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Green Street sells stake

(Bloomberg) -- Green Street Advisors Inc., a 29-year-old U.S. real estate research company, agreed to sell a majority stake to private-equity firm Golden Gate Capital to finance growth.

Terms of the transaction weren't disclosed in a statement Tuesday announcing the deal.

The investment will help Green Street expand research on real estate investment trusts and analytics for the private property market, said Craig Leupold, president of the Newport Beach, Calif.-based company.

Green Street was founded in 1985 by Jon Fosheim and Mike Kirby, currently the firm's chairman.

The company was known mainly for research on REITs. In the past few years, it has expanded in commercial property data, including indexes to track real estate prices and private equity fund flows.

Green Street, which also provides advisory and consulting services, has more than 90 employees. All 12 of its managing directors will continue in their current roles, the companies said.

Golden Gate, which has more than $12 billion under management, invests mainly in technology, retail, industrial and business and financial services, according to its website.

Evercore Partners Inc. advised Green Street on the transaction.

Eastdil Secured LLC, the real estate investment bank owned by Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC), will retain its stake in Green Street, which is less than 5 percent, Leupold said.

Rental of murder house

(AP) -- A woman who discovered her rental home was the likely site of several slayings by a suspected serial killer is moving out early after appealing to St. Louis public housing officials when her landlord wouldn't budge.

KMOV-TV reported Tuesday that Catrina McGhaw rented a house in Ferguson, Mo., that was once home to Maury Troy Travis.

The 36-year-old waiter committed suicide in jail in 2002 after he was charged with killing two St. Louis-area women.

Police said he was a suspect in as many as 20 murders in the area, as well as the 1994 deaths of six prostitutes in Atlanta.

McGhaw said she learned of the home's morbid past only after a family member saw a TV documentary about Travis. A dining room table donated to her by her landlord -- Travis' mother -- can be seen in crime scene photos.

She also wasn't aware of the videotapes police found in the basement of Travis with his victims, some of whom were tied to a pole.

“This whole basement was his torture chamber and it's not okay,” McGhaw said.

The St. Louis Housing Authority, which manages Section 8 housing, told the television station that McGhaw can move out of the home at the end of this month after Sandra Travis refused her request to break her lease.

While some states require property owners to disclose details about violent crimes that occurred there, Missouri stipulates only that material defects be documented.

Federal funds for parks

(AP) -- U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced Tuesday that more than $43 million will be distributed from a federal fund for recreation and conservation projects nationwide, kicking off a weeklong campaign around the nation to support the fund's permanent renewal as Congress resumes.

Jewell joined Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and other officials at Fort Worth's Gateway Park, partly built with money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Texas is set to receive $2.5 million, Jewell said.

Offshore oil and gas royalties support the fund, which is scheduled to expire next year unless reauthorized by Congress.

Less than half of the money paid into the U.S. Treasury each year from drilling activity on the outer continental shelf since 1964 has been allocated, Jewell said.

Over 50 years, the fund has paid for more than 42,000 state and local parks, playgrounds, urban wildlife refuges, greenways, trails and open spaces. Federal funding is matched by state and local funding.

Upper Midwest solar

(AP) -- Indiana Michigan Power plans to seek permission to build five solar generating facilities in the two states it serves.

I&M is proposing building the facilities in the Muncie-Marion area in eastern Indiana, around South Bend in northern Indiana and in Michigan, although the locations have not yet been decided.

The company says the Clean Energy Solar Pilot Project will have a combined capacity of about 16 megawatts, producing electricity equivalent to powering more than 2,500 homes for a year.

Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in early 2016, with completion expected later that year.

The estimated cost of the project is $38 million. The company said the project would result in less than a 1 percent increase in customer rates. The utility has more than 580,000 customers.

Brewer to cut water

(Bloomberg) -- SABMiller Plc (OTC: SBMRY), the world's second-largest brewer, pledged to cut water use across its operations by at least 14 percent within six years.

The London-based maker of such beers as Pilsner Urquell and Miller Genuine Draft said Wednesday it would reduce water use to 3 liters (0.79 gallons) of water per liter of beer and 1.8 liters of water at its soft drinks division by 2020.

That compares with 3.5 liters of water per liter of beer now and 2.14 liters of water per liter of soft drink.

The company, which says it sells at least 140,000 bottles of beer every minute of every day worldwide, set out new sustainability targets Wednesday that include reducing its carbon footprint and waste amid a plan to secure water supplies at all its facilities.

Site-by-site assessments, analyzing supply chains from farms to retailers, and partnerships with groups such as the Nature Conservancy will help tackle water risks and increase efficiencies, it said.

Citigroup reaching deal

(Bloomberg) -- Citigroup may reach an agreement with federal prosecutors as early as next week to resolve a probe into sales of mortgage-backed bonds before the 2008 financial crisis, a person familiar with the negotiations said.

The nation's third-biggest bank by assets would pay at least $4 billion under an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department, according to the person, who asked not to be named because the talks are private.

The deal would be $7 billion when including borrower relief such as mortgage modifications, the New York Times reported.

Mark Costiglio, a spokesman for New York-based Citigroup (NYSE: C), declined to comment on the talks.

The lender had offered less than $4 billion while federal prosecutors had sought more than $10 billion, a person familiar with the matter said last month.

Citigroup is among banks facing investigations into whether they misled investors about the quality of bonds backed by mortgages as housing prices plummeted.

Healthcare REIT buy

(Bloomberg) -- NorthStar Realty Finance Corp. is in talks to buy Griffin-American Healthcare REIT II, an owner of about $3 billion of medical properties in the United States and United Kingdom, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

The discussions are exclusive and are scheduled to expire on Friday, one of the people said.

