Finn launches new name for New America New America Network has changed its name to New America International (NAI), a move that better reflects the organization's increased global capabilities as it expands its commercial real estate reach into Europe, the Pacific Rim, Latin America and Canada.

"New America International is well-positioned to enhance its member firms' abilities to do business in worldwide markets, vastly expanding their offshore presence and influence," says Jeffrey Finn, NAI's president and COO. "In an age where cross border real estate transactions are becoming quite commonplace, and working with multinational companies, foreign investors and offshore institutions is 'de rigueur,' we are well-prepared to meet global real estate challenges as we complete the '90s and near the new Millennium."

The move comes at a time when traditional commercial real estate "networks" such New America International, Oncor International, The Commercial Network, Chain Links and others, are both attempting to redefine their mission and also competing with growing mega-firms such as Insignia, which took over New York's Edward S. Gordon and Chicago's Frain Camins & Swartchild and canceled their Oncor affiliations.

New America International intends to build regional networks throughout the world linking together leading firms much like it has already done in the United States and Canada. "We believe the dynamics of our international activities will fuel business opportunities within each of our five primary regions, as well as link these regional operations into a powerful global network," says Finn. "Nowadays it's incumbent upon all categories of real estate professionals, from investors to brokers, and managers to entrepreneurs, to avail themselves of global networking capabilities."

New America International is based in Hightstown, N.J., and is a global partnership of real estate service providers comprised of more than 150 member firms serving more than 200 markets throughout the world.

Torto Wheaton Research forecasts tightening market Spikes in rental rates, a continued tightening of the market and decreasing vacancy rates -- these predictions, along with the emergence of new types of nontraditional property developers, are some of the market changes forecasted by Torto Wheaton Research, Boston, the research arm of Los Angeles-based CB Commercial Real Estate Group Inc. These predictions were unveiled at a seminar, From Here to the Millennium: How to Profit in Commercial Real Estate, which was held in Chicago.

An increase in rental rates is already occurring for commercial and industrial space across the country, and it will "peak by 1999 before leveling off," said economist William C. Wheaton, who presented the findings with his partner, Raymond G. Torto, and several other financial specialists.

In big cities, rental rates are already rising, said Torto. "While the percentage increase in major cities such as New York, Chicago, Washington and Boston may be behind rental spikes in such Western cities as Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and Austin, Texas, it's catching up quickly," Torto said. "We anticipate rent increases that will surge past the all-time high through the end of the year."

According to Torto Wheaton's forecasts, the changes in the market are occurring as supply attempts to catch up to demand. And despite some new development, Torto Wheaton doesn't predict supply catching up to demand before the year 2000.

As a result of the shortage of space, the two men said that the industry will begin to see a change in companies' use of space, from companies allocating less square footage per employee to them showing a new willingness to move from traditional headquarter cities to suburban or mid-sized markets. In another corporate trend being reported, companies might retain a headquarters presence in high-rent cities like New York or Chicago, but they may have a back-office operations in a suburb.

Further complicating the supply/demand problem the industry is facing, developers are showing a hesitancy to start new construction. In major metropolitan cities, this is particularly true since economic incentives and other concessions are necessary to make new projects feasible for developers, Wheaton said.

Financing by traditional sources has never been more difficult to find, Wheaton said. But a growing interest by nontraditional financiers, such as real estate investment trusts (REITs), may fuel new construction. Torto and Wheaton predict that REITs will evolve into a new role as developers of office towers, hotels and apartment buildings.

Golf's newest home rises in North Florida An ambitious new master-planned resort is rising near St. Augustine, Fla., as the future home of the World Golf Hall of Fame and museum. Called World Golf Village, this 240-acre project is part of the 6,300-acre Saint Johns County planned community. When completed next year, it will include the 75,000 sq. ft. Hall of Fame building, a 300-room hotel and convention center by John Q. Hammons Hotels, 80,000 sq. ft. of stores, galleries, restaurants and boutiques, a family care facility providing sports medicine and rehabilitation services run by the Mayo Clinic, the full-service World Golf Village Spa, shops and retail space, a 300-seat IMAX theater, vacation and corporate villas and three golf courses.

The Hall of Fame will include more than 70 exhibits combining historic artifacts with interactive technology.

Shell Oil Co. has signed a 20-year agreement as a founding partner of the World Golf Foundation, where it will provide financial support and play a lead role.

World Golf Village is located eight miles northwest of St. Augustine along Interstate-95. For more information about the development, contact the World Golf Village at 100 TPC Boulevard, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. 32082 (904) 273-3350.

Reckson REIT breaks out of the box with ventures In one of the more interesting moves made a REIT lately, Melville, N.Y.-based Reckson Associates Realty Corp. recently formed Reckson Opportunity Partners L.P. (ROPartners) and Reckson Strategic Inc. (Reckson Strategic) to take advantage of new opportunities in the nation's real estate markets. At the same time, it is bringing in some high-powered executives who know a thing or two about deal making. The general partner of ROPartners is owned by Martin J. Rabinowitz, Jon Halpern and Reckson Strategic. Rabinowitz and Halpern will manage the day-to-day operations of ROPartners. Rabinowitz was formerly a general partner and head of real estate at Odyssey Partners L.P., a $3 billion hedge fund.

"The establishment of Reckson Strategic Inc. and Reckson Opportunity Partners L.P. will provide Reckson with a flexible platform from which to source additional investment opportunities that focus on the value creation potential of experienced entrepreneurial management teams," says Scott Rechler, president and COO of Reckson Associates.

