NewsTalk Texas

IBEX Global hiring 600 in San Antonio 

(11/25/2014 9:00:00 AM)

SAN ANTONIO - IBEX Global on Monday announced a new call center opening in San Antonio and will conduct a job fair for the site from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 1 at 12449 Silicon Dr.

The center initially will hire 300 customer service and technical support agents in December to support a telecommunications client, with an additional 300 to be hired in February.

This is the tenth U.S. site for IBEX Global and the second in the area in the last two years.

Read more at the San Antonio Express-News.

Houston Community College's $24M and $18M projects 

(11/25/2014 8:30:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Houston Community College will break ground on projects at its Northline and West Loop campuses under the college's $425 million Groundbreaker Bond Program in December.

Construction on the $23.5 million Northline campus project will add 40,373 sf of space including a three-story parking garage with 476 parking spots and an instructional building.

The new instructional building will add classrooms, labs, an art studio and a fitness-training center, among other things, to the campus.

The $18 million West Loop campus project will add a 768-space parking garage, which will be designed to accommodate two additional levels of parking in the future.

HCC's Groundbreaker Bond Program involves 14 projects across all six colleges in the system, including updates to existing structures, new instructional buildings and additional parking garages.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Wichita Falls home sales increase in Oct. 

(11/25/2014 8:30:00 AM)

WICHITA FALLS - In October 2014, 112 existing homes were closed on, up 1.8 percent from 110 in September 2014, but 1.7 percent less than the 114 closed on in October 2013.

Although only two more homes sold in October 2014 compared with September 2014, the total value of homes sold was about $1.8 million more — $13.8 million in October and $12 million in September.

The year-to-year comparison showed a difference of about $700,000, with October 2013 being the better of the two at about $14.5 million in sales.

Total sales in 2014 continue to lag behind 2013’s number by about 5.5 percent, decreasing from 1,199 in 2014 to 1,269 in 2013. The total volume in the first ten months is down about 3 percent for the year with $149.3 million in 2014 compared to $154.3 million during the same time in 2013.

“We say we have a ... very challenging market for sellers,” said Denny Bishop, owner of Bishop Realtor Group. “It’s a price war and a beauty contest in the real estate business, and you can’t win (just) one side of it. You have to win both sides of it as a seller.”

Read more about the Wichita Falls Times Record-News.

Longview home sales Oct. 2014 

(11/25/2014 8:00:00 AM)

LONGVIEW - The Longview Area Association of Realtors said 1,925 homes were sold through the first ten months of the year in its Multiple Listing Service, which covers Gregg, Harrison, Cass, Marion, Panola, Rusk, Smith, Upshur, Wood, Camp, Titus and Morris counties.

The same period in 2013 saw 1,817 homes sold.

The average sales price through October was $161,313. That was down just more than 2 percent from an average of $164,948 in October 2013.

New homes are typically moving faster than existing homes, according to Jeff Ramsey, owner of Ramsey Realty Group. “The oil and gas industry is a very large part of our driver here for homes sales and buying,” he said.

“Our medical communities are growing here. Longview is one of seven retirement communities in the State of Texas. It draws more people looking to retire and move here, which drives up more medical," Ramsey said.

Low interest rates also have played a role in the strong market, and Ramsey expects interest rates to remain steady through about the middle of 2015, when they might increase by a quarter- or half-percent as the economy continues to improve.

Longview Area Home Sales Oct. 2014
Month Avg. # Sold Avg. Sale Price
2014 2013 2014 2013
Jan. 122 143 $152,984 $143,967
Feb. 158 124 $161,904 $152,544
March 196 196 $152,240 $153,223
April 157 203 $175,144 $164,861
May 221 175 $168,044 $171,169
June 212 217 $161,213 $203,264
July 222 211 $163,394 $168,347
Aug. 216 210 $159,756 $161,375
Sept. 204 181 $160,183 $155,730
Oct. 217 157 $157,175 $159,553
Total 1,925 1,817 $161,313 $164,940


Source: Longview Area Association of Realtors

Read more at the Longview News-Journal.

Kyle Field's west side set for implosion in College Station 

(11/25/2014)

COLLEGE STATION - The west side of Kyle Field is set for implosion on Dec. 21, less than a month after the stadium becomes a construction zone.

The construction team in charge of the $450 million Kyle Field redevelopment will have 290 days to implode and rebuild the west side of the stadium and renovate the north side before the 2015 football season.

Preparation for the demolition began weeks ago, but construction is officially set to kick off two hours after the finish of the game against LSU. The stadium won't open again until Sept. 15, 2015.

When complete, the stadium will seat 102,512, with 12 seats to be left open in honor of those who died in the 1999 bonfire collapse.

In addition to new suites, premium areas, concession stands and bathroom facilities, the stadium will also see the addition of the Hall of Champions.

Other changes will include the opening of the press box on the east side of the stadium, which remained under construction during the season.

Read more at The Eagle.

Another good month for San Antonio job seekers 

(11/25/2014)

SAN ANTONIO - The San Antonio region’s unemployment rate came in at 4.6 percent for October, a slight drop from September’s 4.7 percent.

The dip, reported by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, was the second consecutive monthly decline, as employers continued to quickly add jobs.

Non-seasonally adjusted regional data showed slight monthly growth in industries including trade, transportation and utilities, professional and business services, and education and health services.

Mining and logging, which includes jobs in oil and gas, shed jobs in the region, as did construction, manufacturing, and leisure and hospitality.

San Antonio’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate was consistent with declines seen in all of the state’s major metropolitan areas, with the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area showing the largest drop — of 0.3 percentage point.

Read more at the San Antonio Express-News.

For more employment stats, see the Texas Workforce Commission and San Antonio Market Data Sources.

Katy: 82-unit senior living Legacy at Falcon Point complete 

(11/25/2014)

KATY - Legacy at Falcon Point, an 82-unit assisted living and memory care facility, is complete.

Occupying a prominent, seven-acre site at 1520 Katy Gap Rd., the two-story, 64,281-sf facility is a luxury development within a mile of the Katy Mills Mall, as well as Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital.

Legacy offers 60 assisted-living residences and 22 units designated for memory care residents. The residential wings each represent different “neighborhoods” and offer their own distinctive themes.

They are arrayed around a central “Main Street” where residents can avail themselves of an assortment of amenities, including a movie theater, spa, restaurant, fitness center and sports bar. Together, these features comprise a pioneering “Main Street and Neighborhood” site layout and design concept.

Features and finishes of the center include wireless RFID door-entry systems, identity lighting and advanced camera systems that monitor all areas outside resident apartments to help ensure instant assistance when needed.

The facility was constructed on behalf of PinPoint Commercial LP.

Read more at Multi-Housing News.

El Paso airport passenger traffic up in Oct. 2014 

(11/25/2014)

EL PASO - Passenger traffic at El Paso International Airport increased 6.3 percent in October 2014 from September 2014, but only increased 1 percent from October 2013.

The airport was used by 233,280 passengers in October 2014, an increase of 13,834 people from September 2014, and an increase of 2,301 from October 2013. From January through October 2014, El Paso's passenger traffic increased only 1 percent from the same period in 2013 to 2.32 million.

Freight traffic in October 2014 increased almost 11 percent from September 2014, but declined almost 2 percent from October 2013.

The airport handled 7,917 tons of freight in October 2014, an increase of 762 tons from September 2014, but a decrease of 138 tons from October 2013Freight handled by the airport from January through October declined almost 3 percent from the same period in 2013 to 72,249 tons.

Read more at the El Paso Times.

Texas Tech HSC recognized as top online college 

(11/25/2014)

LUBBOCK - Texas Tech University’s Health Sciences Center (HSC) was ranked 24th on Edudemic’s list of the Top 25 Online Colleges in the state of Texas. Furthermore, it was the only health science center to be recognized in the whole list.

There were 488 schools evaluated in order to identify the best online program in Texas. The list was decided after looking at the cost of tuition, academic support, retention of information, graduation rates, program offerings and course diversity for each course examined.

The HSC was recognized for its efforts in diverse online education options and student support offered in the programs.

HSC currently offers nine programs that students can complete online and do not have to be on location to participate in. These programs include clinical services, management and registered nurse courses to clinical laboratory sciences for bachelor’s degrees.

The online service also includes master’s programs, which vary from clinical practice management, nursing education, nursing administration and rehabilitation counseling.

“We are the only health sciences center on the list, which means we are a top choice for prospective students seeking a health care education, graduate or bachelor’s degree without the traditional classroom,” said Jessica Bagwell, senior editor of the HSC Office of Communications and Marketing.

Read more at the Daily Toreador.

Stream Realty buys 61 acres in Northlake for industrial park 

(11/25/2014)

NORTHLAKE - Developer Stream Realty Partners has bought a 61-acre building site where it plans to construct an industrial park. The property is near the intersection of I-35W and SH 114.

The Northport 35 Business Center will contain 945,035 sf of industrial space in three buildings, according to Cannon Green, managing director & partner for Stream Realty Partners.

Stream Realty is teaming up with Clarion Partners on the project. The first building will be ready in December 2015.

Read more at the Dallas Morning News.

Rockspring jumps to 28-acre Leander tract 

(11/25/2014)

LEANDER - Rockspring Capital has purchased a 28-acre tract near Old FM 2243 and US 183.

The Houston-based land investment firm plans to take the land through the platting process and then sell it to a multifamily developer.

The land is currently zoned for apartments and retail uses.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Houston: Marcus & Millichap 4Q 2014 apartment report 

(11/24/2014 10:30:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Houston ranks atop most U.S. metros for job creation, household formation and net migration, which supports expectations for the local apartment market to finish the year strong, according to Marcus & Millichap's Fourth Quarter 2014 ApartmentResearch Market Report.

Multifamily permit activity jumped 74 percent to nearly 24,600 units during the past 12 months. During 2014, Houston’s prime renter-age cohort will grow by 1.9 percent, or 26,100 residents, and developers will complete 13,100 apartments, a sizable increase from 2013, when 9,600 units were delivered.

Completions will pick up in the fast-growing communities to the far north, including The Woodlands and Spring/Tomball areas, where a collective 2,220 apartments are already on tap for 2015.

Here are the top five submarkets ranked by vacancy rate:

Submarket Vacancy Ranking
Submarket Vacancy
Rate
Effective
Rent
Y-O-Y
Change
Katy 3.2% $1,135 6.5%
Sugar Land/Stafford 3.4% $1,146 6.9%
Gulfton/Westbury 3.5% $854 1.3%
Cypress/Waller 3.5% $1,055 3.3%
Greenway Plaza/Upper Kirby 3.6% $1,562 1.3%

Source: Marcus & Millichap

Click here to see the full ApartmentResearch Market Report for 4Q 2014 from Marcus & Millichap. Also, see Multifamily under Houston Market Data Sources for more apartment info!

Detailing Central Houston's new ten residential projects 

(11/24/2014 10:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Surge Homes Development LLC, a new Houston real estate developer and builder, is launching ten residential projects, mostly inside the I-610 loop.

Surge plans to build single-family homes, townhomes and Class A condominiums in prime neighborhoods. Prices will range from $125,000 for a condo unit in Midtown to $1.5 million for a single-family home in The Heights.

The company was recently founded by Louis Conrad and Ben Lemieux, who each have nearly 25 years of experience in the real estate industry, developing single-family homes and condominiums in Canada and Houston.

