REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT
Rubenstein Partners | June 13, 2022
Rubenstein Partners, L.P. (including its affiliates, Rubenstein), a vertically integrated real estate investment adviser focused on value-added office property equity and debt opportunities, and joint venture partner Vision Real Estate Partners, a full-service real estate owner/operator, announced global biopharmaceutical PTC Therapeutics (PTC) signed a new 360,000-square-foot, long-term lease at Warren Corporate Center, within the five-building office campus in Warren, N.J.
PTC is relocating its corporate headquarters from South Plainfield, N.J. to a new facility at Warren Corporate Center. The lease spans two full buildings located at 400 and 500 Warren Corporate Center Drive and, following construction, will include offices, collaboration and conferencing spaces, and research laboratories. The facility will provide flexible and innovative workspaces with the capacity needed to support PTC's long-term growth of its expanding pipeline of products.
Construction activities on the new facility at Warren Corporate Center is expected to begin in June 2022.
Originally built as a headquarters for Lucent Technologies, Warren Corporate Center comprises more than 820,000 square feet of office space across five buildings surrounded by walking trails, a richly landscaped pond and four covered parking structures. Since acquiring the 176-acre campus in 2016, Vision and Rubenstein have set out to reposition Warren Corporate Center as a unique opportunity in the market, with headquarters-quality space that integrates attractive amenities and communal areas within a central location to optimize employee well-being and productivity.
As part of the repositioning, ownership also developed Warren Hill, a 20,000-square-foot lifestyle center located at the center of the campus, featuring numerous amenities including an outdoor amphitheater; indoor and outdoor patio dining; multi-function conference areas; a full-service cafe with coffee bar; a state-of-the-art fitness center with locker rooms; and full-size indoor basketball court. The amenities hub also provides an easily accessible outdoor roof deck for employees to meet and collaborate.
"Since acquiring and repositioning Warren Corporate Center, our goal has been to create the kind of fully-amenitized and differentiated office product high-end companies in the region are seeking," said Stephen Card, Principal at Rubenstein. "PTC Therapeutics is a true global leader and innovator in the biopharmaceutical sector and adding an organization of their magnitude to the roster of tenants at the Warren campus validates the strategic investments we've made at the site."
Warren Corporate Center is a suburban office site designed for the modern employee. The institutional-quality property is a rare blend of full-service amenities, outdoor spaces and experiential features, such as our unique lifestyle center, that separate the property from others in the region. Warren Corporate Center is a singular offering in the highly competitive New Jersey office market, and we are pleased to welcome PTC as the long-term, addition to the campus."
Sam Morreale, founding and managing partner of Vision Real Estate Partners
"Our new headquarters allows us to have a Class-A facility for our growing team, while keeping the new flexible work paradigm in mind," said Doug McLeester, Vice President of Global Facilities at PTC Therapeutics. "As PTC grows into one of the world's leading rare disease companies, our in-house capabilities must similarly grow and adapt. The new facility at Warren Corporate Center, which complements our existing operations at the PTC's Gene Therapy Center of Excellence in Hopewell, is the ideal space for our expected future expansion in New Jersey, a foundational and growing market for biotech in the U.S."
Vision Real Estate Partners and Rubenstein Partners have consistently created premier experiential suburban office properties that incorporate a level of amenities more akin to a hospitality setting than a traditional office environment. The joint venture partnership embarked on a multi-million-dollar renovation that transformed The Crossings at Jefferson Park in Whippany, N.J., into a Class-A office campus featuring The Powerhouse, an 11,000-square-foot, standalone amenities center. A testament to the partnership's success in rebranding the property, The Crossings at Jefferson Park was acquired by Barclays Capital in June 2017. Vision and Rubenstein are also collaborating on Latitude, a 30-acre, approximately 700,0000-square-foot office complex located in Parsippany, N.J.
Jeff Zell and Louis Kluger of JM Zell Partners represented PTC Therapeutics and Robert Donnelly Sr, Robert Donnelly Jr, Paul Giannone, Todd Elfand and Kevin Carton of Cushman and Wakefield represented building ownership in the lease transaction.
