Tag Archives: vestar development

Lee Hanley - Vestar

Vestar's Hanley, 70, Dies Of Pancreatic Cancer

Lee T. Hanley, CEO of  Vestar Development, one of the largest privately held shopping center companies in the Western U.S., died Sunday. He was 70. The cause was pancreatic cancer.

Hanley spent more than three decades in the industry and was regarded by many as an icon in the development community. Under his leadership, Vestar, which Hanley and several other founders spun off from a home building company in the late 1980s, became a dominant player in its metro area and the Los Angeles and San Diego markets. The company has undertaken some of the most challenging, yet innovative and ultimately successful open-air projects in the country, starting with the development in 1989 of Arizona’s first power center, the former Scottsdale Pavilions.

Vestar negotiated a land lease with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community to develop the 1.1 MSF center on about 100 acres owned by the sovereign tribe. The center attracted major retailers because of its proximity to Scottsdale.

By incorporating lakes, waterfalls and other design elements that were relatively new to shopping centers, Vestar set out to create a sense of place at Scottsdale Pavilions, and that remains a mission for the company with its projects today. (The center is now owned by Phoenix-based De Rito Partners Development Inc. and has been renamed The Pavilions at Talking Stick.)

Born in Los Angeles, Hanley graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in accounting and served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, including duty in the Vietnam War. Early in his career, he worked for the Xerox Corp., rising to become one of its top salesmen in the West, and for brokerage firm CB Commercial, the predecessor to CBRE Group Inc. In 1977, he was recruited by the former Estes Homes of Tucson to start its commercial development division, which built centers as amenities for its master-planned communities.

In the late ’80s Estes was seeking to raise cash to pay down debt, and Hanley spearheaded a buyout of his division in partnership with three colleagues, Richard J. Kuhle, David J. Larcher and J. Paul Rhodes, all of whom remain with Vestar. The acquisition was partially funded by the pension plan of the former Ameritech Corp., one of the seven so-called Baby Bells created as a result of the breakup of AT&T in 1984. Ameritech was eager to expand its portfolio of real estate investments in the West and became a capital partner to Vestar, giving it a competitive advantage over other developers during the credit crunch and recession of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.

During that period, Vestar made its move into the highly competitive Southern California market, acquiring properties and securing entitlements for projects in places where other developers had tried to no avail. Its first ground-up project in the state was Cerritos Town Center, a 600,000 SF power center that brought one of the first Wal-Mart stores to the Los Angeles area. Vestar sold the center in early 2012.

Rick Hearn, Vestar’s director of leasing, says Hanley was a mentor who led by example. Hanley inspired him and many others at Vestar to get involved in politics, charitable causes and professional organizations.

“I consider myself blessed to have had a mentor like Lee,” says Hearn, one of many longtime Vestar employees. “He left his mark on a lot of different organizations.”

Hanley was involved in numerous other organizations. He was a trustee of the Urban Land Institute and the Barrow Neurological Foundation, which raises funds for the Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. He also served on the board of the TGen Foundation, which raises funds to support the Translational Genomics Research Institute, a non-profit biomedical research institute in Phoenix.

He was active in the Greater Phoenix Leadership council, the Valley of the Sun United Way and other organizations in the Phoenix area.

Hanley and his wife Nancy were married for more than 40 years and had three children and seven grandchildren.

Vestar Development Investment

Vestar Development, Rockwood Capital Acquire LV Retail Center for $79M

Phoenix-based Vestar Development, in a joint venture with New York-based Rockwood Capital, is acquiring The District at Green Valley Ranch, a 384,107 SF landmark retail property located outside of Las Vegas, for $79M, the firms announced.

The all-cash deal, the city’s second largest commercial real estate investment transaction in three years, closed Friday, October 21.

“Now is a great time to invest in the Las Vegas retail real estate market, particularly in projects like this one,” says Rick Kuhle, president of Vestar Development. “This center has recently struggled, but we are confident and excited about stabilizing it over the coming year. We’re very bullish about these types of value-added investment opportunities and are aggressively seeking more properties like it in Las Vegas and throughout the West.”

We believe this is a compelling opportunity based upon the high quality of the center and the solid in-place cash flow,” says Joel Mayer, managing director at Rockwood Capital. “We have a longstanding relationship with Vestar and their extensive knowledge of this asset and market make them the ideal partner for this project.” 

Richard Walter, president, and Donald MacLellan, senior managing director, out of Faris Lee’s Irvine, Calif., headquarters, and Rob Moore, senior managing director in Faris Lee’s Las Vegas office represented the seller, LNR Partners, LLC. 

The District is located within Green Valley Ranch, a leading master-planned community located in the Black Mountain foothills, about 10 miles southeast of the Las Vegas Strip.

Phase one of The District was developed in 2004 and encompasses 212,622 SF of retail and office space on the west side of Green Valley Parkway. The 21.54-acre property is comprised of 50 national and regional stores and restaurants; 88 luxury condominiums; and complementary office users. The shopping, dining, entertainment, residences and office space are joined via a pedestrian-friendly main street plaza and a central park. Phase one is 85% leased to several high-profile tenants including REI, Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, Williams-Sonoma, Ann Taylor Loft, White House/Black Market, King’s Fish House and P.F. Chang’s.

