Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) Founder Mark Zuckerberg Provides New Meaning To The Phrase “The one percent”

Mark Zuckerberg, who is a web entrepreneur of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and one of the world’s youngest billionaires, came up with a new meaning to the phrase the one percent. The term was popularized in 2011 when the Occupy Wall Street movement used it to protest growing U.S. income inequality.

The Facebook Inc. founder has used a 30-year adjustable-rate mortgage starting at 1.05 percent in order to refinance a $5.95 million mortgage on his Palo Alto, California, according to public records for the property. Redfin Corp revealed the two-floor white wood-sided house that was built in 1903 on a 9,011 square-foot or about 837 square-meter lot has five bedrooms along with 5-1/2 baths.

The home is located in a secure area behind a gated drive and a wall of groomed shrubbery which is about three miles that equals about 4.8 kilometers from Stanford University and same distance from Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters. Zuckerberg got married this year on May 19, to Priscilla Chan in the backyard.
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Greg McBride, who is a senior financial analyst with Bankrate Inc., a North Palm Beach, Florida-based firm that keeps record of interest rates, said while nearly all lending rates have hit record low levels in 2012, the borrowing costs that are swallowed by high-net-worth individuals are still lower if the person is ready to accept the risk associated with monthly interest rate adjustments.

Large increases are doubtful in near-term with the Federal Reserve providing a sign it will maintain interest rates near zero for more than two years. McBride said in an e-mail when anyone borrows at a rate less than inflation, he/she is borrowing at no cost and called that the concept of using other people’s money. He added it helps the borrower to maintain financial flexibility.

Joseph E. Stiglitz, who is a Nobel Prize-winning economist and last month published a book “The Price of Inequality”, said the top one percent of U.S. citizens holds a fifth of the country’s income and have power over at-least a third of its wealth.

Freddie Mac, the McLean, Virginia-based mortgage-finance Company reported on July 12 the average rate on a one-year adjustable loan was 2.69 percent, higher as compared to a record low 2.68 percent faced a week ago. Same day, the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was decreased to a record low 3.56 percent.

GF Management Affiliate Acquires Holiday Inn Charlotte University

GF Management, a leading national hotel ownership and management company, announces that one of its affiliate, UPHIC Associates, LLC, has acquired the 174-room Holiday Inn Charlotte University in Charlotte, NC. The hotel will maintain its Holiday Inn flag and will remain open during a scheduled $5 million renovation.

The acquisition of the Holiday Inn Charlotte University is GF Management’s first since 2006, and represents the culmination of a strategy developed to expand the company’s owned portfolio. Jeffrey Kolessar, Senior Vice President Development of GF Management, stated: “We restructured our acquisition division in early 2011 to identify ownership opportunities that match our investment criteria and allow GF to grow through acquisitions, in addition to our thriving management business. This acquisition is the first of many we expect to complete during the coming years either as internal investments or with equity partners.”

Beacon Hospitality Partners, a global hospitality advisory firm, served as advisor to the seller. “It was a pleasure to work with GF throughout this transaction,” said Brian Waldman, Managing Director of Beacon. “They exhibited professionalism and attention to detail throughout the process, a clear indication that they are serious about acquiring quality hotels. Thanks to GF’s focus and efficiency, the transaction was extremely smooth and even closed a week ahead of schedule.”

With this acquisition, GF owns or manages 22 hotels under the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) family of brands, including 12 Holiday Inns. Chris Drazba, Vice President, Owner & Franchise Services for IHG stated: “We are excited to work with GF as owner and operator of another Holiday Inn. GF knows what it takes to renovate and operate a successful hotel, maintaining above-average operating results and guest satisfaction. They always take pride in the product presented to the guest, and we are certain the Holiday Inn Charlotte University will be no exception.”

Since acquiring its first hotel in 1988, GF has grown into one of America’s leading hotel owners and managers with 15 hospitality assets now under ownership by its principals and affiliates. GF’s current owned and managed portfolio consists of more than 130 hospitality assets in 32 states, comprising over 22,600 rooms.

