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Bren offers land

(AP) -- A real estate firm is offering 2,500 acres of undeveloped property to Orange County to become protected wild land.

The Orange County Register reports the Irvine Co. wants to hand over two parcels -- one in Anaheim Hills and the other near East Orange -- that at one time had been slated for development.

Documents with the proposal will be given to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

It could take months for the supervisors to reach a decision on whether to accept the nearly four square miles of land, which could come with maintenance costs.

Chairman Donald Bren says the company decided to donate the land to celebrate its 150th anniversary.

It could add a large swath of preserved space on the northern end of the Irvine Ranch.

Threatened minnow

(AP) -- A minnow that makes its home in Northern California's Clear Lake basin has been deemed a threatened species by state officials.

The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa reports that the California Fish and Game Commission conferred the legal protection on the minnow, called the Clear Lake hitch, last week.

Wildlife groups and Clear Lake's Pomo Indian tribes say the inches-long hitch is a critical part of Clear Lake's ecosystem, which is the only place it is found.

The hitch used to clog the lake's tributaries at spawning times, but fewer than a thousand are believed to survive today.

The hitch's new status could lead to limits on water diversions that could affect ranchers and farmers.

Rental home manager

(Bloomberg) -- Realogy Holdings Corp., owner of brokerage brands Coldwell Banker and Century 21, is building a division to manage U.S. single-family homes for landlords in the growing house-rental industry.

Realogy is consolidating local operations under its NRT LLC brokerage subsidiary, which has about 20,000 properties under management.

NRT, the biggest residential brokerage operator, also acquired the assets of Dallas GTF Inc., a Texas-based firm that has 1,600 rental homes under management in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Realogy said Monday.

Demand for quality managers has increased as mom-and-pop investors and larger companies such as Blackstone Group LP and American Homes 4 Rent buy houses scattered over wide distances that require maintenance. The industry is being bolstered by increased demand for leasing after more than 5 million homes were lost to foreclosure and as tight lending standards limit buying.

For Realogy, the new structure will take previously acquired property-management operations and “formalize it into a division that will become, given our footprint, one of the largest in the country pretty soon,” Richard Smith, chief executive officer of the Madison, N.J.-based company, said.

The U.S. rental-home industry has grown to about 14 million properties, according to Jade Rahmani, an analyst at Keefe Bruyette & Woods Inc. in New York.

Most landlords NRT works with have five to 10 homes on average, Smith said.

NRT will join just a few national single-family management firms, a group that includes Carrington Holding Co. and the Rockbridge Group, formerly FirstService Residential Realty.

Airport expansion

(Bloomberg) -- Frankfurt Airport, Europe's third-busiest, won local planning permission to build a third terminal that will offer capacity to boost passenger handling by about 24 percent.

The first construction phase is scheduled for completion by 2021, when the terminal will initially be able to handle 14 million passengers a year, airport operating company Fraport AG said Tuesday. The building will offer 50 spots for servicing aircraft once all work is completed.

Construction technology will be modular “to enable possible further expansion in the future,” said Dieter Hulick, a spokesman at Frankfurt-based Fraport. A contractor has yet to be chosen, he said.

The current two terminals will exceed capacity by 2020, Fraport said.

Starwood buys loan pools

(Bloomberg) -- Starwood Waypoint Residential Trust, an owner of U.S. single-family homes, bought two pools of delinquent loans and 146 bank-owned houses for $218.7 million.

The transaction includes 1,294 non-performing mortgages with an unpaid principal balance of $292.6 million, the Oakland, Calif.-based company said Tuesday.

For Starwood Waypoint, the loan purchases are a “great channel” for acquiring homes at a discount, said Gary Beasley, the company's co-chief executive officer.

“These two pool acquisitions support our view that similar opportunities remain in the marketplace that meet our strict underwriting criteria for portfolio composition and pricing,” Beasley said.

Tall prairie grass

NEW YORK (AP) -- Dayton International Airport is experimenting with a new way to avoid bird strikes: planting tall prairie grass.

Heavy birds like geese -- which cause the most damage to planes -- are believed to avoid long grasses because they fear predators might be hiding within. So officials at are converting up to 300 acres of the airfield's 2,200 non-aeronautical acres into prairie grass. The goal is, by the end of this year, to plant the tall grass under the takeoff and landing paths.

Newer airports tend to be built next to tracts of empty land. Those large fields happen to make great rest stops for migrating birds.

The thick grass has other benefits: preventing water runoff, taking carbon dioxide out of the air and requiring only one mowing every three years.

Dubai hotel glut

(Bloomberg) -- Dubai's hotels had their lowest occupancy in at least 18 years in July, standing more than half empty room supply increased while demand fell, according to industry researcher STR Global.

Occupancy stood at 45.4 percent in July, STR Global said in a report dated Aug. 11. That the lowest since the company began tracking the Dubai hospitality market.

Dubai, which built some of the world's most iconic hotels such as the sail-shaped Burj al Arab, plans to almost double the number of hotel rooms by 2020 as it expects a surge of visitors ahead of the World Expo that year.

The emirate is targeting about 160,000 rooms, many of them in the three- and four-star category rather than the luxury segment, Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of the Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said in March.

REIT spinoff

(Bloomberg) -- Inland American Real Estate Trust Inc., a nontraded real estate investment trust, plans to spin off its lodging subsidiary into a publicly traded company.

The new REIT, to be called Xenia Hotels & Resorts Inc., will own 46 hotels in 19 states and the District of Columbia and a majority stake in two properties under development, Oak Brook, Ill.-based Inland American said Monday.

The hotels include brands such as Hyatt, Hilton and Marriott.

Marcel Verbaas, who led Inland American's lodging investments, will become Xenia’s president and chief executive officer, according to the statement.

“These assets have performed well as part of Inland American's portfolio, delivering strong cash flows and attractive returns,” Verbaas said in the statement.

“As a standalone company, Xenia will have the additional strategic and financial flexibility to continue delivering growth and creating stockholder value.”

Xenia will be based in Orlando, Fla., and will apply to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol XHR.

Inland American, as of March 31, owned 281 properties, including retail, industrial and office buildings and student housing.

Minnesota bonds

(Bloomberg) -- Minnesota offered about $904 million in general-obligation debt Tuesday to raise money for projects from St. Cloud to Winona, in the state's largest bond sale since 2010.

About $288 million of tax-exempt securities will go toward new highway and bridge projects, said Kevin Gutknecht, a spokesman for the state Transportation Department in St. Paul.

Even if Congress hadn't replenished the federal fund for highway and mass-transit projects last month, none of the Minnesota projects would have been affected, Gutknecht.

Although Congress didn't work out a long-term fix to the program that sends money to states for roads, Minnesota officials will add projects to their pipeline as usual, he said.

“We're just going to have to play it by ear,” Gutknecht said. “If it’s allowed to go into default, we’ll have to change plans.”

Minnesota is also selling bonds to refinance tax-exempt debt issued for the St. Cloud State University's Integrated Science and Engineering Laboratory Facility, said Joel Ludwigson, spokesman for the state’s management and budget office in St. Paul. The facility opened in October.

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