Emaar Hospitality Group Enters Sub-Saharan Africa and Partners With Kalyan Hospitality

Real Estate & Development

Partnership sees rebrand of Address Hotel 2 Février Lomé Togo

 

Emaar Hospitality Group, the hospitality and leisure business of Dubai-based Emaar Properties PJSC, in partnership with the Kalyan Group, has marked its expansion to Sub-Saharan Africa to operate Address Hotel 2 Février Lomé Togo, an iconic hotel set in the heart of the city, in the tallest building in Togo, and unrivalled in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Emaar

Address Hotel 2 Fevrier Lome Togo (exterior) (PRNewsfoto/Emaar Hospitality Group)

Only 7 km from the Lomé-Tokoin International Airport, which connects Togo to African cities, Europe and beyond, Address Hotel 2 Février Lomé Togo will be operated by Address Hotels + Resorts, the premium luxury brand of Emaar Hospitality Group, which will assume the management of the property shortly.

Located near the Monument of Independence, Address Hotel 2 Février Lomé Togowill welcome guests shortly following the rebranding of the property, first established in 1980. It will have 256 rooms & suites and 64 serviced apartments as well as themed restaurants, meeting venues and other amenities. Togo marks the sixth international destination for Address that has upcoming hotel projects in Saudi ArabiaEgyptTurkeyBahrain and The Maldives, in addition to new openings in the UAE.

Ashok Gupta, CEO of Kalyan Hospitality Development Togo SAU, and Founder and CEO of Kalyan Group, which owns the hotel, said: “Address Hotel 2 Février Lomé Togo is a prestigious asset in our real estate and hospitality investment portfolio; being entrusted by the Republic of Togo with what is widely regarded as the ‘Jewel of West Africa‘. It will add to the pride of Togo and serve as a referral point for the hotel industry.”

Olivier Harnisch, CEO of Emaar Hospitality Group, said: “Our agreement is a landmark in our expansion to Sub-Saharan Africa. We thank Ashok Gupta and the Togolese government for their support and opportunity to operate our first hotel and serviced residence project in Togo, a fascinating country with strong growth opportunities.”

Earlier known as Hôtel 2 Février, Address Hotel 2 Février Lomé Togo is set in a 30-storey tower, 102 metres high, offering spectacular views. With free WiFi, facilities including ballroom, congress hall and auditorium, luxury spa, open air swimming pool, concierge services and retail shops, it will be a refreshing getaway for business and leisure guests.

Valencia (Spain): Best European City to Buy Property in 2018

Real Estate & Development

WIRE Consulting, an independent company specialized in International Real Estate services, sees 5 top opportunities for American investors to buy property in Europe.

Here is the ranking of the 2018 survey:

1. Valencia (Spain)

2. Paris (France)

3. Berlin (Germany)

4. London (United Kingdom)

5. Venice (Italy)

Reasons to choose Europe

1: The strong current US Dollar to Euro exchange rate. American buyers can expect a positive outlook if choosing to invest in European Real Estate.

2: Geo-political stability throughout Europe and market performance benefits.

3: European cities are best known and appreciated for their culture, history and cuisine.

4. Excellent standard of living as well as an opportunity to amplify investments in real estate.

As a result, European real estate purchases made by American citizens have increased since last year (UK +2.6%, Spain +2.5%, France +2.4%, Italy +1.9% and Germany +0.85%).

Valencia

Valencia has seen an increasing presence of foreign buyers after its market crisis. With relevant capital inflows, infrastructural projects have since been under development, selling for an average price of $195/sq. ft., half that of those in Madrid and Barcelona. The percentage of foreign investors on overall real estate transactions in the central area of Valencia is more than 30%, 18.2% higher than 2017.

Paris

Paris has also seen a growth in its market after a period of political uncertainty, thanks to undergoing urban requalification projects. Its real estate market continues to see stability, offering relevant appreciation margins and high transaction costs. Property prices have risen since 2017, reaching $1,012/ sq. ft.

Berlin

Berlin has seen a 8.9% increase in price per square foot since 2017, averaging $450/sq. ft. in the city center and $380/sq. ft. in the suburbs. Although apartment sales have slightly decreased, attic flats and penthouses have shown a large increase in total transactions due to the strong demand of international investors.

London

Known to be the most developed financial sector in EuropeLondon attracts 69% of international buyers compared to the 31% of national ones with average price per square foot landing around $2,260.

