Faris Lee Investments launched Faris Lee Capital Markets Group in a move to broaden its transactional, financial and operational capabilities. The Capital Markets Group will provide a comprehensive and integrated spectrum of services, including investment sales, debt placement, structured finance, recapitalization and equity placement. It will arrange debt and equity for all property types nationwide, including retail, office, industrial, multifamily, self storage and construction projects. In addition, it will offer clients financial advisory services.

“Increasingly, the investments we see demand a broader level of expertise across the entire transaction. The increased complexity has encouraged us to further broaden our transactional, financial and operational capabilities so that we can continue to provide the financial acumen and services today’s national operators and high net worth individuals need to be successful,” Faris Lee Investments COO Rick Chichester said in a statement.

Richard Berlinghof, principal with Faris Lee and a 26-year financial industry executive, has been named managing partner of the Capital Markets Group. Berlinghof joined the firm in 2009. Prior to that, he was a director with Merrill Lynch, where he specialized in originations of fixed and floating rate commercial real estate loans.

Federal Realty Taps Duo for West Coast Expansion

Federal Realty Investment Trust appointed its Chief Investment Officer Jeffrey S. Berkes as president of Federal Realty West Coast. In his new position, Berkes will be responsible for overseeing the leasing, operations and redevelopment of the company’s 2.5-million-square-foot California portfolio, and will be charged with expanding that platform through acquisition and development. Berkes is based in Federal Realty’s San Jose, Calif. office and will report to company COO Dawn M. Becker in Rockville, Md.

In addition, Federal Realty hired Jeff Kreshek as vice president of West Coast leasing. In his new position, Kreshek will be directly responsible for the execution and oversight of all leasing efforts on the West Coast. He will also advise on acquisition opportunities in the region.

Berkes has been with Federal Realty for 13 years, most recently as executive vice president and chief investment officer. In that role, he oversaw the acquisition of more than $1 billion in properties in the company’s core markets and was actively involved in strategic planning and development.

“The appointment of my long time friend and colleague to this position reflects Federal Realty’s commitment to running our real estate as a local business,” Becker said in a statement. “From Escondido to Third Street Promenade to Santana Row and every place in between, this change puts us in the best position to create shareholder value both in the near and longer term.”

Prior to joining Federal Realty, Kreshek served as principal in charge of leasing with CIM Group. In the past, he was also responsible for leasing Federal Realty’s assets on Third Street Promenade through Federal’s partnership with CIM.

Steadfast, Crossroads Capital Form JV

Steadfast Cos. formed a joint venture partnership with Crossroads Capital Group LLC to help the firm facilitate the strategic expansion of its sales and distribution efforts for privately placed and publicly registered investment products. Crossroads Capital specializes in providing investment and advisory services for public, non-traded REITs and other alternative investments. The firm recently purchased a minority equity interest in Steadfast REIT Investments LLC.

As part of the deal, Greg Brakovich and Jamie Shepherdson, co-principals of Crossroads Capital Group, will join Steadfast Capital Market Group’s board of managers. Both Brakovich and Shepherdson have more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry.

“Our vision since launching the Capital Markets Group in 2009 has been to develop best-in-class, real-estate-based and alternative investment programs that allow investors to capitalize on opportunities given the current economic environment,” Steadfast Cos. CEO Rodney F. Emery said in a statement. “These gentlemen have been integral to the success of multiple wholesale distribution companies, and they will add to the bench strength of our capital markets executive management team.”

In addition, Steadfast has expanded its sales team to 12 territories and announced the appointment of Phil Meserve to president and CEO of its Capital Markets Group, while Angela Barber has been hired as senior vice president of national accounts. Over the course of his career, Meserve has worked for AXA, MetLife and Fidelity. Barbera was most recently vice president of national accounts with KBS Capital Markets Group.

Cole Appoints Marc Nemer as CEO

Cole Real Estate Investments appointed Marc Nemer as its CEO. Nemer already serves as the company president. In his role as CEO, Nemer will continue to manage and lead the Cole organization, including working with executive chairman Christopher Cole and the firm’s executive committee in establishing and executing the overall strategic direction for the firm.