About Rubenstein Partners
Rubenstein Partners, L.P. founded in September 2005, is a private real estate investment advisory firm with operations throughout the United States. The firm is led by its founder, David Rubenstein, and a group of senior real estate executives, and is focused on directing and managing office real estate investments in the U.S. Rubenstein Partners' predecessor company, The Rubenstein Company, LP and affiliates, founded in 1969, was one of the largest private owner operators of Class A office real estate in the Mid-Atlantic, owning and operating a portfolio of assets valued at approximately $1.2 billion at the time of its disposition in 2004. Since 2005, Rubenstein Partners has, on behalf of its investors and clients, invested in more than 22.5 million square feet of office real estate assets throughout the United States.
About Vision Real Estate Partners
Vision Real Estate Partners is a full-service real estate owner/operator, specializing in development, property management, asset management and construction. The firm is well known for its deep roots and experience in the New Jersey/New York regional marketplace, and for its track record of identifying properties with great potential and transforming them into superior assets. Vision Real Estate Partners currently is developing or redeveloping more than 2 million square feet of space in its local market. The company has over 100 acres of land parcels available for mixed-use and build-to-suit opportunities. Its Vision Management platform also currently oversees property management, financial reporting and overall operational supervision for nearly 1.5 million square feet of office space on behalf of multiple strategic partners.
About PTC Therapeutics, Inc.
PTC is a science-driven, global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of clinically differentiated medicines that provide benefits to patients with rare disorders. PTC's ability to globally commercialize products is the foundation that drives investment in a robust and diversified pipeline of transformative medicines and our mission to provide access to best-in-class treatments for patients who have an unmet medical need. The Company's strategy is to leverage its strong scientific expertise and global commercial infrastructure to maximize value for its patients and other stakeholders.
REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY
HomeJab | July 14, 2022
HomeJab, which provides real estate agents on-demand professional real estate photography services nationwide, is debuting a new and novel marketing method that gives real estate agents a new avenue to promote homes for sale – using an NFT, or non-fungible token.
Real estate agents who use HomeJab for professional real estate photography for their listing can now receive a free real-estate-backed-NFT of the home as part of their order. This new service from HomeJab includes promoting these NFT-backed homes for sale and listing them on the new HomeJab NFT site at nft.homejab.com.
HomeJab founder and CEO Joe Jesuele emphasized that this new service for real estate agents supplements their traditional marketing efforts by exposing them to an NFT-interested audience.
"For real estate agents, we provide an easy way to promote their listings to a new market of potential buyers and it doesn't cost them anything," explained Jesuele. "For crypto enthusiasts, we offer a way to purchase real world assets legally using blockchain," he added.
The first NFT-backed home currently being marketed for sale on the HomeJab NFT site is in Detroit, at 20060 Canterbury Road owned by Daniel McDonald and listed for $415,000 by Lisa Virkus, a real estate agent and founder of Realty in the D.
Team Title Services, owned by Web Raulston and based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, handles the title and settlement services.
McDonald is a Key Advisor at Mortgage Token, which aims to be the first company that allows clients to leverage their home equity to invest in cryptocurrency.
"I'm a firm believer that with digital assets such as NFTs, entire industries will benefit from being built on the Ethereum blockchain by increasing consumer transparency and transaction cost-effectiveness," home seller McDonald said.
McDonald explained that blockchain, like the internet, is the new "great equalizer" and that "Web3 will level the playing field, making information and pricing inequalities a thing of the past."
"Mortgage Token is an autonomous modernized lending platform bridging the gap between real estate and crypto lending. We look forward to launching before the fourth quarter of 2022 as the first lender specifically investing in cryptocurrency."
Jason Yourofsky, Mortgage Token founder
Jesuele noted, "Our customers will get an NFT listing for free with every photo shoot, and direct exposure to a more tech-savvy group of buyers."
