Property Investors to Buy More Senior Housing in 2019

Commercial News » Atlanta Edition By Monsef Rachid

September 17, 2018

According to the recently released CBRE U.S. Seniors Housing & Care Investor Survey, the appetite for senior housing acquisitions in the U.S. remains strong, with nearly two-thirds of investors planning to increase the size of their portfolios over the next 12 months.

The majority (64%) of seniors housing investors plan to increase their buying activity over the next year. One third of investors (31%) expect no change to their level of acquisitions. The percentage of investors who plan to increase [or maintain] their level of investment in senior housing is essentially unchanged from last year’s survey.

Investors are most interested in lifestyle-focused seniors housing. ‘Independent living’ (34%) was identified as the best opportunity for investment, followed by ‘assisted living’ (23%). The ‘active-adult’ segment (19%) is also attracting considerable interest-up from 13% last year. ‘Memory care’ properties continue to lose ground, with investors now seeing the least opportunity for this property type, likely due to the overbuilding of this property type in recent years.

“Seniors housing acquisitions momentum will continue in the second half of 2018 and will likely increase, especially if the sentiment reflected in the survey materializes. Despite the increased capital-market and operational headwinds, investor interest remains robust and a lack of available product to buy should keep pricing strong,” said Jeanette Rice, head of multifamily research, CBRE.

As worries about the availability and cost of labor mount nationally, investors see ‘increased property-level operating and development costs’ (36%) as their biggest concern for a consecutive year. Facing increased competition and rising cost of capital, property-level operations are essential to maintaining valuations. ‘Rising interest rates’ (32%), eclipsed ‘construction activity/oversupply’ (17%) as the next most important concern for investors.

“Seniors housing valuations will be challenged in the near term by the trifecta of new supply outpacing demand, rising operating/development costs, and rising interest rates. These challenges will be relatively short-lived as the sector prepares for the next wave. As market participants search for innovative ways to differentiate through innovative design trends, operations, services and technology, sound property-level operations remain critical to maintaining valuations,” said Zach Bowyer, senior managing director, Valuation & Advisory Services, CBRE.

Marketing time (offering to contract) remained unchanged for about half (51%) of investors; however, 39% indicated that the length of the marketing period has increased, indicating increased buyer and seller disconnect.

Capitalization rates rose in nearly all categories, reversing a trend from prior surveys. Greater increases came in Class B and C product, in memory care and in non-core assets. Cap rate pricing held up best for Class A, core and independent living. Most investors (55%) are confident that cap rates for seniors housing will hold firm over the next 12 months, down slightly from 63% in H2 2017. Respondents expecting an increase in cap rates rose to 39% from 32%. Only 6% of respondents expect that cap rates will decline.

Carolyn Block Ellert buys out partner at Premier Sales Group

Ellert and former partner Laurie Ingber founded the brokerage in 2000

By Ina Cordle | September 26, 2018 04:45PM

Carolyn Block Ellert, co-founder of Premier Sales Group, just bought out her business partner Laurie Ingber to become full owner of the Fort Lauderdale-based brokerage.

“Our interests were heading in different directions,” Ellert said. “It happens after some time, and I was looking to continue to grow our brand.”

Ellert declined to disclose terms of the buy-out.

Ingber said via email that she has joined Mattamy Homes, the largest privately owned home builder in North America, to lead sales and marketing of its new Southeast Florida Division. The Toronto-based company’s portfolio includes five communities in Broward, Palm Beach and St Lucie County totaling more than 8,000 lots.

Ellert and Ingber founded Premier in 2000. Since then, the firm has closed more than $4 billion in sales, handling luxury condo and condo-hotel developments, as well as condominium conversion projects.

Premier’s focus will continue to be on preconstruction sales, with an emphasis on technology and research, Ellert said. Current clients include 30 Thirty North Ocean, which is under construction on Fort Lauderdale Beach, and the firm continues as a consultant and adviser for the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach.  Other past projects include The Brazilian Court Palm Beach, and The Symphony, Las Olas Riverhouse, Sapphire and the Atlantic Hotel, each in Fort Lauderdale.

Ellert said the firm has six full-time agents and will be expanding. It operates an office at 1500 West Cypress Creek Road, Suite 108 in Fort Lauderdale.

Ellert, the current and founding chair of the Master Brokers Forum’s Gold Coast chapter, began her career in real estate managing the sales force for several New York properties. She later joined Louise Sunshine’s the Sunshine Group as director of sales and became its broker of record for Florida, according to a release. In 1993, she and Ingber opened the Sunshine Group’s Florida division, before forming Premier Sales Group.

