Real Estate & Retail

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Property tax reform will change development landscapeRestricted Content

October 27, 2008
Matt Price
As the country faces the "subprime crisis" and its effect on the availability of financing, we know local real estate markets have seen brighter days. Fortunately, we also know this crisis will pass. If you are a real estate developer or land-use professional, there will be many opportunities ahead. However, it is important to consider that the regulatory landscape in Indiana relative to land-use development will not be the same as the one you knew prior to the current market....
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Surviving the season: Retail landlords worry that tight holiday budgets could doom some retailersRestricted Content

October 27, 2008
Cory Schouten
Retailers usually get that Christmas-morning feeling of anticipation for the holiday shopping season. This year, many are just hoping to survive. As consumers tighten their spending to cope with higher prices and shrinking savings, stores big and small are feeling the pinch. Some stores, including Linens 'n Things, have filed for bankruptcy and plan to liquidate. Others, like Circuit City, still are fighting for survival. The holiday shopping season is looking more like a make-or-break period than the annual windfall-an...
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Ousted mayor guides local up-and-comers: Peterson named moderator for prestigious groupRestricted Content

October 27, 2008
Kathleen McLaughlin
Voters decided last Election Day that they'd had enough of Bart Peterson, but the former mayor is in demand with academics, a think tank, and now the city's premier leadership network. Peterson is moderator of the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series, which introduces "emerging leaders" to Indianapolis and its problems. "It's something I never went through as a class member. I've always envied those who did," Peterson said of the series, which accepts just 25 applicants each year. "It's...
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For funding, developers may need to think outside box: Amid tight credit markets, getting a project built often takes alternative financing sources, creative approachesRestricted Content

October 27, 2008
Scott Olson
Although the spigot of bank financing has slowed to a trickle, money to fund commercial development projects remains available from alternative sources. Just ask David Amick, executive director of Premier Capital Corp., a local lender that uses federal funds to help finance expansions. "We've got money to lend," he said. "I've got that [message] hung on the door." The fragile credit markets have nearly diminished the ability of companies to borrow. But lenders such as Amick insist the money is...
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Steak n Shake CEO ordering up cost cuts, but shares still sagRestricted Content

October 27, 2008
Cory Schouten

The Steak n Shake Co. has dropped plans to build 20 new restaurants, is cutting overhead expenses by about $20 million, and closed 14 locations. The Indianapolis-based restaurant chain found $16 million in tax savings dating back to 2006 and is working on a new, simple menu built around burgers, fries and milkshakes--all part of a turnaround plan orchestrated by the chain's new CEO, Sardar Biglari.


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Lenders foreclose on at least 20 properties in mortgage schemeRestricted Content

October 20, 2008
Cory Schouten

Charter Homes recruited and paid buyers to take out inflated mortgages on dozens of central Indiana homes it built, promising to manage the properties as rentals and make payments for the owners, current and former Charter business partners say.


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Former rocker rolling along in pizza business: Puccini's founder has 13 locations and countingRestricted Content

October 20, 2008
Sam Stall
For much of his adult life, Don Main was a rocker rather than a restaurateur. But fate-along with a pressing need to find a more profitable line of work-drove him to seek his fortune in a kitchen rather than onstage. Main, president and co-owner of Puccini's Smiling Teeth, began his peculiar career change back in 1990, after a decadeand-a-half stint as a professional-but not very well-paid-musician. At age 36, the bassist and lead vocalist for the band The Late Show...
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BEHIND THE NEWS: Opportunities start to arise for steely nerved investorsRestricted Content

October 13, 2008
Greg Andrews
"Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy only when others are fearful." This philosophy, which Warren Buffett espoused to a group of Columbia University students when he was just 21, has served the billionaire investor well. And it may serve you well as you navigate the ugliest stock market in three decades. To be sure, the thrashing that stocks in Indiana and across the globe have weathered in recent weeks has been nearly across the board-savaging the shares of...
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Real estate agents struggling from trickling home salesRestricted Content

October 13, 2008
Sam Stall

The downturn in the housing market isn't tough just on people trying to sell their homes. It's also tough on the people who want to help those people sell their homes--real estate agents. Locally, their ranks have thinned as more and more leave the field to search for better prospects.


