Archive for September, 2011

CRE Investors Cautiously Optimistic

Sunday, September 25th, 2011
A new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers finds that although investors are concerned about the slowdown in commercial real estate, they are still “cautiously optimistic” about the asset class and its long-term future.
CRE: An Interesting Investment in a Disorderly Market, is a detailed survey of major investors covering everything from cap rate trends to a special report on green buildings and sector-by-sector analysis. It also includes verbatim responses from survey participants and a slew of data that will have any serious CRE observer busy for hours, if not days, digesting it all.
To make it a bit easier to comprehend, PwC is hosting a webcast on its findings on Tuesday Sept. 27. Click here to register.

Iconic Wrigley Building Sold

Sunday, September 18th, 2011
According to breaking reports, the iconic Wrigley Building in downtown Chicago has sold to BDT Capital Partners, a Chicago-based investment and advisory firm headed by former Goldman Sachs executive Byron Trott.
Minority partners in the deal include venture capitalists and Groupon co-founders Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky, as well as Zeller Realty Group.
BDT is a tenant in the Zeller-owned building across Michigan Avenue from the Wrigley Building.
Click here for more on this deal from the Chicago Tribune.

Oklahoma City’s Renaissance Revealed

Sunday, September 18th, 2011
“We have an amazing story to tell,” says Roy Williams. And he should know. As the president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, he has seen OKC grow and prosper through the recent national financial crisis.
Oklahoma City’s unemployment rate has consistently ranked among the lowest in the nation for years, and its commercial real estate market continues to buck many of the national vacancy and rental trends with many new retailers entering the market.
Not only is proof of Williams’ comment evident in the towering new 50-story Devon Energy headquarters downtown, but also in a new issue of the Chamber’s quarterly e-magazine, Velocity. The second edition of the online publication focuses on the past 20 years and OKC’s emergence as a leader in quality-of-life opportunities and economic development.
“Velocity is a publication that allows everyone to easily share Oklahoma City’s success story with their friends, family, coworkers and peers anywhere in the world,” says Williams. “We want to make telling that story as simple as possible. News stories, advertising and accolades are outstanding, but no one can sell Oklahoma City like its residents. We want to make everyone in our region an ambassador for Oklahoma City.”
The cover story highlights not only Oklahoma City’s re-emergence with the original metropolitan area projects, or MAPs, but its continued successes since its historic passage in the early 90s.
Other articles highlight Boeing’s growing presence in Oklahoma City, the city’s cultural offerings, details on the newest retail renaissance and the metro’s Wi-Fi system.
Features include:
 The new Academy of Contemporary Music at University of Central Oklahoma (ACM@UCO), one the most innovative music schools in the country
 United Airlines’ new nonstop flight to San Francisco, connecting OKC to the western US, Asia and Australia
 Energy companies’ consideration of Oklahoma City as a central location for industry leaders to settle
 Examples of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber West Coast Marketing Campaign, a target to improve the image of Oklahoma City around the country.
To read the full stories and more in Velocity, visit, or contact Jill Harrison at or 405-297-8990.

Real Estate Helps Pensions Rack up 20%+ Returns

Sunday, September 11th, 2011
Fiscal 2011 has been a banner year for most public pension plans, which have racked up 20%+ returns on their investment portfolios, their best performance since the 1980s. In another encouraging development, pensions’ real estate investments have seen a dramatic turnaround in performance since 2008.
Here is a tally of how various plans have performed:
The $10.6 billion Ohio School Employees Retirement System returned 20.9% in the fiscal year ended June 30. All of the system’s asset classes outperformed their benchmarks, with U.S. equities leading the way with 33.8%, followed by non-U.S. equities at 25.7% and real estate at 25.2%.
The $13.8 billion Louisiana Teachers’ Retirement System returned 26.8% for the fiscal year ended June 30. That was the fund’s best performance since 1985 when it posted a 29.9% return. Domestic equities posted the best return for the fiscal year, at 33.6%, followed by international equities at 32.7%; real assets, 21.9%; private assets, 18.5%; global fixed income, 13.1%; and U.S. bonds, 5.5%.
The $7.9 billion South Dakota Retirement System returned 25.84% on its investments for the fiscal year ended June 30. About 70% of the system’s investments are run in-house by the South Dakota Investment Council, Sioux Falls.
The $9 billion Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement System in Oklahoma City returned 23.5% on its investments for the fiscal year ended June 30. The system saw U.S. equities with 25.9%; non-U.S. equities with 25.4%; global fixed income 17.4%; global hedge funds 12.7%; global real estate 9.1%; global private equity 7%; and cash 2.5%.
The $11.6 billion Hawaii Employees’ Retirement System returned 20.7% on its investments for the fiscal year ended June 30. That performance was below its policy benchmark of 21.4%. The fund returned an annualized 3.7% for the three-year period ended June 30, outperforming its policy benchmark of 3.6%, and an annualized 4.8% for the five-year period, meeting its policy benchmark.
Falling just short of the 20% return mark were the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System and Virginia Retirement System.
The $23.16 billion Iowa system saw a 19.91% return, while the $54.5 billion Virginia fund returned 19.1%.
Virginia’s public equity program returned 27.2%, private equity returned, 17.6%; fixed income, 5.8%; real estate, 23.2%; and credit strategies, 14.7%.