Prior to joining Cole in 2006, Nemer worked as a business lawyer at Latham & Watkins LLC and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. He specialized in mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings and corporate governance.

“Cole’s mission is to be the leading investment management firm that provides institutional quality commercial real estate to individual investors,” said Christopher Cole in a statement. “The appointment of Marc as chief executive officer of the Cole organization is a formal recognition of his demonstrated leadership and operating capabilities and his contributions to the growth of this company in the financial services and real estate arenas now and in the future.”

GGP Appoints Chief Accounting Officer

General Growth Properties Inc. appointed James A. Thurston as chief accounting officer, effective June 21. Thurston will replace Ed Hoyt, who plans to retire after his 25-year career with the company and will help assist with the transaction. Thurston has 17 years of experience in accounting, budgeting, capital planning and financing.

JLL Appoints Horiuchi to Head Hawaii Management Practice

Jones Lang LaSalle appointed Kirk Horiuchi as senior vice president in its retail division. In his new position, Horiuchi will oversee the company’s leased and managed portfolio and will help grow Jones Lang LaSalle’s third party retail business in Hawaii. Horiuchi has more than 24 years of experience in real estate. Prior to joining Jones Lang LaSalle, he served as senior asset manager for the Kamehameha Schools.

Jones Lang LaSalle re-entered the Hawaii market in late 2010 as a result of its purchase of General Growth Properties’ third-party management business.

Boutique Oklahoma Firm Merges with CB Richard Ellis

Canopy Commercial | Auction, a boutique investment sales firm headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla. merged with CB Richard Ellis | Oklahoma. The new firm’s services will include specialized commercial real estate investment acquisitions and dispositions. CB Richard Ellis | Oklahoma, an affiliate office of CB Richard Ellis Inc., employs 123 professionals.

TJ Maxx, Planet Fitness Among Centro’s New Tenants

Centro Properties Group negotiated leases at its properties throughout the United States:

  • TJ Maxx signed a 24,035-square-foot lease at Lagniappe Village in New Iberia, La. Larry Rabin, of Corporate Realty Inc., represented TJ Maxx in the transaction. Mike Watson represented Centro in-house.
  • Planet Fitness signed a 21,936-square-foot lease at Midway Crossing in Elyria, Ohio. Drew Sulzer, of Reisenfeld & Co., represented Planet Fitness in the transaction. Martin Liles represented Centro in-house.
  • Sendik’s Food Market signed an expansion and relocation lease for 56,877 square feet at Mequon Pavilions in Mequon, Wis.

In addition, Centro signed smaller leases with Kool Smiles, Sport Clips, Ultimate Eyecare, GameStop, Killian’s Restaurant, Rent-a-Center, Yogurt Madness, SGS Paper Company, New Life Christian Fellowship, Bread Basket Deli, Weight Watchers, Da Vita Dialysis, J. Tomas Salon and Unlimited Wireless.

Regency Signs New Tenants at Pima Crossing

Regency Centers signed leases with three new tenants at Pima Crossing shopping center in Scottsdale, Ariz. BeStitched Needlepoint signed a 1,933-square-foot lease. Scottsdale Medical Supply agreed to take 1,070 square feet of space and Paddock Pools expanded to 17,140 square feet from approximately 9,100 square feet. The leases bring occupancy at the center to 96 percent.

In addition, TJ Maxx signed a lease with Regency Centers for a 25,000-square-foot store at Centerplace in Greeley, Co.

Coreland Brings Restaurants to California Properties

Coreland Cos. negotiated several quick service restaurant leases in Southern California. The leases totaled 7,300 square feet and have a collective value of more than $2.5 million.

