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Retailers dip their toes with short-term deals

Retailers dip their toes with short-term deals

138 Greene Street (Credit: Thor)

With so much turmoil in the retail market, tenants are increasingly looking to do short-term deals.

Figures from CBRE show that since 2016, the number of retail leases inked for shorter than three years has increased dramatically, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Retailers are using the shorter terms to test out new locations and see where rents will go.

“The obvious positive on the tenant side is that they can test the market,” CBRE research manager Michael Slattery said.

CBRE counted 13 short-term retail leases in Manhattan in 2016. But by 2017 that figure had more than quadrupled to 53 deals. And 2018 is keeping pace with last year, with 28 short-term deals inked through the second quarter.

Soho, which has been hit hard by vacancies, had the heaviest concentration of short-term leases.

These kinds of deals can help landlords fill empty spaces and generate buzz for their properties, but they do pose a problem when building owners go to refinance or sell.

But landlords’ flexibility with short-term deals is helping improve leasing activity.

“It used to be landlords would dig in and wouldn’t back off rent that much, but now there are deals getting done,” SCG Retail’s David Firestein said. “It feels to me that the market is bottoming out.” [WSJ] — Rich Bockmann

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Sale of Quality Inn may reflect greater interest in Florida’s smaller hotel markets

Sale of Quality Inn may reflect greater interest in Florida’s smaller hotel markets

Quality Inn & Suites hotel in Cocoa Beach

A longtime owner sold the 170-key Quality Inn & Suites hotel in Cocoa Beach, a deal that may reflect greater interest among hotel investors in small and medium-sized Florida markets.

Crossway Inn, Inc., which had been the owner-operator of the hotel for 46 years, sold the property to CB Hospitality LLC.

Colliers International Hotel Group, which brokered the sale, said in a press release that the deal reflects “expanded interest for hotel assets in secondary and tertiary Florida markets.”

The Quality Inn is located a half block from the Atlantic Ocean on a 4.33-acre site at 3901 North Atlantic Avenue in Cocoa Beach.

“Unlike markets such as Miami … this region still has very low new supply due to its barrier island location and restrictive zoning that creates tremendous barriers to entry for most investors,” Colliers vice president John Wijtenburg said in a prepared statement. “This sale illustrates institutional capital is continuing to chase lodging, especially in Florida.”

Limited hotel construction in Cocoa Beach has contributed to higher room rates and occupancy at existing hotels.

Since 2014, the average daily rate for a hotel in Cocoa Beach has increased 22.7 percent, and the city’s hotel occupancy rate has grown to 72.6 percent from 62.2 percent. – Mike Seemuth

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Attorney sentenced for fraudulent role in condominium sales at Vero Beach project

Attorney sentenced for fraudulent role in condominium sales at Vero Beach project

Eric Granitur (Credit: Daily Business Review)

A federal judge sentenced a real estate attorney to slightly more than a year in prison for his role in a fraudulent scheme involving pre-construction condo sales in Vero Beach.

U.S. District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg sentenced Eric B. Granitur to slightly more than a year in prison plus five years of supervised release for helping a developer fraudulently obtain a construction loan to build the Vero Beach Hotel & Spa condominiums.

In June, a federal jury found Granitur guilty on two counts of making a false statement to a federally insured financial institution and one count of conspiring to do so.

Judge Rosenberg sentenced one of Granitur’s co-conspirators, George Heaton, to a shorter prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to the charges against him. The judge sentenced Heaton to six months in prison, three years of supervised release and a forfeiture of about $236,000.

Heaton, the developer of the Vero Beach Hotel &  Spa condominiums, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to make false statements to a federally insured bank. Heaton had faced eight counts of bank fraud and up to 30 years in prison before he reached an agreement with federal prosecutors to plead guilty to one count.

Heaton admitted that he secretly helped a buyer  to purchase condo units at his Vero Beach Hotel & Spa because he needed to sell a certain number of units to get a $23 million construction loan to build the development. He lied to Orion Bank, now known as Iberiabank, about the pre-construction condo sales from 2006 to 2009.

Granitur, doing business as Live Oak Title, oversaw the closing of two condos at the Vero Beach Hotel & Spa to Stephen McKenzie, to whom Heaton provided financial help to complete the purchases. McKenzie pleaded guilty to his role in the fraudulent scheme and got a four-month prison sentence and supervised release.

Granitur got a “greatly reduced sentence from that sought by the government,” according to a statement to the Daily Business Review from his  attorney, Benedict P. Kuehne. “He would never have been involved in the closings if he had known they were part of a fraud of which he was unaware.” [Daily Business Review]Mike Seemuth