The Holiday Inn Charlotte University is located just north of center-city Charlotte featuring 174 guestrooms and boasting 5,000 square feet of flexible meeting space. The hotel also offers a business center and complimentary wireless high speed Internet. The University Patio & Grill is the on-site restaurant and lounge. Additional leisure amenities include a fitness center and outdoor pool.

Travelers Introduces New Wind Credit for Fortified Homes on Eve of Hurricane Season

Travelers today announced it is introducing a wind credit for fortified homes in Texas that meet established standards designed to resist the impacts of tropical storm and hurricane winds. Travelers currently offers similar credits in Alabama and Mississippi.

“Homes built to meet these stringent standards are better able to withstand severe weather, saving lives and reducing property losses, and we want to promote and raise awareness of these smarter building practices,” said Greg Toczydlowski, President of Personal Insurance for Travelers. “We hope this initiative and meaningful wind credit will encourage homeowners, builders and building officials to adopt these disaster resistant standards.”

“I appreciate Travelers expanding this initiative in Texas,” said Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman of the Texas Department of Insurance. “We know that mitigation works to reduce loss of life and property. And now, coastal homeowners in Texas can also save money on their insurance costs. This is a win-win for consumers and their communities.”

The announcement was made at the hurricane preparedness symposium sponsored by the Travelers Institute, the Insurance Institute for Building and Home Safety (IBHS) and Ceres, who joined to convene business, government and community leaders to identify solutions for protecting and insuring the increasingly densely populated regions along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

“We’ve seen first-hand the significant economic and social implications of coastal storms in the U.S., and Travelers continues to take a leadership role in helping prepare businesses and homeowners for the upcoming hurricane season,” said Joan Woodward, Travelers Executive Vice President of Public Policy and President of the Travelers Institute. “2011 was a record year for severe weather, and the importance of disaster preparedness, response and recovery, as well as sound policy, is more apparent than ever. We applaud the tremendous efforts the City of New York engaged in as they prepared for Hurricane Irene in 2011.”

Jim McConnell, Assistant Commissioner for Strategic Data in the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM), keynoted the event and discussed best practices that the city employed in preparing for Hurricane Irene. “OEM works every day to develop plans and prepare for emergencies, as well as to educate the public about preparedness, coordinate emergency response, and collect and disseminate emergency information. We believe our response in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene provides best practices for response efforts both in New York and across the country,” he said.

At the symposium, two panels addressed the current challenges regarding the availability and affordability of coastal wind insurance for homeowners as well as disaster preparedness, response and recovery.

IBHS’s Debra Ballen moderated the first panel, which included:

Ken Katz, Risk Control, Travelers
Nancy Rodrigues, Build Smart Virginia
Giovanni Taylor-Peace, Global Disaster Response Team, Habitat for Humanity International
Dave Treutel, Smart Home America
“Preparing for hurricanes means much more than just having bottled water and flashlights on hand,” said Debra Ballen, IBHS General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Public Policy. “While these items are important, we need to look at the bigger picture. Building stronger, safer communities is the most effective way to ensure that residents and businesses are prepared for and can recover from hurricanes. We have already seen two named storms before this year’s Atlantic Hurricane Season officially begins June 1. These early storms demonstrate how critical preparedness is, and IBHS is pleased to join with Travelers and Ceres today during National Hurricane Preparedness Week to discuss proven strategies that can save lives and reduce devastating property damage.”

Cynthia McHale from Ceres moderated the second panel, which included:

Robert Hartwig, Insurance Information Institute
Eleanor Kitzman, Commissioner of the Texas Department of Insurance
Eric M. Nelson, Catastrophe Management, Travelers
Stephen Weinstein, RenaissanceRe
“We know that 2011 was a devastating year for extreme weather events in the United States,” said Mindy Lubber, President of Ceres. “These events triggered a record 99 federal disaster declarations and were marked by their severity and frequency, and we are proud to partner with Travelers to identify solutions to these issues.”

