Tag Archives: Transwestern

Gateway ext 14, WEB

Health Choice Arizona expands headquarters by 40%

Transwestern brokered a lease renewal and expansion at Gateway Center on behalf of the building owner, a joint venture between an Oaktree Capital Management LP affiliate and Pearlmark Real Estate Partners LLC. Health Choice Arizona leased an additional 21,669 square feet for a total of 74,000 square feet in the Class A building at 410 N. 44th St., increasing its headquarters office size by 40 percent.  Transwestern Senior Vice Presidents Bill Zurek and Jim Achen Jr. brokered the transaction.

“We are extremely pleased to accommodate Health Choice Arizona’s business expansion at Gateway Center,” said Zurek, lead broker in the transaction.

Gateway Center is currently 92 percent leased with 18,544 square feet available. Located in the center of the Phoenix metropolitan area, Gateway Center offers immediate access to routes 202 and 143, a light rail station, Sky Train and Sky Harbor International Airport. Gateway Center consists of three Class A office buildings featuring an exceptional work environment, landscaped courtyard, on-campus fitness facility, food service, flexible floorplates and views of the Phoenix skyline.

Mike Ragland of CBRE represented Health Choice Arizona.

Shields_Andrina, WEB

Andrina Shields Joins Transwestern

Transwestern announced Andrina Shields has joined its Phoenix office as vice president of multifamily investment services. Shields is an expert in multifamily operations and revitalizing troubled assets. The co-founder of Heads on Beds, a consulting group that advises multifamily property owners on ways to add value to their holdings, Shields brings more than 25 years of industry experience to Transwestern where she will serve as vice president in the multifamily investment services group.

“Andrina gives us a level of expertise that simply doesn’t exist at other Phoenix-area brokerages that deal with multifamily communities,” said Transwestern Vice President Jack Hannum. “She fortifies the authenticity and substance of our practice. And with a background in both operations and management, she can advise asset owners, investors and capital sources on finding innovative solutions for each opportunity and transaction.”

Shields spent five years with Alliance Residential Company as a regional manager, where she oversaw the daily operations of 3,500 units under multiple owners. Her exceptional service earned her the firm’s Commitment to Excellence Award for three straight years. She later served as a regional manager for Gray Clow Residential Development Group and was a key member in creating the Suite Living apartment concept at Grigio Tempe Town Lake. While at Heads on Beds, her clients included Prime Group, Heers Management Company, Arizona Multi-Housing Association and Pacific Property. Shields later joined Heers Management as a vice president.

“I’m delighted to join Transwestern,” said Shields. “The firm has a culture that encourages creative thinking and insightful analysis. When you combine this with its incredibly talented team of brokers, Transwestern’s multifamily clients have the best opportunities for growth.”



Luke Lee Joins Transwestern

Transwestern announced the addition of investment services expert Luke Lee to its capital markets group on Thursday. As a vice president based in Phoenix, Lee will offer investment services to institutional and private investors for the acquisition, disposition and recapitalization of commercial real estate assets.

Specializing in the healthcare and office sectors, Lee will also provide regional and national clients with real estate banking services, such as debt financing and equity investments. With more than 15 years of experience as a financial and real estate professional, Lee also brings valuable REIT industry experience to Transwestern, as he has sourced and closed more than $500 million in acquisitions.

“Luke is a tremendous addition to our capital markets team,” said Transwestern Senior Vice President Larry Pobuda. “He is well-versed in the principal side of the commercial real estate industry and with his financial background he has the ability to offer an advantageous perspective when analyzing investment opportunities. His expertise in healthcare and other major product types fits right into our highly responsive approach to serving our clients and anticipating key market trends.”

“The opportunity to join Transwestern was attractive to me for a number of reasons,” said Lee. “I was strongly drawn to the culture. Transwestern encourages creative thinking in order to offer the best investment strategies for our clients. Combined with our full platform of services – from structured finance to leasing and property management – we can handle a client’s investment needs from start to finish.”