Election Day showdown

Where the candidates stand on real estate issues and who received big donations from the industry

By Katherine Kallergis | September 20, 2018 11:00AM

As South Florida voters head to the polls this November, they’ll be met with an array of candidates from both sides of the aisle with platforms impacting a variety of real estate issues. Industry professionals are watching closely, opening up their wallets to candidates like former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R), who’s running against Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) in the race for governor.

Gillum pulled off a stunning upset in the August primary when he beat out Gwen Graham, Philip Levine, Jeff Greene and Chris King (now Gillum’s running mate), surprising those in South Florida’s real estate community who thought Graham and Levine, who both have strong industry ties, would battle it out for the nomination.

Across the state, candidates drew donations from big names in real estate like Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett and Vector Group CEO Howard Lorber, according to data from the Florida Division of Elections and the Federal Election Commission. TRD dug into those databases to learn who South Florida’s most prominent figures in real estate are supporting, considering only contributions of $1,000 or more from figures known in the local industry.

The Real Deal’s list of donors and donations is not comprehensive and includes donations to political action committees and political party committees, which explains why some totals exceed the limits that individuals can contribute. Individuals are maxed out at $2,700 per election to a federal candidate or the candidate’s campaign committee. But they can also give up to $5,000 to a political action committee. In Florida, individuals are capped at $3,000 to a candidate for statewide office, according to the Division of Elections.

In addition to candidates, voters will also decide on the fates of three major real estate projects, which TRD also reviews here.


U.S. Senator
Bill Nelson
Lives in: Orlando
Net worth: Nelson was reportedly worth between $1.3 million and $6 million as of 2015, according to In a financial disclosure report filed in mid-2017, he reported about $51,000 in annual retirement income from the state of Florida and about $23,000 from a Regions Bank IRA. He makes about $174,000 as a senator.
Campaign war chest: Nelson had received contributions totaling $18.2 million as of Aug. 8, according to the most recent information available from the Federal Election Commission. He’s spent more than $5.3 million.
Biggest Donors in Real Estate:

  • American Hotel and Lodging Association Political Action Committee, $10,000
  • American Senior Housing Association, $5,000
  • National Apartment Association Political Action Committee, $10,000
  • Christopher Asaro, president of Holt Construction Corp., $5,400
  • Climis Lascaris, president of Lascaris Design Group, $5,400
  • Wyndham Destinations Inc. Political Action Committee, $5,000
  • Cemex Inc. Employees PAC, $5,000
  • Property Casualty Insurers Association of America Political Action Committee, $3,500
  • Jonathan Tisch, CEO of Loews Hotels, $2,700
  • David M. Solomon, president of Goldman Sachs, $2,700
  • Ram Sundaram, partner at Goldman Sachs, $2,700
  • Chris Korge, partner at the Americas Group, $2,700
  • National Elevator Constructors PAC/International Union of Elevator Constructors, $1,000

Real Estate Issues on the Campaign Trail: Nelson supported increasing spending on affordable housing after tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans evacuated to Florida following Hurricane Maria last year. The Florida Realtors Association pushed lawmakers to fund the effort using real estate sales taxes that are supposed to be set aside for affordable housing but often get used for general costs. 

The U.S. senator also claims he’s working to make it easier for homeowners to invest in solar installations, helping renewable energy companies grow in Florida and supporting infrastructure investment to create “more resilient coastlines,” according to his campaign. 

Nelson has attacked Gov. Rick Scott for not doing enough to address the toxic blue-green algal blooms along the state’s east coast and red tide along the west coast, which he said hurt business and kept some homeowners away. 

U.S. Senator
Rick Scott
Lives in: Tallahassee and Naples, plus a home in Montana
Net worth: $255 million
Campaign War Chest: Scott’s campaign had raised $31.2 million and spent nearly $28 million as of Aug. 8. He’s the biggest donor to his own campaign, spending tens of millions of dollars.
Biggest Donors in Real Estate:

