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Grubb & Ellis renames Axiom Real Estate Services Reflecting the efforts to closely coordinate leasing and management, Northbrook, Ill.-based Grubb & Ellis Co. has renamed Axiom Real Estate Services to Grubb & Ellis Management Services Inc., effective Sept. 1. Axiom is a wholly owned subsidiary of Grubb & Ellis that provides traditional third-party property management and facilities management services.

Currently, Grubb & Ellis/Axiom has more than 90 million sq. ft. of commercial space nationwide under management.

Transwestern, cigna form owner/operator joint venture In an attempt to reach its target of $150 million of equity, Transwestern Investment Co. (TIC), Chicago, has acquired a 50% interest in a Houston portfolio owned by cigna Investment Management. Comprising more than 1 million sq. ft., the portfolio consists of four office buildings and one service center/flex property, which will all become part of TIC's Transwestern Office Partners II L.P. (TOP II) fund.

Dallas-based Transwestern Property Co.'s Southwest Division will manage and lease the five projects.

Starwood names L.J. Melody national correspondent Starwood Capital Group LLC, a privately held real estate investment organization, has named L.J. Melody & Co., a CB Commercial company in Houston, as a correspondent for its $830 million Starwood Opportunity Fund IV LLC. Melody will originate investments nationally through its own 19 production offices and through co-brokerage arrangements with other mortgage bankers.

Jay Wagley, a first vice president in the Dallas office of L.J. Melody, will oversee the origination of the new alliance, which will invest in highly leveraged transactions up to 95% loan to value that may be leveraged with senior debt to create favorable returns to Starwood investors and partners.

Prudential Atlanta/Georgia Realty creates virtual office The 21-office Prudential Atlanta/ Georgia Realty has introduced its Office II concept, a virtual workplace for real estate offices. Taking into consideration the amount of time real estate agents spend in the office, Prudential has invested in technology more than office space in order to provide its agents with the tools they need to support a more mobile work style, including business and technological tools, training on all system hardware and software and core system components.

Legg Mason to serve as Florida correspondent for cigna Building on a correspondency relationship, cigna Investment Management has appointed Legg Mason Real Estate Service, a wholly owned subsidiary of Baltimore-based Legg Mason Inc., as its originating and servicing correspondent for the state of Florida. Legg Mason Real Estate Services has assumed full servicing responsibilities for cigna's $262 million Florida commercial loan portfolio.

Kennedy-Wilson, Goldman Properties join forces In order to enhance its services to Asian customers, Kennedy-Wilson International has formed a joint venture with Goldman Properties, creating Kennedy Goldman (HK) Ltd. Goldman Properties is an offshoot of Colliers Jardine, one of Hong Kong's largest real estate brokerage companies.

Raymund Fung will head Kennedy Goldman as managing director of Hong Kong and Chinese operations.

Former AEW, TrizecHahn execs start investment management firm Adam S. Berger and Patrick J. Sullivan, former AEW Capital Management directors, and Neil J. Jacob, former senior vice president of TrizecHahn, have formed Chatham Capital Partners LLC, a Boston-based real estate investment management firm.

The firm, an affiliate of Boston-based General Investment & Development Co., will make corporate-level equity investments in middle-market real estate operating companies with gross assets of $50 million to $150 million. Chatham will focus on companies with geographic or product niches that require growth capital to maximize market opportunities.

Crescent, Morgan Stanley agree to acquire The Woodlands Corp. Crescent Real Estate Equities Co., in partnership with Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund II L.P., has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire The Woodlands Corp., a transaction valued at approximately $543 million. The Woodlands Corp. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitchell Energy Development Corp. and it owns, develops and operates The Woodlands, a 27,000 acre master-planned project 27 miles north of downtown Houston.

Crescent's participation in the venture with Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund II L.P. will be in the 35% to 50% range and will be finalized prior to closing of the transaction.

Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund II L.P. is an affiliate of Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter and the Discover Co., with more than $6 billion of properties worldwide.

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