Friday, May 25, 2007

Happy and Safe Long Weekend

I'll be working, as well as many of you. Luckily, I'll be working from a hotel in a warm and sunny locale, a thousand miles from the City.

Blogging via email from a plane on the runway at EWR right now, I can't help but look across the aisle at strangers chatting each other up and thank God for these tiny planes with only one seat on the left side of the plane. A window seat and an aisle seat in one - and no "consultant" bragging about his latest regional award.

Everyone have a fun and safe weekend.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Who Cares about LA Real Estate?

Apparently I spoke too soon. Another major portfolio is about to trade in Southern California. Should make headlines sometime mid-next week. $1.5 Billion-plus deal.

Update: Well, I should check GlobeSt before I post from now on. They've picked up the story already (apparently just posted, because it wasn't even in the PM Alert sent at 4:40 PM ET) that a GICSA affiliate is purchasing the old Arden SoCal Portfolio for about $1.5 billion.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

iStar Buys Fremont's CRE Lending Business for $2 Billion

In a deal that was being kicked around the rumor mill for about a week, iStar announced it is acquiring Fremont's commercial real estate lending business for $2 billion.

Mr. Condocon Verter, a New York-based real estate investor, hated to hear the news, as it took one of the two remaining lenders out of the market who were dumb enough to still be lending on condo projects (even in South Florida). Mr. Verter was overheard saying as his head hung low, "At least there's still Corus."

Friday, May 18, 2007

Wachovia, Deutsche Bank Producers Grumbling?

There's a rumor making the rounds that Wachovia's originators are complaining their latest pricing sheet is up to 30 bps wide of the competition, essentially putting them on the beach and out of the game.

Deutsche Bank is rumored to be sitting on the sidelines as well. Word is that the guys at both banks aren't too happy, and aren't sure if this is temporary or the proverbial "writing on the wall".

If you are job hunting, lock up a place ASAP, because I have a sneaking suspicion that the pool of candidates in the market right now (already wider than usual) could get even wider in June.

A Hungover Friday Morning Link Rundown

Fortress Acquiring Flagler Development for $3.5 Billion (CoStar)
Apparently bought all-cash, which is somewhat surpring. I would say that is may be due to the fact that development firms which aim for quick development and exits tend to be low on operating cash flow, especially in today's environment where less buyers are buying on in-place income and rather focusing on future stabilized cash flows and/or values... but Flagler has a sizable portfolio of owned assets. In any event, it's definitely the news of the day [yesterday].

Mathias named SL Green President (Forbes)
Notorious BSD Andrew Mathias has been promoted to president of SL Green and will keep the CIO title as well (of both SLG and Gramercy Capital). Previously, CEO Marc Holliday was President of the company as well. Said Holliday, "Andrew could make eight kajillion bazillion dollars if he were to start something up himself, so I'm perplexed that he accepted my offer of a title upgrade and some extra pocket change." ...Or maybe that's just what I said ... to myself.

NAR: Commercial Real Estate Investment Expected to Remain Strong (
Don't ask how I happened upon an EARTHtimes link, but its really just a press release from the National Association of Realtors which cites the fact that more dumb money is being thrown at commercial real estate deals in 2007. "Investment in commercial real estate rose 11 percent to a record $306.8 billion in investment-grade transactions in 2006, with office buildings leading the way."

Broadway Closes on 237 Park, 100 Wall (NY Observer)
The Real Estate pokes a little fun for their "announcement" when everyone already knew about the transaction via the same blog two months ago.

If a high-rise is developed in downtown LA, does it make a sound? (CPN)
I don't know many people who care much about Los Angeles real estate, save for Maguire Properties, I'm sure... but according to CPN, "Plans have been announced for Park Fifth, a high-rise residential and hotel complex in Downtown Los Angeles. Africa Israel and Namco Capital Group are serving as the capital partners for the $1 billion project, which is being developed by Houk Development Co." It will be the tallest residential property west of Chicago at 76 stories on Fifth and Olive (and another 43-story tower). It will include 732 condos, a 220-room five-star hotel and a 15-story bridge linking the two towers. Groundbreaking will take place in Q1 2008.