Here are the details of the new projects:

•  Downtown (103 N. Jackson St.): Condos from $125,000 to $755,000

•  Greater Heights (1800 W. 15th St.): Single-family homes from $535,000 to $954,000

•  Houston Heights (150 Frasier St.): Single-family homes from $631,000 to $1,465,000

•  Midtown (4001 Main St.): Condos from $125,000 to $757,000 and townhomes from $360,000 to $659,000

•  Midtown (2401 Crawford St.): Condos from $144,000 to $288,000, townhomes at $342,000, sky townhomes from $219,000 to $432,000 and single-family homes from $425,000 to $728,000

•  Museum District (1820 Binz St.): Townhomes from $391,000 to $521,000 and single-family homes from $520,000 to $929,000

•  Museum District (4819 Caroline St.): Condos from $125,000 to $883,000 and single-family homes from $550,000 to $984,000

•  Spring Branch East (7500 Westview Drive): Single-family homes from $401,000 to $964,000

•  Upper Kirby (3410 Morningside Dr.): Townhomes from $391,000 to $521,000 and single-family homes from $430,000 to $1,087,000

•  Woodland Heights (2810 Beauchamp St.): Townhomes from $319,000 to $637,000 and single-family homes from $565,000 to $1,007,000

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Katy Raising Cane Island wiith 2,000 homes 

(11/24/2014 8:00:00 AM)

KATY - Cane Island, Katy’s first master-planned community, designed for a 1,000 tree-lined site, will add 2,000 new homes to the area. The homes will be priced from the $200,000′s to more than $1 million.

Developer Rise Communities said the community was named after the 1872 settlement that later became Katy. The new development will be four miles west of the Grand Pkwy. and off I-10 at the Cane Island Pkwy., which is expected to open around the same time. The community is slated to open mid-2015.

The Cane Island development team will complete the community’s first phase with 13 model homes, including traditional family and luxury patio homes, in seven neighborhoods. Homebuilders include Coventry Homes, David Weekley Homes, Perry Homes, Ryland Homes, Shea Homes, Toll Brothers and Trendmaker Homes.

The first phase of development will include an amenity center with an outdoor amphitheater, a family pool with an adjacent splash pad, an adult pool and a two-story fitness center including a health spa and yoga studio.

Future phases will include installing a trail system and a new waterway. The company also hopes to bring a new Cane Island Elementary School.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

San Antonio: health care/biosciences industry eclipses $30B 

(11/24/2014 7:30:00 AM)

SAN ANTIONO - The economic impact of health care and the biosciences was $30.6 billion in 2013, up from $23.5 billion in 2012, according to a study by Trinity University professors Richard Butler and Mary Stefl.

More than 32 percent of the economic impact from health care and the biosciences is driven by the city's highly competitive hospital sector. Pharmaceutical, research and education activity accounts for another 21 percent of the estimated impact.

Employers in the health care/bioscience industry paid out nearly $8 billion in wages in 2013, according to the study. More than one in six San Antonio workers are employed by the industry.

In the last ten years, San Antonio's health care and biosciences industry has added more than 41,500 net new jobs — an increase of 40 percent.

Over the last decade, the economic impact from San Antonio's hospital sector has increased by 130 percent. That growth rate can be tied to a number of factors, including continued infrastructure expansion.

Methodist Healthcare, for example, has continued to invest in its infrastructure. The health care system and has begun work on a $250 million project that will involve the expansion of two of its South Texas Medical Center hospitals.

Read more at the San Antonio Business Journal.

DFW: Marcus & Millichap 4Q 2014 apartment report 

(11/24/2014)

DALLAS-FORT WORTH - While apartment completions in DFW have surged, the vacancy rate has retreated to its lowest level on record since 2001, according to Marcus & Millichap's Fourth Quarter 2014 ApartmentResearch Market Report.

This tightening in the market can be attributed to strong job creation and nation-leading net migration and household formation driving renter demand to new heights.

During the past 12 months, the multifamily sector recorded a 46 percent increase in permits issued to approximately 19,540 units.

Builders will deliver 18,200 apartments to the Metroplex this year. The forecast reflects a 40 percent increase from 2013 and the most sizable annual addition since 2000.

Here are the top five submarkets ranked by vacancy rate:

Submarket Vacancy Ranking
Submarket Vacancy
Rate
Effective
Rent
Y-O-Y
Change
Rockwall/Rowlett/Wylie 2.7% $1,121 5.3%
Richardson 3.6% $1,080 4.4%
Garland 3.6% $778 5.1%
Far North Dallas 3.7% $838 5.0%
Northwest Dallas 4.1% $803 6.8%

Source: Marcus & Millichap

Click here to see the full ApartmentResearch Market Report for 4Q 2014 from Marcus & Millichap. Also, see Multifamily under Dallas-Fort Worth Market Data Sources for more apartment info!

Lennar's 69,000-SF Houston HQ underway 

(11/23/2014)

HOUSTON - A new two-story, 68,950-sf office building at 681 Greens Pkwy. is underway. It will be the new Houston headquarters to Lennar Homes of Texas Land and Construction Ltd.

Lennar, whose parent company is based in Miami, is the largest home builder in Houston, based on its 2013 gross local revenue of $575 million, according to Houston Business Journal research.

The new office building will be across the street from its current offices and will house 225 associates from Lennar, Village Builders, Friendswood Development Co., Universal American Mortgage Co. and North American Title Co.

Dallas-based commercial real estate development and investment firm KDC and Dallas-based Sarofim Realty Advisors are developing the project.

The built-to-suit project will include a 5,000-sf design center to showcase Village Builders' in-home product offerings, plus an open, two-story lobby. It will be adjacent to a five-acre detention pond, which will feature a walking trail and extensive landscaping.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

REOC Austin office 3Q 2014 

(11/22/2014 8:00:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Employment growth and an expanding economy continue to drive demand for office space, according to REOC Austin’s 3Q 2014 report.

According to the survey of nearly 42 million sf of Austin area office lease space, area properties experienced 337,467 sf of positive net absorption in 3Q 2014. The total gain was split between Class A properties, with 161,087 sf, and Class B properties, with 169,704 sf.

The Austin office market closed the quarter with a citywide vacancy rate of 9.0 percent, down compared to 9.7 percent in 2Q 2014 and 11.8 percent in 3Q 2013.

In all, the market has nearly 3 million sf of office space currently under construction. Roughly 725,000 sf is expected to come online in 4Q 2014 led by two downtown projects — IBC Bank Plaza (195,378 sf) and Seaholm Power Plant Building (113,063 sf).

The citywide average quoted rental rate climbed $0.72 to reach $26.06 per sf per year, up 2.8 percent from 3Q 2013.

Austin 3Q 2014 Office Report
Submarket Total
Inventory
Total
Vacant SF
Vacant Avg. Quoted
Rent Rate
CBD 8,355,282 668,708 8.0% $34.93
Central 2,246,769 216,659 9.6% $25.10
North 942,488 184,453 19.6% $19.17
Northwest 13,021,065 1,140,070 8.8% $26.80
Far Northwest 3,532,895 334,858 9.5% $24.37
Northeast 1,855,269 211,688 11.4% $16.40
South 1,688,035 88,707 5.3% $24.15
Southeast 915,462 119,054 13.0% $19.09
Southwest 8,463,665 674,998 8.0% $28.08
Round Rock 884,716 124,263 14.0% $20.11
Totals 41,905,646 3,763,458 9.0% $26.06


Source: REOC Austin

Click here to see the full 3Q report.

For more stats, look under Office in Austin Market Data Sources.

El Paso ranks No. 5 for snowbirds, retirees 

(11/22/2014 7:30:00 AM)

EL PASO - El Paso is the fifth-best city for snowbirds looking for nice weather, affordable and available apartments, according to Apartments.com's annual list of the "top 14 cities for snowbirds and retirees."

Apartments.com evaluated the following factors:

•  median age: A population indicator that offers opportunities for friendship with peers
•  average cost and availability of two-bedroom apartments: affordable living options with room for family visitors
•  median income: an indicator of a thriving economy
•  weather: only includes cities with at least a 60 percent average of days of sunshine annually
•  key amenities: flexible leasing options for short- or long-term stays, plus air conditioning

El Paso's average rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $837, however, its young population likely hurt its ranking.

Plano ranked twelfth with rent for a two-bedroom apartment averaging $1,233.

Read more at the El Paso Times and Apartments.com.

Prosper next boomtown? Star Trail paves way to 1,850 homes 

(11/22/2014)

PROSPER - Work will soon begin on the 979-acre Villages of Star Trail, an 1,850-home community along the future Dallas North Tollway route.

The project is expected to break ground in first quarter 2015, according to developer Blue Star Land Co., which is owned by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

The first phase of the community will include about 300 homesites, according to Joe Hickman, who leads Blue Star Land Co.

New houses in Prosper don’t come cheap. Most of the homesites in the town cost $100,000 or more, according to housing analyst Ted Wilson of Residential Strategies.

“The average new home value is in excess of $400,000,” said Robert Winningham, who heads the Prosper Economic Development Corp. “We have held to pretty high standards here."

The Villages of Star Trail is just part of the housing boom going on in Prosper. “We will hit close to 500 new homes this year,” said Winningham.

Read more at the Dallas Morning News.

Houston: Remington Square's 201,000-SF Phase II underway 

(11/22/2014)

HOUSTON - Remington Square phase II, an eight-story office building with 201,293 sf at 10713 W. Sam Houston Pkwy. N., is underway.

The project is owned by Sun Life Financial and is being developed and leased by Stream Realty Partners. Completion is planned in November 2015.

Remington Square consists of two buildings with more than 190,000 sf of office space which is 96 percent leased. The project also offers a landscaped park area with benches, water features and community gathering places.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Austin's 99,000-SF Crossroads Shopping Center sold 

(11/22/2014)

AUSTIN - The 98,918-sf Crossroads Shopping Center at 9070 and 9094 Research Blvd. has been sold.

Major tenants include Plucker's Wing Bar and Chili's Grill & Bar. Records at the Travis Central Appraisal District indicate a value of about $15.6 million for the shopping center.

Houston-based MWM Fund II Ltd. purchased the retail center from XRDS LP of Glendale, New York.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

The Woodlands: 36% of employers are energy-related 

(11/22/2014)

THE WOODLANDS - The Woodlands has become a sought-after area for energy companies, especially since Exxon Mobil Corp. announced in 2011 it would build its corporate campus just south of The Woodlands.

The campus, which is 20 percent complete, will eventually house at least 10,000 employees. In addition, Exxon leased 478,000 sf at Hughes Landing and expects to move in during the first half of 2016.

The are 8,210 businesses that call The Woodlands area home. Houston Business Journal's List of the 25 Largest Employers in The Woodlands shows that 36 percent are energy-related.

The Woodlands largest employers list breakdown by sector:

•  Energy: 36%
•  Government: 20%
•  Hospitality and retail: 16%
•  Health care: 12%
•  Banking and finance: 12%
•  Media: 4%

Source: HBJ research

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

ABoR: Austin area home sales Oct. 2014 

(11/21/2014 7:30:00 AM)

AUSTIN - The Austin Board of Realtors has released home sales facts for October 2014. Below is a snippet of cities that you might want to see. There's more at the link below!