In one of its first moves, ROPartners recently acquired a 76% stake in American Campus Lifestyles Cos. LLC, a leading student-housing firm based in Austin, Texas.

Reckson also announced that it is expanding its board by two slots to include Lewis Ranieri and Jon Halpern. Ranieri is best known as the former vice chairman of Salomon Brothers in New York, is a founder of Hyperion Partners L.P. and is chairman of Bank United Corp. in Houston. Halpern will resign his post as executive vice president of Reckson to assume positions on Reckson's board and executive committee and as a managing member of the general partner of ROPartners.

Reckson Associates' core growth strategy has focused on suburban markets within a 50-mile radius of New York City.

NAIOP conference spotlights technology and capital Having both the technological know-how and the necessary capital to perform whatever tasks required is critical to the success of any office and industrial professional. And to make these things a little more accessible to the industry, the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties is focusing in on both topics in its Technology Park and Capital Connection sessions of this year's annual conference and marketplace, to be held in Oct. 15-18 in San Francisco and co-sponsored by National Real Estate Investor.

No one can deny the importance of technology to today's commercial real estate business so, in order to better prepare those in the industry, NAIOP is devoting a great deal of effort to its Technology Park, an ongoing session where conference attendees may drop in to get hands-on training in the latest technology.

"I'm very impressed with NAIOP's focus on technology," says Peter Pike, president of PikeNet. "I think there are not many organizations that are devoting the resources to presenting the kind of programs that NAIOP is having."

Included in some of NAIOP's programs are Pike's two-part session Technology for Business Development, as well as two sessions being instructed by David Hartness, president of the Stellar Group, Internet Tools & Resources and Leasing Through Technology, and three sessions being led by Gregg and Scott Tate of CompuTate Inc., Webb-Buzz-Words.com, Office & Industrial Property Management Resources on the Net and Internet at the Office.

"The Internet, when you strip everything away, is not really about technology; it's about connecting people with people and people with information," says Pike, whose two-part session will discuss resources and marketing in part one and communicating with customers -- including topics like personal information managers, e-mail "netiquette", mailing lists, newsgroups and video conferencing -- in the second part.

However, for those not quite comfortable with technological terminology, NAIOP has asked Gregg and Scott Tate to educate attendees on the topic. "There is far too much 'techno-babble' related to the Internet and the World Wide Web," says Gregg Tate, speaking of his session Webb-Buzz-Words.com. "We will explain terms such as 'browser' and 'search engine' clearly and plainly, and show attendees that no one is unknowledgeable or a beginner. Everyone is just an 'expert-in-training.'"

And in Hartness' two sessions, attendees will learn about tools and resources and the practical uses of them. "The two sessions complement each other in that the Leasing Through Technology is an actual case study of a leasing transaction utilizing the tools and resources discussed in the first seminar, Internet Tools and Resources," Hartness says.

But all the technology in the world can't help a company if it doesn't have the capital it needs to perform its duties. Therefore, NAIOP is also bringing back another hit at last year's conference, Capital Connection. Capital Connection is a session that allows attendees to meet face-to-face with real estate's most active lenders, investors and financial advisors.

The program will begin with the 12 financial participants presenting a brief overview of their companies. Afterwards, the group will break up into roundtables where attendees can move from table to table to discuss their options.

"I think we've got a cross section of a wide variety of sources of capital, including principal lenders, conduits, mortgage banks, mortgage brokers, and that's unusual to provide the opportunity to the general membership to see where their requirement for source of capital can best be met," says Martin Kamm, senior real estate officer at Northwestern Mutual Life Real Estate. "As a developer, the opportunity to meet with this broad spectrum of capital sources at one place at one time within a short period of time and talk with each of them individually about the users' requirements, the wealth of information and the diversity of information will be unparalleled."

And with all the changes taking place in such a strong real estate market, the Capital Connection program will also help attendees understand what their options are and what is best for their needs.

"The market is flush with capital, and what's interesting now is that all of the different sources of capital are trying to find ways to differentiate themselves, so they're coming up with new products to solve unique problems," says Paul Boneham, executive vice president at Heitman Equity Group. "I think very few people really have a good grasp on all the different varieties of lending options that are available and by sitting through this Capital Connection, just hearing the 12 presentations in an hour, I'm going to come away gaining a whole new understanding of how capital, particularly debt, has been segmented to meet specific needs."

Correction: In the July Hotel Management Co. directory, Starwood Lodging Corp. was incorrectly listed as owning 20,488 units. In fact, under the company's paired-share arrangement, Starwood Lodging Trust owns 20,488 units.

Correction: In the July Property Management Survey, the figures reported for Trammell Crow Co. did not include the square footage that encompasses its facilities management business. The correct figures are: Office Buildings -- 105 million sq. ft.; Industrial -- 135 million sq. ft.; Retail -- 38 million sq. ft. This creates a total of 278 million sq. ft. for the firm.

Chase Commercial Mortgage Securities Corp. recently closed a $533 million CMBS offering backed by a portfolio of multifamily, retail, office, hotel, industrial and mobile home community mortgages. Of the total mortgages, 57% were originated or acquired by The Chase Manhattan Bank, 33% were originated by Bear, Stearns Funding Inc. and 10% were originated or acquired by Paine Webber Real Estate Securities Inc.

Julien J. Studley has opened an Atlanta branch office of its national brokerage firm. Five local senior brokers will lead the office, including Ed and Mark Kercher, Andy Lechter, Frank Quatro and Bert Sanders.