March – Briefs/Sales & Development

Sony to Sell Manhattan HQ in $1B Sale-Leaseback; Loews Begins Large Orlando Development; Greystar, Goldman Sachs Buy $1.5B M-F Portfolio from EQR; Ascena Begins 760 KSF Distribution Center Expansion; Ten-Hotel Portfolio Trades in Baltimore; Rouse Properties Buys 731 KSF Arkansas Mall; Elco, Timbercreek Buy M-F Portfolio Valued at $95.4M; Clarion Partners Completes $155M Luxe Retail Sale; Regency Buys Four Shopping Centers.

Sony to Sell Manhattan HQ in $1B Sale-Leaseback

With commercial real estate investment brokerage and banking firm Eastdil Secured leading the marketing effort, Sony Corporation of America has found a buyer for its Manhattan headquarters building at 555 Madison Ave. Acting as 550 Madison Fifth L.L.C., a consortium led by The Chetrit Group won the bid to acquire the 850,000-square-foot high-rise and will fork over $1.1 billion to close the sale-leaseback transaction.

Approximately 22 bidders came forward with offers meeting or exceeding the set $900 million minimum. Sony has called the asset home since 1992, and acquired the 37-story tower from AT&T in 2002 for a reported $235 million. It has since submitted the building to upgrades, including the multimillion-dollar redevelopment of its 14,000-square-foot entertainment museum, the Sony Wonder Technology Lab, in 2009.

Loews Begins Large Orlando Development

Loews Hotels & Resorts has broken ground on Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, one of the largest hotels under construction in the United States. The property will be owned in a joint venture with affiliates of Universal Parks & Resorts and Loews Hotels & Resorts. The new project is set to open in 2014 and will feature 900 guest rooms on a 37-acre site adjacent to Universal’s Islands of Adventure. The announcement follows news of Loews’ acquisition of the 356-room Madison Hotel in Washington, D.C. Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort is the fourth hotel developed by the partnership.

Greystar, Goldman Sachs Buy $1.5B M-F Portfolio from EQR

Equity Residential has entered into an agreement to sell a 27-community portfolio to a joint venture of the real estate principal investment area of Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Greystar Real Estate Partners L.L.C. for $1.5 billion. The price translates to approximately $187,000 per apartment unit and a cap rate in the mid- to high 5 percent range. The transaction is part of Equity Residential’s current strategy of selling assets in its exit markets and non-core assets in primary markets to fund the company’s share of the acquisition of Archstone.

Ascena Begins 760 KSF Distribution Center Expansion

Ascena Retail Group has broken ground on a 760,000-square-foot distribution center expansion in Central Ohio. The facility will distribute apparel and accessories for all of its brands, including Justice and Brothers, Lane Bryant, Maurices, Dress Barn and Catherines. The center will employ 500 people over the next five years and should add 200 jobs to the area. One of the major reasons for expanding the Central Ohio location is that Ascena can deliver to 70 percent of its more than 3,800 stores within two days from the site. Gray Construction Co. is managing the project, which should be complete in early 2014.

Ten-Hotel Portfolio Trades in Baltimore

Skye Hospitality L.L.C. has completed its sale of 10 Baltimore metropolitan area hotels to MCD Development L.L.C., a New York-based owner and operator of limited-service hospitality properties. Holliday Fenoglio Fowler L.P. arranged for the sale of the 1,294-room portfolio, which was acquired free and clear of debt. The hotels were all operated under franchise agreements with Hilton and Marriott. The acquisition brings MCR Development’s holdings to 30 hotels in 10 states.

Rouse Properties Buys 731 KSF Arkansas Mall

Rouse Properties Inc. has closed on the acquisition of the Mall at Turtle Creek and an adjacent shopping center, Turtle Creek Crossing, for a total purchase price of $96.3 million. The assets, located in Jonesboro, Ark., were sold by a private partnership led by David Hocker. Savills represented the seller in the transaction. The Mall at Turtle Creek and Turtle Creek Crossing total approximately 731,000 square feet. The single-level 2006-built enclosed mall is anchored by Dillard’s, JCPenney and Target. It is 91 percent leased. Rouse assumed an existing $79.5 million non-recourse loan, which matures in June 2016.

Elco, Timbercreek Buy M-F Portfolio Valued at $95.4M

A partnership between Elco Landmark Residential and Timbercreek Asset Management has acquired a portfolio of four multi-family properties from Colonial Properties Trust for approximately $95.4 million. The assets are located in Texas, North Carolina and Virginia and total 1,380 units. The transaction marks the first deal completed under Elco Landmark and Timbercreek’s private label partnership, which is focused on multi-family assets in the Southeastern United States. This particular portfolio was 95 percent occupied.

Clarion Partners Completes $155M Luxe Retail Sale

Clarion Partners L.L.C. has completed the disposition of a 50 percent interest in Waterside Shops, a luxury retail destination in Naples, Fla., on behalf of the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund (OPERF) for approximately $155 million. Eastdil Secured advised Clarion Partners on the sale. OPERF has been a Clarion Partners client since 1994 and has held an ownership interest in the retail property since then, as well. Waterside Shops is an open-air mall located in the Pelican Bay area of Naples and is the dominant center in the area.

Regency Buys Four Shopping Centers

Regency Centers closed on the acquisition of four shopping centers right before year-end 2012. The total purchase price for the assets was $188.5 million. Over the course of 2012, the company bought $334.3 million worth of dominant shopping centers and sold $581.2 million in non-strategic assets. The four most recent purchases included Uptown District in San Diego; Sandy Springs Plaza in Atlanta; Village Plaza in Chapel Hill, N.C.; and Phillips Place in Charlotte, N.C.