Monday, April 18, 2011

Ninety Percent of Companies Looking to Increase Social Media Spending, Says Media Author

 ATLANTA, GA (April 18, 2011) – More than 90 percent of companies will increase their social media marketing budgets in 2011, according to one social media guest expert on the “Commercial Real Estate Show.”

With an estimated 650 million users on Facebook and another 90 million on Twitter, companies are willing to spend more money than ever to reach key audiences through social media.

Shama Kabani, (top right photo) CEO of the Marketing Zen Group and author of “The Zen of Social Media,” said companies that are successful with social media are integrating it into their overall marketing strategies.

“Social media is not a stand alone,” Kabani told radio show host Michael Bull (middle left photo).

“You don’t just have a Twitter account, you don’t just have a Facebook fan page, it has to be a part of a bigger structure.”

The show aired Saturday on Biz 1190 in Atlanta and is available for download here.

Other guests included well-known commercial real estate bloggers Coy Davidson, senior vice president at Colliers International, based in Houston, and Duke Long, an independent commercial real estate broker in Indianapolis.

The next “Commercial Real Estate Show” will air April 23 and include an update on the assisted living and senior housing market. The leading guest will be Mike Hargrave (lower right photo), vice president of National Investment Center MAP.

Contact: Midd Read
Office: (404) 965-5024
Cell: (404) 901-4433

Patric Davis Joins Grubb & Ellis as Vice President, Retail Group

WALNUT CREEK, CA (April 18, 2011) – Grubb & Ellis Company (NYSE: GBE), a leading real estate services and investment firm, today announced that 38-year commercial real estate veteran Patric Davis (top right photo) has joined the company as vice president, Retail Group. 

“Grubb & Ellis has significantly increased its presence in the East Bay retail property market over the past year,” said Edward F. Del Beccaro (lower left photo), managing director.  “We are thrilled to continue this growth by welcoming Patric to our office.  She is a well-known and respected retail professional with a successful track record and an intense focus on client service.”

 Davis joins Grubb & Ellis after spending 15 years as a principal with Lee & Associates.  In this position she specialized in retail leasing on behalf of tenants and landlords, as well as shopping center sales in the East Bay and San Joaquin Valley.

Previously, Davis specialized in neighborhood shopping center development and leasing in the Denver region with Ambrose & Company, where she began her career in 1973.

 Clients Davis has represented during her career include the American Cancer Society, Dairy Queen Inc., Starbucks Coffee Company, Pine Tree Commercial Realty LLC, Uncle Credit Union and the California State Automobile Association. 

 Davis holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado and is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and Commercial Real Estate Women. 

Contact: Julia McCartney, Phone: 714.975.2230,                                       

Grubb & Ellis: Chicago Office Market Snapshot, First Quarter 2011


CHICAGO, IL--The following summary from Grubb & Ellis Co. is designed to provide a brief overview of the Chicago metro office market during the first quarter of 2011.

 For more information or to speak with one of the company’s local market experts, please contact Erin Mays at 312.698.6735 or via email at


The region’s vacancy rate dropped 20 basis points to 20.6 percent from the previous quarter, posting 16,300 square feet of positive absorption.  

With the delivery of a 48,000-square-foot build-to-suit project in the I-88 East submarket during the first quarter 2011, the area’s construction pipeline has nearly been exhausted, leaving no new construction underway thus far in 2011 with the exception of Astellas Pharma U.S. Inc. new build-to-suit headquarters in Glenview.

Average Class A asking rental rates for the region dropped $0.31 from the fourth quarter 2010 to $29.44 per square foot.

The investment market continued to see increased activity as debt & equity players showed a willingness to take more calculated risks.  A number of undercapitalized owners, particularly those in the suburban markets, have been pushed to give their keys back to the lender as well-funded and recapitalized landlords reset the bar on rental rates.


The vacancy rate in the Chicago CBD office market decreased 40 basis points from the previous quarter to 17 percent, with the market posting nearly 130,000 square feet of positive net absorption.



The vacancy rate in the suburbs increased 20 basis points from the previous quarter to 25 percent after negative net absorption totaling more than 110,000 square feet posted to the market.

Average Class A asking rental rates in the Chicago suburbs stood at $24.14 per square foot, an increase of $0.38 from the previous quarter.


