Real estate odds and ends

Northwestern Mutual part of joint venture for Houston development
Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. and Atlanta-based Gables Residential, have formed a joint venture to build a high-end mixed-use community in the upscale neighborhood of River Oaks in Houston.  This is the third partnership between the two companies, including most recently Gables Century Center, a 355-home luxury apartment community in Atlanta. 

The Houston project, called Gables West Ave, will include more than 185,000 square-feet of high-end retail space and 390 luxury residential homes. "The Gables West Ave development will be one of the premier mixed-use communities in the Southwest. Combining high-end apartment living with luxury goods, fashion and hot-list retailers, Gables West Ave will become the destination shopping street in Houston," said Ben Pisklak, regional vice president of investments for Gables in Houston. "Northwestern Mutual developed an appreciation for the significant opportunities this development presents."

Gables Residential claims to be "one of the nation’s most active multi-family real estate investment trusts (REITs) boasting 35,000 residences under ownership or management." Northwestern Mutual has more than $160 billion in assets.  Northwestern Mutual provided a combination construction-permanent loan along with a portion of the equity for the development. 

"This partnership with Gables Residential is founded on their expertise in finding great real estate investment opportunities and developing successful communities," said Kevin Westra, director of real estate for Northwestern Mutual. "We are pleased to be associated with the Gables West Ave development, a future Houston landmark."

Shorewest Realtors New Berlin office sees surge in sales
Brookfield-based Shorewest Realtors says its New Berlin office sold $33 million in real estate in April, up from $23 million in April of 2007. The office, named Shorewest’s office of the year last year, had 152.5 listings during April. "We’re off to another great start," says Wendy Ekstrom, sales director of Shorewest’s New Berlin office. "While some say the market is slow, we¹re experiencing all-time records." Ekstrom said that with the increased number of listings and rapid sales, her office could use a few more professional sales associates. If someone currently has his or her real estate license, they could start immediately."

Pekel Construction wins Remodeling magazine award
Wauwatosa-based Pekel Construction & Remodeling Inc. recently received a 2008 Big50 Award from Remodeling magazine. Each year, Remodeling magazine honors 50 companies for professionalism and integrity through smart marketing, exemplary business practices, unique design, and extraordinary impact in their community or the industry at large.

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