Prior to joining Transwestern, Lee served as vice president of acquisitions at Carter Validus Mission Critical REIT and as acquisitions manager at Healthcare Trust of America (HTA), a publically traded REIT. Before HTA, he earned his appraisal license as a valuation manager at CB Richard Ellis, providing valuation and advisory services for existing and proposed commercial properties including retail, office, multifamily, industrial, hotels and special-use projects. Additionally, Lee achieved his Certified Public Accountant designation during his tenure at Ernst & Young LLP, where he was a manager with the firm’s real estate advisory group. Lee began his career at Raymond James where he attained his Series 7 and 63 licenses as a financial analyst.

PimaCM, Transwestern

Rural/Metro Corp. Selects Pima Office Pavilion in Scottsdale for HQ

Transwestern announced Wednesday it brokered a long-term lease with Rural/Metro Corp. for 90,500 SF of Class-A space in the Pima Office Pavilion. The Scottsdale-based provider of private ambulance and fire protection services in 21 states and nearly 700 communities will establish its new national headquarters at the Pavilion, located at 8465 N. Pima Rd.
“Rural/Metro found itself an excellent location neighboring the affluent Paradise Valley and Scottsdale residential communities and near two major medical centers,” said Transwestern Senior Vice President Jim Achen Jr., lead broker in the transaction. Built in 2008, the Pima Office Pavilion is adjacent to the Loop 101 Freeway in a prime Scottsdale location.
“It is just minutes from exclusive residential executive housing and 20 minutes from Northwest and Southwest Valley labor markets,” said Achen. “Sky Harbor International Airport is only 15 minutes away, and there are more than 50 restaurants within a two-mile radius.”
Achen was assisted by Transwestern Senior Vice Presidents Bill Zurek and Lawrence Pobuda in representing the Pima Office Pavilion’s owner, Nashville, Tenn.-based Healthcare Realty Trust. Tom Adelson of CBRE in Phoenix represented Rural/Metro.
Rural/Metro was founded in 1948 and is now the second-largest firm of its kind in the United States with nearly 10,000 employees. Its ambulances transport more than 1.5 million patients annually.


Dorsey Place Sells for $15M to Joint Venture in Phoenix

Transwestern brokered the sale of Dorsey Place, an 84-unit, condominium-style apartment building on East University Drive in Tempe, for nearly $15M. San Diego, Calif.-based Stratford Partners and Pathfinder Partners, which had purchased the building in 2011, sold the building to a joint venture between Diversified International Partners and Alliance Residential of Phoenix.

The sellers were represented by Transwestern’s multifamily team in Phoenix, led by Vice Presidents Jack Hannum and Bret Zinn and Financial Analyst John Drowns. Diversified International Partners is a fund specifically created for Latin American institutional and qualified high-net worth investors by its general partner, Finesa Real Estate Group, and its fund manager, Transwestern Investment Management.

Built in 2007 as a mixed-use condominium and retail community, Dorsey Place underperformed as a for-sale residential venture, selling only six units to individual owners. After several years struggling through the downturn in the housing market, the team at Stratford Partners stepped in with a new vision for the property, according to Transwestern’s Hannum.

This was Stratford Partners’ first acquisition when the company formed in 2011,” said Hannum. “It acquired the building at a significant discount to replacement cost and did a fantastic job of stabilizing the asset over the last two years to significantly increase value. Stratford’s leadership saw the real potential in Dorsey Place, based on the community’s location, the quality of the property and their understanding of the Tempe multifamily market.”

Diversified International Partners and Alliance expect additional value can be added to the property through focused, management expertise and by capitalizing on current market expansion. Less than a mile from Arizona State University and in close proximity to major corporate developments now underway in Tempe, the 96,400-square-foot property is a gated, four-story building featuring high-end specifications that distinguish it from newer, for-lease homes. 

Dorsey Place has two- and three-bedroom units that feature upscale finishes, including granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Other amenities include underground parking, a heated swimming pool in a central courtyard and a resident clubhouse.

Alliance and Diversified International Partners plan to reposition Dorsey Place in correlation with the additional commercial developments nearby. Plans include converting the vacant first-floor retail space into additional livable units, adding a fitness center and renovating the existing common area amenities.

The new capital investment into Dorsey Place will create a highly attractive property that will offer an enhanced living experience to the additional workforce coming into the area,” said Alliance Managing Director Paul Engler.