Venice

The uniqueness of Venice makes it a wonderful place to own property for both personal use and investing. Average prices in the cheapest neighborhoods average around $390$545 sq. ft., whereas fully restructured luxury properties in top-locations range from $1,338 sq. ft., to $2,230 sq. ft

First Capital Realty Announces Completion of Property Dispositions

Real Estate & Development

First Capital Realty Inc. (“First Capital Realty”) (TSX: FCR), one of Canada’s largest owners, developers and managers of grocery anchored, retail-focused urban properties, announced today that it has completed approximately $165 million of previously disclosed property dispositions.

On March 27, 2018, First Capital closed the sale of 18 properties that comprise a portion of the portfolio it owned through its joint venture interest in Main and Main Urban Realty for aggregate gross proceeds of $298 million, or approximately $112 million at First Capital’s interest. First Capital received net proceeds (after repayment of debt) of approximately $99 million, which was satisfied in cash.

On March 21, 2018, First Capital closed the sale of a 50.5% non-managing interest in its necessity-based London, Ontario portfolio, for $66 million ($359 per square foot), which was satisfied in cash. The First Capital London portfolio comprises six grocery and pharmacy anchored properties totalling 368,000 square feet.

Jordan Robins, Executive Vice President and COO said: “We are very pleased with the successful execution of these transactions, which enable First Capital to reduce debt and to recycle capital into our major retail properties and intensification projects within our target nodes in core urban markets. We are also happy to expand our existing partnership with a major institutional investor through their investment in our Londonportfolio.”

ABOUT FIRST CAPITAL (TSX: FCR)

First Capital Realty is one of Canada’s largest owners, developers and managers of grocery anchored, retail-focused urban properties where people live and shop for everyday life. The Company currently owns interests in 161 properties, totaling approximately 25 million square feet of gross leasable area.

Forward-looking Statement Advisory

This press release contains forward-looking statements and information within the meaning of applicable securities law, including statements regarding the anticipated impact of dispositions and acquisitions of properties by the Company. These forward-looking statements are not historical facts but, rather, reflect the Company’s current expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause the outcome to differ materially from current expectations. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, general economic conditions; tenant financial difficulties, defaults and bankruptcies; increases in operating costs and property taxes; First Capital Realty’s ability to maintain occupancy and to lease or re-lease space at current or anticipated rents; development, intensification and acquisition activities; residential development, sales and leasing; risks in joint ventures; environmental liability and compliance costs and uninsured losses; the Company’s ability to complete dispositions and the timing, terms and anticipated benefits of any such dispositions; in addition to those risks discussed in the Company’s MD&A for the year ended December 31, 2017 and in its current Annual Information Form. Readers, therefore, should not place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements. First Capital Realty undertakes no obligation to publicly update any such forward-looking statement or to reflect new information or the occurrence of future events or circumstances except as required by applicable securities law.

All forward-looking statements in this press release are made as of the date hereof and are qualified by these cautionary statements.

Dreaming of College? Florida Realtors® Seeks Student Scholarship Winners

Real Estate & Development

Do you have kids currently in college, or maybe one who is about to graduate high school? Are they interested in a possible real estate-related career? Then find out more about the Student Scholarship Program offered through Florida Realtors® Education Foundation Inc., a not-for-profit corporation that provides real estate-related educational scholarships. But act fast: The application deadline for this year’s program is March 5, 2018.

“Our Realtor members across the state are investing in Florida’s future by helping young people realize their dreams for college,” says Mary McCall, 2018 chairman of Florida Realtors Education Foundation. “Florida Realtors Education Foundation’s Student Scholarship Program is one way that we give back to our communities. We feel privileged to be able to provide much-needed financial support to young Floridians struggling to continue their education.”

With the program now in its ninth year, Florida Realtors has awarded a total of $1,306,300 in scholarship funding, which helped 790 students go to college or university.

This student scholarship program is open and available to students whose parents are Realtors or are licensed real estate practitioners, or whose parents are employed by any local Realtor board/association or by Florida Realtors, as well as any Florida student currently enrolled at a school (including home-schooled students or those attending a charter school.) It is based on an application form, which can be found on Florida Realtors’ website at www.floridarealtors.org/AboutFar/Scholarships/index.cfm

Who can apply for the scholarships? Any Florida high school senior who will be attending an undergraduate college or university; any student currently enrolled in an undergraduate college or university (any major); or any student pursuing a graduate degree is eligible. There are no limitations as to location of the college or university attended, provided the applicant indicates the intent to return to work in Florida after graduation. Proof of the student’s legal Florida residency is required, however.

