Fort Worth to Become Second Location for Sandman Signature Hotel
810 Houston This project will add another full-service hotel to downtown Fort Worth’s growing lineup and support larger events.

FORT WORTH—One of downtown Fort Worth’s most iconic buildings is getting a new owner and a new purpose in the community while still preserving its historic charm. The W.T. Waggoner Building at 810 Houston St. is set to become the new Sandman Signature Hotel–the second hotel of its kind in the United States.

Sandman Signature is owned by Canada-based Northland Properties. This project will add another full-service hotel to downtown Fort Worth’s growing lineup, which will help support larger events at the city’s major event venues like the Fort Worth Convention Center. Furthermore, the move aligns with the city’s Economic Development Strategic Plan, which calls for accelerating downtown Fort Worth’s growth into one of the state’s premier mixed-use business districts.

Commercial Master
October 21, 2019 / by / in
Tech Provider VTS Acquires Retail Marketing Platform PropertyCapsule

NEW YORK CITY- VTS, a leasing and asset management platform, has acquired Property Capsule, an automation and software platform for retail landlords. The technology providers joined forces to capitalize on the rising demand for platforms that automate the marketing of retail assets.

PropertyCapsule assists landlords leasing and marketing professionals at landlord and brokerage organizations to manage and market retail assets. The acquisition will enable VTS to offer a leasing management product for retail landlords to attract clientele and reduce the time consuming process between developing a client pool to opening a store.

“VTS is investing heavily in the retail sector, and the combination of PropertyCapsule’s strong market traction and the deep experience of the team made this acquisition an obvious decision,” said Nick Romito, CEO of VTS, in a prepared statement.

Thomas Byrne, CEO of PropertyCapsule and former president and COO of LoopNet, will join the VTS team as General Manager of Retail Products and Data. He will oversee the strategic direction and delivery of VTS’ retail product offerings.

“Joining forces with VTS puts us in a position to accelerate growth and continue to deliver software that helps retail owners and brokers market and lease their centers to the changing demand in the market,” said Byrne in a prepared statement.

Commercial Master
October 18, 2019 / by / in
Marriott International Acquires The W New York in Union Square

NEW YORK CITY- Marriot International has acquired the W New York in Union Square hotel in Manhattan for $206 million.

The sale is one component of Marriott International’s extensive plan to rebrand the W portfolio across North America, which will begin with the renovation of the hotel to incorporate a contemporary design representative of the reinvigoration of the W brand in North America.

Located at the corner of 201 Park Avenue South, the 20-story hotel first opened its doors in 2000. Ornamented with the token “W Union Square” rooftop sign, the property first debuted in 1911 and till this day features historic Beaux-Arts architecture. The renovation plans for a new aesthetic while preserving the bones of the building, creating a spa and an expanded restaurant on stretching along the bustling street corners.

“There’s no better place than New York City to reveal to the world the future of our W Hotels brand,” said Arne Sorenson, president and CEO, Marriott International, in a prepared statement. “When W was launched as a single hotel in New York 21 years ago with ground-breaking design and a bold approach to nightlife, it pushed the boundaries of how people thought about a hotel. Given how much travelers crave these types of experiences today […] we see limitless potential for the W brand.”

Marriott International’s asset-light strategy will only allow for a shot-term hold of the W New York in Union Square, who will sell the property post-renovation, subject to a long-term management agreement.

As of June, Marriott International had 56 open W hotels in 26 countries and territories, with another 32 signed W hotel projects in the pipeline, including a brand debut in eight countries.

W owners have already committed to $200 million worth of renovations on properties across the U.S. and Canada, such as the recent top-to-bottom renovation of W Washington D.C. as part of its North America rebrand plan. The W hotels also include the recent opening of W Aspen – the brand’s first alpine destination in the United States, and the 2020 debuts of W hotels in Philadelphia and Toronto.

Commercial Master
October 18, 2019 / by / in
Addition of Ross Adds to Draw of Addison Town Center
Ross Dress for Less Ross joins a tenant mix that includes Kroger Signature, Target, PetSmart and Crunch Fitness.

DALLAS—Representing a new metro location for Ross Dress for Less, the discount retailer recently leased 21,088 square feet of retail space at Addison Town Center, a regional-draw retail center located at 3740-3850 Belt Line Rd. at Marsh Lane. The new Ross Dress for Less opened last weekend.

