Sam Chandan, PhD launched Chandan Economics, a new commercial real estate research firm. The firm will provide analysis of the economy and financial markets and their relationship to commercial real estate.

Chandan Economics will focus on two major service areas, real estate economics and debt and credit analysis. Real estate economics will offer insights into the connection between the macroeconomic and investment landscape and the performance of real estate. It will leverage concise weekly reporting on high-frequency economic indicators, live conference calls and special reports to give market participants an advance view of trends impacting the commercial real estate sector.

The debt and credit analytics service will help lenders and investors understand the risk profile and prospective performance of commercial real estate loans and loan portfolios.

The launch of Chandan Economics is supported by Madison Realty Capital, a New York City-based commercial real estate investment firm. Brian Shatz, a founding member and managing principal of Madison Realty, has joined the firm’s industry advisory board.

In addition, Chandan Economics entered into a strategic relationship with Axiometrics, a Dallas-based firm which maintains a comprehensive database of U.S. apartment properties and related performance trends. Ron Johnsey, founder and president of Axiometrics, has also joined the firm’s industry advisory board.

The industry advisory board also includes William Hoffman, president and CEO of Trigild Corp., which manages non-performing commercial real estate loans; Jared Kushner, principal with the Kushner Cos., a diversified real estate owners and developer; and Kevin Maggiacomo, president and CEO of Sperry Van Ness International, a commercial real estate franchisor.

Chandan Economics’ academic advisory board features Robert Inman, PhD, the Richard King Mellon professor of finance and economics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania; Glenn Mueller, PhD., professor of real estate at the University of Denver and real estate investment strategist with the Dividend Capital Group; Joseph Pagliari, PhD, clinical professor of real estate at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business; and Todd Sinai, PhD., professor of real estate and public policy at the Wharton School and visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

Colliers International Merges with Pennsylvania Firm

Colliers International merged with Pittsburgh Commercial Real Estate Inc., a commercial real estate firm with a focus on Western Pennsylvania. The firm offers brokerage, consulting, corporate services, facility and asset management, investment services, project management, valuation services, marketing and market research capabilities. It has 14 brokers, in addition to support staff.

In a separate announcement, Genghis Grill, European Wax Center, Games Workshop and Flippers Pizzeria appointed Colliers International Central Florida as their exclusive retail broker in Central Florida. Jorge Rodriquez, director of retail, will handle these assignments on behalf of Colliers International.

Jewelry Exchange Gold Max to Open 100 Stores in Southern California

Gold Max of California will open 100 stores in Southern California over the next year. The retailer specializes in buying gold and precious metals from consumers. It is looking for spaces ranging from 700 square feet to 4,000 square feet in power centers, neighborhood shopping centers and other retail venues. Present Value Properties is serving as Gold Max’ exclusive real estate broker.

Forest City Signs Multiple Leases for The Yards in D.C.

Forest City Enterprises Inc. signed leases totaling 70,000-square-feet at The Yards, its mixed-use waterfront development in Washington, D.C.

Harris Teeter signed a lease for a 50,000-square-foot store. The retailer will open in 2013.

Neighborhood Restaurant Group signed a lease for Buzz Bakery Coffee & Lounge and a lease for a yet-to-be-named restaurant/brewery concept.

In addition, Potbelly, Kruba Thai and Sushi, Austin Grill Express, BRB-Be Right Burger and Huey’s 24/7 Diner have also signed deals at the project.

Hobby Lobby Signs Lease in Florida’s Orange City

Hobby Lobby signed a 20-year lease with Saxon Crossing Partners LTD for a 51,000-square-foot store at Saxon Crossing Shopping Center in Orange City, Fla. Forness Properties represented the tenant in the transaction. Ron White and Paul B. Burkhart, of Concordia Equity L.C., represented the tenant. Hobby Lobby plans to open its new location in 2012.

Ulta, Let’s Jump Negotiate Deals with Centro Properties Group

Ulta signed two leases with Centro Properties Group. The chain agreed to take an 11,000-square-foot location at Lakes Crossing in Muskegon, Mich. and a 10,895-square-foot location at Florence Square in Florence, Ky. Michael Lippitt and Richard Shlom, of Landmark Commercial Real Estate Services, represented Ulta in the Lakes Crossing deal. Marianne Holewski, of Anchor Associates, represented Ulta in the Florence Square deal.

Let’s Jump signed a 12,680-square-foot lease at Augusta West Shopping Center in Augusta, Ga. Lance Hagaman served as in-house representative for Centro in the transaction.

In addition, Centro signed smaller leases at its properties throughout the U.S. with tenants including Dots, Tangled Salon, Touche Boutique, IRN Realty & Lincoln Financial, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Golden Krust, Natural Living, Mattress Firm, Molina’s Restaurant, Edible Arrangements, Jackson Hewitt Tax Services, Golden Sun Buffet, Yobe Frozen Yogurt, Rivals Sports Grill and A. Troy Ounce.

Three Restaurants Sign Leases at 1450 Brickell in Miami

Rilea Group signed leases totaling 8,388 square feet with Brickell Deli, Dominique’s Bistro and a third, unnamed dining concept for locations at its 1450 Brickell/One Broadway complex in Miami, Fla. Tere Blanca and Dane Linares, of Blanca Commercial Real Estate, represented the landlord in the transactions.

Forever 21 Finds Florida Warehouse Space

Forever 21 Retail Inc. signed lease with AMB U.S. Logistics Fund L.P. for a 25,600-square-foot space at Miami International Logistics Park in Miami, Fla. The retailer plans to use the space as a warehouse for its stores at Dolphin Mall, Aventura Mall and Sawgrass Mills. Kristopher Wagner, of Colliers International South Florida, and Michael Comras, of Comras Cos., represented the tenant in the transaction. Audley Bosch and Brian Smith, of Cushman & Wakefield, represented the landlord.

Other Notable News

RDL Architects Inc. appointed David Parrish as principal. In his new position, Parrish will direct business development for the firm’s commercial studio. He has more than 25 years of experience in commercial architecture. Previously, he served as partner with another national architecture firm.

Donahue Schriber promoted Henry Avila to senior vice president of asset management, Heather Beal to senior vice president of leasing and Scott Lawrence to senior vice president of construction. In addition, Avila, Beal and Lawrence will sit on the firm’s investment committee, which is responsible for acquisitions, dispositions, development and major renovation reviews and approvals. Avila previously served as vice president of asset management. Beal was vice president of leasing for Northern and Central California development projects and acquisition pipeline and Lawrence was vice president of construction.

EMJ Corp. promoted Wes Jones to senior vice president of estimating and preconstruction. In his new position, Jones will lead the preconstruction and estimating departments and will work toward integrating the two groups and improving efficiencies.

The Dobbins Group hired Jeffrey Cardosi as director of architecture/engineering. In his new position, he will be responsible for project management, construction documentation, consultant coordination and quality control. Previously, Cardosi worked for Hutter Architects and Jeffreys & Associates.