  • Encouraged by improved occupancy, owners of Class A+ assets in the CBD have become slightly more aggressive with their asking rates.
  •  While not representing an overall market trend, their efforts are likely to trickle down to all building classes, indicating continued improvement in the downtown market.

  • In the suburban market, large, well-capitalized buildings are resetting rental rates, enabling them to more effectively compete for tenants with very attractive offers.

  • Going forward, researchers expect modest improvement through the balance of the year.

  • Remaining sublease space will continue to push downward pressure on rental rates, but the lack of new development projects positions the region well for recovery.

To access the full Chicago Metro Office Trends report and other Grubb & Ellis research publications, visit

Class A average asking rental rates decreased $0.83 per square foot from the previous quarter, full service gross, to $35.82 per square foot.

$61 million refinancing for grocery-anchored retail center in San Jose, CA arranged by HFF

IRVINE, CA – HFF announced today that it has arranged a $61 million refinancing for El Paseo de Saratoga (top left photo), a 295,979-square-foot, grocery-anchored retail center in San Jose, California.

HFF worked exclusively on behalf of the borrower, Terramar Retail Centers, to secure the 10-year fixed-rate loan through a life insurance company.  The loan has five years interest-only at an interest rate of 4.55%.  The borrower bought the property in October 2008 in an all-cash purchase.

Completely redeveloped in 2007, the property features 18 buildings on a nearly 32-acre site.  El Paseo de Saratoga is anchored by Lucky Supermarket, AMC Theatres, Office Max and Petco. 

Other tenants at the 94 percent leased center include Peet’s Coffee, Jamba Juice, U.S. Bank and Panda Express.  The property is located at 200 El Paseo de Saratoga close to Interstate 280 and US 85 in Silicon Valley.

The HFF team representing the borrower included director Mark Erland, senior managing directors Don Curtis and managing director Peter Smyslowski.

Terramar Retail Centers is a privately-held commercial shopping center investment, management and development company based in Carlsbad, California. 

Mark J. Erland, HFF Director, (949) 253-8800, (713) 852-3500,
Kristen M. Murphy, HFF Associate Director, Marketing,

HFF arranges $30.75 million refinancing for Wild Dunes Resort in Isle of Palms, SC


 LOS ANGELES, CA – HFF announced today that it has arranged a $30.75 million refinancing for the Wild Dunes Resort (top left photo) a 1,600-acre luxury beach resort in Isle of Palms, South Carolina.

HFF worked exclusively on behalf of Lowe Enterprises to secure the five-year, fixed-rate loan through a life insurance company.  Loan proceeds are paying off existing debt on the property.

The Wild Dunes Resort is located at 5757 Palm Boulevard on the northern end of Isle of Palms about 11 miles from Charleston, South Carolina. 

Situated on two and one half miles of beachfront, the resort includes the 93-room Boardwalk Inn; two championship golf courses; the Sweetgrass Pavilion Conference Center; a “top-rated” tennis facility with 17 courts; The Grand Pavilion with 15,800 square feet of retail; six food and beverage outlets; and The Village Parking and commercial units, which includes 108 spaces and 13,700 square feet of retail. 

Also included in the collateral for the loan are 396 rental condominium contracts.

The HFF team that represented Lowe Enterprises included senior managing directors Paul Brindley (middle right photo) and Daniel Peek.

Lowe Enterprises, Inc. is a 39-year old privately-owned, vertically integrated real estate development, hospitality and investment advisory and management firm.  The company has developed, acquired or managed more than $16 billion of real estate assets.  Headquartered in Los Angeles, the firm has regional offices in Northern California, Southern California, Denver and Washington, D.C.

Paul Brindley, HFF Senior Managing Director, (310) 407-2100                                               
Daniel Peek, HFF Senior Managing Director, (305) 448-1333
Kristen Murphy, HFF Associate Director, Marketing, (713) 852-3500

Savanna Closes Approximately $550 Million Real Estate Private Equity Fund II


NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 18, 2011 – Savanna Investment Management, LLC (“Savanna”), a New York-based institutional real estate private equity and asset management firm, today announced the final closing of its second real estate private equity fund, Savanna Real Estate Fund II, LP with approximately $550 million of total equity commitments.