The Travelers Institute released a report with key findings from its two year symposium series on the coastal insurance crisis. The report makes several recommendations, many of which reflect the principles within the Travelers Coastal Wind Zone Plan, the company’s proposal for a private, market-based solution without federal subsidies. They include:

A stable and consistent regulatory environment, with a uniform set of rules applied to named storm wind coverage for coastal zones from Texas to Maine.
Transparency in calculating insurance premiums, with risk-based, actuarially sound rates using approved standards and wind risk models, and a rating calculation mechanism to be applied if models and actual experience become misaligned over time.
Federal reinsurance mechanism for extreme events (such as hurricanes causing losses several times greater than those arising out of Hurricane Katrina), with the reinsurance made available to insurers at cost so there would be no taxpayer subsidy, and the savings passed directly to customers.
Encouraging stronger homes through federal guidelines for appropriate building codes and land use planning, with incentives for state and local adoption, plus enhanced construction technology and meaningful premium credits for customers who make their homes less vulnerable to wind damage.

Historic Fairmont San Francisco Hotel Is Purchased by Oaktree Capital Management and Woodridge Capital Partners

The world renowned Fairmont San Francisco Hotel atop Nob Hill was sold today for close to $200 million to a consortium led by an affiliate of Oaktree Capital Management LP and real estate investor Michael Rosenfeld and his Woodridge Capital Partners LLC. The hotel was purchased from Maritz, Wolff & Co., which acquired its investment in the hotel in 1998 in partnership with Kingdom Holding, which is retaining its interest. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, based in Toronto, Canada, will continue to manage the storied hotel.

The Fairmont San Francisco opened in 1907. The Beaux Arts-style building was designed by New York architectural firm McKim, Mead & White and Julia Morgan, also well known for her design of Hearst Castle. Over its 105-year history, it has been home to many “firsts” from the drafting of the United Nations Charter to Tony Bennett’s premiere of “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” The Fairmont was home to America’s first concierge, and since its opening, has served as the San Francisco residence for U.S. presidents, world leaders and entertainment stars.

John Brady, head of global real estate for Oaktree Capital Management, said, “We look forward to joining Oaktree’s significant real estate experience and an investor base that includes prominent public and corporate pension funds together with longstanding relationships with Woodridge, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Kingdom Holding and our new partners – the hotel’s outstanding employees and the City of San Francisco, one of the truly great cities of the world.”

With 591 guest rooms and suites and over 55,000 square feet of conference and function space, the hotel is renowned for its three restaurants and lounges including the Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar with its thunderstorms and floating stage. Its location at 950 Mason Street atop Nob Hill offers spectacular views of the city and the Bay, and is the only spot in San Francisco where each of the city’s cable car lines meet.

Michael Rosenfeld stated: “The Fairmont San Francisco hotel’s rich history, elegance and beauty make it a one-of-a-kind property that cannot be replicated today. We are excited to be in such a distinguished partnership with a property that symbolizes the great City of San Francisco.”

DoubleTree by Hilton Opens First Tucson Airport Hotel

DoubleTree by Hilton proudly announces the opening of an upscale full-service, all-suite hotel, situated near Tucson International Airport (TUS) and just minutes from downtown Tucson and the University of Arizona.

The 204-room DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Tucson Airport, is located in one of the largest business corridors of the Valley of the Sun, near many Fortune 500 companies, including Raytheon, Intuit and IBM. The hotel is easily accessible to the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, the Arizona Air National Guard, University Medical Center, Diamond’s Children Medical Center and the Tucson Electric Park/Kino Sports Complex.

The DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Tucson Airport is also a gateway to tourist attractions in Southeast Arizona, best known for Tombstone, Arizona, affectionately called “the town too tough to die”, the Historic San Xavier del Bac Mission, the scenic Arizona-Sonora Desert and Museum, Old Tucson Studios and the Pima Air & Space Museum.

