Latest DTZ research report paints rosy European outlook DTZ's latest research report, European Commercial Property Markets Overview 1999, released last month during the MIPIM conference in Cannes, France, yields a downright rosy 1998 and 1999 picture for 18 European property markets.

Specifically, DTZ cites prime offices and high street retail properties as the top performers of 1998. "In a year of economic uncertainty and volatility in financial markets, European property emerged as a particularly attractive asset class," says David Watt, director of DTZ International. "Investors were encouraged by a combination of factors including low interest rates, positive yield gaps and good rental growth prospects. The increase in cross-border investment seen in 1998 should be maintained through this year as the fundamentals driving this growth are unlikely to change significantly."

Unisys taps Healey & Baker, DTZ for property portfolio London-based Healey & Baker, an arm of Cushman & Wakefield, and DTZ Group, also of London, have been tapped by Unisys to handle the company's property portfolio in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The assignment is shared equally between H&B and DTZ. Unisys already has a portfolio of some 150 office and industrial buildings totaling 2.8 million sq. ft. across 24 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

The separate contracts cover a full range of services including acquisition, disposition, professional advice, project management and strategic planning. "We were seeking to develop a partnership with real estate organizations which had a strong centralized corporate real estate team, with good coverage across EMEA and which could demonstrate an ability to be innovative and creative in their approach," says Simon O'Reilly, Unisys' director of business operations.

NAI expands in Europe, opens Asian operation New America International (NAI) is expanding its European operations and just opened an office in Jakarta, Indonesia, to tap the recovering Asian markets. "The introduction of the Euro has created tremendous excitement in the European real estate markets because it has removed currency risk from the equation for investors," says David Perry, NAI's London-based vice president and European regional director.

NAI is extending membership to firms in Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Poland and several countries from the former Soviet Union, as well as the Russian nation itself. With its Jakarta office, NAI is recruiting member firms to handle clients' corporate needs and investment interests throughout Asia and the Pacific Rim.

CB Richard Ellis relocates Latin America/Carribean HQ to Miami CB Richard Ellis has just relocated its Latin American and Carribean headquarters operations to downtown Miami, Florida's First Union Financial Center. Francis Pons, chairman of CB Richard Ellis' Latin America and the Caribbean Headquarters, is now based in the Miami office and retains his position as president of the Iberian Peninsula for the firm.

Four service lines will eminate from the office - hotel and leisure; port properties; investment sales; and valuation and consulting, in addition to agency services.

A new $210 million renovation and expanison of a 1.3 million sq. ft. shopping center in San Juan, Puerto Rico's Hato Rey district is well underway, and will launch the first Macy's department store outside the United States. The project, known as Plaza Las Americas, will eventually expand to 1.9 million sq. ft. by mid-2000. The 225,000 sq. ft., three-level Macy's is expected to open next year.

San Juan-based Empresas Fonalledas is the owner and developer of Plaza Las Americas, which is the region's largest shopping center. Baltimore-based RTKL designed the renovation and expansion. San Juan-based Garcia + Joglar Associates is the associate architect for the project.

According to reports, the shopping center averages sales of $650 per sq. ft. The center also has the world's largest JCPenney, a four-level, 350,000 sq. ft. store that opened in April 1998. A Sears store there is also reported to be one of the top performers in the chain.