  • Leo Wells III, founder and CEO of Wells Real Estate Funds Inc., $13,500
  • Stephen Ross, chairman of the Related Companies, $13,500
  • Metro Development GrouP, a Tampa development firm, $12,700
  • Phillip and Patricia Frost, Philip is chairman and CEO of Opko Health and Vector Group’s largest shareholder, $10,800
  • Steven Witkoff, chairman and CEO of the Witkoff Group, $8,100
  • David Simon, CEO of Simon Property Group, $8,100
  • Arthur Falcone, chairman and CEO of Falcone Group, $5,400
  • Falcone & Associates, $5,400
  • Donald Soffer, founder and chairman of Turnberry Associates, $5,400
  • Jeffrey Soffer, co-CEO of Turnberry Associates, $5,400
  • Brooke Soffer, retail owner at the Fontainebleau Hotel Miami Beach, $5,400
  • Howard Lorber, chairman of Vector Group, $5,400
  • John Moriarty, owner of John Moriarty & Associates, $5,400
  • Bob Moss, chairman and CEO of Moss & Associates, $5,400
  • Richard LeFrak, chairman and CEO of LeFrak, $5,400
  • James LeFrak, vice chairman at LeFrak, $5,400
  • Harrison LeFrak, managing director at LeFrak, $5,400
  • Andrew Beal, real estate investor and founder and chairman of Beal Bank, $5,400

Real Estate Issues on the Campaign Trail: This year, Scott signed into law a business rent tax reduction to 5.7 percent from 5.8 percent, effective next Jan. 1. The cut reduces the sales tax that tenants pay for their commercial leases. 

The 2018-2019 state budget, which Scott signed in March, included nearly $124 million for affordable housing, according to the Florida Realtors. The budget also set aside up to $500,000 for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to combat unlicensed real estate activity. Additionally, the budget included more than $400 million for Everglades restoration, beach renourishment and springs protection, among other natural resources.

U.S. House of Representatives District 23
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Lives in: Weston
Net worth: $107,000 as of 2015
Campaign war chest: $1.7 million
Biggest Donors in Real Estate:

  • Alan Lieberman, owner of South Beach Hotel Group, $10,400
  • Sheryl Tishman, wife of Daniel Tishman, $5,400
  • Alan Ginsburg of the CED Companies, $5,400
  • Paul Kukuruza, managing director of Paloma Partners, $5,400
  • Charles Abele, chairman and CEO of Gold Coast Florida Regional Center, $5,000
  • Chris Korge, partner at the Americas Group, $2,700
  • Daniel Tishman, principal and vice chairman of Tishman, $2,700

Real Estate Issues on the Campaign Trail: Wasserman Schultz, a moderate Democrat in Congress, voted against the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, legislation that exempts some banks from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. She also voted against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December 2017.

U.S. House of Representatives District 23
Joe Kaufman
Lives in: Tamarac
Net worth: Not available
Campaign war chest: He’s raised $36,000, but he’s spent about $38,000. He had $387,000 in cash in his campaign account, plus debts of $89,900, primarily from his unsuccessful 2012, 2014 and 2016 campaigns for Congress.
Biggest Donors in Real Estate: No real estate donors
Real Estate Issues on the Campaign Trail: Kaufman’s platform includes his endorsement of downsizing or eliminating the IRS and lowering the corporate tax rate significantly. He supports using federal fundingto create new bays and living shorelines and to bolster sea walls.

U.S. House of Representatives District 26
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell
Lives in: Pinecrest
Net worth: Nearly $661,000 as of 2016
Campaign war chest: $1.88 million
Biggest Donors in Real Estate:

  • Mary Wilkie-Ebrahimi, First Solar shareholder, $5,400
  • Farhad Ebrahimi, First Solar shareholder, $5,400
  • Donald Sussman, founder at Paloma Partners, $2,700
  • Kammy Moalemzadeh, founder and managing partner of Arcadia Investment Partners, $2,700
  • Joshua Easterly, CEO of TPG Specialty Lending, $2,700
  • Nicholas Pritzker, co-founder and principal of Tao Capital Management, $2,700
  • Isaac Pritzker, director of venture equities at Tao Capital Management, $2,700
  • James Attwood Jr., managing director of the Carlyle Group, $2,700
  • Jeffrey Sussman, president of Property Group Partners, $2,700
  • Louis Wolfson III, founding partner of Pinnacle Housing Group, $2,000
  • Jill Soffer, interior designer, $2,000
  • Lyle Stern, president of Koniver Stern Group, $1,000
  • Michael Adler, chairman and CEO of Adler Group, $1,000

Real Estate Issues on the Campaign Trail: Mucarsel-Powell’s campaign touches on combating sea level rise through investing in infrastructure.

