibility to volunteer time to real estate organizations like ACBR, YCR and CREW, and am so appreciative of the opportunities that have come my way as a result.  I couldn’t be happier about receiving this honor,” she said.

Lamb, a graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology, has worked as a licensed office broker at Lavista Associates since 2006 and has closed real estate transactions that total more than 600,000 square feet of space valued at more than $40 million.  

Lamb has been a member of the ACBR Million Dollar Club since 2007 and is actively involved with the Advisory Board of the YCR, Davenport said.  She is also chairman of the Membership Committee of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW). 

“Heather Lamb was awarded the Young Realtor of the Year award for her commitment to the ACBR and her work as a Director of the YCR’s Advisory Board in 2010.

She served as Chairman of the Annual YCR Bus Tour in November, which highlighted the West Midtown submarket and gave YCR members an opportunity to earn three hours of free continuing education credit,” Davenport said.
For more information, contact:  
Tom Davenport, President Lavista Associates, Inc. 770-448-6400;;
Kimberly Steele, Director of Marketing & Administration Lavista Associates, Inc. 770-729-2824;
Larry Vershel or Beth Payan, Larry Vershel Communications 407-644-4142

HFF arranges $21 million refinancing for Nexus Canyon Park in suburban Seattle, WA

 SAN DIEGO, CA – The San Diego and Portland (OR) offices of HFF (Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P.) announced today that they have arranged a $21 million refinancing for Nexus Canyon Park, (top left photo) a 152,050-square-foot biotech/laboratory building in Bothell, Washington.

Working exclusively on behalf of Nexus Properties, Inc., HFF senior managing director Tim Wright, director Tom Wilson and associate director Zack Holderman (lower left photo) secured the loan with Prime Finance, a commercial real estate finance company with offices in San Francisco, Chicago and New York. 

The loan is refinancing a maturing loan on the property.

Nexus Canyon Park is fully leased to four tenants: VoiceStream (T-Mobile), Immunex (AMGEN), Epoch Pharmaceuticals and Acucela. 

 The property is located at 21720 23rd Drive SE less than one mile from Interstate 405 and about 15 miles northeast of downtown Seattle in Bothell.

“Nexus Canyon Park enjoys an excellent cost advantage to any new asset required to provide the build-out and mechanical capacity required by today’s biotechnology and communication tenants,” said Wright.

Founded in 1979, Nexus Properties, Inc. is a developer of high quality corporate facilities, biotech laboratories, and flex research and development properties throughout California, Washington, North Carolina and other markets.

Timothy D. Wright, HFF Senior Managing Director, (858) 552-7690
Thomas F. Wilson, HFF Director, (503) 224-0444,
Kristen M. Murphy , HFF Associate Director, Marketing, (713) 852-3500,

Historic Peabody Court Hotel Brings Upscale Wyndham Hotel Brand to Baltimore

 BALTIMORE, MD—The landmark Peabody Court Hotel (top left photo), located in historic Mount Vernon Square, has opened a new chapter in its legacy.

The 104-room hotel today became the Wyndham Baltimore Peabody Court, the city’s first hotel in five years to fly the flag of this upscale hotel brand.  The hotel is owned and operated by Silver Spring, Md. - based Sunburst Hospitality Corporation. 

To celebrate its re-opening under the Wyndham flag, the hotel is offering introductory rates and packages available on the hotel’s website,

“Major upgrades to the rooms include the latest HD flat panel TVs and the upgraded Wyndham amenity package,” said Kevin Hanley (middle right photo), President and CEO, Sunburst Hospitality Corporation.

  “The hotel meets the high, upscale Wyndham standards, and we are taking further steps to enhance the hotel experience with a complete make-over of all the public space, which will take place in phases over the next six months to minimize guest disruptions.

“This historic property offers the ambiance of a classic, European boutique hotel right in the educational and cultural epicenter of the city,” he noted.

 “Built in the early 1920’s as a high-end apartment building, the hotel has become the leading gathering spot in this upscale neighborhood, and we have upgraded the property to reflect our surroundings.”

The hotel will target corporate travelers, as well as provide lodging and social and business meeting space for the many cultural, educational and medical facilities in the immediate neighborhood.

 “The Wyndham brand has a long tradition of addressing the needs of corporate travelers,” Hanley added. 

“And, the Wyndham Rewards frequent guest program offers generous rewards to its members.” 
Located at 612 Cathedral St. on Mount Vernon Square and 10 blocks from the Inner Harbor, the Wyndham Baltimore Peabody Court is renowned for its glass-enclosed 2,000-square-foot rooftop meeting space that offers a stunning bird’s eye view of Baltimore and Mt. Vernon Square.

 The property is centrally located near the Walters Art Gallery (lower left photo), many historic churches, Peabody Music Conservatory and is a short distance to the city’s major sports venues. 

The elegantly designed, oversized guest rooms feature full marble bathrooms, towel warmers, leather-inlayed work desks and custom French marble-top furniture.

The hotel’s restaurant, George’s on Mount Vernon Square, features innovative American cuisine paired with organic wines. 

Additionally, the hotel features six meeting rooms comprising 4,000 square feet of flexible meeting space and high-speed wireless Internet access.

 Additional information about the hotel may be found at

  For more information about the company, visit

 Contact: Jerry Daly Daly, Gray Public Relations, (703) 435-6293

IPhone App Released by Marcus & Millichap

ENCINO, CA – Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, the nation’s largest real estate investment services firm, has released an iPhone application for commercial real estate investors and agents.

 The application gives clients direct and instant access to agents and offices nationwide through their iPhone or iPad, according to Rick Peltz (top right photo), senior vice president and chief information officer of the firm.