  • Burger King signed a 10-year lease with The Muller Co. for a 3,300-square-foot space at McFadden Centre in Santa Ana. The lease is valued at $1.1 million. Matt Hammond, director of retail brokerage with Coreland, represented the landlord in the transaction.
  • Five Guys Burgers & Fries signed a 10-year lease with Carmentia Plaza LLC for a 2,500-square-foot space at Santa Fe Springs Plaza in Whittier. The lease is valued at approximately $1.045 million. John Romm, of Commercial West Inc., represented the tenant in the transaction. Matt Hammond and Ben Terry represented the landlord.
  • Waba Grill signed a five-year lease for a 1,500-square-foot space at Santa Fe Springs Plaza. The lease is valued at $405,000. Coreland represented the landlord in the transaction.

Mid-America Brings Retailers to Elston Plaza

Mid-America completed several new leases at Elston Plaza in Chicago:

  • Chipotle Mexican Grill signed a lease for 2,405 square feet of space. Adam Secher, of Baum Realty, represented the tenant in the transaction. Chipotle plans to open the new location in the third quarter of 2011.
  • Clearly Cares Dental signed a lease for 1,500 square feet. It will open in the summer of 2011. Steve Kardel, of Glenlake Capital Partners, represented Clearly Cares in the deal. Barb Kading and Jaime Platt, of Mid-America, served as in-house representatives for the landlord.

@properties Negotiates Five Leases for Westport Commons Landlord

@properties Commercial negotiated five leases totaling 21,500 square feet at Westport Commons in Chicago, Ill. The leases bring the center to 100 percent occupancy.

PlasmaCare signed a 10,000-square-foot lease for a plasma donation center.

In addition, Subway, Pathways in Education, Exclusive Wireless and Sports N’ Fashion signed renewal leases totaling 11,500 square feet.

Michael Rourke, of @properties Commercial, and Marisa Roussel, of CB Richard Ellis, represented the landlord, Westport Associates LP, in the transaction.

REI Takes Indianapolis Location

REI signed a lease for a 23,800-square-foot store at the Plaza at Castleton in Indianapolis, Ind. The retailer plans to open its doors next spring.

Yard House Restaurant Signs a Lease at The Town Center of Virginia Beach

The Yard House signed a lease for a 10,760-square-foot space at The Town Center of Virginia Beach in Virginia Beach, Va. The restaurant is scheduled to open in the fall of 2011. Erica Meekins and Gerald Divaris, of Divaris Real Estate Inc., represented the landlord in the transaction.

Other Notable News

Hawthorne Retail Partners signed deals with four new retailers at the Brennan Station shopping center in Raleigh, N.C. The tenants included Dollar Tree, Adore Boutique, Clothes Hound and MB Goldsmiths.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries and a new locally-owned and operated French-American bistro and patisserie concept signed leases totaling 5,500 square feet at Two MetroTech Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Forest City Enterprises Inc. owns the property.

NewMark Merrill Cos. hired Graham Allchorn as managing director and principal of NewMark Merrill Development Partners. In his new position, Allchorn will help expand the company’s ability to pursue ground-up development deals. Previously, Allchorn co-founded GRAE Ventures, a real estate development and acquisition firm.

Transwestern hired Vineet Sahgal as executive vice president and managing director of the tenant advisory services group. Sahgal will be based in the firm’s Chicago office and will represent major clients, and help develop and guide national business generation activities for the Midwest region. Prior to joining Transwestern, he worked as executive vice president and director of business development with Grubb & Ellis.

Robert K. Futterman & Associates hired Marty Arrivo as senior managing director in its Miami office. In his new position, Arrivo will be responsible for tenant and landlord representation. He has 8 years of experience in commercial real estate. Previously, he served as a leasing representative with Kite Realty Group Trust.

Firestone, Brehm, Hanson & Wolf LLP hired Andrew Wecker as a real estate, business and general practice attorney. Previously, Wecker worked as an in-house counsel with a real estate capital management firm, as well as in the commercial division of a large title agency.

Voit Real Estate Services hired Zac Zaher as runner with its Las Vegas brokerage team. In his new position, Zaher will focus on the leasing and sales of industrial, office and land properties in the greater Las Vegas area. He holds a B.S. in business administration from the University of Arizona.