• The median price of existing single-family homes remained at $239,000, the same seen in September 2014.
• Existing single-family home sales decreased -6.5 percent from September 2014, totaling 2,048 sold units.
• Condos increased in price to $215,500, up 7.2 percent from September 2014.
• Existing condo sales increased 14.5 percent from September 2014, totaling 245 sold units.

Select region cities are represented below along with statistics from the ABoR MLS area as a whole.

Austin Region Sales and Price Activity by Units Sold
MLS Wide Median Price
  Oct. 2014
Price Chg.
Oct. 2013
Units Sold
Oct. 2014 
Sale Chg.
Oct. 2013
ACTRIS* (single-family) $239,000 11.2% 2,048 10.5%
ACTRIS (condo) $215,500 19.7% 245 4.3%
Region Cities**        
Austin $300,250 10.8% 856 5.4%
Round Rock $214,032 9.8% 201 6.3%
Georgetown $265,000 20.7% 122 7.0%
Pflugerville $181,850 0.3% 116 20.8%
Cedar Park $243,500 8.7% 99 12.5%
Leander $189,000 1.9% 77 -9.4%
Kyle $166,500 11.1% 61 29.8%
Hutto    $171,000 17.9% 57 14.0%
Buda $229,000 10.1% 45 36.4%

*Austin/Central Texas Realty Information Service
**Data include single-family only and represent select region cities that sold at least 45 units during October 2014.

See Housing under Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos Market Data Sources or see the full report from the Austin Board of Realtors.

Dallas' 440-unit Mosaic paints a new picture with sale 

(11/21/2014 6:44:00 AM)

DALLAS - Downtown Dallas’ largest loft apartments — the 440-unit Mosaic — has a new owner. 

The two-building rental community, at Akard St. and Bryan St., has been for sale for several months. The Mosaic cost more than $90 million to develop in 2006 and 2007. The new owner says it plans a multimillion-dollar renovation.

The former office buildings — a 21-story building constructed in 1952 and a 31-story tower added in 1962 — previously housed Fidelity Union Life Insurance Co.

“Mosaic is a huge milestone for Olympus Property,” co-founder Anthony Wonderly said. “The Mosaic is our first high-rise and located close to our corporate headquarters.”

Olympus Property purchased the project from Chicago real estate investors who acquired the buildings in 2010.

Read more at the Dallas Morning News.

Calif. buy for San Antonio's The Estates at Canyon Ridge 

(11/21/2014)

SAN ANTONIO - FSC Realty has purchased The Estates at Canyon Ridge, a 270-condominium property in the Stone Oak community.

The Estates at Canyon Ridge, at 20614 Stone Oak Pkwy., is a 27-building complex on about 20 acres. Developed in 2007, the property is about two miles from the SH 281 and Loop 1604 interchange.

The property has units that are an average of 1,200 sf and feature direct garage access.

The purchase price of the condominium complex was not disclosed, but The Estates is appraised at $33.5 million, according to information from the Bexar County Appraisal District.

Read more at the San Antonio Business Journal.

Houston wired for nation's 1st Energy Institute High School 

(11/21/2014)

HOUSTON - The Energy Institute High School, the nation's first energy high school, finally has a permanent location to call home.

The plan is to build a $37 million, 110,000-sf magnet school campus at Southmore Blvd. at Tierwester St., which is south of downtown and Texas Southern University, at the 12-acre site of the former Lockhart Elementary School, according to the Houston Independent School District (HISD).

HISD said the high school, which is in its second year and second temporary location, will house 800 students, which is twice its current enrollment. The goal is to start construction in the second half of 2015 and open in 2017 with construction lasting 18 to 24 months.

The high school initially opened last year in the Heights at I-610 and North Durham Dr. in converted HISD office space, but the location was too small for the long term.

It relocated temporarily this summer to its current site at the controversially closed Dodson Elementary southeast of downtown off I-45.

The school has an energy and STEM focus — science, technology, engineering and math — but not exclusively centered on oil and gas. The school prides itself on treating its students like project managers with less reliance on the classic classroom experience.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

NRG Energy's Bacliff peaking plant to power 70,000 homes 

(11/21/2014)

BACLIFF, GALVESTON COUNTY - NRG Energy Inc. has begun work on a 360-megawatt, natural gas-fired peaking plant on a 230-acre site. Upon completion, the plant is expected to power more than 70,000 homes during peak time.

The site of the new facility is part of the former PH Robinson power plant, which was decommissioned in 2009 and demolished in 2012. Upon build out, natural gas will power six GE 7E economical, fast-start combustion turbines.

In addition, consistent with Texas’ water constraints, the units will not require water for cooling purposes and will have the potential to help integrate wind and solar power into the ERCOT grid.

The facility is being built by a partnership between BTEC Turbines and Rockland Capital for $400 per kilowatt. The price is significantly lower than that of a new peaking plant because the gas turbines will be relocated from a site in New Albany.

Furthermore, NRG has two other 850-megawatt facilities planned for the Houston region. The company received a green light from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for one of them and is expecting approval for the second one in early 2015.

Read more at Commercial Property Executive.

Farmers Branch: Duke's spicy deal for two HQ's in 93,000 SF 

(11/21/2014)

FARMERS BRANCH - Duke Realty Corp. will soon begin work on a new project for two tenants: Advanced Spice & Trading and Valdez Corp.

The Indianapolis-based developer plans to build a 93,000-sf, build-to-suit industrial building on 5.5 acres in Valwood Park for the two companies to distribute spices and seasoning to customers. Both companies currently operate from Carrollton.

The new facility will serve as the new corporate headquarters for both companies. Advanced Spice will set up shop in 55,100 sf and Valdez will occupy the remaining 37,900 sf.

Along with the tract, Duke Realty also owns an additional 217 acres throughout Dallas-Fort Worth, including South Dallas, North Dallas and DFW International Airport. The developer has the ability to build 4.4 million sf of industrial and office space.

Read more at the Dallas Business Journal.

EZCorp rolling to 140,000 SF in Rollingwood 

(11/21/2014)

ROLLINGWOOD - EZCorp Inc., the Austin-based pawnshop chain and payday lender, has signed a major lease at a new development under construction in Rollingwood.

EZCorp will occupy 140,000 sf at Rollingwood Center, currently being built by Endeavor Real Estate Group near the northwest corner of S. Mopac Expy. and Bee Cave Rd.

EZCorp. is consolidating six local offices and around 300 employees. The move-in is scheduled for fall 2015.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Austin's Westin Hotel tops out; other brands break ground 

(11/21/2014)

AUSTIN - Construction on the 366-room Westin Hotel on Congress Ave. has topped out. The hotel plans to welcome its first guests in summer 2015.

The 17-story hotel will have 14,500 sf of conference and meeting space, including a 4,500-sf ballroom.

The hotel activity in downtown Austin continues at a pace matched only by much larger metros such as New York City and Washington, D.C.

Westin’s developer, White Lodging, is also developing the 1,012-room JW Marriott down the street that is expected to open in February 2015.

The $370 million Fairmont Austin recently broke ground and is projected to deliver 1,066 rooms when it opens June 2017.

Hotel Zaza is under construction as well, and will add 160 rooms to the market when completed late 2016.

The Hotel Van Zandt is under construction on Rainey St., and a hybrid Hotel Indigo/Holiday Inn Express is under construction at E. 9th St. and Neches St.

Across town near Westlake, the Hotel Granduca is taking shape and recently was added to a special collection of luxury hotels.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

74,000-SF data center opens in San Antonio’s Westover Hills 

(11/21/2014)

SAN ANTONIO - A new 74,000-sf data center has been opened by Stream Data Centers at 9550 Westover Hills Blvd. in Westover Hills on the far West Side.

The center is LEED Silver certified and is designed to withstand a 185 mile per hour tornado and other inclement weather.

The data center also has been equipped with other safety features, including backup generators and two electrical companies supplying power to its servers should one power source go down.

San Antonio is a good place to build a data center due to its stable weather, its educated workforce and dependable electric grid, according to Anthony Bolner, Stream's managing director.

Read more at the San Antonio Business Journal.

345,000-SF industrial center to 'Park' in Grand Prairie 

(11/21/2014)

GRAND PRAIRIE - Avera Companies is building a 345,150-sf distribution complex at the northwest corner of SH 161 and January Lane, south of I-30.

Park 161 Distribution Center will be on 18.8 acres and is scheduled to open in early 2015.

Avera has more than 800,000 sf of properties in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Read more at the Dallas Morning News.

$250M Stoneleigh tower adds 70 luxury condos in Dallas 

(11/21/2014)

DALLAS - The $250 million Residences of the Stoneleigh at the southwest corner of Maple Ave. and Wolf St. is nearly completed.

At build-out, the 22-story condominium project will house about 70 residences that will be custom built by custom home builders, such as Crescent Estates Custom Homes and Sharif Munir Custom Homes.

The average home is 3,500 sf, with many homeowners seeking to enlarge their footprint by taking double units or more-square footage.

The condo prices range from $350 to $800 per sf, depending on the customized build-out of the home.

Right now, the tower is roughly 25 percent to 30 percent occupied on a per-sf basis, according to developer Mehrdad Moayedi said.

The Stoneleigh tower also includes a 30,000-sf park — larger than most condo towers — an infinity pool, cabana area and a hot tub.

The Residences at the Stoneleigh weren't always an easy bet. In 2009, the tower was abandoned when its then-owners landed in bankruptcy court.

Moayedi bought the project out of bankruptcy for $4.55 million in 2010.

Read more at the Dallas Business Journal.

San Angelo airport statistics up year-over year Sept. 2014 

(11/21/2014)

SAN ANGELO - The San Angelo Chamber of Commerce has released San Angelo Regional Airport-Mathis Field data for September 2014 in the most recent edition of the San Angelo Business Barometer.

San Angelo Regional Airport Mathis Field
  Sept.
2014
Sept.
2013
Enplaned 5,544 5,277
Deplaned 5,438 5,232
Enplaned YTD 48,059 44,446
Deplaned YTD 48,034 43,977


See the November 2014 edition of the San Angelo Business Barometer for more information.

College Station's ninth elementary school underway 

(11/21/2014)

COLLEGE STATION - Spring Creek Elementary, the district's ninth elementary school, is underway. It is located on a 14-acre piece of land in the Castlegate neighborhood.

The school uses close to one-fourth of the $83.5 million in bond funds that were approved last November.

The new school will sit between Greens Prairie and Creek View Elementaries and will help take some of the pressure off of those two campuses, said College Station Superintendent Clark Ealy.

In the past five years, College Station saw an increase in enrollment of slightly over 20 percent, or nearly 2,000 students.

The new principal of Spring Creek Elementary, Stormy Hickman will set up at an office in the district headquarters and begin everything from purchasing pens and pencils to hiring school administration and staff. The new school is set to open August 2015.

District administration is working with the City of College Station and engineers to plan roads around the new elementary school and accommodate future traffic from Hwy. 40 and Barron Rd.

With the neighborhood Castlegate II developing and more residential and commercial properties under construction in the area, the district is bracing for more growth to come.

Read more at The Eagle.

Bedford revs to 80,000-SF Harley-Davidson dealership 

(11/20/2014 7:00:00 AM)

BEDFORD - Adam Smith's Texas Harley — one of the largest Harley-Davidson dealerships in the nation — has begun construction on its new Texas Harley store in the 1800 block of Airport Fwy.