 “This is the very first commercial real estate investment app on the market that allows investor clients to communicate directly with agents,” explains Peltz.

“The method of communication can be a text message from an investor’s cell phone to an agent’s cell phone, or an email inquiry to an agent from the client’s cell phone.”

 Using the new app, clients can view all 76 of the company’s local office homepages on, in addition to agent profile pages, which contain their property listings.

 “This provides clients with instant access to investment professionals – and their commercial real estate listings – across the United States,” says Peltz.

 “If a client works with one of our agents anywhere in the United States, this app puts you instantly in touch with another agent in a different region of the country.

 "An investor in Chicago, for example, can access an agent on the ground in Texas, offering him a whole new inventory of properties for potential acquisition.

“Keeping true to our service commitment, the Marcus & Millichap iPhone app provides investors with instant access to a nationwide pool of investment capital,” he notes.

The Marcus & Millichap iPhone app is available for free at the iTunes store.

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

Marcus & Millichap Lists Building in First U.S. Office Park Dedicated to Renewable Clean Energy Tech

 NEW YORK, NY – Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, the nation’s largest real estate investment services firm, has retained the exclusive listing for the 104,268-square foot STEP 1 building (top left photo), a multi-tenant property in the Saratoga Technology + Energy Park (STEP) in Malta, which is located in Saratoga County.

 The listing price of $18 million represents $173 per square foot. The building is part of the nation’s first office park dedicated solely to renewable clean energy technologies.

Ken Hoff and Scott Edelstein, of Marcus & Millichap’s Manhattan office, are representing the seller, United Group, an award-winning national developer with more than 35 years of development experience.

 “The rapid lease-up of the STEP 1 building would be an impressive success story in any location, in any economy,” says Hoff. “This building, during the worst economic and financial crisis in decades, attracted an impressive roster of tenants who filled the entire space in a short period of time.”

“The STEP 1 building has proven to be a magnet for technology companies,” adds Edelstein.

The property is located at 107 Hermes Road in Malta, near Saratoga Springs in Saratoga County, N.Y., one mile from Interstate 87 in the heart of New York State’s Tech Valley.

The STEP campus is adjacent to the 1,414-acre Luther Forest Technology campus, home of an under-construction $6 billion chip fabrication facility that will be the most advanced semiconductor manufacturing facility in the world.

The STEP 1 building is currently 100 percent leased. Major tenants include Global Foundries, Lockheed Martin and Time Warner Telecom.

 Completed in the spring of 2008 on six-plus acres, the two-story multi-tenant STEP I building features 51,613 square feet of office space and 52,655 square feet of light manufacturing/warehouse space.

 Several tenants invested millions of dollars creating clean rooms, development laboratories and various advanced technological components for their spaces.

The building has been recognized as a green building by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and is the recipient of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Design Award and the Building Owners and Managers Association’s (BOMA) The Outstanding Building of the Year (TOBY) Award.

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

Jones Lang LaSalle Industrial Team Pins Down More than 700,000 SF of Phoenix Space with Exclusive Listings

PHOENIX, AZ Jones Lang LaSalle’s Phoenix industrial team of Managing Directors Anthony Lydon, SIOR (top right photo), and Marc Hertzberg (lower left photo), SIOR, has recently been awarded two exclusive listings and completed a significant industrial sale.
Combined, the properties represent more than 700,000 square feet of space in the recovering Phoenix commercial real estate market.

The team’s new exclusive listings are:

§  A 300,000-square-foot manufacturing/distribution building at the highly visible Loop 101 and Interstate 10 stack intersection. Formerly occupied by global consumer goods company, Reckitt Benckiser and owned by Sadie Trust of San Francisco, Calif., the property is now available for sale or lease.

§  A 250,000-square-foot, rail-served distribution building fronting the Loop 202 just east of Sky Harbor International Airport (middle left photo). The food-grade facility is owned by First Beverage Group and is occupied by Phoenix-based Crescent Crown Distributing, who will be building a new facility in the East Valley. It is available for occupancy first quarter of 2012.
According to Jones Lang LaSalle research, Phoenix has enjoyed steady value-add industrial employment activity. With almost four million square feet of net absorption this year (through third quarter 2010), the area is currently ranked near the top of all U.S. industrial markets.

 “Companies like Amazon, Staples and Subzero have taken advantage of our opportunistic industrial market. They’ve captured the benefits of our labor and real estate at attractive price points,” said Lydon.

“Corporate America has almost $2 trillion in cash sitting on the sidelines, so the opportunity to continue this trend of acquisition in Phoenix is strong,” added Hertzberg. “It makes for a very positive outlook.”

Earlier this quarter, Lydon and Hertzberg worked with rail-centric employer M&M Industries, Inc. to complete the purchase of a 160,000-square-foot industrial property, located at 4739 W. Jefferson St. in Phoenix and served by the Union Pacific Railroad.

The property was sold by DCT Industrial. It was purchased by M&M Industries, Inc. for $6.09 million, for use as a plastic injection molding facility.

“This property offers rail service, which was key to the employer,” said Lydon. “It’s a perfect owner-user scenario that was made possible by a solid inventory of well-priced Phoenix industrial space.”

With more than 50 years of collective experience in industrial real estate, Lydon and Hertzberg are recognized as top brokers in the marketplace and together have facilitated more than $1.5 billion in industrial transactions nationwide.

Jones Lang LaSalle is a leader in the Phoenix commercial real estate market. Employing 311 of the area’s most recognized industry experts the firm offers office and industrial brokerage, tenant representation, facility and investment management, capital markets and development services.

In 2009, the Phoenix team completed 3.2 million square feet in lease transactions and directed $60 million in project management, and currently has 13.5 million square feet under management.
Stacey Hershauer

+1 480 600 0195