At Addison Town Center, Ross joins a tenant mix that includes Kroger Signature, Target, PetSmart, Crunch Fitness, Dollar Tree, GNC, Great Clips, Sally Beauty, Rainbow Apparel and several others. Bernard Shaw with Weitzman handled negotiations as asset manager for the center.

“The addition of this incredible retail concept adds to the draw of Addison Town Center and its mix of strong anchors, shops and restaurants,” Shaw tells “There was a lot of buzz about Ross coming to Addison Town Center, and the grand opening this weekend was extremely successful, generating a lot of traffic in the shopping center, with a full parking lot, a full store and long lines. We are extremely happy Ross has joined our tenant line-up and look forward to them continuing to be complementary to the shopping experience here.”

Addison Town Center, in addition to the draw of its tenant mix, benefits from an accessible, visible location at the key intersection of Marsh and Belt Line, and a dense population of more than 155,000 people within a three-mile radius, Shaw adds.

For 2020 and beyond, several major projects are in the works, but Weitzman expects most of these centers to roll out in phases, which will ensure strong occupancy and keep overbuilding in check. The DFW retail market activity, especially retail leasing demand and store growth, is boosted by the metro area’s economy, which ranks as one of the strongest in the US in terms of population and job growth.

Ross is an off-price apparel and home fashion chain in the United States with a focus on bringing customers a consistent supply of notable brands at measurable savings.

Commercial Master
October 18, 2019 / by / in
NorthMarq Secures $51.8 Million Refinancing for Brooklyn Mixed-Used Property
237 Duffield St.

NEW YORK CITY- NorthMarq, a commercial real estate lender, has secured a $51.8 million Freddie Mac loan to refinance the BRiX, a 21-story, Class-A mixed-use property at 237 Duffield St. in Brooklyn.

Completed this Fall, the 110-unit property has 10,600 square feet of commercial space leased to Lightbridge Academy, which occupies the ground and lower levels for a daycare and learning facility.

NorthMarq financed the loan under Freddie Mac’s Lease-Up Loan Program, which continues to build upon its existing relationship with the lender.

The BRiX is located in downtown Brooklyn with walking distance to the Hoyt Street Subway station and shopping areas on Fulton Street.

“Ownership developed the BRiX with a very high level of finishes that the market has found to be very desirable,” said Robert Delitsky, managing director of NorthMarq’s New York City office, in a prepared statement. “Lease up has been very strong since the property opened last fall. Freddie Mac did an outstanding job understanding the dynamics of the marketplace.”

Commercial Master
October 18, 2019 / by / in
Slate Property Sells Dual-Anchored Retail Center in Philly Suburb
Country Line Plaza, Souderton, PA Country Line Plaza, Souderton, PA

SOUDERTON, PA—New York City-based Slate Property Group has sold the nearly 75,000-square-foot Country Line Plaza in the Philadelphia suburb of Souderton.

JLL marketed and brokered the transaction for the property that is anchored by Big Lots and a new The Edge Fitness Club. The retail center was acquired by an unnamed private investor. No financial details of the transaction were disclosed.

The 90.3% leased center is also home to Integrated Medical Care, Pho Palace, Akira Sushi and DT Nails & Spa. Situated on 7.67 acres at 15501 Bustleton Ave., the property is visible to approximately 40,000 vehicles a day from frontage along Bustleton Avenue and County Line Road.

The JLL Capital Markets team representing Slate Property Group was led by managing directors Chris Munley and Jim Galbally and SVP Colin Behr.

The deal for the property shows that demand remains high for infill, high barrier-to-entry retail real estate within the Philadelphia Metro, JLL’s Munley says.

County Line Plaza is 20 miles from Center City Philadelphia within an infill area that is being revitalized by the Far Northeast District plan. More than 94,700 residents earning an average annual household income of $88,839 live within a three-mile radius of the property.

Commercial Master
October 17, 2019 / by / in
Where Are All The Retail-to-Industrial Conversions?
Photo by Shutterstock.

CHICAGO—A Sam’s Club warehouse store in the Chicago submarket of Matteson shuttered a year or so ago when Wal-Mart pruned its locations of this brand. But the facility is still active—it now operates as an e-commerce fulfillment center for the retailer.