Scholarships start at $1,000; the number of scholarships and dollar amounts awarded may vary each year and are determined by the Education Foundation’s Board of Directors. Criteria to be considered include, but aren’t limited to: academic achievements, financial need, relationship to the Realtor family, and contributions to family, school and community. The Foundation’s Board of Directors has “sole and absolute discretion” over all decisions as to whether an applicant qualifies.

An important reminder to all applicants: The Florida Realtors Education Foundation Scholarship application is only available online at https://floridarealtorsfref.fluidreview.com/. Please note that applications may not be mailed or faxed in for this scholarship. Only the applications submitted through this website will be eligible for review.

Remember, you have until March 5 at noon to fill out the online application for the Florida Realtors Education Foundation’s student scholarship program. To find the application form and check out FAQs, go to: www.floridarealtors.org/AboutFar/Scholarships/index.cfm

Florida Realtors® serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to 180,000 members in 54 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at http://media.floridarealtors.org.

China Construction America Sued in New York State Court for Engaging in Massive Fraud, Malicious Acts of Deceit and Interference, Breaches of Contract and Other Wrongdoings

Real Estate & Development

-Could Be Exposed to Billions of Dollars in Liability-

-Claims Relate to China Construction America’s Wrongdoings in the Baha Mar Resort Project in The Bahamas-

– China Construction America Has Expanded its Business Noticeably in the New York Metropolitan Area as well as Other Parts of the United States, including South Carolina, and Both the Americas and Caribbean over the Last Several Years-

PR Newswire

NEW YORKDec. 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — China Construction America, Inc. (“CCA”) and various related business entities have been sued in New York State court for, among other wrongdoings, engaging in massive fraud, malicious acts of deceit and interference, and breaches of contract as part of a multi-year self-enrichment scheme related to the Baha Mar Resort project (the “Project”) in The Bahamas. The lawsuit, filed by the project’s original owner, BML Properties Ltd., exposes CCA’s ongoing and intentional misconduct. As a result of the court action, CCA may face over $2.25 billion in liability for misleading and defrauding BML Properties and depriving it of its investment.

According to the lawsuit, it was CCA’s larger intent and financial interest to establish this Project as a beachhead in the Americas and the Caribbean, train its unqualified workers and staff in order to obtain and then construct other projects throughout the Americas and Caribbean, and submit sham billings for hundreds of millions of dollars as the contractor and construction manager of the Project. Combined with CCA’s fraudulent and deceptive understaffing, CCA’s malicious conduct doomed the Project to failure.

As shown in the lawsuit, in stark contrast to their documented failure at Baha Mar, CCA has claimed success in the U.S. market. CCA has been the prime contractor on massive building projects in New Yorkfunded by private entities and by the state government and municipalities in New York.  CCA touts “project highlights” in New York, including: New York’s City Hall, the Alexander Hamilton Bridge, the 11 Times Square Office Building, the Brookfield Place Winter Garden Glass Pavilion, and Buildings 92 & 77 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. CCA also has undertaken public works projects in South Carolina. CCA has offices in Albany, New York, a mere three blocks from the state capitol, in order to carry out CCA’s government relations and lobbying.  CCA’s “Strategic Capital” invests in New York real estate and recently announced that it is investing in a 170-unit residential tower (including 280,000 square feet of residential and retail development) planned for a lot spanning 110 Charlton St. and 537 Greenwich St, near the Manhattan entrance to the Holland Tunnel.

According to the lawsuit, “the scheme was based on CCA’s efforts to falsely create the appearance that it was working toward an on time and on budget opening in December 2014 while knowingly and fraudulently concealing its real intent not to construct the Project on time and on budget and in the process extort more money than it earned and was due. Starting in 2012, as significant ‘out of the ground’ construction began and the first floors above the foundations were being constructed, CCA knew that it would be unable to build the project on time, on budget and in accordance with the plans and specs because, among other things, it did not have and would not commit to the Project the qualified workforce or sufficiently senior managers needed to meet its representations and obligations. CCA carried out its scheme by a series of knowingly and intentionally false representations, acts of extortion, material failures to disclose, fraudulent acts of concealment, outright sabotage, and lies to the Government of the Bahamas and the Project lender.”

