Merger keeps Transwestern on impressive growth path Continuing its transformation from a regional management services company to a national, full-service commercial real estate firm, Transwestern Property Co. of Dallas has signed a merger agreement with Carey Winston Co., the largest independent commercial real estate firm in the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore area. Terms for the transaction, announced May 19, were not disclosed.

The merger effectively will double the size of Transwestern. The newly created company has 24 offices, 1,100 employees and a total management portfolio of 60 million sq. ft. worth about $5 billion. The merger also lengthens Transwestern's national reach by giving it a major presence in the Mid-Atlantic region, where the company will operate as Transwestern*Carey Winston. When National Real Estate Investor profiled Transwestern last year, Chairman Robert said the company's goal was to be fully national by Jan. 1, 2000.

Merging with Carey Winston allows Transwestern to continue its growth strategy, which it started in 1994 with the goal of creating a national, full-service commercial real estate firm. "This merger of excellence with Carey Winston is another significant step in our strategy to become the preeminent real estate value creator in America," says Jack Eimer, president and CEO of Transwestern. "In particular, due to Carey Winston's proven expertise, we now offer comprehensive commercial real estate services on a national scope as well as expanded capabilities in brokerage and corporate services - all of which have been significant business objectives for us."

At Carey Winston, President and CEO Tom Nordlinger says the merger allows his company to meet business objectives of its own.

"We have actively sought a strategic merger with a company that would gives us a national presence, complement our own service lines and match our dedicated client-oriented service philosophy," says Nordlinger, who will now serve as president of Transwestern's Mid-Atlantic Division. "Transwestern is a perfect fit for us, and we are proud to have the opportunity to become a member of a truly dynamic, growing organization."

Founded in 1942 by Carey Winston, the Carey Winston Co. began as a mortgage banking and property management firm in a two-room office in Washington. In 1967, the company merged with J.A. Weinberg Commercial Realtors in a transaction that marked the firm's entrance into commercial real estate. Eight years later, senior management acquired 80 percent of Carey Winston Co. and transformed it from a family-owned company to a multi-shareholder, employee-owned company. In 1984, senior management completed its purchase of stock owned by the founder's family.

Transwestern was founded in 1978 in Houston by Duncan, its current chairman. Duncan started the company to develop, operate and own investment-grade commercial properties. From 1978 to 1985, Transwestern constructed about 4 million sq. ft. in 37 projects. A national recession in the mid-1980s, along with lower oil prices and tax-law changes, forced Transwestern to endure an 18-month debt restructuring process. The company came out of that period with financial stability and ownership of 2 million sq. ft. of the properties it developed. In 1994, Transwestern started its growth strategy, which expanded its presence from five cities in Texas to 20 cities in 12 states.

Transwestern's growth won't end with the Carey Winston merger, which is subject to the approval of Carey Winston's stockholders. "We continue to seek dominant regional players as we build upon our national platform and realize our goal of serving institutional and corporate clients throughout the United States," says Shelby Pruett, Transwestern senior vice president for mergers and acquisitions. "Transwestern has a distinct advantage as a private company in today's marketplace in that we have the flexibility to invest our operating profits directly back into our clients and employees."

Expansion into the Southeast and Northeast is next on Transwestern's growth agenda, Pruett says.

Forget Security Capital; can you say "ProLogis?" In industrial real estate circles, Security Capital is one of the most-recognized names around. The real estate investment trust (REIT) is the largest global owner and operator of distribution facilities, with more than 116 million sq. ft. open or under development; its market capitalization is $4.8 billion. But something is changing. In late June, Security Capital Industrial Trust (SCI) will be known as ProLogis. (A spokeswoman at company headquarters in Denver says it's pronounced "Pro-la-jis").

So why would such a successful company change its name? Officially, Security Capital says its new name, to be voted on by shareholders June 30, will create stronger awareness of the company's customer-driven strategy and services as it continues its U.S. and worldwide expansion.

Security Capital Co-chairman and Chief Operating Officer K. Dane Brooksher provides this answer. "SCI needs a name that can transcend borders to more effec tively service customers on a global basis. We expect ProLogis to become an internationally recognizable name that conveys our distribution-services expertise around the world," he says "This shift to a more universal identity will be especially important as customers continue to search for ways to streamline and optimize their distribution functions in the highly competitive world markets."

When it starts operating under the ProLogis, the company also will adopt a new theme, "The Global Distribution Solution." The company owns and operates more than 1,000 facilities in 12 countries in North American and Europe. "We see the same opportunity to establish customer-driven distribution services and solutions that are currently not available in many global markets - much like what we accomplished in the United States, says Jeffrey H. Schwartz, Security Capital's managing director of international operations. The company currently is exploring opportunities in South America, Latin America and the Pacific Rim. But will potential clients there be able to say "ProLogis?"