The new 80,000-sf flagship store and will consolidate the dealership's three-building setup.

The expansion will consolidate the dealership's sales, service area and administrative offices under one roof in a new two-story building.

Along with the new space, Texas Harley will have 35,000 sf under roof for outside event space for the store's weekly social events that range from community fundraisers to live concerts.

Smith, who has owned Texas Harley-Davidson since 2011, also owns Texoma Harley-Davidson.

Adam Smith's Texas Harley-Davidson is already among the top ten Harley dealerships in the United States in terms of service, finance and sales volume. The flagship store is set to open fall 2015.

Adoptable dogs from the Bedford Animal Shelter were at the event in Harley gear. A fearful black chihuahua had been hiding on the lot for several months. After being rescued and dressed in Harley gear, he was ready to be adopted.

The facility's signage will include "You'll never ride alone" in true Texaas Harley-Davidson fashion.

A grand finale of 150-foot-high orange and black explosives was used to "break ground," along with a custom-made shovel topped with Harley handlebars for Smith.

Read more at the Dallas Business Journal, PRNewswire and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Listen to Podcast 236 for more Small Towns, Big Deals.

Sherman's birthday gift wrapped in Kaiser Aluminum 

(11/20/2014 6:45:00 AM)

SHERMAN - Kaiser Aluminum has announced a $5.8 million upgrade to its facility at 4300 S. US 75. The expansion will add seven jobs to the 145-employee plant, which makes components for aircraft and automobiles.

Kaiser has entered into a $232,000 agreement with the Sherman Economic Development Company (SEDCO) to help offset the cost of the project.

Kaiser Aluminum operates 12 North American plants and has significantly expanded its footprint in Sherman’s Progress Park since taking over a warehouse there from Capital Products in 1964.

SEDCO estimates its return on investment for the Kaiser incentive at seven years, which will be captured through increased property taxes. Grayson County records show the Kaiser facility is valued at more than $4.6 million, with another $9.1 million in manufacturing equipment.

New federal regulations requiring higher fuel efficiency have played a large role Kaiser’s growth, according to Plant Manager Max Gorman. In order to reduce vehicle weights and increase fuel efficiency, car manufacturers are substituting lightweight aluminum bodies for heavier metals such as steel.

Read more at the Herald Democrat.

Listen to Podcast 236 for more Small Towns, Big Deals.

EPA finalizes greenhouse gas permit in Corpus Christi 

(11/20/2014 6:45:00 AM)

CORPUS CHRISTI - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued two final greenhouse gas (GHG) Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) construction permits to M&G Resins, to build a new chemical process plant and utility support facility.

M&G Resins plans to build a new polyethylene terephthalate resin manufacturing complex along with a collocated combined support system for heat and power utility generation.

The support system will be used for steam and electrical demands. The project will emit up to 1.2 million tons of CO2 annually.

The additions will bring over $1 billion in capital investments, create 3,000 construction jobs, 250 long-term operations jobs and 700 support positions in the local area.

Source: EPA

Houston: $69 million buy for 450,000-SF 600 Jefferson Tower 

(11/20/2014 6:40:00 AM)

HOUSTON - A partnership of Stream Realty Partners and DRA Advisors has purchased the 20-story 600 Jefferson office tower downtown. Brookfield Property Partners closed the sale for $69 million, generating $56 million of net proceeds at BPY’s share.

United Airlines is the anchor tenant in the 450,000-sf building, which is 91.4 percent leased.

Covering an entire city block, the 600 Jefferson tower is bordered by Jefferson St. on the north, St. Joseph Pkwy. on the south, Smith St. on the west, and Louisiana St. on the east.

“We will be investing a significant amount of capital into the building during the first nine months of ownership,” said Paul Coonrod, managing director and partner with Stream Realty.

The upgrades will include renovating the exterior façade and lobby, upgrading finishes to Class A consistency and changing the building’s address.

The overall vacancy rate in downtown is less than 10 percent — one of the best rates in the country — and rents have been rising sharply. Some Class A buildings are quoting rents in excess of $40 per sf, a record high.

The building was purchased from Brookfield Office Properties. The Harris County Appraisal District appraised the building at $55.2 million, but the actual sales price in today’s market would be higher.

Read more at Realty News Report and Securities and Exchange Commission.

Round Rock Crossing tracking to 90,000 SF in 2015 

(11/20/2014 6:30:00 AM)

ROUND ROCK - The 460,000-sf Round Rock Crossing shopping center at I-35 and SH 45 is poised to add as much as 90,000 sf of space in 2015, according to the Weitzman Group.

The center is anchored by a Target store, with other retailers including Gander Mountain, Michaels, Best Buy, Stein Mart and Dollar Tree.

The shopping center is currently 98 percent occupied, according to Britt Morrison, a senior vice president at the Weitzman Group. Several prospective tenants are close to signing deals for space in the center’s next phase.

Construction is expected to start in early 2015.

“The third phase will be designed for a variety of anchor and junior anchor concepts, as well as specialty tenants,” Morrison said.

The center serves a trade area with about 222,000 people, including 80,000 households within a five-mile radius, according to the Weitzman Group.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Five Austin towers ownership all shook up, uh-huh! 

(11/20/2014 6:28:00 AM)

AUSTIN - A partnership between Parkway Properties Inc. and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CSTRS) that owned several prominent downtown buildings has been dissolved, causing the ownership of those buildings to change.

Parkway Properties said it has acquired the CSTRS’s 60 percent stake in the 21-story San Jacinto Center at 98 San Jacinto Blvd., and the 30-story One Congress Plaza at 111 Congress Ave., and now owns both buildings outright.

Meanwhile, Parkway Properties transferred its 40 percent ownership stake in the 33-story Frost Bank Tower at 401 Congress Ave., the 32-story One American Center at 600 Congress Ave. and the 23-story 300 W. 6th St. to the CSTRS.

Parkway Properties said it also received $43.6 million from the CSTRS as part of the transaction.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Two Houston Marriott hotels part of $107 million deal 

(11/20/2014)

HOUSTON - Chatham Lodging Trust, a hotel real estate investment trust, has acquired four hotels, including two Marriott-related properties in Houston’s Inner Loop, for $107 million.

The two hotels in Houston are the 120-room Residence Inn by Marriott West University, at 2939 Westpark, near Kirby Dr. and the 100-room Courtyard by Marriott West University, 2929 Westpark, near Kirby Dr.

The other two hotels are the 179-room Hilton Garden Inn in Burlington, Mass. and the 176-room Courtyard by Marriott Dallas in Addison, Texas.

The purchase was connected with Chatham’s previously announced acquisition of a 52-hotel, 6,976-room portfolio from Inland American, a $1.1 billion deal.

Read more at Realty News Report.

Flower Mound's Lakeside DFW 76 percent leased 

(11/20/2014)

FLOWER MOUND - Realty Capital Management LLC, developer of the Lakeside DFW mixed-use development, has leased 76 percent of the project’s first phase.

Phase I consists of six buildings with 50,000 sf of commercial space on the ground floor, plus a 45,000-sf movie theater.

Tenants who have signed leases include Cavaro Prime Brazilian Steakhouse, Paradise Bistro and Coffee Co., Taverna del Lago, Bottle & Bottega, Elite Pups Luxury Dog Daycare & Spa, Majestic Nail Spa, The Lodge Barbershop, Amber Michelle Salon, Engel & Volkers and State Farm Insurance.

Phase I is set for completion early 2015, with businesses opening throughout the first half of 2015.

Lakeside DFW is located at the intersection of FM 2499 and Lakeside Pkwy.

Read more at Texas Real Estate Business.

New record set! Leander issues over 1,000 home permits 

(11/20/2014)

LEANDER - The City of Leander has issued more than 1,000 permits for new homes this year — setting a new record for the city — and the number is still climbing.

City staffers said by the end of 2014 the number of permits could exceed the city’s total permits issued from 2009–2012.

The demand is leaving staffers struggling to keep up and planning to reorganize the Leander Building Inspection Department.

From 2009–2011 the City of Leander issued builders 943 single-family housing permits.

In 2012, the city issued 418 permits, and in 2013 the city issued 666 permits. As of Oct. 31, the city’s issued permits in 2014 had reached 1,016.

The growth in single-family housing development is not in specific areas but throughout the city, such as in Northside Meadows northwest of Old FM 2243 and US 183, the Villas at Vista Ridge on Bagdad Rd. and Travisso on FM 1431, according to City Manager Kent Cagle.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Schertz Doerr Lane Industrial Park adding 214,000 SF 

(11/20/2014)

SCHERTZ - Conor Commercial Real Estate, a member of The McShane Cos., has acquired a 15-acre site just outside San Antonio for the development of Doerr Lane Industrial Park.

The 213,864-sf, Class A, facility is being developed near the intersection of Doerr Lane and Lockout Rd.

Doerr Lane Industrial Park will feature contemporary industrial space in a cross-dock configuration. The 32-foot clear facility will have expanded staging bays and an ESFR sprinkler system.

Distribution efficiencies are supported with the building’s 54 dock-high loading doors and two ramp-served doors.

The speculative development will be available for occupancy in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Read more at Globe St.

San Antonio housing market still going strong 

(11/20/2014)

SAN ANTONIO - The housing market isn’t slowing down — sales registered double-digit gains despite rising prices last month, according to data compiled by the San Antonio Board of Realtors.

In October, year-over-year, home sales climbed 16 percent — 1,863 homes sold in 2013 compared to 2,164 in 2014. The numbers have climbed every month from the previous year since February 2012.

The single-family home inventory dropped to 4.1 months of supply. Days on market also fell — dropping 11 percent to 62 days.

Among the current stock, more mid-range priced homes, $200,000 to $250,000, have been sold — amounting to 14.5 percent of all sales — than any other price range, according to SABOR numbers.

Second on the list are homes ranging from $300,000 to $400,000 — which made up 10.4 percent of sales.

Read more at the San Antonio Express-News.

Also see San Antonio area home sales Oct. 2014 SABOR.

Houston: 320-unit, Class A Tiburon sold to Philly buyer 

(11/20/2014)

HOUSTON - The Tiburon, a 320-unit Class A apartment complex, has been sold. Tiburon was constructed in 2008 and is located at 8989 West Rd. just off Beltway 8.

The property is in Houston's Brookhollow Inwood Multifamily submarket.

Tiburon residents have access to community amenities such as a clubhouse, business center, fitness center and swimming pool.

Lubert-Adler Partners, a Philadelphia, Penn.-based property investment firm, sold the property to an individual investor.

Read more at CoStar Group and Texas Real Estate Business.

MRC Global leases 81,000 SF in Houston 

(11/20/2014)

HOUSTON - MRC Global, formerly known as McJunkin Red Man Corp., signed a deal to fully lease 4545 Eastpark Dr.

The 81,295-sf building was constructed in 1977. It has a 20’ clearing height with 20 loading docks and three drive-in bays.

The property owner is Cadeco Industries.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Bryan, College Station sales tax revenues hit new highs 

(11/20/2014)

BRAZOS COUNTY - Sales tax revenues are higher in Bryan, College Station and Brazos County than any previous year, according to numbers from the cities and the Texas Comptroller.

