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GRUBB & ELLIS FOR SALE?

Dallas-Ft. Worth
GRUBB & ELLIS FOR SALE?
Grubb & Ellis says it's had ?unsolicited inquiries? and is using JMP Securities to ?explore strategic alternatives," maybe including a sale or merger. Its stock price remains unchanged at 98 cents. ChairmanC. Michael Kojaian says while the company has made progress restructuring, it can better leverage its platform into an improving market.
 
GRUBB & ELLIS FOR SALE?
Yesterday, we spoke to former Grubb chairman Tony Thompson(now CEO of Thompson National Properties). In late 2006, he orchestrated the acquisition of Grubb in a reverse merger by his NNN Realty Advisors. He tells us recent events aren't surprising. Tony (who says he doesn't own shares anymore) blames the boardwhich he says ?never gave management any authority to do anything.? He also notes that a year and a half ago Grubb sold $90M in convertible preferred stock and has skipped paying the dividend. ?Obviously, the real estate market is tough, but other companies like CB Richard Ellis and Jones Lang LaSalle are doing fine.?

NEW BUSINESS

Transwestern's Dallas office was selected to lease and manageNorthpark Central, recently acquired by Cornerstone Advisers. Developed by The Raymond D. Nasher Co in 1984 at 8750 N. Central Expy in Dallas, Northpark Central is a 492k SF 20-story, Class-A building that's 90% leased. Among the tenants is The Richards Group, Gilsa Products, and CF & Co. Matt Hurlbut and Fletcher Cordell will head up the leasing team. Susanne Doublin and Nicole Sladovnik will manage the property.

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Oliver?s Fine Foods will bring its neighborhood market concept toSundance Square in downtown Fort Worth when it opens a 6,600 SFstore later this year at 415 Throckmorton. Currently, Oliver?s Fine Foods has one location in Mansfield that opened in 2008. Sundance Square is the perfect location for expansion, says Oliver?s Fine Foods owner and chef Todd Bush. There's opportunity with the growing base of residents living in the downtown area and the large number of people who drive there to work during the week, he says.

LEASES
 
Grand Lakes I
Duke Realty leased 168k SF to Keystone Automotive Industries in its 755k SF Grand Lakes I building at 4003 Gifford St in Grand Prairie. Keystone is consolidating and relocating two of its existing Dallas facilities into the building and increasing its leased space. With the lease, the building is 72% occupied; 209k SF is available. Keystone?s moving in this month. Mark Becker and Dan Cook of Cushman & Wakefield of Texas, along with Jake Bobek of Cushman & Wakefield LA, repped Keystone. Duke VP Curt Hefner repped the landlord.

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$2.45M Texas Enterprise Fund investment was awarded to The Virtual Computing Environment Co to work in conjunction with the company's plans to establish its HQ in Richardson. (It has US operations in Dallas, Massachusetts, and Silicon Valley, and was formed by Cisco and EMC.) VCE signed a long-term lease to occupy at least 87k SF in the Collins Crossing building at 1500 N. Greenville Ave in Richardson. The company expects to move in this spring. Transwestern principal Reid Caldwell and managing director Chris Hipps repped the landlord, Franklin Street Properties. Cresa Partners managing principal Greg Langston, SVP Susan Blair, and VP Bret Hefton repped the tenant.

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Indoor Safari Park inked a 13k SF lease in Spring Creek Marketplace in Plano. The landlord was repped by Taylor LeMasterand Zach Berman with John Bowles Co. The tenant was repped by Structure Commerical?s Jeremy Cummings.


FINANCE

SWS Group
 entered into a definitive funding agreement with Hilltop Holdings and Oak Hill Capital Partners. The two firms each agreed to invest in the company through a $50M loan and SWS Group agreed to issue each of Hilltop and Oak Hill Capital a warrant to purchase common shares of SWS Group.

THIS AND THAT
 
CBRE's new offices
CBRE consolidated three Dallas locations into its new 65k SFhome on the seventh floor at 2100 McKinney in Uptown. Designed by HKS Commercial Interiors, it's pursuing LEED-CI Gold. The wood ceiling in the entry is made from old baseboards, while the reception area's wood mosaic is created from a dismantled trellis system. Wood veneer doors were also repurposed throughout the space.

KUDOS

Fort Worth?s Weaver and Whitley Penn finished 40th and 93rd, respectively, in the Accounting Today Top 100 Firms of 2011. For the second consecutive year, both firms also ranked first and second in a list of the Top 10 Southwest firms. Weaver, the largest CPA firm in the Southwest with more than 440 employees in six offices, took the region's top honor with more than $65M in revenue last year, a 12.39% increase. Whitley Penn, with more than 160 total employees in two offices, boasted $32.10M in revenue which was up a little more than 5% from a year ago. As in 2009, Whitley Penn was named an Accounting Today Best Firm to Work for in 2010.

PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

Three CRE gals are among the 16 Top Female Executive Awardfinalists for Addison Magazine. Voting ended March 15 and winners will be announced March 31. Among the nominees are Mohr Partners managing partner Paula Nodwell; Dryden Co prez Suzanna Dryden Jensen; and Hudson Peters Commercial VP Kimberly Lay.

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The Salvation Army named Cassidy Turley chief strategy officerDiane Paddison to its national advisory board. Diane joins a group of civic leaders including former First Lady Laura Bush. As chief strategy officer at Cassidy Turley, Diane focuses on strategic planning, new business development and talent management with an emphasis on leadership development, operations, and diversity.