The Paradies Shops Begins Airport Renovation/Expansion

Thursday, September 8th, 2011
As the last flight left the gate last night, employees of The Paradies Shops, the concessionaire that operates the newsstand, gift and specialty retail stores at Will Rogers World Airport, will begin boarding up its doors. But in this case, boarding up the doors is good news. The company is embarking on a $1.7 million renovation and expansion project that will feature an exciting new group of shops.
National airport retailer The Paradies Shops and their Oklahoma retail partner Kambers Gifts and Luggage was awarded the contract with the Oklahoma City Airport Trust through a formal request for proposal process last spring. As a result of this award Paradies-Kambers, LLC will completely remodel and rebrand four of their existing stores and add one completely new location.
When the stores reopen in late November, airport visitors can look forward to these new concepts:
POPS East and West – Inspired by the newest, coolest landmark along historic Route 66, Will Rogers World Airport will now give visitors a sneak peak to this uniquely Oklahoma destination. The WRWA storefronts will feature scaled-down replicas of the signature soda bottle that is so identifiable with the restaurant and soda shop. A broad assortment of products will be featured including newspapers, magazine, books, convenience items, souvenirs and of course, the #1 signature product – soda pop.
InMotion Entertainment – A new concept at Will Rogers World Airport, InMotion will provide business and leisure travelers with the most up- to-date digitally equipped devices, along with InMotion’s trademarked PlayPoint digital download stations. Customers will be invited to explore and try the latest “gadgets” creating a shopping experience as entertaining as the products themselves.
EA Sports Experience – EA Sports, one of the world’s most innovative and interactive global brands, will offer the travelers at WRWA a one-of-a-kind interactive sports experience. EA Sports will allow every customer the chance to “Step on the Field of Play.” Gamers and non-gamers alike will find the latest EA Sports officially licensed apparel from the teams that make Oklahoma City great, including The Thunder, Sooners and Cowboys, as well as the entire Big XII roster.
Brighton Collectibles – An already popular specialty store at WRWA, Brighton will be expanded and redesigned. From rich, cherry millwork and warm faux limestone walls to the one-of-a-kind mosaic embedded in the entrance floor, everything about the store will be gracious and inviting. Products will include Brighton’s exquisite collection of accessories including handbags, leather goods, watches, fragrances, jewelry, home accessories and more.
Bricktown Square – Bricktown, one of Oklahoma City’s most exciting destinations will be brought to life at WRWA. This engaging location has been designed with the original and historic location in mind, providing an entertaining assortment of souvenirs and merchandise from the area’s most famous local attractions including local apparel and gear, giftware and edibles.
All of the new stores will feature state-of-the-art designs that are customer-friendly, well lit, and planned with wide aisles that allow travelers to purchase products in a pleasing and accessible environment.
“The new concepts being introduced by Paradies-Kambers are attractive and entertaining, and provide a diverse mix of national and local brands,” says Mark Kranenburg, Director of Airports. “Our goal is for the traveler at Will Rogers World Airport to have a great shopping experience. These exciting new stores, along with Paradies’ strong commitment to customer service, will greatly enhance the retail concession program at our airport.”
“Will Rogers Airport leads the industry in class and service and we are extremely excited to begin construction on our new concepts for OKC,” said Gregg Paradies, President and CEO of The Paradies Shops. “Our partnerships with Oklahoma favorites such as POPS and Bricktown, as well as our exclusive
alliance with national brands including EA Sports and CNBC News give us the opportunity to create a great retail program with both regional and global appeal.” 
The existing stores that will be closed for renovation are: TravelMart East and West, the Big 12 Shop, Brighton/PGA, and Oklahoma Marketplace. During construction, the retailer will operate from temporary kiosks located in front of the existing stores so that travelers will still have access to convenience and specialty items. Construction is anticipated to be complete in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The airport’s two newsstands, CNBC News and CNBC News Express, will not be re-themed. Both stores have recently been updated with new lighting, fixtures, plasma screens and signage.