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GFI looks beyond the credit crunch

GFI Capital Resources Group is taking a long-term view of the current credit crunch. The New York-based company continues to work in its core commercial sales/finance, retail, acquisitions, mortgage banking, development and insurance businesses.

 "We've been through market cycles similar to this before, and although this cycle appears to be more dramatic, we are sticking to our principles. We will move slowly and cautiously with all of our investment decisions and will continue to buy for long term value," said Allen Gross, president and CEO.

Most recently, GFI has acquired multifamily properties, including 144 North 8th Street in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn and The Colony building. Both are failed condo developments, where GFI is finishing construction and is now targeting the buildings for rental tenants. "We are not in the business of buying big pools or portfolios of loans," Gross said.

GFI recently developed the Ace Hotel Palm Springs, which has opened for business this month on schedule and under budget, and has already reported 80% occupancy. The company is also developing ACE Hotel New York, opening at the end of March. The ACE line is geared toward young, trendy and thrifty travelers. GFI's third hotel, The NoMad, is a more upscale, boutique hotel.

The company's New York hotels are located at 28th Street and 29th Street and Broadway in midtown, Gross said, adding that GFI sought to capitalize on demand in this particular up and coming neighborhood. The ACE Hotel New York, at 29th Street and Broadway, was formerly the Hotel Breslin. In 1910, the Breslin was one of the top hotels in New York but over the years had fallen on hard times. GFI saw tremendous potential in the positioning of the property and completed a thorough renovation, which includes original art and a record player, complete with vinyl records, in each room. All of GFI's development properties are below replacement cost with a capital structure and are designed to survive the downturn. 

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