“The final closing of Savanna Real Estate Fund II is a significant milestone for us,” said Nicholas Bienstock (top right photo), a Managing Partner of Savanna.

 “We believe we are well positioned in today’s market with the ability to commit discretionary capital combined with our ownership and operating expertise. We are pleased with the broad support we received from our domestic and international investors.”

 The fund exceeded its $400 million target with its final closing of approximately $550 million, added Mr. Bienstock, with Park Hill Real Estate Group LLC acting as Savanna’s placement agent.

 “Park Hill Real Estate Group did an outstanding job assisting us with our fundraising initiative. Their relationships helped Savanna broaden our base of institutional investors in the US, Europe and Asia during a very difficult period for fundraising,” he said.

 "Savanna has been rewarded for superior service to its investors," said Charles Purse (lower left photo), a Managing Principal of Park Hill Real Estate Group. "We are delighted to see our clients do well, especially in this still challenging capital raising environment."

TD Wood & Co. Brokers $2.1 Million Loan in Fort Lauderdale, FL

MIAMI, FL, April 18, 2011— Thomas D. Wood and Company, a Strategic Alliance Mortgage LLC member, secured financing in the amount of $2,100,000 for Southern Center Associates I, LP, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Marshall Smith (top right photo), Company Executive Vice President, secured financing for Southern Center Associates I, LP, through Thomas D. Wood and Company's correspondent relationship with Southern Farm Bureau Life in the amount of $2,100,000. 

The fixed-rate loan has a term of 10 years, based on a 25-year amortization and an interest rate of 5.15%  The loan-to-value is 50%.  The borrower wanted to refinance the loan to lock in a low interest rate.

 The 24,000 square-foot multi-tenant office was built in 1985, and is located at 1500 Cordova Road, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

The website may be accessed through
For further information, please contact:
Marshall Smith, (305) 447-7825,
Jessica Kinnee, (407) 937-0470,

Crossman & Company President John Crossman to Participate in Panel Discussion at Real Estate Forum April 28

 ORLANDO, FL --- John Crossman (top right photo), president of Crossman & Company, the Orlando commercial real estate firm that ranks as one of the largest retail leasing and management firms in the Southeast, will speak at the panel discussion during the Central Florida Real Estate 2011 Valuation Forum April 28 at the Sheraton Orlando North Hotel in Maitland.(lower left photo)

The 2011 Valuation Forum is sponsored by the East Florida Chapter of the Appraisal Institute.

Crossman, whose company represents Publix Super Markets, Inc. throughout the Southeast and Orlando Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, said he plans to talk about emerging trends in retail properties: big box stores opting for smaller facilities with lower operating costs and retail properties who are finding new ways to repurpose existing retail facilities.

Crossman played a role in one such repurposing when he helped negotiate a long-term lease at Orlando Fashion Square for the 20,000 square foot headquarters of the Disney Entrepreneur Center.

Crossman’s fellow panelists at the 2011 Valuation Forum include Ken Kupp, a partner at Boyd Development; Stephen Markowski, senior vice president and marketing manager at Wells Fargo / Wachovia Bank; and John Duttore, Florida operating partner for the Shopping Center Group.

For more information, contact:
John Crossman, CCIM, President, Crossman & Company, 407-581-6218,
Larry Vershel or Beth Payan, Larry Vershel Communications, 407-644-4142,

Commercial Real Estate Veterans Launch Ascent Realty Advisors

 LOS ANGELES, CA,  April 18, 2011, Principals of tenant in common industry leaders TIC Properties Management, LLC AMOÒ, Cottonwood Capital and CapHarbor have joined forces to create a complete solution for investors in properties that were syndicated as a tenant common structure and for rescuing distressed properties and fatigued sponsors of tenant in common offerings.

  The new company, Ascent Realty Advisors, LLC (“Ascent”), is headed by Chairman John W. Boyd, (top right photo) who founded TIC Properties, LLC in 2001, and CEO and President James G. Shaw (middle left photo), who founded CapHarbor also in 2002.

 “This is the right thing to do for the TIC investors,” said Boyd.  “While the tenant in common industry was aware from the outset that raising additional capital from TIC investors would be difficult and, therefore, most properties were ‘over-capitalized’ for reserves when they were syndicated, the ravages of the Great Recession and the ongoing real estate downturn have, in some cases, reduced or depleted those reserves, leaving those properties unable to compete in their markets.”