NorthStar Realty, based in New York, has been building a health care property business and earlier this year bought $1.05 billion of senior housing and skilled-nursing facilities.

Griffin-American Healthcare REIT II, founded in 2009, is a nonlisted real estate investment trust, meaning its shares don't trade on a stock exchange.

The Irvine, Calif.-based company concluded its fundraising last year, collecting $2.8 billion in equity.

It had about $3 billion in assets at the end of the first quarter, with 286 properties in 31 states and the U.K.

Doubling Asian fund

(Bloomberg) -- M&G Real Estate, the property investment unit of Prudential Plc, plans to almost double its Asia-Pacific fund's size in response to growing investor demand.

London-based M&G, which has $30 billion under management globally, is targeting $3 billion of properties in the Asia-Pacific region for the fund by 2017 from $1.7 billion now, said Manager Erle Spratt.

The fund, which has no investments in China, also expects to enter the world's second-biggest economy within two years, he said.

Asia-Pacific developed economies are the most popular choice for European investors after their home market, broker CBRE Group Inc.'s (NYSE: CBG) Investor Intentions Survey 2014 showed.

Investment in the region is set to reach a record $140 billion by the end of 2014, broker Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. (NYSE: JLL) forecasts.

Prudential is the United Kingdom's biggest insurer by market value, and is unrelated to Prudential Financial Inc. (NYSE: PRU), the United States’ second-largest life insurer.

M&G said last month it bought a residential building and an office building in Japan and a commercial tower in Melbourne, together valued at more than $200 million.

M&G plans to increase the number of properties in the fund to as many as 30 from 11 now, Spratt said. It's targeting a third of investments in Australia and Japan each and the rest in Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong, he said.

The fund will focus on industrial and office space in Australia, office and residential in Japan, logistics in Hong Kong, and retail and industrial in Singapore, Spratt said.

Westfield spinoff bond

(Bloomberg) -- Scentre Group, the Australasia-focused mall operator created from the restructure of Westfield Group and its property trust, priced the largest-ever European bond deal by an Australian company outside of banks and miners.

The newly-formed entity, created last month after shareholders in the two predecessor companies approved a transformation proposed by billionaire Frank Lowy, raised the equivalent of $2.9 billion.

Proceeds from the four-part deal, which included notes denominated in euros and British pounds, will be used to help refinance A$5 billion ($4.7 billion) of bridging facilities established for the transaction.

Scentre is now a self-managed operation focused on properties in Australia and New Zealand, while Westfield Corp. runs the rest of the business and aims to capitalize on faster sales growth in the United States and United Kingdom.

Scentre's 10-year bonds were priced to yield 92 basis points more than the swap rate, while the six-year securities were issued at a 72-basis-point spread, BNP said.

The four-year floaters were priced to yield 67 basis points more than Euribor and the 12-year pound-denominated notes were sold at 113 basis points more than U.K. gilts, according to the bank.

Moody's rating for Scentre is its fifth-highest. The company is rated A by Standard & Poor’s, the equivalent of one step lower.

Expanding hotels in Japan

(Bloomberg) -- Mori Trust Co., Japan's second-biggest closely held developer by sales, plans to expand its hotel business amid a rising number of inbound tourists and business travelers.

Mori is considering the renovation of several hotels and development of new resorts in Japan, Miwako Date, executive managing director of the Tokyo-based developer, said.

The company plans to open a luxury hotel in Kyoto in 2015 after redeveloping a Marriott Hotel in Tokyo last year, said Date, who is also the president of Mori Trust Hotels & Resorts Co., a unit of Mori.

Mori Trust, which owns and manages about 30 hotels in Japan, is trying to capture rising demand by introducing more international hotels. Three hotels under new foreign brands are opening in the country this year, according to broker Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. (NYSE: JLL).

Tokyo hotels had an occupancy rate of 83 percent from July through September last year, according to the agency.

Shanghai prices

(Bloomberg) -- Shanghai, China's financial center, has approved a developer to seek the highest ever home prices in the city.

Shenzhen Overseas Chinese Town Co. can set prices for its high-end residential properties as high as 298,000 yuan ($48,100) per square meter, according to the website of the city's real estate trading center.

That's the highest maximum allowable asking price ever in the metropolis, according to SouFun Holdings Ltd., China’s biggest real estate website, and realtor Centaline Group.

UK prices rise

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. house prices rose in the second quarter as an improving economy and rising confidence bolstered demand for property, according to Halifax.

Values increased 2.3 percent in the three months through June to an average 183,462 pounds ($314,200), the Lloyds Banking Group Plc (NYSE: LYG) mortgage unit said Wednesday.

While prices dropped 0.6 percent from May, they jumped 4 percent that month, the most since October 2002.

While the decline in June from the previous month is the third drop since March, May's gain pushed up the annual increase in the second quarter to 8.8 percent, the biggest rise since 2007.

Prices were up 9.4 percent in June from a year earlier, Halifax said.

Trina solar modules

(Bloomberg) -- Trina Solar Ltd., China's largest profitable panel manufacturer, will supply modules with 200 megawatts of capacity to Zonergy Company Limited.

Panel shipments are expected to be completed by December, Changzhou, China-based Trina (NYSE: TSL) said Wednesday. Its the largest single module supply agreement so far this year, the company said.

The panels will be used in Zonergy projects in several provinces in China such as Jiangsu, Shandong, Xinjiang, Qinghai and Sichuan.

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