U.S. House of Representatives District 26
Carlos Curbelo
Lives in: Miami
Net worth: $1.5 million as of 2015
Campaign war chest: $3.76 million
Biggest Donors in Real Estate:

  • Armando Codina, executive chairman of Codina Partners, $10,400
  • Real Estate Roundtable Political Action Committee, $8,500
  • Jose Mas, CEO of MasTec, $8,100
  • Jorge Mas Canosa, chairman of MasTec, $8,100
  • Matthew Rieger, president and CEO, Housing Trust Group, $5,400
  • Daniel Loeb, founder and CEO of Third Point Management, $5,400
  • Florida East Coast Industries LLC/Good Government Committee, $5,000
  • Jose Ferreira de Melo, president of the Melo Group, $2,700
  • Martin Ferreira de Melo, principal at the Melo Group, $2,700
  • Pedro Munilla, principal at MCM, $2,700

Real Estate Issues on the Campaign Trail: Curbelo calls himself a “positive voice on the issues of climate change … even when I have to break from my party to do so,” according to his website. He supports protecting the Everglades and water quality, especially in the Florida Keys. Curbelo has also advocated for alleviating the affordable housing crisis in the Keys.

U.S. House of Representatives District 27
Donna Shalala
Lives in: Coral Gables
Net worth: Between $4.6 million and $13.5 million
Campaign war chest: $2.08 million
Biggest Donors in Real Estate:

  • Jeffrey Krasnoff, founder and CEO of Rialto Capital Management, $5,400
  • Jackie Soffer, co-CEO of Turnberry Associates, $5,400
  • Louise Sunshine, real estate consultant, $5,400
  • Carol Soffer, art consultant at Turnberry Associates, $5,400
  • Rita Soffer, $5,400
  • Marsha Soffer, manager at Turnberry Associates, $5,400
  • Brooke Soffer, Realtor, $5,400
  • Craig Robins, president and CEO of Dacra, $5,400
  • Ed Easton, chairman and CEO of the Easton Group, $5,400
  • Stuart Miller, executive chairman of Lennar Corporation, $5,400
  • Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, $2,700
  • Louis Wolfson III, founding partner of Pinnacle Housing Group, $5,400
  • Arnaud Karsenti, managing principal at 13th Floor Investments, $2,700
  • Jill Soffer, interior designer, $2,700
  • Todd Glaser, developer, $2,700

Real Estate Issues on the Campaign Trail: The former University of Miami president has ties to housing. She was assistant secretary for policy development and research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and before that was on the board of Lennar Corporation. On the environment, her platform includes investing in clean energy infrastructure, encouraging the installation of solar panels in homes and tightening efficiency standards.

Attorney General
Sean Shaw
Lives in: Tampa
Net worth: $745,000
Campaign war chest: $1.49 million
Biggest Donors in Real Estate:

  • Philip Levine, developer and CEO of Royal Media Partners, $1,000
  • 247 Miracle Mile LLC, a Terranova Corp. entity led by Stephen Bittel and Mindy McIlroy, $1,000
  • Better Future LLC, a company led by Terranova’s Bittel and Scott Fitzgerard, $1,000
  • Blue Sky Communities, a multifamily firm based in Tampa, $500

Real Estate Issues on the Campaign Trail: At the Trump International Beach Resort in Sunny Isles Beach in September, Shaw vowed to look into whether Russians used Trump properties to launder money. Shaw compared his competition to “an extension of Pam Bondi” — a reference to the current attorney general’s decision to not investigate Trump University.

Attorney General
Ashley Moody
Lives in: Tampa
Net worth: $3 million
Campaign war chest: $3.72 million
Biggest Donors in Real Estate:

  • Companies tied to Tampa developer Stephen Dibbs, $10,000
  • Companies tied to Cargor Partners, a Bradenton homebuilder, $9,000
  • Continental Pacific, a commercial real estate firm, $3,000
  • Brent Sembler, vice chairman of the Sembler Company, $4,000
  • James Terlizzi, CEO of Peachtree Settlement Funding, $3,000
  • Third Lake Capital, $3,000
  • Barrow Realty, $3,000
  • The St. Joe Company of Watersound, Florida, $3,000
  • Patrick Neal, founder of Neal Communities, $3,000
  • Marta Batsmanian, Palm Beach commercial investor, $3,000
  • Jimmy Tate’s Tate Development Corporation, $3,000
  • Rayonier, timberland real estate investment trust, $3,000
  • Louis Wolfson III, founding partner at Pinnacle Housing Group, $3,000
  • Ron Bergeron, CEO of the Bergeron Family of Companies, $3,000
  • Michael Belisle, office manager of Linda A. Gary Real Estate, $3,000
  • The Celebration Company, $2,500
  • Mel Sembler, founder of the Sembler Company, $2,000
  • Rodney Barreto’s Coral Gables Title and Escrow, $1,000
  • Michael Adler, chairman and CEO of Adler Group, $1,000

