Daily News for Commercial Real Estate & Business – March 10, 2010

Here are the news stories you might find interesting today regarding commercial real estate and business:

185 'Fractured' Condo Units Acquired

A Chicago buyer has taken possession of 185 "fractured" condos in two separate deals totaling close to $15 million. RN Properties bought remaining units at La Terraza at Biltmore Condominiums and Portofino Condominiums in what experts suggest represents a growing trend in bulk condo sales. View article...

Two companies sign leases for space in SkySong

A growing education-software company and an Internet marketing firm have signed leases that will make them among the top five tenants at SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center. The two deals also mean that SkySong's first two buildings, with a total of 289,626 square feet, are 76 percent leased. Adaptive Curriculum will move this spring into more than 13,000 square feet in the second building of the high-tech development in south Scottsdale. It will begin building out the space in the next few weeks, Chief Executive Officer Jim Bowler said. View article...

Alliance Bank of Arizona commits to CityScape

Investing in commercial real estate in this economic environment might seem about as appealing as trying to charm snakes or walk on simmering coals. But officials at Alliance Bank of Arizona say their stake in the new CityScape project symbolizes a long-term commitment they're making to downtown Phoenix and Arizona. View article...

Valley coffee scene perks up with indie shops

For Dwayne Hartford, this is a perfect time to be in the Valley. The reason? There are plenty of neighborhood coffee shops where you can sit down, open your laptop and spend a couple of hours sipping java while working. "It's just a different feeling," says Hartford, an actor and playwright with Childsplay. "It gets you out of the house, and you feel like you're part of the community." View article...

Construction begins on $23M forensic hospital

Crews have begun construction on the Arizona State Forensic Hospital at 2500 E. Van Buren St. in Phoenix. The $23 million facility is scheduled to completed in September 2011. The 104,000-square-foot hospital will provide about 80 patient beds, according to the Cannon Design Web site. Canon Design and Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., both with offices in Phoenix, handled the design. Gilbane Building Co., also with offices in Phoenix, is the contractor. View article...

Court approves sale of East Valley Tribune

A federal bankruptcy judge on Tuesday approved the sale of the Tribune - as well as Freedom Communications' other Valley publications - to 1013 Communications LLC. The $2.05 million sale is expected to close by the end of the March and includes purchase of the Ahwatukee Foothills News, the Sun City Daily News-Sun, Glendale/Peoria Today and Surprise Today. View article...

Foreclosures drive down home values in northeast Phoenix

Things got worse in 2009 for homeowners and sellers in northeast Phoenix. Until last year, the northeastern ZIP codes that cover the area between the Phoenix Mountain Preserve and Pinnacle Peak Road were holding up to the economic recession reasonably well. Yes, home values were declining and foreclosures were increasing in 2008 and even 2007. View article...

Phoenix-area bankruptcy filings climbed in February

Bankruptcy filings climbed in February after a dip in January as more debt-strapped individuals apparently used income-tax refunds to get the ball rolling. Filings in the Phoenix area have been hovering around 2,000 a month for the past year as a sluggish economy puts pressure on people who are unemployed as well as certain business owners and homeowners who have suffered big losses in real estate. View article...

Arizona borrowing to cover jobless benefits

The state's jobless fund is broke. Figures as of Monday show less than $25.2 million left in the account the state uses to pay the benefits of those during the first 26 weeks of their unemployment. That's a direct result of the recession being longer and deeper than anyone anticipated: Before the downturn, there was $1 billion in the account. View article...

Mayor Gordon strikes combative tone in State of the City address

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon struck a more combative tone than usual Tuesday, calling out Congress, "extremist" state lawmakers and two of his own council members for failing to show leadership in the face of economic recession and severe budget problems. "True leadership ... is a rare commodity," Gordon told nearly 700 civic and business leaders during his seventh State of the City address. "Too often, the right thing to do is whatever will win the next election." View article...

Retail Receivership Opportunities Slow to Materialize

As commercial real estate distress continues to mount, dozens of retail real estate firms, including brokers, third-party managers and developers, are jockeying to get a piece of the business. But the assignments so far have been coming in dribs and drabs, not quite the tsunami of opportunities many of these firms had been expecting. A combination of government recommendations to lenders to amend troubled loans whenever possible and banks' inability or unwillingness to absorb potential losses, has led to inaction on assets with underwater loans. View article...

Office Rents Will Bottom Sooner Than Expected

Despite the havoc that the past year wreaked on office rents and occupancies, the combination of limited supply growth and expected stabilization in the labor markets foreshadows a relatively quick return to positive rent growth. This forecast implies that although the sales market for office properties has remained slow, a pickup in transaction volume and prices may occur swiftly. View article...

Trepp: CMBS Loan Losses to Deepen in 2010

Properties backed by CMBS loans that have had an appraisal reduction may be a financial fortune cookie for investors. Ordering an updated appraisal is just one of the steps required after a loan has been transferred to special servicing. In the current environment, most appraisals have been reduced from their original value at securitization, especially loans underwritten during the CMBS boom. "Appraisal reduction is a forward-looking measure of potential future losses," explains Paul Mancuso, a vice president with commercial real estate data and analytics firm Trepp LLC. View article...

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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