Daily News – October 12, 2009

Here are the news stories you might find interesting today:

U.S. shopping center vacancy rate highest since 1992
At the end of the third quarter, the vacancy rate for enclosed malls was 8.6%, and the figure for open-air shopping centers had reached 10.3%, according to the research firm Reis Inc. For unenclosed centers typically anchored by big-box retailers or supermarkets, the figure was the worst since 1992. Among retail properties completed this year, almost a third opened at least half-empty, the company said.

MERITAGE HOMES DROPS $17.5 MILLION FOR ACTIVE ADULT COMMUNITY
Maricopa - Meritage Homes of Arizona Inc. in Scottsdale (Fred Hermann, div. pres.) paid $17.5 million to purchase 1,328 lots within the Province at Maricopa active adult project in the town of Maricopa in Pinal County. The seller was a consortium of lenders, including JP Morgan Chase Bank.

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STARPOINTE IN DEFAULT ON $85+ MILLION IN LOANS SECURED BY TWO CONDO PROJECTS

Phoenix/Scottsdale - Companies formed by Starpointe Communities in Scottsdale (Robert Lyles, Patricia Watts, partners) are facing foreclosure actions on two condominium projects in the Valley that are secured by $85.3 million in loans. The mortgages were initially issued by Ohio Savings Bank (now known as AmTrust Bank). The loans were sold in September to companies formed by Condo Capital Solutions in Louisville, Colo. (Marcel Arsenault, Peter Wells, partners). No word on how much Condo Capital Solutions paid for the notes. Look for Condo Capital Solutions to either lease or resell the units after foreclosing on the assets.
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Survey: Small businesses not using social networking

Small-business owners are not making the trek to social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook, but are slowly dipping their toes into Internet waters, according to a new Citibank/GfK Roper survey.

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Business execs gather to discuss ‘State of Our State'

The state is stressed out by the recession, real estate crash and unresolved budget situation.

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Stimulus money fast-tracked to save State Fair concerts

The state is getting $1.7 million from the federal stimulus program to repair the roof at Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds.

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Mosaic closes, a quartet of new restaurants open

The Valley's dining scene continues to express itself, with the closing of a well-accomplished North Scottsdale dining spot and the recent openings of several others.

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New UMOM shelter opens to 112 families

Arizona's largest homeless shelter will open this weekend when 112 single-parent families move into the remodeled Days Inn motel at 3333 E. Van Buren St.

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Deer Valley on the rise as Sky Harbor traffic lags

While traffic continues to lag at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Deer Valley Airport is outpacing last year's performance.

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Foreign Investment in U.S. Property Revives after Bad Fall

Foreign investment in the U.S. is showing signs of life again after a deep plunge earlier this year. Globally, the U.S. has been hardest hit by a deep spending decline, according to a new report by Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle's International Capital Group.

For the first half of 2009, U.S. commercial real estate transactions by overseas investors fell a stunning 77% year-over-year to $14 billion. Japan was the most active international market during the period with $15 billion in commercial real estate investment. The United Kingdom was third after the U.S., with $11 billion.

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Weak economy fells Mesa paintball arena

The ongoing recession proved too powerful an opponent for an indoor paintball facility near downtown Mesa.

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Bashas' to shutter 14 stores by Saturday

Fourteen Bashas' grocery stores, including seven in the East Valley, will close by Saturday as part of the company's Chapter 11 reorganization.

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Court rules against Bank One canceling lease

The Arizona Court of Appeals rejects arguments by Bank One that when it became a lessee on a piece of property, it also acquired the right in the original lease to terminate it early.

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Cambria Suites hotel coming to Chandler

The Valley's first Cambria Suites hotel is coming to Chandler, with construction slated to begin early next month.

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Matta's restaurant planned for Mesa Riverview

Some members of the Matta's family are starting a new Matta's at Mesa Riverview. They plan to open it in February, following a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday.

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Enterprise zone renewed for west Mesa

Mesa is renewing an incentives package to boost west Mesa's economy even though the effort helped only two businesses in the last five years. The city renewed the designation of an enterprise zone for a roughly seven-mile area where certain businesses can get tax breaks if they expand or move into the vicinity.

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Mesa Falcon Field planning $75M expansion

Mesa Falcon Field Airport officials plotted a course for growth during a meeting Thursday with the mayor and City Council that looked at the future of aviation in the northeast section of the city.

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Worst may be over for housing in the Valley

All neighborhoods in metropolitan Phoenix have seen home prices fall so far this year, according to The Arizona Republic's Valley Home Values Report. But the area's overall home price is finally ticking up again, and foreclosures fell last month, both signs of recovery.

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Valley landlords face new reality

Competition for tenants is increasing as more homes become rentals

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Shoe Carnival ready to open 2 local stores

Evansville, Ind.-based footwear retailer Shoe Carnival will enter the metro Phoenix market this weekend with store openings in Goodyear and Chandler on Saturday. The publicly held company operates 314 stores in the Midwest, South and Southeast.

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Feel free to contact me regarding any of these stories, the current market, distressed commercial real estate opportunities or your property.

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