CPE's Top 11 in '11

Taken as a whole, 2011 was something of a tumultuous year, but an interesting time for commercial real estate. CPE presents our top 11 stories from 2011.

Taken as a whole, 2011 was something of a tumultuous year: There was a rally in the summer when the economy looked to get back on track, then the events of the fall–after a debt crisis in Europe as well as re-rising unemployment and the Congressional debt debate domestically–slowed that train. Either way, it was an interesting time for commercial real estate. Here are our top 11 stories from 2011:

Highland Fairview Breaks Ground on Future Skechers Home
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger presided over the groundbreaking of Highland Fairview Corporate Park in Rancho Belago, Calif., which developer Highland Fairview says will be the largest green building of its kind in the United States.

Revel Secures $1.2B for Stalled Casino Project
The entertainment firm has closed on a financing package for the 6.2 million-square-foot Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. Money issues brought most construction activity at the $2.4 billion beachfront entertainment resort to a halt in January 2009, leaving the project half finished.

Philadelphia’s High-Rise Drought Eased by 34-Story Apartment Project
The $104 million project would be the first high-rise in any property category to get underway in the city since the 2008 opening of Comcast Center.

Renaissance Man: As Starwood Capital Turns 20, Founder Barry Sternlicht Explores New Paths
If the commercial real estate industry held a decathlon for executives, Barry Sternlicht would be a serious threat to run off with the trophy, and not just because Starwood Capital Group’s chairman & CEO looks as fit as the tennis player he was at Brown University 30 years ago.

Behind PNC’s Acquisition of RBC Bank USA
RBC has been a major player in the commercial real estate lending sector, and the transaction will now add to PNC’s commercial real estate portfolio.

Facebook Leases New 1 MSF HQ
The nine-building campus, located at 1601 Willow Road about 30 miles south of San Francisco in San Mateo County, materialized over a two-year period commencing in 1993. Oracle came into possession of the asset in January 2010, when it officially completed its $7.4 billion buyout of Sun Microsystems.

Grubb & Ellis in Exclusive Talks with C-III Capital & Colony Capital
The service firm is getting a major infusion of capital from two new stakeholders in a move that could point to a sale or other large strategic investment.

Why Blackstone’s $1.1B Bet Goes Against the Grain
The Blackstone Group’s $1.1 billion acquisition last week of a suburban office portfolio from Duke Realty Corp. challenges conventional wisdom on multiple fronts–and departs from the standard approach of grabbing core office product in a handful of markets.

Health Care REIT Buys Genesis for $2.4B
The sales transaction frenzy in the healthcare real estate sector continues as JER Partners and Formation Capital sign on to sell the company, which comes to the table with a portfolio of 147 properties in 11 states.

CoStar Amps Up Offerings with LoopNet Acquisition
The deal comes as no surprise to those who keep an eye on the ins and outs of the industry. B. Riley & Co. director of research Ian Corydon said, “It has made sense for a long, long time.”

Fannie Mae Reveals Top Multi-Family Lenders
Performance hit a higher level in 2010, with each of the 10 lender partners each contributing a minimum of $870 million in loan volume, compared to 2009’s minimum of $700 million.