With State Farm currently building 2MSF of office space on nearby Tempe Town Lake, there is growing demand for multifamily residential units here,” said Hannum. “So in terms of timing, this is a win-win for the Dorsey Place buyers and sellers, as well as the City of Tempe.”


Leadership spotlight: Jim Achen, Jr.

Jim Achen, Jr.
Senior vice president

Jim specializes primarily in the leasing and sales of office properties on behalf of private, institutional, entrepreneurial and developer clients. Active in Phoenix commercial real estate brokerage since 1992, Jim has been a consistent top producer and a recipient of numerous awards for exceptional achievement.

Best advice received: “Don’t give up and don’t listen to the critics. My dad, Jim Sr., told me this repeatedly. Early on, when I would lose an assignment or a deal would unravel, his typical response was, ‘Well, welcome to the NFL…,’ then he’d pump me up to get back out on the field.”

Biggest achievement: “Being a father to my sons, Jim III (8) and Dillon (7). They’ve both said they want to work with me in real estate … we’ll see. J III has also said he wants to win 10 Super Bowls and Big D wants to win 10 NASCAR championships. I like that they think big.”

Relocation, Relocation, Relocation: How Executives Move to New Markets

By Kurt Schellenbach



Larry Pobuda

Larry Pobuda

All real estate is local. Or is it? In an industry where markets compete nationally and trends move globally, professionals are increasingly crossing geographic borders. So what are the best ways to successfully relocate from one part of the country to another?

A good case study is the recent move of Lawrence (“Larry”) Pobuda to Phoenix. In June, Pobuda was named senior vice president at Transwestern after leaving Minneapolis where he was most recently a partner at Stewart Lawrence Group, and was previously Senior Vice President at United Properties/NorthMarq. He had been based in Minneapolis for 24 years. But he was not new to Phoenix.

My move started with a personal connection to Phoenix,” says Pobuda. “We have family living here, and my wife and I bought a vacation home in 1999. So we have spent the last 14 years loving the area.”

Pobuda has crossed professional borders as well. The Transwestern position attracted him because its flexibility – interfacing between the realms of development, investment and brokerage – mirrored the multiple roles he performed up north.

At United Properties we emphasized geographic expansion,” he says. “As far back as 2004 I had been considering a move to Phoenix.”

Pobuda operated on a larger stage again in 2010 when he was appointed National Chair of the NAIOP trade organization. With NAIOP active in 55 markets, Pobuda observed best practices from many cities, participating in dozens of industry events and expanding his professional network.

It’s important to understand how people compete differently in, say, San Francisco as opposed to Boston. And serving on the national board, I got to meet even more people from Phoenix.”

When Larry decided to relocate for good, he immersed himself in Phoenix: “I met 75 individuals in four months. One meeting led to the next. It was informational, and very valuable.”

Pobuda also put boots on the ground: “It was driving, walking properties, touring buildings, talking to everyone I came across. That’s how I got the lay of the land, especially peering into the patterns of growth in the Chandler/Tempe region, along with North Scottsdale and the Camelback Corridor, which is getting more and more attention from national companies.”


Transwestern Brokers $50M Sale of Phoenix Multi-Family Community


Transwestern brokered the sale of The Canyons, a 629-unit apartment community at 19940 N. 23rd Ave. in Phoenix.

An entity formed by Alliance Residential Co. purchased the property for $50M, or approximately $80,000 per unit. It was sold by Denver-based Continental Realty Advisors, which purchased the property in 2010 for $45.5M and infused $1.3M of capital into The Canyons, while boosting its occupancy rate from 64% in 2010 to 94% at the time of the transaction’s closing.

“Continental purchased The Canyons at a very difficult time in the Phoenix multifamily market,” said Transwestern Vice President Jack Hannum, who along with Vice President Bret Zinn and Financial Analyst John Drowns negotiated the transaction. “They made a great number of improvements in the community and management, and it showed in the occupancy increase.”

“We enjoyed our period of ownership at The Canyons and are excited to finalize our sale with Alliance Residential,” said Continental Realty Advisors President and Chairman of the Board, David W. Snyder. “They are a great community operator, and we feel that we are leaving our client residents in good hands.”