“With our national operating platform and substantial capital base, combined with our deep relationships with TIC investors, sponsors and broker-dealers, Ascent is uniquely suited to provide solutions to these challenges,” said Shaw.

 “We believe that Ascent combines the attributes that investors, tenants and lenders require: strong operational expertise, a well-capitalized company with the ability to provide capital to the individual properties and, through the Ascent Fund, a single borrowing entity that should be much more attractive to tenants and lenders alike.”

The Ascent Fund will be managed by Ascent Commercial Property Management, LLC, lead by Barry Gruebbel (lower right photo), C.P.M. 

Ascent is headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina with offices across the United States, including Los Angeles, Irvine, Dallas, Cincinnati, Kansas City and Atlanta.  For more information, please visit

 Contact:  David Ebeling, Ebeling Communications, (949) 278-7851

Orient Express Announces Exclusive Partnership with The St. Regis Bangkok and The St. Regis Singapore

BANGKOK, THAILAND,  April 18, 2011) – Luxury train operator Orient-Express and distinguished 5-star luxury hotels The St. Regis Bangkok (top left photo) and The St. Regis Singapore have announced an exclusive partnership aimed at discerning travelers.

The newly formed partnership will grant privileges and offer a range of unique experiences to guests traveling between the two capital Asian cities of Singapore and Bangkok aboard the timelessly elegant Eastern and Oriental Express (E&O) train.

Since the brand’s first hotel debuted in 1904, St. Regis has developed a long-standing reputation of offering truly personalized experiences to its guests.  Likewise, Orient-Express is best known for its quintessential traditions, attention to detail and gracious service.

For more details, please contact:

Hwee Peng Yeo
Director of Asian Markets
Glodow Nead Communications – Asia
Level 21, Centennial Tower
3 Temasek Avenue
Singapore 039190
Tel : 65 9768.6087

Grubb & Ellis Closes Credit Facility with Colony Capital

SANTA ANA, CA (April 18, 2011) – Grubb & Ellis Company (NYSE: GBE), a leading real estate services and investment firm, today announced that it closed the $18 million credit facility with Colony Capital that the company previously announced on March 30, 2011. 

The company has drawn the initial $9 million tranche under the facility, and anticipates that the second $9 million tranche will fund subsequent to May 15, 2011.

 In conjunction with this financing, which was provided by a lending affiliate of Colony Capital, Colony was granted an exclusive 60-day period, which commenced on March 30, 2011, to evaluate a potential larger strategic transaction with Grubb & Ellis.

 Should the company and Colony enter into a definitive agreement for a strategic transaction, the company retains the right to solicit competing strategic transactions for a period of 25 business days thereafter.

Colony Capital, LLC, is a private, international investment firm focusing primarily on debt and equity investments in real estate-related assets and operating companies.

JMP Securities served as financial advisor to Grubb & Ellis in connection with the financing.

Contact: Janice McDill, Phone: 312.698.6707,                                       

HEI Hotels & Resorts Promotes Four to Hotel Management Ranks

NORWALK, CT, April 18, 2011—HEI Hotels & Resorts (HEI), the nation’s fastest growing private owner/operator of hotel real estate, today announced the promotion of four individuals to property-level managerial positions: 

·           Don Cook (top right photo) was promoted to general manager of the 222-room The Hotel Minneapolis – Autograph Collection.

·           Frank Quallen (middle left photo) was promoted to complex general manager over the Atlanta Marriott Northwest and Marriott Norcross.

·            Rodney Gooden (middle right photo) was named hotel manager of the Marriott Norcross, reporting to Frank Quallen. 

·           Evan Evans (lower left photo) was named general manager of the 202-room Le Meridien Philadelphia.

“HEI has a long tradition of promoting from within, and these appointments recognize and reward the outstanding contributions of these individuals, as well as their commitment to excellence and proven leadership ability,” said Ted Darnall (top left photo) chief operating officer. 

 “We’re confident that they will be able to create a great customer and associate experience at their new properties and positively impact hotel performance.”