Everyone drink lots of water and be liberal with the Aleve!

Monday, May 14, 2007

GlobeSt: Marathon Real Estate Files $200M IPO

Marathon filed their IPO papers with the SEC on Friday for a $200 million IPO and REIT classification. According to the linked story, the company controls assets totaling about $1.3 billion, including $886 million of assets financed in a CDO. More than 50% of their portfolio is in New York or California. About 25% is in hospitality and about 23% is in office.

Credit Suisse and Lehman are the underwriters.

Friday, May 11, 2007

It's a New Dawn, It's a New Day

After the busiest three weeks of my life, I'm trying to get back into the routine of posting here. Oh, how much has changed in the past 17 days...

Forget what you thought you learned about today's CMBS world during the last 18 to 24 months - it's been flipped faster than the EOP portfolio. With the subprime meltdown, ratings agency warnings, and activist CMBS buyers at all levels serving as catalysts, the CMBS market underwent an enormous adjustment seemingly overnight. Banks re-traded loan apps on their some of their most successful and profitable clients, several banks made it be known that they are out of the 10-year interest-only lending business for good, some borrowers unable to obtain financing walked away from hard deposits, and one of the go-to funding sources for large deal financings went POOF -- literally -- overnight.

Some of the biggest news items since the hiatus:

CMBS Spreads Widen from Top to Bottom (IPG/CRE News [$])
From the top classes to the B-Pieces, CMBS spreads widened. Most see it as a result of S&P and Fitch warnings about law underwriting and new ratings standards. Some point to the subprime mortgage fallout for why CMBS buyers are feeling a little jittery. Either way, it's affecting everyone from the borrowers to banks with un-securitized loans still on their books.

Institutional Real Estate Cap Rates Hit Record Lows (IPG/CRE News [$])
Something has to give, but it didn't happen in the first quarter, as cap rates dropped even further across all property types, according to Bank of America. Marketwide, the average cap rate hit 5.61%, which continued a now 9-quarter decline. For those scoring at home, that's a less than a 100-bp spread on today's Ten-Year at 4.652%. Fantastic.

60 Wall Trades for $1.18 Billion (Reuters - FREE!)
Paramount takes the downtown asset that's been on the market since November 2006. Something may have changed since I last looked at the deal, but the net rentable are should still be 1,625,483 sf, meaning the price was $738 psf, considered a bargain in New York these days. My last underwriting pegged the initial year's NOI at about $64.5 million, which hints at a 5.47% cap rate. That could be off though, since I haven't seen the deal in about 6 months. Looks as though DB got their target price... less about $20 million (only a 1.7% haircut).

There's no real articles on the on-going CMBS adjustments and how it's affecting the market (that I've seen), except for the pay publications like Commercial Mortgage Alert, which is proving to be a priceless resource right now.

Hoping to find time to post more regularly....


Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Dillon Read - DONE!?!

Can't post much now, but the word is that Dillon Read Capital, a subsidiary of UBS, apparently gathered their employees in the ballroom this afternoon and shut everything down at 5:00 pm... Told everyone not to come to work in the morning. Would be HUGE news in the morning.

Rumor goes that they lost a billion dollars plus in the last couple of weeks. I'm sure more info will slowly leak out if proven out, but this is definitely the biggest news in a week that's been full of news (that I haven't had time to post about).

Update Thursday, 9:35 AM: It sounds like the amount lost noted above was overblown by *just a bit* but the media caught wind of this around 4:30 AM this morning. Click for stories from Forbes and Bloomberg.

Update Thursday, 5:10 PM: Although not reported anywhere (that I have been able to find), today's rumor is that Dillon Read was a significant financial backer of New Century, the now-defunct subprime group. This was supposedly responsible for a large chunk of DR's losses.

According to CRE/IPG, Brian Harris, the BSD of the commercial real estate group will take a similar position with UBS.

** ThreeCap's site traffic/visitor count has exploded today due to the news and this post being the first to post anything about it on the web yesterday evening (even though no one wants to leave comments). Welcome to all the new readers - now, don't you all have work you should be doing??