“The life and health of the Phoenix multifamily business has definitely changed as we come out of the Great Recession,” Zinn said. “At the time we closed The Canyons deal, two other apartment projects in the Valley sold for a total of approximately $40 million, and we believe that more is in the works.”

Published reports indicate that while Alliance Residential has developed and sold multi-family complexes in the area for some time, this was its first purchase of an existing project in nearly 6 years. It has also been reported that the privately held Alliance is currently developing 793 units among three communities in the Phoenix area and is seeking land on which to build additional multifamily properties.

The Canyons was built in two phases in 2004 and 2005 and features studio, one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom units ranging in size from 458 SF to 1,166 SF.

Located near the interchange of I-17 the Loop 101, The Canyons meets residential demand created from more than 7 MSF of office space and the employers that reside there such as PetSmart, Honeywell, John C. Lincoln Hospitals, Discover Card and American Express.

“This sale marks a truly positive transition in the fortunes of The Canyons,” Drowns said. “It had been purchased in 2006 for more than $80 million, transferred back to the lending agency where Continental purchased it and ultimately brought it back to health. The latest sale is good news for the asset, but also a recurring example of strong performance and solid opportunities in multifamily investment throughout the Valley.”


Transwestern Closes Lease Renewal of Phoenix Health Plan HQ

Transwestern has secured a lease renewal and 40% expansion for Phoenix Health Plan’s corporate headquarters space in the Catalina Terraces complex, 7878 N. 16th St.

In the long-term renewal, Phoenix Health Plan has leased an additional 19,000 SF to accommodate new personnel for two of its medical plans: Phoenix Health Plan and Abrazo Advantage Health Plan. With a total of 64,000 feet of space, it is the largest tenant in the building.

“We were thrilled to assist Phoenix Health Plan in securing additional space to accommodate their growth,” said Kate Morris, senior vice president at Transwestern. “This is a centrally located building that offers an easy commute for employees who live throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area. And by restructuring the Health Plan’s current lease, they were able to take advantage of favorable economic terms.”

Phoenix Health Plan was represented by Morris and Vince Femiano, vice president, both of whom are based in Transwestern’s Phoenix office. The Catalina Terraces owner, Santa Fe, N.M.-based Rosemont Realty, was represented by Phil Breidenbach and Keith Lambeth of Colliers International.

Built in 1990 and renovated in 2002, the 3-story Catalina Terraces structure is located at the top of 16th St. and Northern. It offers amenities including the Point Hilton Resort and several restaurants. With easy access to Downtown Phoenix and the Squaw Peak Parkway, Catalina Terraces is minutes from the Camelback Corridor. In 2006, the building was awarded an ENERGY STAR® Label for its operating efficiency.


NAIOP, AZRE Magazine September/October 2010

NAIOP Roundtable 2010: Q&A With Members of NAIOP

NAIOP Roundtable 2010: Q&A With Members of NAIOP

Members of NAIOP-AZ sat down with AZRE magazine in a roundtable discussion, discussing the state of the local commercial real estate industry.

NAIOP Roundtable 2010 NAIOP Roundtable 2010 Participants

NAIOP Roundtable 2010 Participants:

1 — DW: Deron Webb, Managing Principal, Wentworth Webb & Postal 5 — BM: Bob Mulhern, Managing Director Greater Phoenix, Colliers International

2 — JB: Jodi Bailey, VP Property Management Services, Transwestern

6 — KR: Kurt Rosene, Senior VP, The Alter Group
3 — WS: William L. Spart, Senior VP & Manager, Middle Market Real Estate, Wells Fargo Bank 7 — TH: Todd Holzer, VP of Development, Ryan Companies US
4 — MH: Mike Haenel, Executive VP, Industrial Group, Cassidy Turley/BRE Commercial 8 — JD: John DiVall, Senior VP, Liberty Property Trust


TH: We are more than two years into the so-called “Great Recession.” How much longer will it last? Will Arizona pull out the same time as the rest of the nation? Since the commercial real estate industry is closely tied to the job market, it’s been a bumpy ride.

Q: What is different in July 2010 in our local commercial real estate industry than a year ago?