Real Estate Issues on the Campaign Trail: Moody won the endorsements of the Florida Home Builders and the Florida Realtors PACs and the Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida. The construction trade group cited her “support of reducing barriers to increase innovation and promote job creation.” Moody also picked up Miami Mayor Francis Suarez’s endorsement.

Ross Realty sells Coral Springs commercial portfolio for $43M

Ross Realty sells Coral Springs commercial portfolio for $43M

From left: Heron Bay and Tiktin Real Estate Investment Services’ Adam Tiktin and Alejandro Snyder

Ross Realty Investments just sold three of its commercial buildings in Coral Springs for $42.95 million.

The Heron Bay portfolio, located just off the Sawgrass Expressway on Coral Ridge Drive, consists of a mix of retail and office properties totaling 130,985 square feet. The trade breaks down to about $330 per square foot.

The buyer, Asuman 57th Street LLC, is led by private investor Asuman G. Polat, whose investments include assets in New York.

Tiktin Real Estate Investment Services’ Adam J. Tiktin and Alejandro Snyder represented the sellers.

Tiktin said Ross Realty spent about $14 million assembling the lots and developed the properties between 2006 and 2008.

The portfolio includes Waterway Shoppes, which spans about 40,260 square feet; Heron Bay III, a 45,340-square-foot office building at 5830 Coral Ridge Drive; and Heron Bay IV, a 45,380-square-foot office building.

Tiktin said he listed the property about three months ago. The office portfolio is leased to a number of medical tenants including Memorial Healthcare Systems and All Source Recruiting Group.

A number of investors are targeting Coral Springs, amid efforts to revitalize its downtown and bring in new development. About five miles south of the portfolio, developer PreDevCo. is building a $200 million mixed-use development set to include more than 500 residential units, 230,000 square feet of commercial space, and an eight-story, 150-room hotel.

Ross Realty is a commercial real estate firm that focuses on community shopping centers, neighborhood grocery-anchored centers, power centers, stand-alone retailers and office buildings, according to its website.

Former Cushman executive assails “old boys network” in $30M discrimination lawsuit

Former Cushman executive assails “old boys network” in $30M discrimination lawsuit

Nicole Urquart-Bradley (Credit: Twitter, and iStock)

A former executive at Cushman & Wakefield said the brokerage regularly paraded her around as an ambassador for diversity at the firm, but behind the scenes the company culture is one of sexism and racism.

Nicole Urquart-Bradley, an African American woman, claims her career was held back at Cushman — and she was ultimately fired from the company — due to her race and gender, according to a discrimination lawsuit she filed Tuesday in Washington, D.C. federal court.

“In the age of MeToo, Cushman & Wakefield is facing a new world, where the old boys’ network behaviors will no longer be tolerated,” said David Sanford, the attorney representing Urquart-Bradley, which is representing Urquart-Bradley. “The commercial real estate industry has a long-standing reputation for devaluing women; it’s time they recognize that these behaviors cannot continue.”

A spokesperson for Cushman said the company does not comment on ongoing litigation.

Urquart-Bradley — who worked out of the brokerage’s D.C. office and was head of the Valuation and Advisory department for the United States since 2010 — said she was one of only two female service-line leaders at Cushman.

She said that when the president of Global V&A, John Busi, left to start a competing division at Newmark Knight Frank in 2016, she was tasked with fending off a poaching effort by Busi known internally as the “Newmark Siege.”

But while Cushman was happy to offer Urquart-Bradley “her white male predecessor’s job responsibilities, it refused to give her Busi’s global title to accompany them,” her lawsuit claims.

“This decision by C&W is consistent with a pattern and practice of refusing to offer female executives global titles,” her attorneys wrote.

Urquart-Bradley said that Cushman regularly publicly promoted her as an example of diversity at the company — a public image that was “at odds with the deeply entrenched culture of discrimination against women and people of color.”

