Crescent Resources and Manulife Financial team up to build Phipps Tower in Atlanta



    -- Construction begins on 20-story, LEED-designed office building on
    prime Buckhead site --

    ATLANTA, March 11 /CNW/ - Crescent Resources, LLC, in a financial joint
venture with Manulife Financial, has begun construction of Phipps Tower, a
LEED-designed 20-story office building on a prime Buckhead site. Bordered by
Peachtree Road, Lenox Road, and Phipps Boulevard and across from the
Ritz-Carlton Buckhead Hotel, the 486,000 square-foot, $175 million office
tower will be linked to the prestigious Phipps Plaza mixed-use development.
    "Manulife has been looking to invest in the Buckhead market for several
years and the combination of Phipps Tower and Crescent Resources presented us
with an outstanding opportunity," said Stephani Kingsmill, Senior Vice
President and General Manager of Manulife's Real Estate Division.
    Projecting a January, 2010 opening, John S. Bell, Crescent's Vice
President, said Crescent has been talking with several prospective tenants and
that the location and design of Phipps Tower have earned favorable reviews.
    "The market is very active right now," said Mr. Bell, who is directing
leasing of Phipps Tower. "We've identified more than 500,000 square feet of
qualified prospects presently in the market and another two million square
feet in lease expirations within the project's leasing period."

    The Buckhead Advantage
    -----------------------
    Mr. Bell cited three major characteristics of the site and development
plan that provide a competitive advantage for Phipps Tower:

    
    -   Address: a Peachtree Road address adjacent to Phipps Plaza and the
        Ritz-Carlton at Buckhead's most prestigious intersection - Peachtree
        and Lenox;
    -   Access: the Phipps Tower site is only one block and one stoplight
        from Georgia 400 and can be entered from Lenox Road, Peachtree Road,
        and Phipps Boulevard, offering Buckhead's best access; and
    -   Amenities: Phipps Tower will be connected to more than 100 upscale
        shops and restaurants at Phipps Plaza and will provide pedestrian
        access to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
    

    "The Phipps Tower location is a tremendous advantage," added Mr. Bell.
"The vacancy rate for buildings on the Buckhead Loop is an incredibly low 6%."

    Building Design and Green Features
    -----------------------------------
    Commenting on the building's distinct architectural elements, Rugel
Chiriboga, Director of Design for Little Diversified Architectural Consulting,
said, "With its light colored, floor-to-ceiling glass curtain-wall, Phipps
Tower's design maximizes the soft natural light falling into offices and
presents tenants with Buckhead's most scenic vistas and most dramatic skyline
views. The first impression of the building from every approach is memorable,
and its contemporary exterior and distinct top tie neatly into the existing
context at the most noteworthy corner in Buckhead."
    With a terraced garden plaza and convenient front-door drop-off, Phipps
Tower will offer parking for more than 1,100 cars and covered pedestrian
access to Phipps Plaza. Its five-level deck provides direct access to tower
elevators from each level. Lobby-level amenities will include a white
tablecloth restaurant, cafe, and convenience shop.
    Phipps Tower has been registered with the U.S. Green Building Council for
LEED certification and will incorporate many energy conservation and
sustainable design strategies. The building will feature energy efficient air
and lighting systems, water and plumbing conservation systems, and enhanced
air quality measures, each providing for a higher level of tenant comfort and
significantly reducing the consumption of non-renewable natural resources
during the construction and operation of the property.

    The Joint Venture
    ------------------
    "Phipps Tower is representative of the high quality, customer focused and
sustainable design for which Crescent Resources projects are best known", said
Patrick Henry, Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer for
Crescent's commercial division. "We are very pleased to be making this
investment in what will be a truly outstanding addition to the Atlanta
skyline."
    Crescent, which has been active in Atlanta commercial real estate since
1995, also has developed Class A office buildings and business parks in
Gwinnett, north Fulton, Cobb, Douglas, and Forsyth counties. Crescent also is
developing two upscale country club communities in Gwinnett County, The River
Club and Sugarloaf Country Club, home of the PGA's AT&T Classic.
    Manulife is equally excited by the joint venture opportunity. "Manulife
is actively looking for core/core plus office and industrial investment
opportunities in or around our key U.S. investment markets of Atlanta, Los
Angeles, Washington D.C., Boston and Chicago," said Ms. Kingsmill. "Manulife
is eager to lend its financial strength, investment, operations and technical
capabilities to this project."
    Manulife, which entered the Atlanta equity real estate market in 1998,
now has an Atlanta portfolio totaling more than three million square feet with
the addition of Phipps Tower. "Phipps Tower is an exceptional complement to
our portfolio and expands Manulife's presence to Buckhead, giving us
high-quality assets in each of Atlanta's major Intown submarkets," said Terry
Gilliam, Assistant Vice President and Regional Director for Manulife's Atlanta
real estate office.

    About Crescent Resources
    -------------------------
    Crescent Resources, LLC is a land management and real estate development
company with interests in 10 states in the southeastern and southwestern
United States. Based in Charlotte, N.C., Crescent is a joint venture between
Duke Energy and Morgan Stanley Real Estate. Established in 1969, Crescent
creates mixed-use developments, award-winning country club communities,
single-family neighborhoods, apartment and condominium communities, Class A
office space, business and industrial parks and shopping centers. More
information on Crescent Resources can be found at www.crescent-resources.com.

    About Manulife Financial's Real Estate Division
    ------------------------------------------------
    Through its Real Estate Division, Manulife Financial is actively involved
in the ownership, development and management of commercial real estate. The
portfolio includes a diversified mix of prime office and industrial properties
in key metropolitan centers throughout Canada, the United States and Japan. In
addition to equity real estate, the Real Estate Division manages Manulife
Financial's space requirements and own use facilities to accommodate the
Company's 21,000 employees worldwide. As at December 31, 2007, Manulife
Financial's real estate portfolio totals 26.4 million square feet and
represents a carrying value of Cdn$4.9 billion (US$4.9 billion).

    About Manulife Financial
    -------------------------
    Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group
serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide.
Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia, and primarily through John
Hancock in the United States, the Company offers clients a diverse range of
financial protection products and wealth management services through its
extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Funds under
management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$396 billion
(US $401 billion) as at December 31, 2007.
    Manulife Financial is one of two publicly traded life insurance companies
in the world whose rated life insurance subsidiaries hold Standard & Poor's
Rating Services' highest "AAA" rating.

    Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE,
and under '0945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet
at www.manulife.com.


    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/




For further information:

For further information: Media inquiries: Ernie DiRico, DiRico &
Associates Public Relations, (404) 255-3696,
ejdirico@diricooublicrelations.com; Laurie Lupton, Manulife Financial, (416)
852-7792, laurie_lupton@manulife.com


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890