The growth is thanks to the oil and gas boom, Texas A&M University and a growing population, said Brazos County Auditor Katie Conner.

Shoppers in the two cities pay an 8.25 percent sales tax. Of that, 6.25 percent goes to the state, 1.5 percent goes to either Bryan or College Station, and the remaining .50 percent goes to the county.

The state sent more than $15.7 million to Bryan from sales tax this year, $1.7 million more than the amount collected by November of last year, according to numbers from the Texas Comptroller.

Add that to the revenue collected from the city's sale tax of 1.5 percent, and Bryan has collected $17.9 million since the start of the year, 12.7 percent above what was budgeted, said Deputy City Manager Joey Dunn.

In College Station, the state has allocated $21.8 million so far this year. College Station has collected a total of $24.6 million in sales tax this year, $1.5 million more than it collected in 2013 and 6.5 percent above what was budgeted for this year, said Assistant City Manager Jeff Kersten.

Read more at The Eagle.

See the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts for more information.

Homewood Suites changes hands in Brownsville 

(11/20/2014)

BROWNSVILLE - The 86-room Homewood Suites hotel, located 15 miles north of the Mexico border at 3759 N. Expy., has been sold to Blue Star Hospitality LLC.

The hotel features the following amenities:

•  a business center,
•  a 630-sf meeting room,
•  a gym,
•  a pool,and
•  a sports court

The property is located near the Port of Brownsville, Brownsville-South Padre Island International Airport and the University of Texas at Brownsville.

Blue Star plans to renovate the hotel and maintain the Homewood Suites brand.

Read more at Texas Real Estate Business.

Dollar-Flowers bloom in 680,000-SF Garland property 

(11/19/2014 7:00:00 AM)

GARLAND - Dollar-Flowers Realty Partners has purchased the former Navistar International Corp. manufacturing facility and warehouse at 4030 Forest Lane.

The property totals 681,354 sf of space on about 50 acres. It had been vacant since early 2013 when Navistar closed the facility and laid off 900 workers.

The property includes heavy power, modern lighting, about 35 acres of concrete paving and frontage along Forest Lane, which Dollar-Flowers hopes will appeal to industrial tenants in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Read more at the Dallas Business Journal.

REOC: San Antonio 3Q 2014 industrial 

(11/19/2014 6:45:00 AM)

SAN ANTONIO - According to the survey of more than 33 million sf of industrial lease space, the San Antonio industrial market closed third quarter with a citywide vacancy rate of 6.1 percent which is improved compared to 7.3 percent recorded in 3Q 2013.

Area industrial properties experienced 94,642 sf of positive net absorption in 3Q 2014 which raised the year-to-date total to 528,936 sf of net gain.

Rental rates for area industrial space continue to gain momentum in the wake of tightening supply. The citywide average quoted rental rate currently stands at $7.76 per sf per year on a triple net basis, which is up $0.22 or 2.9 percent compared to 3Q 2013.

Although no new speculative industrial projects were delivered to the market during 3Q 2014, there is more than 800,000 sf of industrial space currently under construction.

REOC San Antonio: 3Q 2014 Industrial*
All Types Citywide CBD Non-CBD
3Q 2014 3Q 2013 3Q 2014 3Q 2013 3Q 2014 3Q 2013
Inventory 33,427,213 32,347,757 233,395 233,395 33,193,818 32,114,362
Direct vacant 2,051,109 2,369,967 0 28,548 2,051,109 2,341,139
Vacant 6.1% 7.3% 0.0% 12.2% 6.2% 7.3%
Average rent $7.76 $7.54 N/A $3.60 $7.76 $7.57
3Q Absorption 94,642 316,485 0 0 94,642 316,485
YTD Absorption 528,936 1,146,329 28,548 11,912 500,388 1,134,417

*Statistics based on all multi-tenant industrial facilities 20,000 sf and larger excluding single-tenant, owner-occupied and government buildings.

For the full report see REOC San Antonio.

For more stats, see Industrial under San Antonio Market Data Sources.

Ulta cosmetics eye 670,000 SF in Dallas' Mountain Creek 

(11/19/2014 6:43:00 AM)

DALLAS - Ulta Inc. will build a 670,000-sf distribution center in the Mountain Creek Business Park on the north side of I-20 at Mountain Creek Pkwy.

The $18 million distribution center development will ultimately employ 450 workers starting in 2016, according to documents filed with the City of Dallas’ Economic Development Committee.

Construction will start on the building before the end of the year, with completion in late 2015.

Ulta is projecting that the new facility will generate almost $14 million in taxable sales from e-commerce transactions in the first year of operation.

Ulta is the second major cosmetics firm to locate a distribution center in the I-20 corridor. L’Oreal recently opened a 513,000-sf warehouse on Dallas Ave. and Telephone Rd., south of I-20.

Read more at the Dallas Morning News.

For more on L’Oreal’s new facility, see previous story New $18M face in Dallas walks the L'Oreal of Paris runway.

San Antonio area home sales Oct. 2014 SABOR 

(11/19/2014)

SAN ANTONIO - San Antonio Board of Realtors (SABOR) released home sales data for October 2014. Some quick facts include:

•  The median price of existing single-family homes decreased to $165,000, down 4.6 percent versus September 2014.
•  Existing single-family home sales decreased 6.3 percent from September 2014 for an October 2014 total of 1,798 sold units.
•  Condos decreased in price to $96,250, down 6.1 percent versus September 2014.
•  Existing condo sales increased 7.1 percent in October 2014 from September 2014 for a total of 60 sold units.

Select region cities are represented below along with statistics from the SABOR MLS area as a whole.

SABOR Oct. 2014 Regional Sales and Price Activity
MLS Wide Median Price
Oct. 2014
Price Chg.
vs. 
Oct. 2013
Units Sold
Oct. 2014
Sales Chg.
vs. 
Oct. 2013
SABOR
(single-family)
$165,000 3.4% 1,798 11.7%
SABOR (condo) $96,250 -2.3% 60 33.3%
Region Cities*  
San Antonio $158,250 6.4% 1,220 10.8%
New Braunfels $201,000 11.7% 69 13.1%
Converse $127,400 9.4% 47 23.7%
Cibolo $180,900 2.1% 43 26.5%
Boerne $270,000 -5.1% 37 -9.8%
Schertz $178,500 8.2% 36 -16.3%
Canyon Lake $200,000 11.1% 28 47.4%
Helotes $255,000 11.4% 27 -28.9%

*Region Cities' data include single-family only and represents eight select cities sorted by number of units sold.

See Housing under San Antonio Market Data Sources.

Source: San Antonio Board of Realtors (SABOR)

GTAR: Tyler region home sales Oct. 2014 

(11/19/2014)

TYLER - Greater Tyler Association of Realtors (GTAR) has released home sales data for October 2014.

The median price of homes decreased to $145,000, down 6 percent from September 2014. Home sales increased 2.6 percent from September with 353 units sold.

The home inventory was 8.1 months, a slight improvement from the 8.6 months seen in September 2014 and the ten months reported in October 2013.

Tyler Region Sales and Price Activity by Units Sold Oct. 2014
MLS Wide Median Price
  Oct. 2014
Price Chg.
Oct. 2013
Units Sold
Oct. 2014
Sales Chg.
Oct. 2013
TYLER (single-family) $145,000 -0.7% 353 29.8%
TYLER (condo) $45,000 -79.9% 3 -40.0%
Region Cities*        
Tyler $158,000 2.6% 110 34.1%
Lindale $180,250 62.4% 20 53.8%
Mt. Pleasant $107,500 49.3% 20 150.0%
Flint $174,750 6.3% 16 -11.1%
Hideaway $134,950 -23.2% 14 7.7%
Mineola $139,250 69.8% 14 55.6%

*Data include single-family only and represent six select region cities sorted by number of units sold. Data released November 10, 2014.

Read more at the Greater Tyler Association of Realtors and the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

For more housing stats, see Tyler MLS Housing Activity from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

Dallas County OKs $1.9M abatement for Proctor & Gamble 

(11/19/2014)

WILMER - Dallas County has approved a tax abatement worth about $1.9 million for Procter & Gamble’s new distribution facility.

The $50 million facility near I-45 and Mars Rd. is currently under construction and is set to open in early 2015.

The county will rebate 75 percent of the site’s real property taxes, plus 50 percent of the taxes collected from the business personal property held in the site. Those rebates are estimated to total about $191,000 each year. That amount will be abated annually for ten years.

The facility is expected to add more than $100 million to the tax rolls. During the abatement period, the county expects to collect about $130,000 in new revenue each year.

Procter & Gamble has also promised to create at least 390 jobs at the facility with an average salary of $29,500.

Read more at the Dallas Morning News.

For more on the new facility, see previous story Proctor & Gamble wrapping up Wilmer project, hiring 500.

Dallas buildings in Oak Lawn and on North Central sold 

(11/19/2014)

DALLAS - Caddo Holdings LLC has sold two office properties to Westdale Real Estate Investment & Management Co.

The first is the 3500 Oak Lawn Ave. building at Lemmon Ave. — a 101,541-sf building constructed in 1980.

The second is 4245 N. Central Expy. — an 87,292-sf building that was built in 1986 near Fitzhugh Ave.

Caddo acquired both properties in February 2013.

Westdale is a Dallas-based private investor with large holdings of apartments and commercial buildings.

Read more at the Dallas Morning News.

For more about Caddo's purchase of 3500 Oak Lawnand 4245 N. Central Expy., see previous story Caddo Holdings acquires two Dallas offices.

McKinney Moviehouse coming to Craig Ranch 

(11/19/2014)

McKINNEY - Moviehouse & Eatery will build its fourth facility in the Craig Ranch development located on the north side of SH 121.

The Austin-based company has contracted to purchase a 6.5-acre tract of land on SH 121 at Exchange Pkwy. The development is planned for a ten-screen Moviehouse & Eatery, which would start construction spring 2015 and open in early 2016.

The 2,200-acre Craig Ranch is one of the Dallas area’s largest and most successful residential and mixed-use communities.

Moviehouse & Eatery is also building a location in Flower Mound and has opened a theater in Keller.

Read more at the Dallas Morning News.

For more on the Keller location, see previous story Moviehouse & Eatery opens 42,000-SF Keller cinema.

Keller: Moviehouse & Eatery opens 42,000-SF cinema 

(11/19/2014)

KELLER - Austin-based Moviehouse & Eatery has opened a 42,000-sf location at 250 Rufe Snow Dr.

The cinema features eight dine-in theaters with 900 plush recliners, wall-to-wall screens and auditoriums utilizing the latest technology available for digital projection and surround sound.

As a dine-in theater, full food and beverage service is offered to patrons in each auditorium.

The lobby of the theater features a lounge area and offers a full-service bar featuring a menu of craft cocktails.

“Moviehouse & Eatery is excited to bring a premier theater experience at a value price point for residents of Keller and the surrounding area,” said Manager Chris Rowand.

Moviehouse & Eatery is part of Keller Town Center with Keller Independent School District Natatorium and The City of Keller City Hall.

Read more at PRWeb.

Pacific Union adds 30,000 SF to Farmers Branch office 

(11/19/2014)

FARMERS BRANCH - Pacific Union has expanded its lease at 1603 LBJ Fwy. by 29,473 sf. The Irving-based company now has 88,220 sf at Browning Place II in Mercer Crossing.

