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SD water bonds

(Bloomberg) – The San Diego County Water Authority sold $299.1 million in refunding debt, as the California agency builds the Western Hemisphere's largest water-desalination plant.

Rates on the Feb. 13 deal ranged from 1.13 percent on securities maturing in 2019, five basis points above a top-rated benchmark, to 3.43 percent on those due in 2033, 88 basis points over a benchmark.

The final maturity, 2034, was priced to yield 2.86 percent, a spread of 25 basis points, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.

The authority, which serves 97 percent of the population in San Diego County, plans to spend $754.4 million on capital projects, a third of which will be used in the fiscal years ending in June 2013 and June 2014, bond documents say.

One of the authority's initiatives is a public-private partnership with Poseidon Resources LP, a Stamford, Conn.-based company that develops and invests in water infrastructure projects.

Of the $922 million in costs, $734 million was raised through tax-exempt bonds issued by the California Pollution Control Financing Authority on behalf of Poseidon and the San Diego authority, according to a December statement from Poseidon.

The authority's bond sale last week, which refunded 2004 senior-lien water revenue bonds, was rated Aa2 by Moody’s Investors Service (NYSE: MCO), its third-highest level, and AA-plus by Standard & Poor’s, its second-highest.

Ontario investment

SAN DIEGO – MG Properties Group (MGPG), a private, San Diego-based real estate investor and operator, announced the acquisition of Terracina, a 736-unit multi-family property in Ontario, Calif., for $95 million.

The acquisition was made in partnership with Rockwood Capital.

Built in 1988, the property has mature landscaping and a low-density ambiance.

Residents have on-site access to two large common areas, a fitness center, pools, tennis courts and scenic waterways.

Mark Gleiberman, MGPG's president, describes the property as “an excellent value proposition for residents seeking a conveniently located home in an established suburban community.”

MGPG plans to invest in common areas, grounds, buildings and make moderate interior renovations on a portion of units.

Mortgage financing was provided with two separate fixed-rate loans from Fannie Mae (OTC: FNMA), arranged by Bryan Frazier, of Walker & Dunlop.

Greg Harris and Kevin Green, of Institutional Property Advisors represented the buyer. Ed Rosen and John Chu, of Cushman & Wakefield represented the seller.

Since December 2010, MGPG has completed 17 apartment acquisitions totaling 4,421 units at a value of more than $500 million. MGPG anticipates closing an additional $200 million in acquisitions within the next 12 months.

MGPG is a privately owned San Diego-based real estate owner and operator specializing in multi-housing assets. Over the last 20 years MGPG has acquired 82 communities totaling over 14,500 units, representing more than $1.4 billion in total asset value.

The company's current portfolio includes approximately 11,000 units in California, Washington, Arizona and Nevada. MGPG employs 300 professionals.

Chicago hotel

(Bloomberg) -- Illinois's Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority plans to build a $400 million hotel near Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center to boost the property’s trade show business.

The proposed hotel south of downtown will have 1,200 rooms and create 500 permanent jobs, according to the exposition authority, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The authority, known as McPier, owns McCormick Place, the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place Hotel and Navy Pier, Chicago's top tourist attraction.

The full-service hotel will be built between Indiana and Michigan avenues, along the south side of Cermak Road.

It will help McCormick Place add about 15 events each year with a projected 80,000 attendees.

McPier is a municipal corporation created by the state's General Assembly.

Its board is appointed by the governor of Illinois and the mayor of Chicago, according to its website.

Hudson communities

(AP) -- New York officials are calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to include Hudson River communities in a $20 million study of flood-prone areas in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

Sen. Charles Schumer said local governments and groups like Poughkeepsie based Scenic Hudson are concerned about the long-term effects of rising sea levels

They note that 150 miles of the Hudson River, starting in New York Harbor, are in sync with the ocean's tides.

Historic tavern closed

FREEPORT, Maine (AP) -- The historic tavern in Freeport that bills itself as the “Birthplace of Maine” has closed abruptly and no one seems to know why.

The building that houses the tavern as well as another business is currently for sale for $1.85 million.

A sign on the door said Jameson Tavern is “closed until further notice,” but offers no explanation and apologizes for any inconvenience.

It was built in 1779 and was a private residence until being converted into an inn and tavern in 1801.

On its website, Jameson Tavern said it is the site of the signing of documents declaring Maine's independence from Massachusetts in 1820.

Attempts to reach the current owner have been unsuccessful.
New Jersey highway

(Bloomberg) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie plans to use $215 million in federal highway funds to rebuild a 12.5-mile Sandy-damaged stretch of Route 35 from Point Pleasant Beach to the entrance of Island Beach State Park.

The work will be done in three phases. The project will be complete by the summer of 2015, according to Christie.

The work will rebuild the span “in a stronger, more resilient manner,” while also providing better drainage and a smoother driving surface, he said Tuesday.

Cabinet maker net

(AP) -- Cabinet maker American Woodmark Corp. reported fiscal third-quarter net income.

The Winchester, Va., company said Tuesday it earned $2.1 million, or 14 cents per share, for the quarter ended Jan. 31, compared with a loss of $9.1 million, or 20 cents per share, a year ago.

Stripping out restructuring charges, its adjusted profit also was 14 cents per share.

Revenue rose 26 percent to $151.3 million, as the company experiences gains in each of its sales channels, led by new construction sales growth of more than 50 percent.

American Woodmark operates nine manufacturing facilities in Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. It also has nine service centers.

Best NJ beach postponed

(AP) -- A popular contest to name New Jersey's best beach is taking a timeout this summer.

The top 10 beaches contest will not have voting this year that pits one town against another for bragging rights.

