RiverRock Real Estate Group promoted Steve Core to president of the West Coast-based commercial real estate management and leasing firm. 

Core will oversee the firm's 80-member team and all business lines, which include property/asset management, construction management/engineering and technical services, receiverships, property accounting, financial management and due diligence. The firm manages 22 million sq. ft. of office, industrial and retail real estate.

Prior to his promotion, Core served as COO for RiverRock and specialized in growing the firm's property management, construction management and leasing business. Previously, he was director of property management at CBRE Group Inc. (formerly Insignia/ESG), where he was responsible for overseeing property management operations of a 7-million-sq.-ft. office, industrial and retail portfolio in the Orange County and San Diego regions.

NREI talked to Core about trends in new construction, what's exciting in retail and what companies are doing now that wasn't possible two years ago. An edited version of that interview follows.

NREI: Let’s talk about new construction. In a lot of sectors and in a lot of areas this has been on hold due to the economy. Do you see things picking up? 

Steve Core: We do see some pickup in construction depending on the area. For instance, in Orange County we are seeing industrial construction coming back; in the Inland Empire there is a good chunk of industrial under way where slabs are being poured and it’s already 75 percent pre-leased. That signifies a nice turnaround when industrial starts to pick up.

NREI: Is industrial a kind of bellwether for other sectors?

Steve Core: I think so. When you start seeing industrial coming on, you see positive things happening; when industrial needs more space and more businesses are coming into the area or starting up, that’s a good sign. It’s a sign of growth that has not happened in the past five years.

It isn’t just people relocating, it’s new uses and expansions of existing users. It’s definitely favorable. In San Francisco, we see new construction all around. We see a lot of activity here between acquisition redevelopment and even multifamily.

NREI: Looking at office, retail or industrial, what is one trend that really excites you in this sector? Why? 

Steve Core: What I do like and what is evident in retail now is that in reviewing our portfolio and looking at say percentage sales reported, they are up and they are stronger than they have been in five years. We are definitely showing major improvement and that is pretty exciting. We are also seeing an uptick in leasing across the board in all product lines. We are not seeing a lot of rent growth now, but the fact that our long-term vacancies have been leased up over the past six to nine months is a very positive sign.

NREI: In terms of property management, what are clients asking for now that they were not asking for, say, five years ago? 

Steve Core: On top of constantly just looking for us to push expenses down we are getting more involved in leasing than we ever have. They are coming to ask us to review leases and be a part of those negotiations upfront. The push is also out there to make sure that we are acquiring all the rebates that are possible from capital improvements. They are looking to us to maximize their investment.

I think the other thing that is exciting to me is the fact that capital is definitely loosening up. We had a run for years where we were asked to maintain and extend the life of equipment or property, to put off large capital projects that were not absolutely necessary. Now we are seeing the capital loosen up so people are doing more capital infusions. We are currently doing a lobby renovation in excess of $1.3 million in one building right now.

NREI: I don’t think you would have done that two years ago.

Steve Core: Two years ago we would have had to repair the carpet. Today the owners are willing to take a hard look and see what makes them competitive. That goes hand in hand with the positive numbers we’ve seen in leasing. 

Fimiani Development Names Two VPs of Leasing

Fimiani Development named Lindsey Alexander and Meredith Housman as vice presidents of leasing.

Alexander and Housman will work with Simon Property Co., Kite Realty Group, Kimco and Office Depot, and will focus on landlord representation as well as tenant representation for existing clients.

Previously, Alexander was with Woolbright Development, where she managed the Florida West Coast and Boca Raton teams that leased more than 250,000 sq. ft. in a 12-month period. Housman was most recently regional leasing director with Equity One, responsible for a large portfolio of properties in South Florida.

Oak Grove Capital Welcomes VP

Oak Grove Capitalhired Ryan Cahalan to the St. Paul-based mortgage lender as a vice president.

Cahalan will focus on new loan originations and will expand Oak Grove’s presence in the Chicago market and throughout the Midwest. He will also assist senior management in evaluating alternative investment opportunities for the firm.

Cahalan spent four years in loan originations between Holiday Fenoglio Fowler and PPM America, where he played a critical role in the origination of over $1 billion in loans.

Peakstone Launches Real Estate Investment Banking Practice

The Peakstone Grouphas created a new real estate investment banking practice and picked David R. Brown to lead the new venture as managing director.

Over his 27-year professional real estate career, Brown has been in a leadership position with some of the world’s top real estate companies, including Lehman Brothers, Jones Lang LaSalle, Jones Lang Wootton and ORIX Real Estate Capital, where he was president and CEO. Brown is also president of Harrington Brown LLC, a commercial real estate investment and services firm that advises clients nationwide on asset management, property management, leasing and brokerage, while also pursuing principal investment and development opportunities.

Higgins Joins Charles Dunn as Managing Director

Charles Dunn Co.named Rich Higgins managing director.

He will work out of the firm’s West Los Angeles office and will focus on the South Bay office market. Higgins began his career in 1982 and has served in a variety of positions. He comes to Charles Dunn from United Agencies Inc. where he served as senior vice president and focused on insurance sales for commercial real estate companies.