Formerly a Radisson Hotel, the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Tucson Airport is celebrating its new affiliation with a variety of new product and service enhancements both inside and outside the property, including a newly redesigned lobby.

Rob Palleschi, global head, DoubleTree by Hilton, said, “DoubleTree by Hilton now invites our loyal business and leisure customers to stay with us in Arizona, with the opening of the new DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Tucson Airport hotel that embodies an upscale, completely renovated full-service hotel with exceptional service. This newest DoubleTree by Hilton hotel location extends our commitment to welcoming the world’s travelers in key destinations and providing a comfortable, amenity-rich hotel experience for visitors alike to work and play.”

The hotel is owned by Tucson Suites, LLC and operated under a franchise license agreement with a subsidiary of Hilton Worldwide.

DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Tucson Airport guests will benefit from the characteristic qualities found at the brand’s more than 295 DoubleTree by Hilton locations in 23 countries, including the signature welcome with the legendary warm chocolate chip cookie presented to every guest at check-in, an array of upscale amenities and guest services, the rewards of the Hilton HHonors guest loyalty program, and a unique and caring team member commitment to the local community.

The tastefully appointed and spacious suites at the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Tucson Airport feature modern comforts and conveniences including a private bedroom with separate living room, suited to today’s business and leisure travelers. In-room amenities include complimentary wireless high-speed internet access in guest suites as well as in public areas throughout the hotel; spacious work desks with ergonomic chairs; 40-inch, high-definition, LCD TVs; MP3-compatible alarm clocks; plush bedding and combed cotton linens; Wolfgang Puck in-room gourmet coffee and tea service; and refreshing Crabtree & Evelyn Citron bath and body products. The hotel also offers complimentary airport transfers.

The DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Tucson Airport features 12,000 square feet of flexible conference space for conventions, business meetings, training seminar banquets and elegant weddings and social events, including the two ballrooms, the largest at 4,788 square feet, which can accommodate up to 225 guests. The hotel offers a 24-hour self-service business center and complimentary printing service that includes print-from-your room convenience. For guests who wish to keep up with their workout program while traveling at the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Tucson Airport, a 24-hour fitness facility and an outdoor swimming pool are available.

Finnegan’s Restaurant offers a variety of delicious menu items in a casual, friendly atmosphere. Keep up with the latest news or watch a variety of sports on the big screen televisions while having lunch or dinner. The hotel also serves the brand’s signature Wake Up DoubleTree Breakfast, which includes hot entrees and healthy options to start the day right. At the end of a busy day, guests can unwind with a fine selection of refreshing cocktails at the hotel’s bar. Room service also is available during peak dining hours.

Associa Mexico Realty Services Acquires Elite Destinations

Associa Mexico Realty Services, an Associa company, strengthens its presence in the Mexico market with the acquisition ofElite Destinations.

“This new partnership further strengthens our presence in Mexico,” said Joey Carona, senior vice president of Associa. “Elite Destinations offers luxurious private retreats for those looking for a truly unforgettable vacation and experience.”

Elite Destinations is Snell Real Estate’s private vacation home rental division that offers ultimate luxury and unsurpassed services in the destination’s finest collection of private luxury vacation homes. With extravagant short-term accommodations in the most spectacular and unique collection of private luxury homes available in Los Cabos, the community offers all the magnificence and customized service of the finest hotels, with enhanced space, privacy and independence, all in the comfort of a private home.

The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts Reaches 80 Hotels Worldwide with the Debut of Keraton at The Plaza, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Jakarta

The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: HOT), announced today the opening of its 80th hotel with the debut of Keraton at The Plaza, a Luxury Collection Hotel, the brand’s first hotel in Jakarta. The hotel opening also marks the first of four new Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts which will debut in Asia within the next six months, including The Royal Begonia in Sanya, China, Twelve at Hengshan in Shanghai, China and ITC Grand Chola in Chennai, India.