MH: The two biggest differences today compared to a year ago, are that tenant demand is on the rise and there are limited distressed industrial real estate opportunities available for sale. It’s important to note that, because we have not seen the oversupply of distressed real estate hit the market, values are higher than we thought they would be given the overall market conditions. This has translated into a significant and noticeable increase in tenant demand.

JD: It is marginally better. As part of the Arizona NAIOP, I wish I could say substantially better, but it’s not. There is more activity, but rates are still depressed, and we are now in the summer doldrums. We are clearly experiencing a jobless recovery. With no new construction on the horizon, we should gradually absorb space and improve.

WS: There are more lenders jumping into the market. We are seeing conduit, CMBS, life and other banks. A year ago we did not see much activity.

Q: How would you compare our Metro Phoenix commercial real estate market to other major markets throughout the Western U.S.?

BM: Phoenix’s metro commercial real estate market has been hit harder than most Western cities, with Las Vegas being the exception. At the end of the second quarter Phoenix vacancies for office (29 MSF/22.5%), industrial (41 MSF/17.7%) and retail (28 MSF/13.3%) were all in historically high ranges, and they remain significantly higher than other Western cities such as Denver (6.7% industrial/14.8% office), San Diego (8.7% industrial/16.2% office), and Los Angeles (not including Orange County and the Inland Empire — 5.0% industrial/12.7% office). Most of the basic fundamentals that draw people to the Valley are still in place, but the lack of job growth, coupled with the depressed residential housing market, are continuing to act as detriments to a commercial real estate rebound. Recognizing these realities, it should be noted that multi-family sales, for which purchase financing is available, are very strong, and that foreign investors, especially from Canada, are entering the market and helping create some velocity in the private client sales market.

JB: Phoenix is a very dynamic commercial real estate market with a highly skilled labor force, an abundance of labor because we are a right-to-work state with competitive wages, and reliable, lower cost energy sources for large users. Ultimately, this means that we attract a wide variety of users from semiconductor manufacturers, biotech/life science laboratories, aerospace and Department of Defense manufacturing, as well as back office and data center occupiers of space. Each building occupier has their reasons for choosing Phoenix over other markets, but we find ourselves to be very competitive as compared to other regional markets.

TH: Phoenix is in the infamous Bermuda Triangle of both residential and commercial real estate, which also includes Las Vegas and the Inland Empire of California. Because of the housing market dive, cities in this area went into recession mode before the rest ofthe nation, and the drop in our economy has been greater than most. Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle keep their economy above water due to Pacific Rim trade. Denver has energy and high tech, and Salt Lake City was not overbuilt. Texas has fared well due to energy and the George W. Bush presidency. It will be a long and difficult struggle for Metro Phoenix to pull out of the tough times it finds itself in.

Q: How are the boycotts and state public policies affecting our industry?

BM: I have not heard one comment about the boycott in our offices or from any of our clients, which is an indication to me that the boycotts, though serious issues, do not rank high in the commercial real estate priorities of concern. Shrinking rents and occupancies are a much bigger issue these days.

Regarding public policy, the inability of the federal and state governments to implement policies and programs to stimulate job growth is prolonging our recession. There will not be a jobless recovery so, until jobs are created, our industry is continuing to experience high levels of tumult.

Public policy toward banks is also prolonging our recession as the de-leveraging process is being allowed to be spread over time, preventing the painful, but inevitable total market reset necessary to stabilize the real estate market and allow it to begin to create some positive momentum.

TH: The boycotts are affecting the convention and tourist sector, but I do not believe that they have affected the office and industrial markets here in Arizona. Companies choose to come here due to the ease of doing business and quality of life, not due to our state’s policy on immigration. That being said, our state needs to make job creation and business attraction a primary focus. We need the Legislature and the governor’s office to make jobs our No. 1 priority. I suggest a formal jobs bill from our legislative leadership should come forward that includes a lower tax burden on hiring businesses and commercial property owners.

DW: After the initial national “knee jerk” reaction of higher deficit spending and dubious stimulus policy, leaders underestimated the outcry and we did not do a good job of getting the message out nationally. Projects have been stalled and some major players are taking a wait-and-see attitude. Any time there is substantial disturbance, those active in the market cool.