The expansion will give Pacific Union the ability to hire 200 additional workers for the office.

In Sept. 2012, Pacific Union signed its corporate lease in Irving for 49,000 sf of office space at a building on Freeport Pkwy.

When the company expanded in 2013, Pacific Union said it planned to hire employees to support the company's growing loan servicing and origination business.

Read more at the Dallas Business Journal.

Telect Inc. to lay off 116 in Plano 

(11/19/2014)

PLANO - Telect Inc. will close its production facility at 1801 10th St., leaving 116 employees out of work.

Telect plans to lay off the employees at its metals fabrication and systems development center between Jan. 11 and May 31, according to a Nov. 11 letter it filed with the Texas Workforce Commission under the Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.

The eliminations are expected to be permanent.

Telect is headquartered in Liberty Lake, Washington, and has manufacturing facilities in Guadalajara, Mexico. The company designs, manufactures and integrates copper, fiber, power and rack network infrastructure equipment, according to its web site.

Read more at the Dallas Business Journal.

Caiman Energy II inks 26,000 SF at Dallas' Sterling Plaza 

(11/19/2014)

DALLAS - Caiman Energy II has signed a renewal and expansion lease for 25,829 sf at Sterling Plaza.

Located at 5949 Sherry Ln. in the Preston Center submarket, Sterling Plaza is a 313,609-sf, 19-story office high-rise that was constructed in 1984.

Sterling Plaza is currently 91.7 percent leased to a tenant roster that includes Sammons Enterprises, The Point Group and Stratford Group, among others.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Katy Geico adding 300 new positions in 2015 

(11/19/2014)

KATY - Geico's claims operation center near the Grand Pkwy. will add 300 new positions in 2015. Geico's Katy location, which already employs more than 500 associates, opened in 2014.

The company will continue to add entry-level claims representatives, degreed candidates for liability claims representatives and college graduates for Geico's fast-track management development program with a focus on claims operations.

The company is also looking to add more auto damage adjusters in the Houston area.

In December 2013, Geico first revealed its plans to move into 135,000 sf at Mason Creek with plans to hire up to 1,000 workers over the next three years.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Thankful: West ISD middle, high school campus underway 

(11/18/2014 10:00:00 AM)

WEST - West Independent School District has broken ground on the new 224,000-sf combined middle and high school campus on Jerry Mashek Dr.

The campus is what Mayor Tommy Muska calls the final benchmark in the town’s rebuilding efforts since the April 2013 West Fertilizer Co. plant explosion.

Completion is scheduled for December 2015.

The new campus will hold sixth through 12th grades and include about 50 classrooms, three gyms, two libraries, a band hall, auditorium and cafeteria. The middle and high school grades will be divided, with each school receiving one-half of the campus.

The total cost of the project could be up to $50 million, paid for through insurance money and federal funds.

Read more at the Waco Tribune-Herald.

McAllen ranked most affordable city in the U.S. 

(11/18/2014 6:45:00 AM)

McALLEN - McAllen has been ranked the most affordable urban area in the nation, according to The Council for Community and Economic Research.

The economic research council surveyed the average prices of gasoline alongside the cost of milk, eggs, bananas and even haircuts and doctor’s visits. In total, more than 90,000 prices of 60 different items were tracked in 264 urban areas in the United States.

In McAllen, a 2,400-sf home with four bedrooms and two bathrooms would run homebuyers an average of $222,333 while the same type of home would cost $240,971 in Austin and a whopping $533,500 in Seattle.

Average monthly rent is $752 for an unfurnished two bedroom, 950-sf apartment in the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission Metropolitan Statistical Area versus $869 in San Antonio and $1,043 in Austin for the same setup.

Austin is 15 percent more expensive than McAllen and the cost of living in Seattle is 61 percent higher. Washington is 70 percent more pricey than McAllen and Manhattan in New York City is 163 percent more costly.

Another Rio Grande Valley city, Harlingen, ranked third after Ashland, Ohio, in the report.

Read more at the Brownsville Herald.

TSTC Technology degree about $8,000 in Red Oak 

(11/18/2014)

RED OAK, ELLIS COUNTY - The $10 million, 102,000-sf Texas State Technical College (TSTC) Industrial Technology Center has opened behind Red Oak High School after nine months of construction.

The facility will allow people to get a technical degree for about $8,000, and tuition is not paid until the students have successfully found a job that pays more than minimum wage, based on the skills they’ve learned.

Currently, the Red Oak campus has 133 students already enrolled.

“Ellis County is growing similar to the way Denton and Collin County are growing on the north side of Dallas and Tarrant. The south side of the Metroplex region is now going to begin growing at a very similar rate and it’s for all the right reasons. It is the opportunity for young men and women to come here and begin living their American Dream,” said Sen. Brian Birdwell.

Read more at the Waxahachie Daily Light.

See previous story TSTC tech savvy $10M Red Oak center underway.

Dallas' $56M Cantabria at Turtle Creek units delivering 

(11/18/2014)

DALLAS - Cantabria at Turtle Creek, a luxury 249-unit apartment development, has begun delivering units with approximately 20 percent of the units leased.

Construction is expected to be completed in first quarter 2015. Associated Estates Realty Corporation (AERC), who is developing the community at 2728 Hood St, projects total cost of capital to be $56.8 million, as of Oct. 28.

Cantabria at Turtle Creek will offer one- and two-bedroom units ranging from 661 sf to 1,616 sf.

Average rent per unit for Cantabria at Turtle Creek is $2,286, according to AERC's 3Q 2014 Earnings Release and Supplemental Financial Information. The average rent is based on projected stabilized rents, which can be updated to reflect market rents and rents achieved.

Stabilization is expected in 2Q 2015, with AERC defines as the earlier of the attainment of 93 percent of physical occupancy or one year after the completion of construction.

Read more at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Full details relating to all of the Company's developments can be found on page 12.

For more about the project, check out Cantabria at Turtle Creek.

GE unveils $60M investment at Lufkin foundry 

(11/18/2014)

LUFKIN, ANGELINA COUNTY - General Electric (GE) will invest $60 million to expand operations at its Oil and Gas Foundry, which was once Lufkin Industries.

GE plans to demolish 30,000 sf of its existing 515,000-sf facility south of downtown Lufkin and build 72,000 sf of new buildings.

In addition, remaining facilities at the foundry will be refurbished. The foundry produces iron castings used to make pumping units and power transmission equipment.

Completion of the first phase of construction is expected by the end of 2016 with an electric arc furnace replacing a cupola, the current blast furnace.

When buildout is complete by 2018 or 2019, the plant will have the capability of increasing its product output by 30 percent, contingent upon market demand.

The foundry produces an estimated 72,000 tons of products each year. Approximately 87 percent of the foundry's products are used to supply GE's own Lufkin factories while the remainder is sold externally to other customers.

The Lufkin City Council approved a ten-year tax abatement for GE’s projected additional value of $36 million and a $4.5 million storm water rerouting project.

GE employs 1,700 in Lufkin, 300 of which are foundry workers. GE purchased Lufkin Industries for approximately $3.3 billion in April 2013. Globally, the company has invested more than $85 million in the foundry since the acquisition.

Read more at the Lufkin Daily News and KTRE-TV.

FedEx Ground sorts 300,000-SF 'package' to Alliance 

(11/18/2014)

FORT WORTH - FedEx Ground is building a new distribution center at AllianceTexas that will employ about 375 workers.

The new 300,000-sf distribution center, expected to open in August 2015, will be located near the company's Southwest Regional Sort Hub at Alliance Airport.

FedEx Ground currently has six facilities in the area and employs over 2,800 people. At Alliance, FedEx has about 600,000 sf and employs more than 800 workers.

According to the Memphis-based company, the new facility is part of a nationwide network expansion to boost daily package volume capacity and further enhance the speed and service capabilities of the FedEx Ground network.

Since 2005, the company has opened 11 new hubs featuring advanced material-handling systems and expanded or relocated more than 500 local facilities.

FedEx Ground is not the only FedEx division to expand in the area. FedEx Office & Print Services Inc. broke ground earlier this year in Plano for a new 265,000-sf corporate campus.

Read more at the Fort Worth Business Press.

For more on FedEx Office & Print Services’ new headquarters, see previous story FedEx's consolidating HQ ship with 265,000 SF in Plano.

That's the Spirit! Ten destinations added to Houston IAH 

(11/18/2014)

HOUSTON - Low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines Inc. announced ten new destinations from Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). The Florida-based airline first launched service from Houston in 2012 and currently offers nonstop flights to 12 cities from Houston.

Here are Spirit's new U.S. destinations:

•  Tampa (TPA) — daily flights begin March 26, 2015
•  Baltimore-Washington, D.C. (BWI) — daily flights begin March 27
•  Oakland-San Francisco Bay (OAK) — daily flights begin April 16

Here are Spirit's new destinations to Mexico:

•  Cancun (CUN) — three flights per week begin May 7, increasing to daily on June 11
•  Los Cabos (SJD) — two flights per week begin May 7, increasing to four per week on June 11
•  Toluca-Mexico City (TLC) — two flights per week begin May 7, increasing to three per week on June 11

Spirit also will launch flights to the following Central American destinations on May 28:

•  Managua, Nicaragua (MGA) — three flights per week
•  San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO) — four flights per week
•  San Pedro Sula, Honduras (SAP) — three flights per week
•  San Salvador, El Salvador (SAL) — four flights per week

The Oakland, Los Cabos and Toluca routes are for the summer season only, and the Mexican and Central American routes are subject to foreign governmental approval.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Topgolf birdie flies 450 jobs to San Antonio 

(11/18/2014)

SAN ANTONIO - Topgolf expects to open its San Antonio entertainment attraction in late January and company officials say approximately 450 new jobs are up for grabs.

More than 1,500 people auditioned for a separate recent Topgolf facility opening.

Associates who are hired at the 65,000-sf facility will receive free games of golf, food and beverage discounts, the opportunity to participate in a 401(k) retirement savings program and other benefits.

A wide variety of jobs are available, including server, bartender, kitchen, maintenance and guest-services positions. Topgolf management will begin auditioning individuals for those positions next month.

Interested applicants can register at topgolf.com/careers to attend one of the upcoming recruitment events.

Read more at the San Antonio Business Journal.

LUC Urethanes' first U.S. plant coming to Conroe 

(11/18/2014)

CONROE - The Conroe City Council approved a performance-based agreement for $197,235 over seven years with Belgium-based LUC Urethanes, according to Danielle Scheiner with the CIDC.

The company, Scheiner said, has purchased 5.33 acres at Conroe Park North, a 1,045-acre industrial park just northeast of downtown.

“This will be their first manufacturing plant in the United States,” Scheiner said of the company’s $5.17 million facility.

The company plans to hire about 20 people over its first two years and have an inventory of about $1.4 million in seven years.

Read more at Your Houston News.

Okla. Sooner Container adding 45,000 SF in Conroe  

(11/18/2014)

CONROE - Two years after building a 65,000-sf facility, Sooner Container is expanding its local footprint at Conroe Park North, a 1,045-acre industrial park, by 45,000 sf.

Conroe City Council approved a request from General Manager Allan Locke to amend his original incentive agreement for the expansion. The amended $107,098 over seven years agreement is effective in 2016.