This facility’s second life is part of what has been hyped to be a wave of retail-to-industrial conversions that would save some of the struggling class B and class C retail malls.

In reality, though, these projects have been scarce for various reasons. A data point by Cushman & Wakefield shows that retail-to-industrial conversions makeup less than one-tenth of one percent (0.073%) of the total industrial inventory. Of the success stories that do exist, such as the Sam’s Club in Chicago, they tend to be the simpler cases such as a big box transformation into a warehouse, as opposed to a two-story retail mall.

There are a range of reasons why retail-to-industrial conversions remain so nascent, Tray Anderson, C&W’s logistics and industrial lead for the Americas, tells

These include the difficulty in gaining community acceptance, the location of these projects, which tend to be close to densely populated areas, go-dark prohibitions and building design.

Of these, gaining community buy-in is probably the hardest challenge to overcome, Anderson says, especially if the retail center or property has only been vacant for a short period of time. “A community will likely want to keep the retail presence. It will have a hard time believing that it cannot come back or recover.”

Or if the community does accept that retail is no longer a good fit for a location, it will likely prefer some type of mixed-use project, especially if it is an urban infill project, he says. Industrial is usually last on a community’s wish list of projects.

Because there are so few actual case studies on these types of projects, Anderson adds, it is hard to quantify what works and what doesn’t for community buy-in. For example, it is hard to pinpoint when exactly will a community accept that a retailer or retail mall is not coming back. Is that number 10 years? Five? Eighteen months?

What We Do Know

There are, however, some retail-to-industrial conversion projects underway and even though they are few in number they do offer some anecdotal evidence in they might make traction in the future. A report earlier this year from CBRE looked at 24 retail-to-industrial conversion projects across the US.

It found various types of retail-to-warehouse conversions, including demolition of obsolete malls to be rebuilt as warehouses in Baltimore, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and several markets in Ohio. Other retail structures were left standing and repurposed for industrial uses, including a former Toys ‘R’ Us in Milwaukee now occupied by a business that remanufactures transmissions, and Sam’s Club’s conversions of several of its stores to distribution centers.

CBRE acknowledged that these projects are a challenge and that community buy-in is a particular concern. But there are some commonalities among the successful projects that are worth examining.

Among these are location—are they sitting at a busy intersection or highway interchange? Another advantage: Site access. Standalone big-box stores, in particular, offer backend docks and easy access for trucks. They also have the high ceilings needed for distribution uses.

“These types of conversions were once unthinkable, and now they’re not only happening, they’re gaining traction,” said Adam Mullen, Americas leader of CBRE’s industrial and logistics business, in prepared remarks when the report was issued.

Commercial Master
October 17, 2019 / by / in
Related Hudson Yards Hails Simple Tech to Meet Ever-Changing Consumer Demand

NEW YORK CITY- Hudson Yards in Manhattan’s West Chelsea neighborhood is considered not only one of the largest and newest commercial developments to come online in recent years, but an innovative and tech-driven hub for real estate developers to watch for years to come. Attaining its holy grail status of tech began with the build-out of a simple foundation that’d allow easy pairing of different tech solutions for changing consumer needs, according to a CREtech New York 2019 panel called “An In-depth Look at the Tech Behind the Largest New Urban Development in the World.”

At the start of any development, making sure there is a good technology base plan is key. In tech, a foundation is referred to as Layer 1, consisting of different networking hardware and transmission technologies, according to Kenneth Finnegan, CTO and managing director of technology for Related Hudson Yards.

The simpler the base foundation, the easier to layer technology on top that keeps pace with changing trends, Finnegan said. “We always have to think 2 to 3 years down the road because change is happening so fast,” he added. “Even if the technology isn’t designed yet and you don’t know what the structure will be, we’re building it as adaptable.”

Hudson Yards weighed technology heavily for its retail offerings to compete for visitors with other New York City attractions and to establish the site as a live-work-play environment.

Related built a digital ecosystem that includes interactive kiosks, Wi-Fi, and digital signage for engagement, data collection, and to provide the kitchen sink of offerings. Market research exploring 106 possible end-user experiences at Hudson Yards birthed the idea for the digital ecosystem, which is made up of 39 core systems. “We have to move in the direction of what consumers are asking us to do,” said panelist Scott Evans, chief digital officer, Related Hudson Yards. “It’s not about becoming data lead but consumer lead.”

