Sunday, May 18, 2003

Industry notes

Commercial real estate

By Ken Alltucker
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Ohio wants to split commissions

The state of Ohio's real estate services division figures it can save $800,000 a year if it splits commission checks with private, commercial real estate brokers.

That means a private-sector broker who negotiates a lease with a state agency for a new office or warehouse could expect to see a commission check drop from 6percent to 3percent of the deal's value. The other 3percent would be funneled back to the state to help support the real estate services division.

The brokers who work for the state would be required to become licensed real estate agents, and they would be busy, too. Ohio law forbids state agencies from signing a lease greater than two years, so renewals are frequent.

While the move wouldn't make the agency self-supporting, it would fund almost half of the $1.7 million budget dedicated to a 10-position real estate division and four-position interior design group. It's one of a series of measures proposed by Gov. Bob Taft to help the state climb out of a fiscal crisis.

Privately, some commercial brokers grumble that the proposal could drive up rents for office buildings and warehouses.

Tenant's move leaves Northmark II empty

Ethicon Endo-Surgery has moved to Duke Realty Corp.'s One Ashview Place building in Blue Ash, leaving empty the 95,000-square-foot Northmark II.

Owners of Northmark II plan to upgrade the building, including improvements to the lobbies and common areas, according to listing agent Michele Laumer of Carey-Laumer Commercial Realty.

Other amenities at Northmark II include a fitness center, cafeteria and covered parking.

New restaurant opens off Norwood Lateral

Stevens Hospitality opened a new restaurant this weekend next to the Quality Hotel & Suites property on Montgomery Road off the Norwood Lateral.

Brinkley's, which opened at the site of the former Dockside VI restaurant, will feature specialties such as slow-roasted prime rib and Boston Scrod.

Planning and building of the restaurant has been in the works since Steven W. Mullinger purchased the 148-room hotel from Frisch's Restaurants in 2001.

Mullinger hopes the restaurant's location will attract diners off Interstates 75 and 71.

Two firms are planning more than a half-million square feet of office development just north of the lateral. Al Neyer Inc. is finalizing plans for a mixed-use development anchored by Kroger and more than 300,000 square feet of office space.

Lakewood, Colo.-based The LandBank Group recently purchased the adjacent American Laundry headquarters. The firm cleans up older industrial sites, and it expects to build almost 250,000 square feet of office space.

Ken Alltucker covers commercial real estate for the Enquirer. Call him at (513) 768-8384 or e-mail

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