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In The Pipeline is a column on significant acquisitions of commercial land for sale, and other transactions and trends affecting office, industrial, flex, multifamily, mixed-use, and public works developers. Send us news leads about your new commercial real estate project — and sign up to be added to our distribution list to receive future In the Pipeline columns by e-mail.


Developer Proposes Another Large Downtown L.A.

High- buildings continue to see a renaissance of sorts in the CBD. The latest proposal actually is a Renaissance, a 450-room, $200 million Renaissance Hotel that will be the fourth Marriott International flag located at the gateway of L.A. Live, home of Staples Center.

The project is anticipated to begin in first quarter of 2014 and completed by early 2016. A photo on the Wilshire Grand Facebook page shows steady progress by workers disassembling the hotel from the inside out.

The second project is of an immensely bigger scale. Demolition, or more accurately, deconstruction, continues steadily on the former Wilshire Grand Hotel, slated for a $1 billion conversion by Korean Air to a new mixed-use retail, office, and hotel project in Los Angeles’ financial district in a $1 billion project.

The project designed by AC Martin Partners will make the project at 900 Wilshire Blvd. the tallest U.S. building of Chicago at 1,100 feet when it opens in 2017, surpassing the U.S. Bank Tower, also in downtown Los Angeles.

Korean Air and its parent company Hanjin International, serving as developer on the 71-story project, oversaw the design that will include street-level retail and restaurant space, 400,000 square feet of offices, and a luxury 900-room hotel at the top with a lobby on the 70th floor.

Timothy J. Leiweke, president and CEO, AEG, said the Renaissance project will help deliver “much-needed high quality hotel rooms in downtown to support the anticipated modernization and expansion of our Los Angeles Convention Center.”

“Beginning with Stapled Center and then L.A. Live and our hotels, each has resulted in substantial increases in new events for our city, an escalation in overnight stays at all of the downtown and an even greater demand for new quality hotels to meet these needs,” Leiweke said.

There is plenty of demand for the rooms, according Bruce Baltin, senior vice president at PKF Consulting.

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Gehry-Designed Project Seeks Approval In Santa Monica

Forty years into his career, celebrated architect Frank Gehry has never designed a project in his hometown of Santa Monica, CA.

That would change under a proposal by a local development team headed by M. David Paul Associates and Worthe Real Estate Group, which has unveiled a proposal to build a 125-room hotel and residential , a museum and 30,000 square feet of retail in downtown Santa Monica.

The project by architect Frank Gehry would be the first developed by the celebrated building designer in the town long associated with his practice: “After 25 years, I am excited to finally design a project in my hometown of 40 years,” he said on a web site presenting the project to the public.

The city council must first approve the project on the 1.9-acre site, and is expected to consider it at a meeting later this month.

Dubbed the Ocean Avenue Project, it is bordered by Second Street to the east, Santa Monica Boulevard to the south and Ocean Avenue to the west, on one of a limited number of downtown “opportunity sites.” The pedestrian friendly project will preserve two landmark buildings, include below-grade parking and will have a step-back design that minimizes view impacts.

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Agreement Enables Development of ‘Eco-Industrial’ Park to Move Forward

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary John Skvarla announced the signing of a brownfields agreement for ReVenture West, seeking to the region’s largest eco-industrial park on a former 667-acre Superfund site in Charlotte.

Clariant Corp., the site’s owner since 1985, ceased dye operations at the site in 2005 and has spent about $40 million cleaning up contamination mostly caused by previous owners. ReVenture Park is partnering with Clariant to step up the cleanup, which has historically hindered reconversion of properties to productive use, as it prepares the site for redevelopment.

ReVenture West is the contaminated acreage within ReVenture Park, which is expected to become a hub for renewable energy projects and projected to generate more than 700 new jobs.

Located in northwest Charlotte, ReVenture Park is the site of a former textile dye-manufacturing complex and has a long history of chemical releases. In 1983, the site was determined to be contaminated enough to be placed on the federal Superfund list for cleanup.

ReVenture West is expected to produce about 245 jobs, $73.5 million in investment and up to $12 million in environmental remediation. ReVenture East is expected to bring 485 jobs and $235 million in investment.

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Stiles, $80M . Property

Fort Lauderdale, FL-based Stiles and Nashville, TN-developer Ray Hensler announced an $80 million, 23-story, high-rise luxury apartment building in Nashville’s burgeoning Gulch district.

The Gulch is a 22-block redevelopment district located on the west edge of downtown. The area has benefited from a burst in urban development and an influx of trendy restaurants, retail and boutique shopping.

Construction of the 312-unit project located at 12th Avenue and Laurel Street is set to begin immediately and will mark Stiles’ re-entry into the Nashville market.

The project is targetting LEED Silver certification and will be the first project in Nashville to cater exclusively to the coveted ‘rent-by-choice’ demographic or mostly affluent residents seeking high-end accommodations as well as the flexibility that leasing provides.

“Nashville is one of the most exciting markets in the Southeast with all of the right ingredients, including government, dominant business and healthcare sectors, strong tourism, a top-rated university and medical system as well as a vibrant music industry,” according to Stiles Chief Investment Officer Rocco Ferrera.

Co-developing the project with Stiles Hensler, with whom the company has a long-term relationship. Hensler was a major driver of Stiles’ initial entry into the Nashville market back in the early 2000s. Since then, Stiles acquired and developed more than 1 million square feet of commercial space in Nashville.

The 327,000-square-foot project is expected to be completed by summer 2014.

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