The court documents make clear, “CCA’s entirely undisclosed and fraudulent intent in 2012 and thereafter included a plan to delay ‘opening’ of the Project until it could negotiate its way out of the disputes it knew would arise and concerning which it believed it had material exposure…As the project moved into late 2014 and early 2015, CCA as well undertook to sabotage forward progress of the work, intentionally damage and disable life-safety, security and electrical supply systems to try to compel BML Properties and Baha Mar Ltd. to accede to its demands on sham payment applications and on fraudulent ‘commercial claims,’ stage labor walk-offs when it was already critically delayed in delivering the Project, intentionally slow-down work at the Project (a fact admitted by CCA’s executive at a meeting with the then Prime Minister of The Bahamas in April 2015), and divert equipment and executive and labor effort to its newly purchased competing project just a few miles from the front door of Baha Mar.  Indeed, just 11 days before Baha Mar Ltd. was forced to file for Bankruptcy protection due to CCA’s fraud and malicious conduct, CCA and the then Government of the Bahamas signed an agreement (undisclosed until early 2017), based on what later articles deemed collusion between CCA and the Government, that ratified CCA’s movement of heavy equipment and Chinese laborers from the Project and to CCA’s newly acquired competing Hilton project while CCA was still under contract to finish Baha Mar.”

The complaint asserts, among other wrongdoings, that CCA planned to use the Project as an undisclosed, de facto “training facility” for its ambitious plans to expand throughout the Caribbean and Central and Latin America. Further, the complaint asserts that CCA’s executives and appointees to the board of Baha Mar Ltd. covered up the truth about the Project’s delays, defects, and shortcomings – with the result that the Project missed the December 2014 opening and therefore missed the Winter 2014 through Summer 2015 travel season.

The complaint also asserts that CCA and its affiliated sub-contractors used work-stoppages and slow-downs to improperly pressure BML Properties, and lied about its intent to rapidly increase the number of workers in order to finish the resort even for the delayed March 27, 2015, opening. In actuality, CCA admitted in a January 20, 2015, letter to its superiors that, despite its false claims to have adequate resources, it lacked the manpower to finish the job. The complaint asserts that CCA’s undisclosed intent throughout was to squeeze every dime out of the construction loan, regardless of its ultimate responsibilities to the Project.

The court documents go on to show that:

“CCA’s fraudulent and malicious conduct misled BML Properties into actions BML Properties thought were needed to move toward real progress on the Project, and misled BML Properties into inaction as well, later forcing BML Properties to attempt to mitigate its damage after it was, at that juncture, too late to seek other remedies such as stop work orders, ‘replacement’ of CCA (with the consent of the Project’s lender), [The Export-Import Bank of China – China Eximbank], or other extreme remedies that would have at that point delayed opening well past December 2014 and March 2015, causing the resort to miss the entire 2014-2015 travel season and incur enormous losses.  BML Properties relied on CCA to be truthful regarding its last hope to open in the 2014-2105 season, namely an agreement reached in November 2014 to accelerate CCA’s work in return for an additional $54 million, which unbeknownst to BML Properties CCA never intended to perform and knew when it signed that it could not and would not perform.

“Moreover, there is evidence that a $54 million advance paid in November 2014 to CCA Bahamas was actually diverted by CCA to its own coffers to fund the purchase of the neighboring Hilton Hotel in Nassau, Bahamas. The chronology is telling: (i) CCA’s intended purchase of the Hilton was announced in October 2014; (ii) CCA Bahamas forced Baha Mar Ltd. to pay an advance of $54 million for disputed change orders (believed to be worth significantly less and to be used, CCA said, to pay for subcontractors and labor that allegedly had not been paid) by way of a special payment request submitted in November 2014to China Eximbank, which payment CCA fraudulently extorted because CCA knew that the amounts being paid to it were unearned and undeserved and which completion date was fraudulent since CCA knew the date was unachievable because it did not have the resources to complete by that date; (iii) CCA closed on the Hilton acquisition for the reported sum of $60 million; (iv) also proving that CCA never intended to pay the $54 million to ‘subcontractors and labor that had not been paid’ and thus committing yet another act of fraud, in March 2015 CCA’s Chief Executive admitted that CCA had not used the $54 million advance to pay back-owed subcontractors and labor but rather – he said — had paid it out for ‘overtime.’ However, that in turn was a false (and concealing) statement because CCA did not employ ‘overtime’ on the Project after the advance was paid and missed the March 27, 2015, promised (but late) delivery of the Project (that such ‘overtime’ would have helped achieve).