With the new service, an agent can bring their buyer, and the buyer would purchase the NFT, which provides them with an option to purchase the property. Buyers purchase NFTs with USD Coin (USDC), a digital currency fully backed by US dollar assets, on the Ethereum blockchain. HomeJab receives 1% on the NFT sale, with the proceeds distributed to the title company who then facilitates the closing and recording of deed. The seller and buyer agent commissions would be part of the settlement statement, like any other traditional transaction.
HomeJab is America's leading on-demand professional real estate photography and video service for real estate pros. Lightning-fast high-end visual production offerings also include immersive 3D interactive tours, floor plan creation, affordable virtual staging, turnkey aerial services, and the creation of real-estate-backed NFTs. Its efficient one-stop-shop for real estate listings promotions at HomeJab.com features affordable and customizable shoots to create the most engaging visual content for faster home sales and enrich the listing agent's personal brand. HomeJab is available nationwide and in the U.S. and Canada.
REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY
YourHomeHub | June 01, 2022
In October 2021, a likely source emerged with the first ever property tech franchise—MooveGuru. Through its automated data capture and delivery platforms, MooveGuru has been perfecting the consumer experience during the moving process. In January, the robust platform announced extended support for consumers with services throughout the homeownership lifecycle with a franchise model aimed at real estate service providers in brokerage, title and mortgage.
Franchises have been selling faster than homes in red-hot housing markets.
To date, MooveGuru has sold 28 regional proptech franchise territories, selling out 26 states in the process.
No doubt, our experience and trust in the real estate community and a focused approach in identifying them as a target franchise audience has played a role in the rapid success of initial franchise sales. While a lot of franchises take the approach that anyone can be their own boss, with our organization we've emphasized the value of additional revenue streams for real estate professionals and it's paying off. We've created a buzz the real estate community can't get enough of. It's why we've sold more than half of the states in the U.S. in less than a year."
Scott Oakley, CEO of MooveGuru
The MooveGuru franchise enables franchisees to deliver a home ownership portal called YourHomeHub that allows homeowners to gain access to preferred local services at a discount. The success comes from being local. YourHomeHub, is the first consumer portal that is "Everything Home," meaning it allows homeowners to manage both the financial details and physical elements of their home.
Consumers can monitor extensive information about their home and local market conditions, store important documents, generate accurate estimates for home repairs and find a local contractor for over 1,000 different home service categories. Each YourHomeHub is sponsored by local real estate brands, driving top of mind marketing and revenue from consumer purchases. The platform, provided by real estate professionals, gives a powerful homeowner resource to their customers.
"We have expanded our franchise coverage area to 26 states in eight months—this is unprecedented in the franchise industry," said Kathleen Kuhn, President of MooveGuru, who brings more than three decades in the home services franchise industry to the organization. "While there are still opportunities in some major markets, the window is closing for those looking to be regional territory owners."
Opportunities are still available for ownership in key markets such as Nevada, New Jersey and Illinois.
Franchise owners' trend towards real estate brokerages who have experience with operating affiliate companies, followed by mortgage and title companies. Mortgage brokers typically partner with their top real estate agents for co-branding and split the opportunity fifty-fifty for RESPA compliance. Title companies are offering the service on all their title closings. The franchise pays 10-20 percent of net subscription to franchise owners. The more subscriptions to YourHomeHub and the more leads generated for service pros, the more the franchise owner makes.
Recent regional owners include owners in real estate brands such as RE/MAX, Keller Williams, EXP, ERA and also include owners in mortgage and title.
MooveGuru Inc. is based in Roswell, GA. In 2016 the company launched a free mover engagement program to real estate agents and brokers with the idea of connecting home buyers and sellers to convenience and savings on moving services. Using just-in-time delivery through artificial intelligence algorithms, MooveGuru Inc. ensures consumers receive agent-branded savings and convenience from national and local retailers and utility connections as they step through the relocation process. Today, more than 2,000 brokerages, 316,000 agents, and millions of homeowners are connected to the MooveGuru and YourHomeHub platforms.
REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT
Pixiu Real Estate | May 26, 2022
Pixiu Real Estate, Woodbine Development Corporation and a collective of Austin-based investors have acquired the capital city’s first and most iconic hotel, The Driskill, from Hyatt Hotels & Resorts.
Woodbine Development Corporation is the Dallas-based real estate investment firm behind many notable hotel properties in Texas and beyond. Pixiu Real Estate is part of Pixiu Investments, an investment firm owned by Eddie Margain, co-founder of several ventures, including local MLS club Austin FC. Among the investor group is Bryan Sheffield, founder of Parsley Energy and fellow investor in Austin FC.
As a destination, The Driskill Hotel has been a shining star for Austinites and Texas-bound travelers since it opened its doors in 1886. As new owners and stewards of this historic property, we’re excited to work with Hyatt, Pixiu and the local investor group, who have a common goal of enhancing this hotel and ensuring its legacy for years to come.”
Dupree Scovell, managing partner and chief investment officer at Woodbine
The Driskill anchors the Sixth Street Entertainment District in downtown Austin. The new ownership group is looking to maintain and elevate the appeal of the 189-room luxury hotel while also helping to stabilize and revitalize the surrounding neighborhood. The group has expressed initial plans to invest a substantial amount of capital, which is intended to help spur momentum for revitalization along Sixth Street.
“We are thrilled about this important acquisition because of what it represents for Austin and for Pixiu Real Estate,” said Eddie Margain. “As an Austinite, I know and appreciate the historical significance of this more than 130-year-old property. And, as our community continues to grow, I believe we need to preserve and revitalize landmarks like The Driskill that have contributed to the making of Austin’s distinct character and spirit.”
Margain added: “We made calls to good friends who have the same interest of preserving Austin and a desire to work on a legacy project, and an amazing group came together. Partnering with Woodbine Development has been an incredible experience; they are world-class hotel operators, and they know the hotel industry like none other.”
Dallas-based Woodbine brings nearly 50 years of hospitality development and asset management experience to the hotel’s ownership group. The company’s portfolio of work includes Austin’s Hotel Magdalena and Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa; San Antonio’s Hotel Emma and Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa; Hyatt Regency Dallas and Reunion Tower and Hilton Dallas/Park Cities; and many other properties throughout Texas and the United States. Woodbine specializes in developing select- and full-service destinations in urban, suburban and inspiring out-of-the-way settings as well as office/mixed-use projects – always creating places people want to be.
Just a few blocks from the Texas capitol, The Driskill opened its doors in 1886, quickly becoming known as the Grande Dame of Austin. A confluence of opulence and luxury, the hotel has been the destination of choice for an array of guests over the years – for overnights, special events, SXSW sessions, election-night watch parties, political drink-sipping and deal-making, weddings and engagements (future president Lyndon B. Johnson proposed to Lady Bird during their first date, which took place at the hotel) and much more.
While no longer owners of the hotel, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts will continue daily management of the property.
About Woodbine Development Corporation
Woodbine Development Corporation is a full-service real estate company with nearly 50 years of development, investment, acquisition and asset management experience. With offices in Dallas and Phoenix, Woodbine specializes in hotels, resorts and mixed-use developments throughout the United States. The company’s hospitality portfolio features major brands, independent hotels, full-service destinations and select-service stays alike. Since 1973, Woodbine has been involved in more than $7 billion in commercial real estate projects, including the development, ownership, asset management, repositioning or renovation of over 17,000 hotel rooms.
About Pixiu Real Estate
Pixiu Real Estate was founded in 2010 and is comprised of an expanding portfolio of real estate properties around Austin and Texas. Among the iconic properties of which Pixiu has ownership are the Littlefield and Scarbrough buildings adjacent to The Driskill. The firm also has ownership in several other buildings downtown. Pixiu Real Estate’s parent company, Pixiu Investments, is a prominent investment firm based in Austin, Texas with investments across multiple industries including real estate, technology, hospitality, energy, and professional sports.