C-III Capital Partners Completes Acquisition of NAI Global

January 30, 2012

Jimmy Barnes, SIOR, President of NAI Carolantic Realty

C-III Capital Partners LLC (C-III) announced on January 25th that it had completed its previously announced acquisition of NAI Global, the largest and premier network of independent commercial real estate firms worldwide. C-III is led by CEO Andrew L. Farkas, who founded and was Chairman and CEO of Insignia Financial Group, Inc.  We are very excited about this transaction at NAI Carolantic Realty and believe it will enhance our platform to be the best real estate company in the world.  Our brokers and ultimately our clients will benefit from the additional financial resources, contacts and wealth of knowledge brought to us by C-III.

“The completion of this transaction represents a significant step forward in our strategy to build a fully diversified commercial real estate services company,” said Mr. Farkas. “With the NAI Global acquisition, we are gaining the world’s leading commercial real estate network and a tremendous foundation for future growth.  As we begin a new year, we look forward to partnering with the NAI team to provide enhanced services to the commercial and institutional real estate markets they serve as well as continuing to take advantage of other opportunities to grow and expand our platform.”

“We are thrilled to be joining forces with C-III and excited about the opportunity to deliver an even broader range of services to our members and add greater value to our collective corporate and investment clients. We look forward to tapping into their great resources and expertise to help C-III clients strategically optimize their commercial real estate assets,” said Jeffrey M. Finn, President and CEO of NAI Global. NAI Global will continue to operate as a separate company under its current management.

NAI manages a network of commercial real estate firms comprising 5,000 professionals and 350 offices in the US and 55 countries throughout the world.  NAI’s network members provide a full spectrum of corporate, financial, technology and project management services.

C-III commenced operations with the purchase of Centerline Capital Group’s institutional real estate debt fund management and commercial mortgage loan servicing businesses in March 2010.  Since that time, C-III has successfully launched mortgage origination, investment sales and title insurance businesses, and expanded its principal investment, loan origination, fund management and primary and special loan servicing businesses, including acquiring the special servicing and CDO management businesses of JER Partners in August 2011.  In November 2011, C-III acquired two affiliated multifamily property management businesses – U.S. Residential Group and Pacific West Management – which now operate on a combined basis under the U.S. Residential Group name.

NAI Carolantic Realty on Target with Commercial Real Estate Forecasts

January 19, 2012

At last year’s conference, NAI Carolantic predicted that 2011 would be a painfully slow recovery year, but that we would see bottom.  They were right on target once again.  We finished the year with a drop in vacancy in the multipurpose and office sectors and remained the same in retail.  We also had increases in absorption in all but two submarkets.  That was the message to more than 1,700 business and community leaders who gathered at Raleigh’s RBC Center on January 18th for the 27th Annual Triangle Commercial Real Estate Conference hosted by NAI Carolantic Realty. The Conference is considered the authoritative “state of the market” report on the Triangle’s real estate sector and an accurate bellwether on the health of the region’s overall economy.

Steve Stroud, SIOR, Chairman of NAI Carolantic, welcomed attendees noting NAI Carolantic was celebrating “Forty Years of Forward Thinking.”  He also said he was glad to be there given a tractor accident three months earlier.  He thanked family, his team at NAI Carolantic and friends for their numerous acts of kindness during his recovery.

Jimmy Barnes, SIOR, President of NAI Carolantic Realty

Following Stroud’s comments, NAI Carolantic President Jimmy Barnes, SIOR took center stage to review the past year’s commercial real estate landscape and offered Carolantic’s forecast for 2012.

“Remember, leasing is big business, as it has been reported there is over a trillion dollars nationally in lease obligations for public companies alone.  We are finally making headway, but nowhere near where we were in 2007.  The national capital markets are affecting business here in the Triangle. The primary stories are lots of money available but also billions of dollars of maturing debt.  Local and community banks are trying to work with their customers, but vacancies and declining values are big obstacles. In addition, a lack of institutional grade, Class A product, low interest rates, and an abundant money supply have driven up activity and consequently prices.  The Triangle has benefited from this activity with large transactions in the apartment market ($850 million) as well as the office market.  There is still a lot of political unrest, but we are seeing a national recovery, and our local real estate market is as active as we have seen it over the last 36 months.  Nothing robust, but we are optimistic moving into 2012”, said Barnes. 

NAI Carolantic’s survey and analysis showed that, in a market of almost 240 million square feet of office, multipurpose and shopping center space, nearly 32 million square feet remained vacant at year-end.  “Vacancy decreased slightly in the office and multipurpose sectors, and the shopping center market remained at 6% for the third year in a row.  Absorption improved slightly in 2011 and we expect minimal construction in the first quarter of 2012.  The apartment market continues to be on fire with the vacancy rate the lowest in the past decade,” said Barnes.

Think Positive

May 25, 2011

Jimmy Barnes, SIOR, President of NAI Carolantic Realty

New figures were recently released by the NC Employment Security Commission which indicated the state added 2,900 nonfarm jobs during April.  In addition, the state’s unemployment rate held steady in April, remaining at 9.7 percent for the second month in a row.  Not tremendous growth, but at least on the positive side especially considering the disastrous job loss we had in 2009.