Sooner Container, located at 3375 Pollok Dr., was built in 2011. The $2.5 million expansion would add warehouse space and four new employees.

“My anticipation was that it would last five years; it lasted two,” Locke said, adding the company grew 49 percent last year.

Founded in 1992, the company, according to its official website, distributes industrial shipping containers.

Locke said while the expansion is needed, he expects that in the next three to four years he probably would have to build out the company’s remaining four acres to keep up with demand.

Read more at Your Houston News.

Beaumont: Holiday Inn-Medical Center to reopen; $8M redo 

(11/18/2014)

BEAUMONT - The vacant Holiday Inn-Midtown on North 11th St. is being renovated and will reopen in about six months.

Contractor Frank Farshad, chief executive of UPI Builders, said the Houston owners intend to invest more than $8 million to rebuild the six-story property that closed in 2009.

The hotel, built in the late 1970s, will remain a Holiday Inn property and be called the Holiday Inn-Medical Center, a marketing approach used extensively in Houston and other large cities as a way of identifying a property with local hospitals.

Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital is about a mile to the south on 11th St. at Calder Ave.

Read more at the Beaumont Enterprise.

Houston: 143,000-SF office building sold in Greenspoint area 

(11/18/2014)

HOUSTON - Fuller Realty Partners has purchased a seven-story building in the Greenspoint area. The property is located at 13401 North Fwy. and contains 143,410 sf.

The building, now occupied by Exxon Mobil Corp., will soon be vacated as the energy giant moves into its new campus near The Woodlands.

“We knew Exxon was vacating when we purchased it. We liked the asset because we felt like it was probably the most quality small asset — small being 100,000 to 200,000 sf — in that submarket,” said Fuller Principal Stephen Darnall.

The company also acquired some adjacent land from a separate owner that will allow it to add parking for future tenants. A large tenant could have signage rights to the building.

The building is located along I-45, just 1.5 miles north of Beltway 8 and 15 miles south of The Woodlands. Its previous owner was EM Houston Funding Co. LP according to Harris County property records.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Arlington's 311-room Sheraton Hotel sold 

(11/18/2014)

ARLINGTON - The 311-room Sheraton Hotel that is next door to the Arlington Convention Center and Globe Life Park has been sold.

Urbana Varro, a Plano-based commercial real estate firm, purchased the hotel, which was valued at $17.8 million by the Tarrant Appraisal District.

The new owners plan to renovate the property, which was built in the 1980s.

“The Sheraton Arlington Hotel will provide us with exposure in the thriving Dallas market and will be a great addition to our growing portfolio,” said Jeremy Soder, chief marketing officer for Urbana Varro.

Read more at the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Business Press.

Halliburton paying $34.6 billion for Baker Hughes 

(11/17/2014 9:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Halliburton Co. has acquired Baker Hughes Inc. for $34.6 billion. The Houston-based companies reached a definitive agreement on Nov. 17, under which Halliburton will acquire all the outstanding shares of Baker Hughes in a stock and cash transaction.

"The transaction will combine the companies' product and service capabilities to deliver an unsurpassed depth and breadth of solutions to our customers, creating a Houston-based global oilfield services champion, manufacturing and exporting technologies, and creating jobs and serving customers around the globe," Dave Lesar, chairman and CEO of Halliburton, said in a statement.

Once the transaction is complete, Baker Hughes stockholders will own approximately 36 percent of the combined company. The agreement was approved unanimously by both companies' boards of directors.

The transaction is still subject to the approval of each company's stockholders, regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

The two companies have a combined revenue of $51.8 billion and more than 136,000 employees worldwide, and operate in more than 80 countries. The new company will have 15 board members, including three from Baker Hughes. Dave Lesar will continue as CEO of Halliburton.

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2015.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

REOC: San Antonio 3Q 2014 office 

(11/17/2014 8:00:00 AM)

SAN ANTONIO - According to REOC San Antonio's survey of more than 28.7 million sf of office lease space, new leases and expansions inked in third quarter were countered by tenant moves and consolidations which resulted in 7,480 sf of negative net absorption.

At the close of 3Q 2014, the citywide vacancy rate stood at 17.8 percent, up slightly compared to 17.5 percent in 2Q 2014 but improved compared to 18.8 percent recorded in 3Q 2013.

Rental rates softened slightly in 3Q 2014. The average quoted full-service rental rate for area office space now stands at $19.57 per sf per year on a full-service basis which is down $0.02 compared to 3Q 2013.

San Antonio 3Q 2014 Office Report*
All Classes Citywide CBD Non-CBD
3Q 2014 3Q 2013 3Q 2014 3Q 2013 3Q 2014 3Q 2013
Inventory 28,654,406 28,032,425 5,759,928 5,673,787 22,894,478 22,358,638
Direct vacant 5,102,223 5,278,320 1,547,330 1,681,997 3,554,893 3,596,323
Vacant 17.8% 18.8% 26.9% 29.6% 15.5% 16.1%
Average rent $19.57 $19.59 $19.11 $19.60 $19.64 $19.59
3Q absorption -7,480 13,874 2,456 -5,521 -9,936 19,395
YTD absorption 594,327 334,080 178,205 89,566 416,122 244,514

*Statistical information is calculated for multitenant office bldgs. 20,000 sf and larger (excluding single-tenant, owner-occupied, gov't and medical buildings).

For the full report see REOC San Antonio.

For more stats, see Office under San Antonio Market Data Sources.

Houston home sales Oct. 2014 (HAR) 

(11/17/2014 7:30:00 AM)

HOUSTON - According to the latest monthly report prepared by the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR), October delivered across-the-board gains with total property sales, total dollar volume and average and median pricing all up when compared to October 2013.

Home prices climbed to record highs for an October, and the number of days it took a home took to sell was 51 versus 57 last October. In July 2014, it reached a record low of 45 days.

Sales of townhouses and condominiums jumped 12.4 percent with a total of 634 units sold in October 2014 compared to 564 properties in October 2013. The average price increased 3.1 percent to $193,635 and the median price shot up 9.9 percent to $147,750.

Single-family home rentals climbed 13.1 percent compared to October 2013, while year-over-year townhouse/condominium rentals were unchanged.

The average rent for a single-family home was up 4.0 percent to $1,711 and the average rent for a townhouse/condominium was up 8.5 percent at $1,592.

Housing Market Summary: Oct. 2014 vs. Oct. 2013
  Oct. 2013 Oct. 2014 Chg.
Total sales 7,182 8,106 12.9%
Total dollar volume $1,650,628,141 $2,016,260,648 22.2%
Total active listings 31,638 28,333 -10.4%
Total pending sales 3,995 4,355 9.0%
Single-family sales 5,912 6,639 12.3%
Avg. price single-family home $238,525 $262,013 9.8%
Median price single-family home $177,330 $192,000 8.3%
Single-family inventory* 3.1 2.8 -10.1%

* The number of months it will take to deplete current active inventory based on the prior 12 months of sales activity. The market is considered evenly balanced between supply and demand when it has a six-month inventory.

Source: Houston Association of Realtors

Also see 'Housing' under Houston Market Data Sources.

Texas on the surface: oil booms & land prices 

(11/17/2014 7:00:00 AM)

TEXAS - Texas rural land prices have been cruising higher, following the path of crude oil. In 2013, the average price per acre reached $2,160, up 9 percent from 2012.

So far in 2014, land is selling around $2,354 per acre, up another 9 percent, according to the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

“Technically, it’s called a co-movement,” said Charles Gilliland, research economist at the Real Estate Center. “Land prices seem to follow the trends in oil prices.”

The Texas economy does well in general when oil prices rise, and people who work in the oil industry have more money to spend — often on ranches.

The economic impact of the oil boom in South Texas has erased any negative effect on land prices that the state’s severe drought might have otherwise caused, said Ranch broker Mark Hubbard.

South Texas land prices are averaging around $3,000 per acre, but selling sometimes at $3,500 to $4,000 an acre. People are “buying the property next to them for $4,000 per acre. Surface only,” said Richard Dockery, a real estate broker and appraiser in Three Rivers.

Mineral ownership can be severed from surface ownership in Texas, and sellers of South Texas land are particularly unwilling to part with their minerals.

Ranches on the fringes of the Eagle Ford and “out of the fairway” were in demand, but those for sale in the heart of the field, where industrial activity has taken over, were being met by “market resistance” if minerals weren’t part of the sale, according to a report by the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers.

“A ranch sitting in the middle of the Eagle Ford Shale with no minerals is a pretty tough sell,” said Hubbard. “Land outside the Eagle Ford Shale with or without minerals is bringing a premium. There’s a lot of money in the system. There’s a lot of people who want to own land. But there’s a lot of people who are running from the shale.”

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

The law calls on 50,000 SF of Pyramids' office in Dallas 

(11/17/2014 6:30:00 AM)

DALLAS - Shackelford, Melton, McKinley & Norton LLP has leased more than 50,000 sf at the Pyramids at Park Lane project located at Park Lane and N. Central Expy., across from NorthPark Center.

The Dallas-based firm, which specializes in serving auto sales firms, banks and entertainment, also has an office in Nashville and plans to expand to California.

It currently employs 41 attorneys and plans to add ten more, according to founding partner John Shackelford.

The 15-year-old legal firm signed a lease for more than 15 years with options to renew and expand its office space.

Read more at the Dallas Morning News.

Sagora acquires Abilene's 124-unit University Place 

(11/17/2014 6:30:00 AM)

ABILENE - The University Place senior living community at 1250 E. North 10th St. has been sold to Fort Worth-based The Covenant Group and its affiliate Sagora Senior Living.

The 124-unit University Place offers efficiency, one- and two-bedroom apartment units that range from 360 sf to 880 sf.

Sagora Senior Living will be redesigning the community’s interior and starting several new community programs in the coming months.

Sagora Senior Living currently owns independent living, assisted-living and memory care communities in Texas, Oklahoma, Florida and Alabama.

Read more at Senior Housing News.

RGV ranks nationally with nearly $10B in exports 

(11/17/2014)

THE RIO GRANDE VALLEY - The Rio Grande Valley’s (RGV) $9.887 billion in exports would rank 32nd nationally and fifth in Texas if the McAllen and Brownsville areas were combined, according to the RGV Partnership,

Out of 400 metro areas measured by the International Trade Administration (ITA) in 2013, the McAllen area ranked 54th Brownsville ranked 58th.

The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metro area exported $5.265 billion in trade during 2013, a 1.3 percent increase over 2012, and the Brownsville-Harlingen area shipped out $4.622 billion, up 1 percent.

Total exports of the RGV outperformed larger metro areas such as Austin-Round Rock, Kansas City, Baltimore, Milwaukee and Tampa-St. Petersburg. Rankings only account exports, not if the exported goods were produced in a particular market.

The McAllen area ranks in the exportation of computer and electronic product manufacturing, electrical equipment, appliances components, transportation equipment and machinery manufacturing. The Brownsville area’s primary exports were nearly the same while also exporting chemical manufacturing.

Other Texas metro areas making the list were Houston at the top with $115 billion, Dallas ninth, San Antonio 16th, El Paso 22nd, Austin 37th, Beaumont 39th, Laredo 50th and Corpus Christi 56th.

Read more at the Valley Business Report.

See the full ITA report here.