Phase two of The District was developed in 2006 and totals 171,485 SF on 16.02 acres. The property consists of six buildings with a retail and office tenant mix. Phase two is 82% leased, anchored by Whole Foods and also including tenants such as West Elm and The Cheesecake Factory.

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For more information about Vestar Development, Rockwood Capital or The District at Green Valley Ranch, visit:






Newsmakers, AZRE Magazine March/April 20111

Newsmakers: AZRE Magazine May-June 2011

Newsmakers in Arizona Real Estate

Newsmakers in the commercial real estate industry are featured each issue. Here are the movers and shakers for May – June 2011:

Shelly Cramer joined GPE Commercial Advisors as associate vice president in sales and leasing, with an emphasis in dental and veterinary properties. Her past professional experience includes positions at CB Richard Ellis and Julien J. Studley.

Trisha Ramsey joined GPE Commercial Advisors as an associate in sales and leasing. Ramsey secured her broker’s license in 2010 after acquiring more than a decade of experience in B-to-B sales and procurement for the semiconductor and furniture industries.

Sundt Construction promoted Wayne Einbinder to vice president to spearhead the company’s new special projects division. The recently launched division will focus on large-scale projects ($100M or more) with external joint-venture partnerships. Einbinder will be responsible for the management, identification, pursuit and acquisition of special projects.

Mike Merk joined Grubb & Ellis as senior vice president, Office Group. Merk joins Grubb & Ellis from BAX Global Inc., where since 2002 he was director of real estate, responsible for the company’s 4.1 MSF North American office and industrial portfolio.

Justin Miller joined the Alter Group as vice president in the firm’s Scottsdale office. Miller’s focus will be on the planning, marketing and development of several Phoenix-area business parks.

Brian Woods was promoted to vice president-Retail Properties at Colliers International. Woods joined Colliers in 2003, and specializes in leasing regional power centers and represents national retail tenants throughout Arizona. Developers and landlords represented include Vestar Development, Nexus Development and Vertical Holdings.

Eight real estate professionals from the CB Richard Ellis Phoenix office are ranked among the company’s top 225 producers in North America. Tom Adelson, Brad Anderson, Tyler Anderson, Sean Cunningham, Jim Fijan, Rob Marsh, Jim Trobaugh and Bryan Taute are among the list of exceptional performers in 2010.

John Glassmoyer and Neil Glassmoyer joined Colliers International’s Scottsdale office as senior vice presidents specializing in investment sales. John has more than 30 years experience in sales, leasing and development of industrial, office and retail properties. Neil has more than 20 years experience as an institutional investment consultant.

Mark Seale joined the office division at Cassidy Turley BRE Commercial. Seale joins the company with more than 26 years of commercial real estate experience. Seale previously worked at Lee & Associates, where he was part of the firm’s Top Producing team in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Dan Pierce was named senior vice president at Kitchell. He joined Kitchell 30 years ago and has been involved with the construction of numerous hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout the Southwest.

Arizona’s Finest Lawyers honored five members of the firm of Jennings, Haug & Cunningham. Those honored include Bill Haug, Curtis Jennings, D. Kim Lough, Chad Schexnayder and Mark Barker. The five have more than a century of combined experience in various areas of commercial real estate law.

Berens, Kozub & Kloberdanz PLC has changed its name to Berens, Kozub, Kloberdanz & Blonstein PLC, adding 3-year member Marc Blonstein to the firm’s name. Berens, Kozub, Kloberdanz & Blonstein PLC is a boutique commercial and residential real estate and business law firm. It has been in business in the Valley since 2001.

Land Advisors Organization in Scottsdale added Ryan Semro, Bret Rinehart and Ben Heglie to its firm as land specialists. Semro, Rinehart and Heglie’s previous roles include stints with Grubb & Ellis, Hogan & Associates, and most recently as principals with Lee & Associates.

Rider Levett Bucknall promoted John Jozwick (general counsel) to senior vice president and Scott Macpherson (principal) to vice president. Jozwick also was elected to the Rider Levett Bucknall North American Board of Directors.

Bryan Taute was promoted to senior vice president and Greg Mayer and Scott German were promoted to vice president at CB Richard Ellis. Taute is involved in all aspects of the commercial office market, including landlord and tenant representation, investment and user building sales, land sales and ground-up development. Mayer specializes in the representation of institutional and private owners of commercial office buildings in Metro Phoenix. German represents corporate clients in site selection and lease negotiations in Metro Phoenix and the Southwest.

Joe Snell, president and CEO of Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities (TREO) was named co-chair of the Economic Development Committee of the Arizona-Mexico Commission.

Daniel Dobric joined Grubb & Ellis’ Office Group as senior vice president. He will team with Michael Myrick, vice president, Office Group, who joined the company in July. Dobric joins Grubb & Ellis with 29 years of commercial real estate experience. He previously spent five years with BRE Commercial as a senior vice president.

Valerie Kelly joined Kitchell as director of Client Services for the Healthcare Division. A 20-year veteran of the local construction and development community, Kelly most recently was with McCarthy Building Companies, where she led business development efforts for the Southwest region.

Colliers International promoted Cindy Cooke to executive vice president-multifamily investments. Cooke has 30 years experience specializing in multi-family investments and leads an investment team that consists of 12 Colliers professionals throughout the Western U.S.

Chris Gerow, senior vice president at NAI Horizon’s Phoenix office, was honored by NAI Global with its Council Appreciation Award.

AZRE Magazine May/June 2011