NHL, Mentmore to build hockey rinks across U.S.A. Seeking to broaden the popularity of hockey, the National Hockey League has teamed with Family Ice Enterprises LLC, an affiliate of Mentmore Holdings Co., in a partnership that will build up to 100 NHL-themed ice and in-line hockey and entertainment centers. Under the agreement, Family Enterprises will have exclusive rights to develop NHL SKATE facilities, which will include two NHL-sized ice rinks with seating for 1,000 spectators; eight locker rooms with and NHL theme; and an NHL FANtasy zone featuring interactive activities such as slap-shot booths and video games, a food court and large retail store.

NHL SKATE facilities will be developed in areas that have a proven appetite for hockey. The concept has proven successful in Birch Run. Mich., where 250,000 people have visited the NHL SKATE center that opened in September 1997. New NHL SKATE centers are set to open this fall in Danbury, Conn.; Exeter, N.H.; and St. John, Ind.

More than 200 communities around the world have inquired about getting and NHL SKATE in their areas. "Branded as NHL SKATE, the rink development initiative with Family Enterprises is one of the most important long-term projects we as a league can undertake," says Steve Solomon, senior vice president and chief operating officer of the NHL. "Without question, the most fundamental tool we have to build the game of hockey is to provide the opportunity for people - young or old, boy or girl - to play the game recreationally or competitively."

Mentmore Vice Chairman William Remley says the country is ready for dozens of new hockey rinks, and the construction of more than 100 will help fill a void. "With only an estimated 2,200 ice rinks serving the entire United States of America, it is clear that there is a tremendous business opportunity to be realized in meeting the needs of a very under-served market where demand continues to severely outweigh supply," he says.

Areas with crowded rinks will be prime for development of NHL SKATE facilities. Developing NHL SKATE facilities also will benefit the sport, Solomon says. "This announcement sends a clear signal that the league, with ... Mentmore, is committed to expanding hockey's presence in local communities to engage the fans of today and build the fans of tomorrow," he says.

Corporate Office Properties gets its own Constellation The merger mania that's sweeping the real estate industry hit Maryland in May when Corporate Office Properties Trust of Philadelphia and Constellation Real Estate Group (CREG) of Columbia, Md., signed a definitive merger agreement. CREG will receive consideration valued at more than $200 million. The real estate owner and developer is part of Constellation Enterprises Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. (BGE). Under the agreement, BGE, through Constellation Enterprises, will become Corporate Office Properties' single largest investor, owning 41% of the common stock.

If the merger closes as expected in the third quarter, Corporate Office Properties will increase its portfolio by 59% to 4.3 million sq. ft. in 45 properties.

Draper and Kramer goes back to its own for leader At press time, Draper and Kramer Inc. of Chicago had told employees that President and CEO William Bennett has decided not to extend his contract for an additional year. He will leave the company on June 30.

Bennett, the first non-family member to lead the 105-year-old real estate firm and developer, will be replaced by Forrest Bailey, a grandson of Chairman Emeritus Ferd Kramer. "t's going to be fun,"Bailey says of his new job. He started at the family company almost 20 years ago, working full time while attending the University of Chicago.

In leaving, Draper and Kramer credited Bennett with helping the company stabilize relationships with two major clients/investors.

Where oh where is the best place to meet with the deal-makers, the movers and shakers inside commercial real estate these days, and preferably all in one convenient place? It just might be the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties' (NAIOP) Annual Marketplace Conference this fall in Atlanta, October 21-23 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.

Specifically, we're talking about a new concept to be launched this year for the first time called "Deal City." The idea is to give attendees a unique opportunity to network with and learn more about what various types of deal-making firms are offering the industry in a one-stop shop over two full days.

A preliminary list of the companies already signed up for Deal City include:

* Patriot American

* Weeks Corp.

* Security Capital Industrial Trust

* Mack-Cali

* First Industrial Realty Trust

* Prudential Mortgage Capital

* Cousins Properties

* GMAC Commercial Mortgage

* Capital Lease Funding

* FINOVA Realty Capital

* ValueExpress

* Carter & Associates*Oncor

* Triad Properties

* The Quest Group

* Stiles Corp.

The concept provides for each Deal City participant to have a mini-Deal City Suite in one part of the Marketplace Conference that will be complete with offices, comfortable chairs and lounges where conference attendees can meet directly with prominent deal-makers in an environment that is conducive to doing deals - buying and selling properties, planning mergers and acquisitions, initiating financing, forming alliances or discovering new joint venture development opportunities.

Deal City will serve up wide-ranging fare to a variety of firms, including REITs, developers/owners, lenders, investors and brokers.

Space is limited to only 35 Deal City Suites. To find out more information about participating in this program, call Kathleen Turner at 800-666-6780, ext. 117. To find out more about the NAIOP Annual Conference Marketplace, call Jennifer Goodwin at 703-904-7100, ext. 108. You can also access the NAIOP home page on the Internet at www.naiop.org.

In the Top Property Manager survey that ran in NREI's March issue, the contact names for Grubb & Ellis Management Services, which ranked No. 10, should be presidents Maureen Ehrenberg, Jim Rosten and Phil Rogers.