Don Cook

A 15-year hotel industry veteran, Cook joined HEI in 2004 as director of food & beverage at the company’s Atlanta Marriott Northwest Prior to joining HEI, Cook spent 10 years with Interstate Hotels & Resorts in both food & beverage and general management.  Cook has relocated to Minneapolis to assume his new position as general manager of The Hotel Minneapolis – Autograph Collection.


Frank Quallen

Quallen joined HEI in 2004 as the general manager of the Marriott Norcross, where, under his leadership, the hotel achieved RevPAR Index for three straight years.  Following the relocation of Don Cook to Minneapolis, Quallen was promoted to a newly created position, complex general manager, which adds oversight of the Atlanta Marriott Northwest to his general manager duties at the Marriott Norcross.  Prior to HEI and the Marriott Norcross, Quallen was the director of food & beverage for the Renaissance Waverly Hotel and the Renaissance Atlanta Hotel Downtown. 

Rodney Gooden

Prior to his current promotion to hotel manager of the Marriott Norcross reporting to Frank Quallen, Gooden was the director of operations at the Atlanta Marriott Northwest.  He joined HEI in December 2006 as the operations manager at the 224-room Marriott Fullerton atCalifornia State University.  Prior to joining HEI, he was a general manager for DKN Hotels in Westwood, Calif.


Evan Evans

Evans moves up to general manager of the Le Meridien in Philadelphia, where he has served as hotel manager since April 2010.  He joined HEI in January 2008 as the director of operations of the Westin Philadelphia.  Previously, Evans was a regional manager for the Starr Restaurant Organization. 

  For more information about HEI, visit the company’s website,

Media Contact:  Stephanie Rhodes, HEI Hotels & Resorts, 203-849-2297

Davidson Hotel Company to Rebrand Los Angeles Westside Hotel as Doubletree by Hilton

Newly-named DoubleTree by Hilton Los Angeles-Westside to Open in May

LOS ANGELES, CA April 18, 2011 — Davidson Hotel Company, one of the nation’s largest independent hotel management companies, today announced that it is rebranding the 368-room Radisson Los Angeles Westside (top left photo) as the DoubleTree by Hilton Los Angeles-Westside. 

Davidson manages the property for The Carlyle Group, which owns the hotel, and will operate it under a franchise license agreement with a subsidiary of Hilton Worldwide.  The hotel is located at 6161 West Centinela Avenue, adjacent to Interstate 405 in Culver City and three miles from Los Angeles International Airport.

“Davidson Hotels has proudly managed this Los Angeles Westside hospitality landmark since April 2006,” said Patrick Lupsha, chief operating officer of Davidson Hotel Company.

 “Based on our experience in managing several DoubleTree by Hilton hotels in key cities and leisure destinations across the United States, we believe the strong marketing, sales and technology infrastructure, as well as the value added benefit of the highly acclaimed Hilton HHonors guest loyalty program, will lead to greater recognition and success for this hotel and added value for our customers. 

“This is one of four properties we manage for The Carlyle Group, and we look forward to expanding that relationship.”

The soon-to-be DoubleTree by Hilton Los Angeles-Westside is convenient to Sony Pictures Studios, Venice Beach, Beverly Hills (lower left photo) and Santa Monica. 

The hotel features an outdoor heated pool and Jacuzzi, fitness room, business center, 20,000 square feet of banquet and meeting facilities, airport shuttle service and two on-site restaurants:  Share, featuring a wonderful selection of 32 wines by the glass, and Culver’s Club Lounge, featuring Live Jazz and Mystery Dinner Theater.

“The current enhancement project at our hotel will have minimal impact on our guests, as we’re focusing on such improvements as new 37-inch LCD televisions in guestrooms with DirecTV HD programming; and alarm clock radios with MP3 connectivity,” said Bill Reider, hotel general manager.

  “More importantly, the strategic vision behind this hotel conversion is ideal for the next chapter of this outstanding hotel.  Our new name, look and feel is exciting for our team members, and we look forward to creating a reenergized, rewarding experience for our customers and our community as a DoubleTree by Hilton in the months and years to come.”

Cyndi Norwood,  Davidson Hotel Company, (901) 821-4155,      
Jerry Daly, Chris Daly (media), Daly Gray Public Relations, (703) 435  6293,