Commercial Master
October 17, 2019 / by / in
Beverly Hills Investment Firm Acquires Miami Beach Hotel
The 71-key Alden Hotel Miami Beach The 71-key Alden Hotel Miami Beach

MIAMI—Hawkins Way Capital has acquired the 71-key Alden Hotel Miami Beach for $21.3 million.

The property at 225 Indian Creek in the heart of Mid-Miami Beach was sold by SMS Lodging, which is owned and managed by the Arnoldsson family, and R^2 Companies.

Hawkins Way Capital was represented by CBRE in the transaction. JLL Hotels & Hospitality managing director Gregory Rumpel, EVP Andrew Dickey and VP Maciej Polek advised the seller, while SVP Paul Wimer, First VP Natalie Castillo, and associate Joshua Beene advised Beverly Hills-based Hawkins Way Capital on the transaction. JLL and CBRE worked collaboratively together in the direct off-market transaction.

SMS Lodging acquired the condo-hotel through the acquisition of bulk units and individual units and ultimately converted the building to a hotel. The hotel features an historic façade, large outdoor patio and a swimming pool with a sundeck.

The property is located three blocks from the beach and within walking distance to some of Miami’s top entertainment venues.

Commercial Master
October 17, 2019 / by / in
Encore Boston Harbor President Steps Down
Brian Gullbrants, the new president of Encore Boston Harbor Brian Gullbrants, the new president of Encore Boston Harbor

BOSTON—Wynn Resorts reports that Robert DeSalvio, who has served as president of Encore Boston Harbor for five years, is stepping down and is being replaced by Brian Gullbrants, who has most recently led all hotel and food and beverage operations at the luxury casino resort on the Mystic River here.

The $2.6-billion, 3 million-square-foot casino resort opened for business in late June.

“Bob DeSalvio’s ability to partner with community leaders and elected officials, assemble a world-class team and lead them to produce and launch a project of the highest quality is remarkable. His unique talent to both manage a complicated construction process while listening to the needs of key stakeholders was essential to our success,” says Matt Maddox, CEO of Wynn Resorts. “Bob leaves Encore with a hand-selected team prepared to take on the challenges ahead. I salute him for his commitment to the project and, most importantly, his dedication to his team.”

Wynn Resorts also announced that it had named Jenny Holaday as EVP of operations, and Eric Kraus as SVP of communications and public affairs for Encore Boston Harbor, which features a 210,000-square-foot casino, 671 hotel rooms, a spa, specialty retail, 15 dining and lounge venues, and more than 50,000 square feet of ballroom and meeting spaces.

Gullbrants has worked alongside DeSalvio since the pre-opening phase of the casino resort. He has experience as a leader at some of the top ranked hotels globally. He led the opening of the hotel at Encore Las Vegas in 2008; his role expanded to oversight of both Wynn Las Vegas and Encore hotels in 2011 as EVP and general manager. Previous to his work with Wynn Resorts, Gullbrants spent 20 years with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company where he held various operational, general management and corporate executive positions. As VP of operations, Gullbrants was responsible for overseeing all operational disciplines for The Ritz-Carlton Company worldwide.

Holaday is a senior casino operations and marketing executive with extensive experience in multiple markets. She served as the senior marketing officer for all Caesars Entertainment casinos in Atlantic City, NJ having previously held corporate leadership positions in strategic marketing and promotions at Caesars Entertainment. She served as the SVP of marketing and later SVP of Operations at MotorCity Casino Hotel in Detroit where she led the gaming, hotel, food and beverage, marketing and entertainment areas.

A Boston native, Kraus has extensive experience in both public service and business. In Boston, he led global corporate communications and public affairs for The Gillette Company, and was active in the merger of P&G and Gillette. He also led global communications and public affairs for Covidien, formerly Tyco Healthcare, as well as Bacardi, Limited. He was EVP of Clean Harbors, Inc., in Norwell, MA, and is the past chairman and a former selectman for the Town of Walpole, MA.

Commercial Master
October 16, 2019 / by / in