Along with this news, the North Carolina Department of Commerce released information that it has been working on 149 new projects with 74 actual projects announced.  Over 7,000 jobs have been created with a capital investment of $1.09 billion between January and May, 2011.

We can also celebrate some local good news with the Lenovo announcement on May 20th that it had signed a contract with Affiliated Computer Services, Inc, a Xerox Company, as part of an initiative to expand its Global Services business. The agreement will create approximately 300 new jobs in the Research Triangle region.

Oh, and I congratulate our hometown boy, Scotty McCreery who is a shining light for the Town of Garner and the State of North Carolina.  Way to go Scotty!

Just a few of the reasons why we have a lot to be thankful for living in North Carolina, and specifically the Triangle region.  Please let us know if we can be of assistance to you and your firm.

2011 Will Be The Year

February 8, 2011

Jimmy Barnes, SIOR, President of NAI Carolantic Realty

2011 will be the year we begin the recovery for a successful 10 year run. If we can get 5 strong years out of a 10 year real estate cycle, we will have been successful. Historical numbers show we did just that in the 80s, 90s and from 2000 to 2010 and we expect the same trend as we head to 2020. So plan on 5 strong years and work, plan and prepare to make the other 5 ok and not awful. 

We continue to have serious challenges with $1.4 trillion in National commercial debt coming due between 2010 and 2014.  Commercial owners are returning keys to banks (you may have heard the term “jingle mail”), and employment rates that are not expected to improve much this year.  Past downturns have been based on over building, but this downturn is clearly Global, based on over leveraging and record setting job loss. 

But there’s not a better place to be in the country. Our market, as it has in the past, will recover more quickly than other markets, and our State and region give us reason to have confidence in the recovery.  This year expect: 
• Vacancy rates to start trending down
• Could be a supply problem is some submarkets
• Rental rates to hit bottom
• Absorption to remain flat
• No speculative construction anytime soon
• Investment sales up another 40 percent, and
• Land prices to now reflect true values.

Nothing Could Be Finer…

September 24, 2010

We can’t say it enough…the Raleigh/Durham region is one of the best places in the US to live, work and play.  This was reconfirmed this week when I attended the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce Board meeting and heard the latest Economic Development report.  From May 15-September 15, Wake County Economic Development has assigned 12 new projects, had 7 client visits and had 104 existing industry interactions.   Twenty projects are actively being worked on by staff and will represent a potential total of $305,625,000 in new investment and 3,293 new jobs.  There have also been 18 companies who have relocated or expanded in the area since May.  They include:  BB&T, Deere & Co., Kyma Technologies, Inc., Rex Healthcare, WakeMed Health & Hospitals, Inspire Pharmaceuticals, and Pensk Truck Leasing Co.  These 18 companies account for 267 new jobs and over $167.9 million in new investment.

Jimmy Barnes

Jimmy Barnes, SIOR, President of NAI Carolantic Realty, Jbarnes@naicarolantic.com

Despite the sluggish commercial real estate market, we do see some activity.  One of our brokers, Scott Hadley, just completed a large lease renewal and expansion for FMI.  Another broker, Gray Creech, closed on two office condos, and I recently completed at 25,000sf lease with BeavEx in RTP. We continue to work with several clients in locating new sites for their operations. In addition, we are helping several banks dispose of excess real estate with closings occurring in North and South Carolina.

Let us know if we can be of assistance to you.  As the song goes, “Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina!”

NOTE:  Be sure to mark your calendar for our 26th Annual Triangle Commercial Real Estate Conference scheduled for January 12, 2011 at the RBC Center in Raleigh.  This invitation-only event continues to be one of the most unique gatherings of Triangle business and community leaders.

Which came first, the Ranking or Renewed Activity?

June 3, 2010

Many of you know, Portfolio.com rated Raleigh as the number one U.S. metro with the best quality of life.  Major factors in the decision were the population growth rate (37% total increase since 2000), the large supply of upper level jobs (44% of Raleigh workers hold management or professional positions), a well-educated workforce (41% of the workforce holds a bachelor’s degree), and the abundance of new homes (over half of all houses in the Raleigh area were built within the last 20 years).

Additional positive news was from the Employment Security Commission of NC, indicating overall unemployment for the Triangle area dropped to 8.1%. Orange county reported the best unemployment numbers with 5.9%. Wake and Durham Counties followed close behind with rates of 8% and 7.4%.

What does this mean for the commercial real estate market?  Renewed Activity! 

Jimmy Barnes

Jimmy Barnes, SIOR, President of NAI Carolantic Realty

Just this past month, our brokers handled approximately 140,000 square feet of leases involving office, flex, warehouse and retail space. Many of these transactions were new leases and others were lease renewals in existing locations.  In addition, NAI Carolantic brokers handled several sales transactions with a total value of approximately $7 million. 