She pointed to Cushman’s initial public offering in August — when the company invited two white men and more than a dozen men and women of color to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange — as an example of the disparity between Cushman’s public image and what goes on behind the scenes.

Urquart-Bradley alleged that despite growing revenue for the V&A division by 59 percent between 2010 and 2016, she faced undue hostility from chief operating officer Todd Schwartz and Shawn Mobley, president of Cushman’s eastern region.

During one particularly confrontational call last year, Urquart-Bradley claims, Schwartz accused her of being “defensive” and claimed she argued her point in an “unprofessional” manner.

“He then proceeded to provide [Urquart-Bradley] with ‘mentoring,’ telling her that if she wanted to be ‘taken seriously’ she needed to ‘stop whining’ and ‘get with the program,’” court papers claim.

Urquart-Bradley said that after successfully fending off the Newmark siege, she asked for a small fraction of the non-monetary retention benefits her white male subordinates had received, at which point Mobley “accused her of disloyalty and abruptly terminated her employment.”

Urquart-Bradley is seeking $30 million in damages.

This is not the first time Cushman’s been hit with discrimination claims. In 2016, former director Hongmei “Janice” Li filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court claiming she was demoted and fired and replaced with a younger, white male employee who lacked her qualifications.

Former COO Suzy Reingold and former research head Maria Sicola have also filed discrimination lawsuits in recent years.

Across the world of commercial real estate, companies are grappling with a lack of diversity among their ranks.

Women accounted for only 21 percent Cushman’s workforce in New York City, according to an analysis conducted by The Real Deal earlier this year. That was behind competitors JLL and CBRE, where women make up 26 percent and 25 percent of the workforce, respectively.

Multiple Listing Services band together to share data, resources

Multiple Listing Services band together to share data, resources

Chris Carrillo (Credit: iStock and Real Estate Standards Organization)

A group of five multiple listing services from across the country has teamed up to pool their resources.

MLSs from California, Arizona, Wisconsin, Oregon and Utah unveiled MLS Aligned LLC, which seeks to build new tools for MLS users, Inman reported.

“This is going to fundamentally change how data is moving from Point A to Point B to Point C in some ways,” Chris Carrillo, CEO of Metro MLS in Wisconsin, told Inman.

The company’s first creation is an application programming interface called MLS Aligned API, which lets vendors like third-party listing portals receive real-time listing data from the member MLSs.

Previously, third-party listing sites had to copy each MLS’s whole database one-by-one, and could only get up updates periodically. has already tested using the MLS Aligned API, and will start using data from Metro MLS. The listing website also takes the Real Estate Board of New York’s Residential Listing Service feed.

Carillo said the company had not yet determined how much the service will cost, but told Inman that the fee would be “low.”

“This initiative is intended to be inclusive,” he said. “From a technical requirement, we only need access to your MLS repository. From a cost standpoint, we have yet to formulate what the final costs will be. However, this initiative is not intended to separate the have and the have-nots. ” [Inman] — Rich Bockmann

Corporate land owner has a $124M deal to cut algae-based pollution in southwest Florida

Corporate land owner has a $124M deal to cut algae-based pollution in southwest Florida

Alico Inc. owns 122,000 acres in Hendry County including this proposed “water farm” land. (Credit: Leah Voss| Treasure Coast Newspapers)

A Fort Myers-based public company will build a 35,192-acre water-storage site in Hendry County to reduce algae-based pollution of an estuary.

The South Florida Water Management District approved a permit for Alico Inc. to build and maintain the water-storage site, which will cost Florida taxpayers $124 million over 11 years.

Fort Myers-based Alico owns 122,000 acres of land in Florida, including wetlands in Hendry County where the company will build the water-storage site. Alico is a publicly held company listed on the NASDAQ market under ticker symbol ALCO.

The storage site is designed to collect algae-filled water discharged from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee River and to minimize blue-green algae blooms in the river’s estuary near Fort Myers.

The water district will pay Alico $4 million in the first year of their contract and $12 million annually for the next 10 years to store as much as 30 million gallons of water.

In the first year of the contract, Alico will build a four-foot berm around the 35,192-acre water-storage site and procure pipes to bring water from the Caloosahatchee River to the site.

In Martin County, a similar water-storage site known as the Caulkins Water Farm collects discharges of algae-laden water from Lake Okeechobee to protect the St. Lucie River’s estuary in the Stuart area.