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Advisers get more bullish on ETF option: SEC decision may lead to widespread appeal of mutual-fund alternativeRestricted Content

September 29, 2008
Scott Olson
ETFs have been available in the United States since 1993 and are an alternative to mutual funds that trade just like stocks. But a decision earlier this year from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission could broaden their appeal even more. An ETF is a "basket" of stocks that by itself trades on an exchange just like an individual stock. ETFs contain the assets of large or small companies, real estate investment trusts, international stocks, bonds and even gold. For...
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Simon Property Group exploring overseas marketsRestricted Content

September 29, 2008
Cory Schouten

Simon Property Group Inc. has been readying its balance sheet and sizing up buyout targets in hopes of capitalizing on a worldwide markdown on shopping-center owners.


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EYE ON THE PIE: Economic turmoil hinges on ignoranceRestricted Content

September 29, 2008
Morton Marcus
What we don't know does hurt us. Many builders constructed houses assuming there was a continuing strong market of qualified home buyers. Some mortgage brokers and some bankers gleefully ignored or misrepresented the abilities of home buyers to sustain homeownership. Too many home buyers did not bother to learn what their obligations as homeowners would be. They didn't know about paying property taxes or how adjustable mortgage rates could escalate beyond their capabilities to meet their monthly payments. The companies...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: This Thanksgiving, start making plans for the futureRestricted Content

September 29, 2008
Steven P.
Many of us will visit parents over Thanksgiving and the holiday might be just the time to have a hard-to-hold conversation about financial preparedness. While it can be a difficult conversation to have, its important for adult children to check in with aging parents to make sure they have a plan for retirement and estate needs. It is estimated that about 50 percent of American adults do not have a will, which can result in losing control of your financial...
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M&I Plaza, only 30-percent occupied, may sell at cut-rate priceRestricted Content

September 22, 2008
Cory Schouten

A local real estate developer has emerged as a top contender to buy the 28-story M&I Plaza--potentially at half the $50 million price the building fetched a decade ago. Paul Kite Co. confirmed it is in talks with Maryland-based CapitalSource Inc., which took over the struggling office tower in June after foreclosing on a $5 million mezzanine loan.


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Hands-on strategy turns Mike's Carwash into industry modelRestricted Content

September 22, 2008
Sam Stall

Mike's Express Carwash makes money the old-fashioned way. The second-generation family affair, now celebrating its 60th year, has invested its reserves in steady expansion, becoming a model for the $23.4 billion industry in the process. And its owners still sweat the small stuff.


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Orchestrating moves: Firm that specializes in relocating businesses conducting transition of its ownRestricted Content

September 22, 2008
Scott Olson
Moving coordinating company Relocation Strategies Inc. is used to dealing with companies in transition. Now the firm is undergoing one of its own-albeit of a different sort. Relocation Strategies founder David Bayse is relinquishing ownership to partner Melissa Lamb Brown in a purchase agreement set to be completed within the next four years. She already owns a majority of the business and will acquire the rest in stages. In the meantime, Bayse, 57, will continue to guide Brown, 39, who...
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City Securities' strategy: Stay true to your roots: State's oldest investment bank avoided Wall St. woesRestricted Content

September 22, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
In recent days, as some of Wall Street's most storied institutions teetered, the mood at Indiana's largest and oldest investment firm was almost serene. City Securities Corp. managers tracked news tickers and consulted CEO Mike Bosway, who was on vacation in Ireland, via his BlackBerry. But their biggest concern wasn't the financial underpinnings of their own company. It was tumbling stock prices, which depressed the value of the portfolios of their 15,000 clients. Bosway saw no need to rush home...
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Safeco weighs downtown exit; owners of insurer's building market spaceRestricted Content

September 15, 2008
Cory Schouten

Insurance giant Safeco Corp. is expected to either vacate or scale back its downtown operation next year--a move that could deal a major blow to the office market. At stake are about 700 downtown jobs, some or all of which could be eliminated or shifted to the suburbs. A final decision about the fate of Safeco's five-building downtown office complex likely will come after Boston-based Liberty Mutual completes its $6.2 billion acquisition of Seattle-based Safeco.