Houston: 576-unit Madison Park sold 

(11/17/2014)

HOUSTON - Delta Alliance Capital Management LCC (DACM) has acquired Madison Park Apartments, a 576-unit apartment community situated on 23.5 acres near the intersection of Westheimer Rd. and Sam Houston Tollway/Beltway 8.

Built in 1978, the community consists of a variety of floor plans, with an average unit size of 895 sf.

DACM plans to invest significant capital to enhance the grounds, interiors, leasing office and fitness center. The business plan also includes updating the landscape and installing new signage.

Read more at GlobeSt.

Odessa's economic growth reliant on oil price 

(11/17/2014)

ODESSA - Odessa’s economy continued to grow through third quarter 2014, but that could come to a halt if oil prices remain in the $70 range for a few months, according to the most recent Odessa Economic Index by economist Karr Ingham.

The study gauges multiple factors measuring the overall local economy such as building permits, hotel and motel tax receipts and sales tax figures. Because the oil and gas industry drives the economy, the index also looks at indicators such as drilling permits and rig counts.

The latest Odessa economic index showed another consecutive month of growth — up to 223.2 in September 2014 from 222.1 in August 2014. The unemployment rate was about 3.1 percent for the Odessa metro area, placing it among the lowest in the nation.

The recent report also showed a continued trend for 2014 in slower construction of residential homes than 2013, despite intense demand.

“The housing situation is not getting any better,” said Scott Jones, director of economic development for the Odessa Chamber of Commerce, pointing to just 35 permits for single-family homes in October and nine townhomes. “We have hundreds of people coming in and just a handful of rooftops.”

Developers attribute the slowdown in residential construction to the frenzy of the past three years to increase infrastructure costs as building moves to less developed land.

Attracting more residential development has become a focus for Mayor David Turner and other parties of a recently formed task force.

The benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude price was $74.36, as of November 2014 more than a 28 percent decline from the highs reached this summer.

Local oil and gas producers, investors and analysts do not foresee a bust, and neither does Ingham, but it remains to be seen how much local oil and gas activity will scale back in the lower price environment and how that will play out in the local economy.

Read more at the Odessa American.

Young Ranch 388-acre master-planned community to Katy 

(11/17/2014)

KATY - The Young Ranch Planned Development District, a master-planned community approved by the Katy City Council in October, will cover 388 acres south of I-10 between Anserra and Willow Creek Farms on Pederson Rd.

The land for the project will extend the city’s boundaries westward and was annexed by the city in May.

The community will feature about 1,000 homes and is expected to include trails, parks, ponds and other amenities. Ryland Homes and Beazer Homes will split development costs for the community’s residential sections.

The community will be split almost evenly between Katy and Lamar Consolidated Independent School Districts (ISDs), city officials said.

Fifteen acres have been set aside inside the community for the construction of an elementary school by Katy ISD, City of Katy planning technician Anas Garfaoui said.

The neighborhood will also feature some light commercial districts, Garfaoui said, including businesses such as daycares and dry cleaners and other amenities for the neighborhood.

A timeline has not been set for when construction will begin on the development.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Job, rent growth: a matched pair 

(11/17/2014)

TEXAS - Nationally, monthly employment growth has exceeded 200,000 jobs for the past nine months.

Locally, the progress has been more variable, and one indicator of this is the correlation between job growth and rent growth, which dovetail 83 percent of the time, according to Dallas-based Axiometrics.

When these two statistics don't jibe, a market experiences “high job growth and low effective rent growth or vice versa, according to Axiometrics, which examined the top 54 apartment markets to see how each fared.

Unsurprisingly, the Texas trinity of strong job growth markets — Dallas, Houston and Austin — were part of the group that had growth in both indicators.

These cities had high 3Q job growth (3.8 percent in Dallas, 4.0 percent in Houston and 3.8 percent in Austin, as well as above-average effective rent growth: 4.4 percent, 5.2 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively).

While supply is continuing to increase across the U.S., the most recent Emerging Trends forecast from the Urban Land Institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers notes “a disproportionate share of new construction is at the high end. This makes sense when urban high-rise property in the gateway markets is priced at 20 percent to 30 percent more than the cost to construct.”

ULI’s report notes that multifamily’s real strength is that “it is not dependent upon just one demand segment. As local economies grow and the number of jobs rises, rental housing is required.”

Read more at GlobeSt.com.

Spring: 385,000-SF retail center to Springwoods Village 

(11/17/2014)

SPRING - A 385,000-sf grocery-anchored retail center will be located at the southeast corner of the Grand Pkwy. and Holzwarth Rd. in the Springwoods Village community.

Regency Centers is developing the project. “With everything that’s happening in that community, it will give us a leg up on what we want to bring to market,” said Abe Pacetti, vice president, investments for Regency Centers in Houston.

The Regency project will include a grocer, entertainment and fitness components, and a higher tiered discount retailer, Pacetti said.

Springwoods Village, a 2,000-acre master-planned community just south of The Woodlands, is home to new campuses for Exxon Mobil and Southwestern Energy.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

REI sets up camp at Southlake's Park Village 

(11/17/2014)

SOUTHLAKE - Outdoor equipment and clothing retailer REI has become the first tenant to open in Park Village, a new commercial development at the intersection of Southlake Blvd. and Carroll Ave.

The company has hired between 40 and 50 employees, most of which are part time, to work at the 22,000-sf store.

The Southlake store represents REI’s third location in Dallas-Fort Worth and ninth location in Texas.

The company is also planning to relocate its Dallas store at 4515 I-635 to anchor the shopping center on Northwest Hwy. owned by Half Price Books. That 34,000-sf location is scheduled to open in spring 2015.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper and Racked Dallas.

For more on REI’s new Dallas location, see previous story Dallas REI climbs into Half Price Books' shopping center.

145 Acres overlooking Lake Austin sold 

(11/17/2014)

AUSTIN - Exxon Mobil Corp. has sold a 145-acre tract overlooking Lake Austin.

Exxon, which had owned the land for a quarter century, sold the land to Luna Heights LP, a partnership between Eduardo “Eddie” Margain and Austin-based Riverside Resources.

The land is appraised at $9.2 million by the Travis Central Appraisal District.

Located on a prominent ridge near Capital of Texas Hwy. and W. Courtyard Dr., the land is one of the last few undeveloped tracts along Lake Austin. Last year, real estate experts speculated that the property could sell for tens of millions of dollars.

Plans for the land “are being carefully considered,” according to Margain. Under zoning dating to the 1980s, it has approvals to develop 70 home sites.

In purchasing the property, Margain decided to align with Riverside Resources because of the firm’s extensive background in high-quality projects and its successful track record in Austin.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

San Marcos Springtown shopping center sold 

(11/17/2014)

SAN MARCOS - Endeavor Real Estate Group has purchased the Springtown shopping center located at I-35 and Springtown Way.

The new owner is planning facade improvements and other upgrades, according to Adam Zimel, Endeavor’s director of real estate leasing.

Springtown has been largely vacant since its anchor tenants — Target, Best Buy, JCPenney and Bealls — left about five years ago, choosing to relocate to newer shopping centers nearby.

The departures left behind about 200,000 sf of empty space. The former Target store alone spans 103,000 sf.

Today, only a handful of small shops call Springtown home, including Bath and Body Works, Radio Shack, GNC and Twin Liquors. Endeavor hopes to quickly change that. Talks are underway with several prospective tenants, according to Zimel.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

What boomed in 3Q 2014? Austin office market 

(11/14/2014 9:00:00 AM)

AUSTIN - The Central Texas office market posted a strong showing in third quarter 2014, as the region’s job growth continued to drive demand for space, according to Cushman & Wakefield / Oxford Commerical.

Top-tier office space was 91 percent occupied for 3Q 2014, up from 88 percent in 3Q 2013, according to Austin-based Cushman & Wakefield / Oxford Commercial, which tracks the market. Rents for the top-tier space hit $32.95 in 3Q 2014, up 2.4 percent from 3Q 2013.

Austin employers added 32,100 jobs in the past four quarters, a year-over-year increase of 3.7 percent, according to Marcus & Millichap’s 3Q 2014 office market report. The metro’s thriving high-tech sector continues to drive demand for office space.

The downtown office market had one of its best quarters ever, according to Katie Ekstrom, a vice president in Austin with CBRE. Tenants leased more than 255,400 sf of net new space, Cushman & Wakefield / Oxford Commercial reported.

Two new downtown towers — Colorado Tower and IBC Bank Plaza, which combined will add more than 500,000 sf of office space — are both almost fully leased, local brokers say, and are setting the stage for additional new construction.

Austin is building new office space at one of the highest rates in the country, according to Marcus & Millichap. About 530,000 sf of space were completed during the last four quarters, including the first phase of Apple Inc.’s new campus in Northwest Austin.

In all, developers have nearly 2.6 million sf of space under construction in the Austin metro, 1.5 million of which is due to wrap up by the end of 2014. Another 2.4 million sf of space is in the planning pipeline.

Ekstrom said that tenant prospects are currently scouring the market for more than 4 million sf of space, and buildings under construction across the city are seeing strong leasing activity.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

For more stats and info on office and other sectors, check out Austin Market Data Sources.

More international homebuyers calling Texas home 

(11/14/2014 7:59:00 AM)

TEXAS - In 2014, U.S. real estate agents expect to sell more than $92 billion in homes to international buyers, a 35 percent increase from 2013.

Texas now accounts for about 11 percent of total international home purchases, according to data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Only Florida and California have more foreign buyers.

About 30 percent of U.S. real estate agents now say they are working with offshore clients.

The biggest growth has been in buyers from China. NAR estimates total international sales from Chinese buyers rose to $22 billion in the 12 months that ended in March 2014, up from $12.8 billion in the previous 12 months.

Canadians spent almost $14 billion, and Mexican buyers spent about $4.5 billion.

In Texas, almost 60 percent of international home purchases were by Latin Americans, with second-place Asian buyers accounting for 18 percent.

“Among the foreigners coming in, the Canadians are buying and the Chinese are buying,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist with the National Association of Realtors. “They are going to Florida, California, Arizona and Texas.”

Read more at the Dallas Morning News.

Fort Worth: Forest Park Medical Center opens $95M hospital 

(11/14/2014 7:30:00 AM)

FORT WORTH - The $95 million Forest Park Medical Center Fort Worth has opened to patients, creating 175 jobs and becoming the latest entrant in North Texas' highly competitive hospital market.

The 54-bed acute care hospital at 5400 Clearfork Main St. is 70 percent physician-owned, according to CEO Jim Davis.

The Fort Worth hospital is the fourth facility developed in North Texas by Neal Richards Group under the Forest Park umbrella since the company was founded in 2009.

The others are the flagship in Dallas and smaller facilities in Southlake and Frisco. Forest Park also has hospitals in San Antonio and Austin.

Here are some key facts and figures for Forest Park Medical Center Fort Worth:

•  $95.5 million project cost
•  54 private inpatient rooms, including family suites
•  150,000-sf surgical specialty care hospital
•  Six intensive care rooms
•  12 operating suites
•  75 local physician partners invested to-date
•  150 physicians with privileges
•  175 employees

The new Forest Park hospital is part of a $5 billion hospital-building wave in North Texas to replace aging facilities and meet the demands of a growing population.

Read more at the Dallas Business Journal.

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