Rather, the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium said the program will focus on cooperation among regional tourism leaders as the shore recovers from Superstorm Sandy.

The contest began in 2008 as a way to generate pride in and stewardship of New Jersey's beaches.

People voted online for their favorite shore spot, and the results were unveiled at a pre-Memorial Day news conference.

Brookfield Renewable test

(Bloomberg) -- Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners LP, the world's largest renewable energy company, will test investor appetite this week for the first bond in Canada backed by a wind-power project.

Comber Wind Financial Corp., the financing arm of a Brookfield Renewable company, plans to sell about C$454 million ($449 million) in 17.7-year bonds, to be priced as early as Tuesday.

The debt will yield about 300 basis points more than Canadian government debt, or about 5.6 percent, according to three people who have been pitched the deal and didn't want to be identified because the sale is private.

The bonds, rated BBB by DBRS Ltd., are expected to pay a higher yield than other investment-grade notes to reflect the increased risk associated with generating power by wind, said investors including Fitz Wickham, president of private placements at ING Investment Management LLC in Atlanta.

The Comber Wind bonds will fund a 72-turbine 165.6-megawatt wind power plant about 24 miles southeast of Detroit, -- that was completed in November 2011.

The company has a 20-year agreement with the Power Authority, which reimburses the company C$135 per megawatt hour produced via a feed-in-tariff program.

Fundy tidal energy

(Bloomberg) -- Atlantis Resources Corp., a London-based ocean-turbine maker, won $5 million from the Canadian government to build and install a machine at the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy test site in the Bay of Fundy.

Atlantis will work with Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) and Irving Shipbuilding Inc. to build, install and monitor the 1-megawatt turbine, the company said Tuesday.

The Bay of Fundy has a tidal surge measuring as much as 49 feet, the world's highest.

BMW wind energy

(Bloomberg) -- Bayerische Motoren Werke AG will harness winds whipping across eastern Germany to secure power -- and defend profits -- as costs rise due to Germany's 550 billion-euro ($740 billion) shift away from nuclear energy.

Four wind turbine towers will soon supply almost a quarter of the power used at BMW's Leipzig plant.

Daimler AG (PNK: DDAIF) is firing up a power plant at a truck factory and Volkswagen AG (PNK: VLKAY) is mulling at least five new generators.

The reason: The German auto industry is seeking to sidestep the effects of a plan by Chancellor Angela Merkel to shut nuclear reactors and boost renewable energy, which has led to higher taxes on power bought from commercial producers.

Renewable swings

(Bloomberg) -- Germany is getting more power than ever before from sources dependent on wind and sunshine, pushing short-term price swings to the biggest in five years and boosting volume as utilities increase trading.

The gap between the highest and lowest price over two months for electricity deliverable the next day widened to the most since December 2007 through Monday, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg.

German wind output peaked at a record 23,331 megawatts on Jan. 31, enough to supply 46 million homes. That compares with an average of 5,079 megawatts during 2012, data from European Energy Exchange AG on Bloomberg show.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's government is trying to push the proportion of German power produced by renewable sources to 35 percent by 2020.

Solar and wind generation jumped 80 percent over the past three years, damping prices on sunny, gusty days and boosting them when natural gas or coal plants are required to offset shortfalls.

Tunisian desalination

(Bloomberg) -- Conergy AG, a German solar company, won an order from Japanese contractor Takaoka Engineering Co. Ltd. for a solar installation at a water desalination plant in southern Tunisia. No terms were disclosed.

The developer will build and supply panels to a 210-kilowatt photovoltaic plant, the country's second-largest, at a new facility operated by state-owned utility Sonede in Ben Guardane, Conergy said Tuesday.

Once connected to the grid next month, the project will cover about 70 percent of the water plant's power needs.

Tunisia plans to install 1 gigawatt in renewable energy capacity by 2016 as it expands power generation, with about 250 megawatts of that solar. The targets, announced in 2010, are now “hardly realistic” given the political situation in the country after the Arab spring uprising, according to Conergy.

The solar project at the plant, which makes local groundwater potable, was funded by a donation from the Japanese government.

Japan will also finance a 5-megawatt solar thermal power facility at El Borma, Bloomberg New Energy Finance data show.

Freeing UAE funding

(Bloomberg) -- Banks in the United Arab Emirates have asked the central bank for permission to free up more money for the real estate and construction industries as they seek to revive credit growth in the second-biggest Arab economy.

The Emirates Banks Association, which includes HSBC Holdings Plc (NYSE: HBC) and National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC, is recommending that the regulator exclude mortgage loans from the category of credit extended to other real estate projects, Chairman Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair said.

Proposals also include raising to 20 percent the ratio of deposits banks can lend to real estate, he said.

The push comes after banks lobbied to renegotiate curbs on mortgage lending introduced in December as they seek to spur a recovery in credit growth four years after Dubai property prices crashed.

Israeli mortgage losses

(Bloomberg) -- The Bank of Israel told lenders to set aside more money against losses from home loans, as it seeks to shield the financial system after house prices and credit surged.

The central bank increased the amount of capital that banks are required to hold against most types of home loans, and also told the lenders to set aside more provisions for credits that aren't repaid.

“The directives are intended to express better the risk inherent in housing loans on banks' portfolios” after a surge in mortgages and an increase in house prices, Banking Supervisor David Zaken said.

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer has been trying to contain a real estate boom fueled in part by expansionary monetary policy aimed at boosting growth.

House prices climbed about 50 percent in the past decade, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.

Housing credit in Israel has jumped about 76 percent in the last five years, the central bank said Tuesday.

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