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EYE ON THE PIE: What really drives Hoosier economy?Restricted Content

September 15, 2008
Morton Marcus
I enjoy the propaganda of government agencies pleading the causes of special interests. This is the opening sentence of our state profile prepared by the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy: "Small businesses are the heart of Indiana's economy." Frequently, we hear that farming is the beating heart of our economy. Others claim the thumping sound we hear is that of manufacturing. Teachers tell us the economy is only as steady as its educational footing. Steel has a claim...
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Lilly Endowment crawls toward diversification goal: Bear market, low Lilly stock price slow selloffRestricted Content

September 15, 2008
J.K. Wall
Lilly Endowment Inc. is still on its journey to sell off $2 billion of its Eli Lilly and Co. shares. But after a slow start and a few stops for rest, it may take a little longer to get there than originally thought. The endowment, the single largest holder of Lilly stock, announced its plan to diversify its holdings back in July 2006. For nearly 70 years, the not-for-profit held its wealth almost exclusively in the pharmaceutical company's stock. So...
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BEHIND THE NEWS: Cautious streak helps Duke weather tumultuous timesRestricted Content

September 15, 2008
Greg Andrews
Duke Realty Corp. has stayed largely out of the headlines this year, which in an economy like this is a pretty good sign. Another Indianapolis developer, Lauth Property Group, has shed more than half its 450-person work force, and Premier Properties Inc.- perhaps the city's most daring developer-lurched into bankruptcy court. Meanwhile, Duke, which specializes in suburban office and industrial development, keeps on chugging. To be sure, the company isn't immune to broader economic slowdown. In April, it laid off...
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Developer betting on cottage homesRestricted Content

September 1, 2008
Cory Schouten

Buyers in Seattle, Milwaukee and even Bloomington have snapped up new cottage homes in developments that turn the McMansion trend on its dormer-decorated head. But will Indianapolis buyers have a similar appetite for the tiny energy-efficient homes clustered around community greens? A local developer is betting they will.


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SPECIAL REPORT: Charter Homes draws scrutiny for odd sales claims, multiple liens

August 25, 2008
Cory Schouten
Charter Homes owner Jerry Jaquess fancies himself a white knight for King Park, a neighborhood once known mainly for its rampant crime, boarded-up homes and vacant lots. But as he’s constructed a slew of homes and carriage houses there, the local builder has stirred up several lawsuits, dozens of liens and persistent questions about whether his business is legit.
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Charter Homes builder draws scrutiny for odd sales claims, multiple liensRestricted Content

August 25, 2008
Cory Schouten

Charter Homes owner Jerry Jaquess fancies himself a white knight for King Park, a neighborhood once known mainly for its rampant crime, boarded-up homes and vacant lots. But as he's constructed a slew of homes and carriage houses there, the local builder has stirred up several lawsuits, dozens of liens and persistent questions about whether his business is legit.

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Leading Edge ready to expand its territory: South-side real estate player eyes regional growthRestricted Content

August 18, 2008
Cory Schouten
The signs for Leading Edge Commercial Real Estate Services are hard to miss on the south side. And soon, they could be popping up all over central Indiana. The 3-year-old, Greenwood-based brokerage firm has grown from three employees to 14 and now is looking at adding two new offices, including one on the north side. The firm has more than 120 listings, up from about 60 at the start, mostly for office leasing and sales of smaller commercial properties. The...
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