Archive for June, 2010

Chicago Tower Sells for Record $625 Million

Monday, June 21st, 2010
This just in from the Windy City: KBS Realty Advisors, a southern California firm, has agreed to buy 300 North LaSalle, a 60-story office tower in downtown Chicago, from Hines Interests for a record $625 million.
This is the largest deal in Chicago since 2004, when the Sears (sorry, Willis) Tower traded for $840 million.
At $480 per square foot, KBS is eclipsing the previous record Chicago sale of $422 per foot set in 2006.

So, is this "the sign" that things will soon be all rosy in the office market world? Not necessarily.

Here’s the full story from my good friends at Crain’s Chicago Business.

Front Pages From Around the World

Friday, June 18th, 2010

newspapersIn our never-ending search for what’s new, current and just plain fascinating, I found a new website that gives a look at the front pages of newspapers from around the world.

While I still have this ongoing debate with friends, family and fellow marketers and journalists about the death of the daily newspaper, they still provide a great snapshot of current events. That’s what they do best, especially when there is the type of global event like the BP oil spill and the dramatic stage show that is better known as a Congressional hearing.

Here’s the link.

NAREE, Austin Were a Blast

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Last week’s annual meeting of the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE) in Austin was a confab to remember for several reasons.

Austin skyline2At the sharp end of the good news was the major focus on the commercial real estate sector. There is no denying the numbers and the raw facts – the residential market is, oh, about a zillion times larger than the total CRE market. But due to more mainstream media reports touting commercial’s pending demise/collapse, being the economy’s “other shoe to drop,” etc. etc., reporters and writers are paying more attention to what’s happening in the world of offices, apartments, retail, hotels and industrial.

This year’s event featured many a panel with some top-notch CRE veterans, including Robert Bach with Grubb & Ellis, Mark Alfieri with Behringer Harvard, former HUD secretary and San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros, Bill Hoffman with Trigild, Arthur Pasquarella with BPG Properties and David Steinwedell with Stoneforge Advisors.

The conference also featured serious discussion about the future of media, both print and online. In that regard, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel discussion, entitled “New Journalism Lifeforms: Life after Newspapers,” which turned out to be an eye-opener for many attendees schooled in the traditional print media.

The panelists included three Texans of note who are approaching the online world in three totally different ways.

Evan Smith was the editor and president of one of America’s consistently best monthly magazines, Texas Monthly, for 18 years. But he said he became ready for a new challenge last year. So he launched an incredible new site called, which is quickly becoming the definitive news site for all things Texas.

Apparently it’s also successful from a financial standpoint as well. Smith noted that he’s already raised $5 million in funding from private individuals, foundations, and others. The venture is set up as a non-profit enterprise, and it features some of the hardest-hitting reporting you’ll find anywhere in the country.

Smith also used the occasion to announce what promises to be the first of many collaborative, investigative journalism endeavors with the few remaining major Texas newspapers, this time with the Houston Chronicle.  Check out the story here.

My good friend Tony Wilbert from Atlanta’s Wilbert News Strategies coaxed the quote of the conference from Smith in our Q&A session. Said Smith, “We believe journalists are professionals and should be paid like professionals.” That one deserved a standing “o”.

My other panelists included Clifford Pugh, editor-in-chief of,  which is essentially a daily digital magazine covering all things Houston, including arts, entertainment, lifestyle and real estate. Pugh’s site has a more traditional business model featuring advertising and it is extremely content rich.

Last but not least was Glenn Smith, perhaps best known as a Democratic consultant and the head of Gov. Anne Richards’ successful run for the State of Texas’ highest political office back in 1990. His site,, is one of the last great bastions of online long-form journalism. Smith is an accomplished author and offers budding writers a much-needed national platform.