Ferguson Partners Hires Managing Director

Ferguson Partners LTDnamed David Thalhamer as a managing director based in the company’s New York office. 

Thalhamer will focus on developing and serving clients in real estate development and operating businesses. He comes to Ferguson from Heidrick & Struggles, where he served clients within the firm’s real estate practice.

Studley Promotes Pro

Studleypromoted Kyle R. Miller to corporate managing director.

Miller joined Studley national retail services group as a managing director of its investment sales division. Based in the firm’s downtown Los Angeles office, Miller advises clients on the acquisition and disposition of retail properties including neighborhood, community, and power centers, as well as single-tenant investments. Since joining Studley in 2009, Miller has closed almost $500 million.

Appraisal Firms Merge to Create Valbridge

Forty-two appraisal firms across the U.S. are now operating as Valbridge Property Advisors.

The merger means that Valbridge has 145 professionals with the MAI designation, 59 office locations and 600 staff across the country. Valbridge Property Advisors is led by a board of directors and officers, including CEO/President Richard L. Armalavage

CBRE Buys Czech Co.

CBRE Group Inc.acquired IMPACT-CORTI, a firm specializing in property management in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

With 6 million sq. ft. under management across 140 assets and current annual revenue of approximately $10 million, IMPACT-CORTI is the leading property manager in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The company is particularly known for its expertise in the office sector but also has a portfolio of residential and industrial assets under management. IMPACT-CORTI also provides project management, investment, and leasing and consultancy expertise to its institutional and private-investor clients.

IMPACT-CORTI’s team of 160 professionals will join CBRE’s property and asset management practice in Europe.

HomeServices Acquires Prudential Georgia  

HomeServices of America Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, has acquired Prudential Georgia Realty

In October 2012, HomeServices became the majority owner in HSF Affiliates LLC, which operates the Prudential Real Estate franchise network and will launch Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices—a new real estate franchise brand.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., Prudential Georgia serves the greater metro area of Atlanta, with nearly 1,000 sales associates and 20 offices. Under the new structure, Prudential Georgia Realty retains its name and remains a flagship franchisee of Prudential Real Estate’s U.S. network. Prudential Georgia Realty will rebrand to the new Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices when it becomes available later in 2013.

Dan Forsman, CEO, will continue in his current role running the day-to-day operations along with the executive leadership team and managing brokers.

SVNIC Adds Office

Sperry Van Ness International Corp.added Sperry Van Ness/Reagan Asset Management in Sarasota, Fla.

The organization joins SVNIC as a property management office, offering a full range of solutions from strategic financial consulting to turn-key facility maintenance analysis and execution. Founded in 2009, the office has served investors in both central and southwest Florida in both private and institutional markets. It is led by managing directors David Matthes, Larry Starr, and Tony Veldkamp.

European Investors Inc. Gets New Name

European Investors Inc.is changing its name to EII Capital Management Inc. This name change reflects the evolution of the firm from an advisor to European families to a global real estate securities manager and real estate advisor with clients in North America, Europe and Asia

NGKF Welcomes Mexico City Co. to Family

Alles Group Mexico Cityjoined the Newmark Grubb Knight Frank family, expanding NGKF’s presence in Latin America.

Effective immediately, the company will do business as Newmark Grubb Mexico City. Originally established in 1997, the new company is led by founding partner Giovanni D’Agostino, president, in conjunction with executives Jay Mulay and Harold Murray. The firm’s 25 professionals provide a full suite of services with a focus on tenant and landlord representation and investment sales for office, industrial and retail property.

MMCC Hires Associate in Dallas

Marcus & Millichap Capital Corp.named Chris Parker as an associate in the firm’s Dallas office.

Parker will arrange debt financing for all types of commercial real estate assets, including multifamily, retail, and office and industrial properties. Prior to joining MMCC, Parker worked with BMC Capital LP as a loan officer in Dallas. He also worked for Berkadia Commercial Mortgage LLC as an asset analyst in Dallas and San Francisco, and as a client relations and portfolio manager in Tempe, Ariz.

Two Appraisal Pros Join Lee & Associates

Lee & Associates Valuation and Consulting Services, a new service line of commercial real estate firm Lee & Associates, has announced the opening of its Chicago office.

The office is headed by Christopher B. Myers, managing director, who has 25 years of valuation experience throughout the U.S., and Nicholas Cipriano, a certified general appraiser with more than 10 years of experience.

NGKF Pro Wins NAIOP Award

Jon Bourbeau, a vice chairman with Newmark Grubb Knight Frank in Miami, was named 2012 office broker of the year by the South Florida chapter of NAIOP.

Bourbeau was recognized for his successful completion of 21 tenant representation transactions in South Florida. Combined, these transactions totaled 450,000 sq. ft. and were valued at approximately $150 million. During his career, Bourbeau has been involved in the leasing of over 20 million sq. ft. for some of the region’s largest tenants.

Miami Group Welcomes Two Board Members

The Miami Downtown Development Authority welcomed Julie Grimes and Alicia Cervera Lamadrid as members to its board of directors. 

Grimes is managing partner of the Hilton Bentley Hotel and executive director of Heafey-Bentley Management. Cervera Lamadrid is managing partner at Cervera Real Estate, a real estate firm specializing in development sales.