TCPalm reported in 2015 that the Alico water-storage site will cost considerably more: $356 for every million gallons of contacted water storage, compared to $233 at the Caulkins water-storage site. – Mike Seemuth

What’s a degree worth? A third of homeowners say they’d borrow against their homes to pay for it

What’s a degree worth? A third of homeowners say they’d borrow against their homes to pay for it

(Credit: Pexels, Max Pixels)

Homeowners across the country have about $5.8 trillion in equity and–notwithstanding some hesitancy–there’s some surprising ways they plan on using it. Chief among them is to get a degree.

In a recent survey, one of the most common reasons to borrow against a home was to pay off student debt or other education-related costs, according to as cited by CNBC. Nearly a third of homeowners who responded said they believed that loans to pay for education were a “good” use of their home equity.

About one in six homeowners reported that they felt borrowing against their home to pay bills was a “good” option.

The number of new home-equity lines of credits jumped in the first quarter of 2018–despite expectations that the new tax bill would deter borrowers, and cash-out refinancing is at its highest point in about a decade, as The Real Deal reported. [CNBC]–Erin Hudson

National Cheat Sheet: Och-Ziff to launch $2B real estate fund … & more

National Cheat Sheet: Och-Ziff to launch $2B real estate fund … & more

Clockwise from top left: WeWork drops non-compete agreements for hundreds of employees after settlement with NY Attorney General Barbara Underwood, Och-Ziff Capital Management Group’s $2B real estate fund will target opportunistic investments, Henri Bendel to close all of its stores after 123 years in business, and Around one in six Americans would borrow against their homes to pay bills.

Och-Ziff Capital Management Group’s $2B real estate fund will target opportunistic investments
Och-Ziff Capital Management Group hopes to raise a $2 billion private equity fund that would target real estate, according to Bloomberg. This will be billionaire Daniel Och’s fourth fund targeting opportunistic investments and his firm’s largest real estate-targeted investment vehicle yet. “In the foreseeable future, we think we’re extremely good in credit and in real estate,” CEO Robert Shafir told investors last month. “What you will see is extensions that are local adjacencies to those core businesses.” Och-Siff also aims to raise $150 million for an affordable-housing fund and $750 million for a real estate debt fund. [TRD]

WeWork drops non-compete agreements for hundreds of employees after settlement
Hundreds of WeWork employees across the country will no longer be subject to stringent non-compete agreements. Almost all of the coworking behemoth’s employees were required to sign agreements that kept them from taking jobs with competitors, but after a settlement stemming from an investigation by the New York Attorney General’s office, the company agreed to release 800 New York-based employees from their agreements and to make the new policy a nationwide one. As part of the new policy, an additional 600 employees across the country won’t be bound by non-compete agreements, and 1,800 employees will be subject to less restrictive agreements. The settlement was “a key step forward for WeWork’s thousands of employees in New York and across the country,” Attorney General Barbara Underwood said in a statement. [TRD]

Henri Bendel to close all of its stores after 123 years in business
Luxury retailer Henri Bendel is closing all of its stores after 123 years in business, according to CNN. The retailer’s parent company L Brands made the decision to close the remaining 23 stores in an effort “to improve company profitability and focus on our larger brands that have greater growth potential” — Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, to name a few — as Henri Bendel wasn’t doing well sales-wise. After L Brands bought Bendel in the 1980s, it expanded the store into 11 states. Bendel’s 86,000-square-foot flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, its Chicago and Miami-area stores and its outpost at the Beverly Center in Los Angeles will all be shuttering after the holidays, this coming January. [TRD]

Around 1 in 6 Americans say they would borrow against their homes to pay bills
Approximately one in six U.S. homeowners would take out a loan secured by their home in order to pay household bills, a new report found. That’s around 24 million homeowners, according to the report, which found that people who earned less and were less educated were more likely to make that choice. A majority of homeowners who took part in the survey, however, said that home improvements or repairs were the best reason to borrow against their homes. The report also indicated that while some homeowners said they would borrow against their homes, not many are doing so. The survey result “speaks to how far some households are stretched on a monthly basis,” Bankrate chief financial analyst Greg McBride said. [TRD]


Long-vacant Times Square theater getting $100M revamp
Stillman Development and South Korean financial firm Daishin Securities Co. plan to renovate the Times Square Theater on West 42nd Street, the Wall Street Journal reported. Stillman Development has a 73-year lease for the theater, and the company hopes to draw entertainment-centric retailers to the space. Colliers International’s Brad Mendelson, who is handling the lease, said that could include brands like Apple, Amazon and Coca-Cola. President Roy Stillman, meanwhile, said they’re aiming to “design a project that would be insulated from the risks of e-commerce.” [TRD]