“Manifesting its complete disregard for the rule of law and its requirements under its contracts, CCA also bought gifts, the reimbursement for which it hid from BML Properties and Baha Mar Ltd. in CCA’s expenses as part of its ‘payment applications’ sent to the Bank on the Project.  CCA even resorted to stealing documents from the Project to accomplish its illicit goals and cover-up its previous reprehensible conduct.”

The complaint against CCA points out: “After China Construction America caused BML Properties’ profound loss, the Project is now operated by Chow Tai Fook Enterprises (CTFE), a Chinese company acquiring (via a secretive and suspect process) the Project from the Chinese lender, China Eximbank.  China Eximbank requested that all files regarding this ‘merger’ transaction be sealed from public access by the Court with jurisdiction over the transaction. As a part of this transaction, BML Properties is informed and believes that CCA received an enormous $145 million bailout characterized as a ‘remobilization fee’ from China Eximbank even though the bulk of CCA’s equipment, materials, and workers remained in the Bahamas after 2015 for use on other projects.  On December 7, 2017, CTFE publicly issued a press release in The Bahamas (apparently still in redline draft), which stated in a section intended to be deletedfrom the release that ‘all construction [by CCA] at Baha Mar has been performed above and beyond satisfactory levels,’ revealing that CTFE is obviously uncomfortable with CCA’s level of performance.  Suffice it to say, the only ‘winner’ regarding the development of Baha Mar has been CCA, and CCA inflicted horrendous losses on BML Properties in its fraudulent scheme to become that winner.”

BML Properties Ltd. is represented by Peter Sheridan of Glaser Weil Fink Howard Avchen & Shapiro LLP and Morrison Cohen LLP.

Pursuant to New York law, complaints are public documents. The link to the filed complaint can be accessed here.

Kumari Builders and Developers Forays Into Villa Segment, Invests Rs. 500 Crore

Real Estate & Development

Kumari Builders and Developers is planning to invest Rs. 500 crore over the next five years in building villas. The Bengaluru-based developer plans to expand its property portfolio by 1.8 million sq ft in the villa segment.

Backed by successful completion of eight residential apartment properties and two ongoing projects, the developer is entering the villa segment with the launch of two accessible luxury developments in Malur and Sarjapur Road. The 50-acre project in Malur will offer 750 homes, while the 12-acre project on Sarjapur Road includes 192 villas.

Bengaluru is one of the most promising real-estate investment markets in India. With a mere 6,400 units available as of 2016, the villa projects in the city have seen a remarkable absorption rate of around 55 per cent. Sarjapura, Bellary Road, Whitefield, Hoskote and Hosur Road are the emerging residential hubs for villa projects, with valuation of properties reaching up to Rs. one crore. Within a notable radius of these localities, villas are priced anywhere from Rs. 4,500 per sq ft soaring upwards to Rs. 15,000 per sq ft. The demand in these strategic locations has led several property investors to construct villa properties in and around these areas. To this end, the villa category seemed to be the next logical step for Kumari Builders and Developers.

Contrary to the common belief that villas are expensive, Kumari Builders and Developers is proposing properties at accessible rates, enabling young working professionals to take their first step into independent living.

“Over the past four years, we have delivered residential projects of high standards with great forethought and commitment. Having created beautiful apartments for around 400 families, we don’t want to stop here. We are aiming to fulfil the dreams of young home buyers who wish to own independent plots or villas,” says Ashok Naidu, Director of Kumari Builders and Developers.

“Usually villa projects situated at strategic neighbourhoods combining quality construction and transparent transactions are priced higher, but we want to help IT professionals working around these prime locations to own their dream villa at rates that are accessible to them,” says Ashok. He further adds that the residential projects would be within 30-40 minutes of drive time from some of the major IT hubs.

Working professionals in ITPL will find the Malur project a perfect place to retreat after a hard day’s work. Designed to meet all modern-day needs, this development meets the requirements of those who are looking for their future homes or for an investment opportunity.

The Malur project is scheduled for launch in January 2018, while the villa development on Sarjapura Road will be launched in April 2018. With the launch of the two villa projects, Kumari Builders and Developers is all set to take accessible luxury living to a whole new level.

About Kumari Builders and Developers:
Kumari Builders and Developers is one of the fastest-growing real estate companies in Bengaluru. With eight projects to its credit, the company currently has ongoing projects adding up to 2,54,610 square feet of built-up area. It was founded in 2012 with the foremost objective of fulfilling the housing needs of young working professionals in the city.