Regardless of whether the rankings help our area first, or the renewed activity help generate the rankings, the market is showing signs of recovery.  Please let us know if we can be of help to you.

The US and North Carolina Continue Toward Economic Recovery

May 4, 2010
Jimmy Barnes

Jimmy Barnes, SIOR, President of NAI Carolantic Realty

According to the Washington Daily News, North Carolina unemployment dropped from roughly 535,000 in February to about 496,000 in March. Promising news as well from the News and Observer, which said, “The broad-based household survey of jobs shows statewide employment up for four consecutive months (December to March) and increasing at an average monthly rate almost twice as fast as in the nation.”  AW North Carolina is just one of many companies contributing to this advantage. The transmission supplier for Toyota is investing $100 million and adding 360 jobs at its Durham plant according to SYNC newsletter.

Nationally, Wells Fargo’s Weekly Economic & Financial Commentary reports that real GDP grew at a 3.2% annual rate during the first quarter of 2010 and that consumer confidence was up 5.6 points in April.

Our NAI Carolantic brokers report a continued increase in activity with deals actually being closed.  After a slow start to the year, we have had over 20 leases signed and several sales transactions in just the last 45 days  Our listings, not unexpectedly, have increased 35% and clients are asking us for assistance more than ever.  Please give us a call if we can be of help to you in analyzing your real estate position:  919-832-0594.

Friends of Scouting Annual Breakfast Fundraiser

March 11, 2010

It has been my pleasure to Chair the 2010 Friends of Scouting Annual Breakfast Fundraiser.  And what an event we had this past Wednesday at the North Raleigh Hilton.  We had over 350 people in attendance with the highlight being the keynote speaker, Dr. Nido Qubein, President of High Point University.  He shared his life story which included his arrival in the United States with $50 in his pocket, unable to speak English and not knowing anyone.  His rise to become one of the most prestigious speakers in the country and an incredible businessman was an awe-inspiring story.  His ideals are in keeping with the spirit of the Boy Scouts: Always think of others first, and give and assist those who are not as fortunate as you.  Dr Qubein’s presentation was awesome.  It was funny and from the heart.  His patriotism and optimism were contagious.  I particularly enjoyed his story about serving salad to his lunch guest prior to asking for $1 million dollars for High Point University.  The guest committed to the $1 million donation.  Dr Qubein then only wondered how successful he might have been if he had served chicken strips with the salad…and ultimately what he could get if he served surf and turf! 

Our efforts with the fundraising breakfast help to support over 14,000 youth in the Boy Scout program here in the Occoneechee Council which serves 12 counties.  Just this year, we have awarded over 700 scouts with the Eagle recognition.  Having attended an Eagle ceremony just last weekend, I can tell you it is quite an accomplishment.  To see an 18 year-old young man express a sincere and emotional thanks to his scoutmasters, friends, scout volunteers, and ultimately his parents and grandparents was a very moving experience.  We are helping our youth…and it could be debated that we need Boy Scouts more than ever and they need us as well. 

Jimmy Barnes accepts Silver Eagle Sponsorship recognition on behalf of NAI Carolantic Realty

Special thanks to my Vice Chairs for their dedication in a questionable economy.  Their help made this one of the most successful fundraisers to date.  The Vice Chairs were: Ron Barbee, Dan Bryson, Jack Clayton, Steve Crouse, Fred Day, Bill Dixon, Rod Frankel, Richard Gannotta, Rick Guirlinger, Ritch Haar, Kathy Higgins, Jeff Legg, Neil Morris, Doyle Parris, J.R. Shearin, William Smith, Michael Story, Steve Stroud, Frank Tart, Rex Thomas and John Webster. Only once before have contributions surpassed what we received on the morning of our event.  Could there be a better way to celebrate the Boy Scouts of America’s 100th Anniversary and the success of the Occoneechee Council?  Your comments on the Boy Scouts? jbarnes@naicarolantic.com

Opportunities Are Plentiful

January 19, 2010

Jimmy Barnes

Jimmy Barnes, SIOR, President of NAI Carolantic Realty

Frankly, I get tired of always hearing “but at least we are in the Triangle….”.  But it’s true and that indeed is the positive side here.  The Raleigh/Durham area is the ‘strongest’ economy in North Carolina. We have great universities and the business and social environment is by far one of the best in the US.  We can build on this mind set.

A high percentage of companies over the last 24 months have struggled with diminishing incomes and are focused on continuing to reduce expenses. There are serious concerns over additional tax burdens both on the local level and federal level. Individuals are faced with job loss, reduced incomes, increasing debt, and increased health care costs. Surely not a time for a tax increase.

Opportunities, however, are plentiful. There’s business to be done. Companies can take advantage of leasing and purchase opportunities. There are plenty of tenant concessions on the leasing side and buying opportunities are available as we’ve seen drops in real estate values up to 35%.

It’s just a sluggish year in our industry.  In 2010, we’ll continue to work hard. 2011 will be here before you know it. Let us hear from you.

Jimmy Barnes, SIOR, President, NAI Carolantic Realtyy