Chicago mansion that hosted four Playboy shoots hits the market
Prospective homeowners searching for a new place in Chicago could land a mansion that’s hosted four Playboy photo spreads, Crain’s first reported. The owners of the 7,000-square-foot Gold Coast home put it on the market for $4.9 million. The mansion has a third-floor addition made of glass and a master bedroom with mirrors on the ceiling. Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty agent Duane Shumaker, who’s listing the house, described it as “sexy.” [TRD]

Luxury rental building on the Fort Lauderdale waterfront could fetch $160M
A new luxury development on the water in Fort Lauderdale could fetch anywhere from $160 million to $170 million, according to Cushman & Wakefield broker Robert Given. Broadstone Harbor Beach, which houses 394 luxury apartment units, is unique because it’s “very rare to have a rental building on the Intracoastal or the water in South Florida,” said Given, who is listing the property along with Cushman & Wakefield’s Zachary Sackley, Troy Ballard and Neal Victor. “Most are condo projects,” he added. The site was previously home to Ocean World marine park, and is near the Broward Convention Center. [TRD]

CEO of Atlanta-based real estate investment trust Cousins Properties stepping down
The CEO of Atlanta-based real estate investment trust Cousins Properties is stepping down, Bisnow reported. Larry Gellerstedt, who’s been CEO since 2009, will take on the role of executive chairman. Colin Connolly, the trust’s president, will become the new CEO next year. “Colin’s promotion is part of a deliberate and planned succession effort that will allow Cousins Properties to benefit from his ideas, energy and strategic leadership skills, while continuing its evolution into a larger, highly focused company,” Gellerstedt said in a statement provided to the outlet. [Bisnow]

More and more Denver residents are looking for homes in other cities
More and more people who live in the Denver metro area are looking to buy homes in other cities, the Denver Post reported. A Redfin study found that there were more people from Denver searching for homes in other cities than were people from other cities searching for homes in Denver, according to the outlet. Residents who live in Denver may be looking for more affordable properties, since the median home price in the city is currently $406,000, according to the outlet. Denver residents seemed most interested in moving to Seattle, according to the study. They were also interested in places like Colorado Springs and Fort Collins. [DP]

Brightline buys high-speed rail between LA and Las Vegas
Traveling between Los Angeles and Las Vegas will soon take half the time. Florida-based firm Brightline plans to buy a high-speed rail project called “XpressWest” that will get passengers from Southern California to Las Vegas in about 80 minutes — far less than the time it takes to drive between the two cities now. The firm plans to start construction in 2019 and to launch its service in 2022. “Brightline is changing transportation in our country by connecting heavily trafficked corridors that are too long to drive and to short to fly,” Wes Edens, the co-founder and co-chief executive officer of Brightline parent company Fortress Investment Group, said of the project. A round trip ticket on the rail line will cost around $89. [TRD]

You won’t believe how much dirt sells for in the world’s most expensive real estate market

You won’t believe how much dirt sells for in the world’s most expensive real estate market

The Peak with a money sky in Hong Kong (Credit: Wikipedia)

If you thought land deals in New York were insane, have a seat. A plot of government land in Hong Kong is expected to fetch an eye-popping $13,000 a square foot, a record for the city and possibly the world.

The 404,300-square-foot piece of land in The Peak, Hong Kong’s ritziest neighborhood, is expected to sell for $5.1 billion. At that price it would be the most valuable piece of land ever sold in the city, according to the South China Morning Post.

The enormous price ticket is partly due to scarce available land in the Southern District and The Peak, which makes up only 1 percent of available residential land in the city, according to Thomas Lam, a senior director at Knight Frank.

“It will become the new land king,” Lam told the outlet. “Available land in this upscale district is very rare and developers would be very aggressive in bidding for the site.”

It is the first government-owned piece of land in the area sold in eight years, since another property was sold for $1.3 billion, or $4,000 a square foot.

Existing homes in The Peak also command exorbitant prices. A four-bedroom home in The Peak was listed this week for $440 million, and that home is almost certainly a tear-down.

A development site that once contained a historic villa at 75 Peak Road sold in 2015 for $657.8 million, and Alibaba CEO Jack Ma also bought a house on Peak Road a few years ago for $193 million. [SCMP] — David Jeans