The Luxury Collection brand is an ensemble of the world’s finest hotels and resorts in more than 30 countries. As the newest member of The Luxury Collection brand, Keraton at The Plaza joins a portfolio of celebrated and iconic properties around the world including The Gritti Palace in Venice, Hotel Alfonso XIII in Seville, Hotel Pulitzer in Amsterdam, The Romanos in Costa Navarino and The Chatwal in New York City.

“As The Luxury Collection portfolio grows and the nature of our guests becomes more global, it is exciting to introduce Keraton at The Plaza as our first of four new build hotels in Asia this year – a hotel that is at once is a portal to the rich cultural heritage of Jakarta and a gateway to experience the city’s contemporary art, design and cuisine,” says Paul James, Global Brand Leader, The Luxury Collection and St. Regis Hotels & Resorts.

Located in the heart of Indonesia’s capital and situated at Jalan Thamrin, one of the most prestigious addresses in the city, Keraton at The Plaza is a distinct and intimate luxury hotel offering a unique, modern interpretation of the rich Indonesian culture. Connoting ‘palace’ in Javanese, Keraton at The Plaza will feature an intimate 140 sumptuously appointed guest rooms and suites, each a haven of Javanese luxury with floor-to-ceiling windows and state of the art in-room technology. The hotel will also introduce the brand’s signature Luxury Collection Concierge service to all guests and promises the most discerning global travelers an extraordinary experience.

Exceptional Art & Design

Already celebrated for its distinct architecture and interior design, Keraton at The Plaza is inspired by the diversity of Indonesia’s geography and culture and features splashes of color, rich woods, and intricate Batik floral patterns throughout the hotel. The interior design, developed with SCDA Singapore and BuregaFarnell Pte. Ltd., celebrates local influence, from an intricate mural of Javanese artwork displayed at the porte-cochère to an abstract piece hand-carved from rick Mahogany wood and adorned with antique gold, depicting a royal welcome. Guests are invited to discover the eclectic collection of art throughout the hotel and in a dedicated gallery, both curated by the renowned design firm Hadiprana Artworks of Jakarta as well as local artists discovered by Mira Hadiprana.

Exquisite Culinary Experiences

Bengawan is the signature restaurant at Keraton at The Plaza, providing an authentic five-star Indonesian dining experience and featuring a customized menu that incorporates local flavors and indigenous ingredients from the islands. Located on the seventh floor with spectacular views of Jakarta, the indoor and outdoor restaurant provides a respite from the bustling city below wrapped in lush foliage and surrounded by soothing water features.

Located on the lobby level, the Keraton Lounge is a delightfully elegant venue serving traditional High Tea each afternoon. Fusing English and Javanese High Tea traditions, the Keraton Lounge features a lavish selection of hot and cold delicacies served with an extensive collection of local and international teas. In the evening, the Keraton Lounge offers classic cocktails, an international selection of wines and a variety of locally-inspired drinks.

A Perfectly Poised Palace

Located on the northwest coast of Java, Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia and its largest city. Prominently situated near to Jakarta’s most famous roundabout and the gateway for visitors, Keraton at The Plaza is perfectly poised in the downtown business district, just 30 kilometers from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK) and minutes from the enchanting and private oasis.

Jakarta’s best sites are within walking distance, including the iconic city landmark statue Selamat Datang, the world’s last wind-powered trading schooners at the picturesque 17th century port Sunda Kelapa, Pasar Baru, an area that dates back to the Dutch colonial era and On weekends visitors are invited to view the official residence of the Indonesian president at Presidential Palace, or enjoy the captivating views from the observation deck at Monas, the city’s most famous landmark located in the centre of Freedom Square. Other evocative entertainment can be found at the Jakarta Arts Theater, a fully restored, neo-renaissance building which showcases a wide array of indigenous, international and traditional art performances.