NewsTalk Texas

Houston: 383,000-SF Class B office sold 

(9/30/2014 7:15:00 AM)

HOUSTON - A 384,000-sf, Class B office building located at 363 North Sam Houston Pkwy. E. has been sold. The property is in the Greenspoint Northbelt sector

The 33-year-old property was 90.51 percent occupied with average rents at $14 per sf. The contiguous space for lease is 10,400 sf and the total space available for lease is 36,670 sf.

Built in 1981, the property is situated on 3.79 acres with 19 floors. The tenants at the building include Newfield Exploration Co., Us Legal Support Inc., The Day & Zimmermann Group Inc., Chevron and more.

Realty Associates Fund X LP, an entity of TA Associates Realty purchased the building from 363 North Sam Houston LLC, an entity of Transwestern.

Read more at O'Connor and Associates.

Austin Investor Interests 2Q 2014 apartment facts 

(9/30/2014 7:10:00 AM)

AUSTIN - The second quarter continued to reflect the health and vitality of the local apartment market, according to Austin Investor Interests.

Rental rates soared, rising another 2.6 percent over the quarter to reach 6.9 percent annually, while occupancy remained steady despite seeing the largest number of completions in five years hit the market over the last six months.

Prevalent new trends include the addition of outdoor enhancements involving common social/entertainment areas, pet related features and social/music venues poolside or in the lounging community center.

Over the next 12 months, the inventory of Class A units will rise nearly 44 percent.

The largest amount of new construction will occur in the central sector, where there is much leasing traffic, but many applicants are unqualified and those that are qualified fear the inclusion of student living.

Just the Facts 2Q 2014
Avg. occupancy 94%
Avg. rent $1,053
Avg. SF 852
Avg. $/SF $1.24
New units added
Avg. sales price/unit $94,039

2Q 2014 Affordable Housing Stats:
16,415 Units — 97.5% — $.93 psf

2Q 2014 Student Housing Stats:
10,459 Units — 95.9% — $1.53 psf

Source: Austin Investor Interests

Click here to see the full 2Q 2014 Austin Multifamily Trend Report, courtesy of Robin Davis.

Crude talks Eagle Ford Shale in Corpus 

(9/30/2014 7:10:00 AM)

CORPUS CHRISTI AREA - The Center for Community and Business Research at the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Institute for Economic Development has released its 2014 economic impact report of the Eagle Ford Shale.

Overall, the 21-county area studied in the report is expected to increase regional economic output by 61 percent by 2023. The graph below shows all 21 counties with at least $1 billion in economic impart in 2013.

Economic Output Over $1 Billion by County
County 2013* 2023*
Nueces $11,830,469,550 $24,313,461,300
Karnes $10,964,709,282 $16,752,660,184
La Salle $9,001,341,991 $13,574,778,927
Dimmit $8,552,982,031 $12,341,837,612
McMullen $8,276,163,149 $12,518,235,902
Gonzales $7,463,132,427 $11,369,005,382
Live Oak $6,954,129,494 $8,646,546,519
Webb $5,008,394,112 $7,051,104,091
DeWitt $4,947,708,860 $7,288,946,345
Atascosa $3,309,321,673 $5,888,831,097
Bexar $3,238,996,650 $4,400,871,930
Lavaca $1,607,274,019 $2,661,190,775
Wilson $1,444,745,649 $2,109,895,697
Total 21-county
$85,362,339,892 $135,024,683,617

*includes direct, indirect, and induced impacts
**The summation of the individual counties impacts is smaller than when the impacts are taken for the group as a whole.
Bolded counties are in the Corpus Christi Area.

Counties counted in the Corpus Christi Area that fall below $1 billion in the full report include

Bee County: 2013 – $382 million
San Patricio: 2013 – $282 million
Jim Wells: 2013 – $105 million

See the full report here.

See Market Overview under Corpus Christi Market Data Sources.

Greater Houston Partnership's Sept. 2014 Economy at a Glance 

(9/30/2014 7:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - The Greater Houston Partnership has released their Economy at Glance report for September 2014. The Houston metro area created 112,200 jobs in the 12 months ending July 2014, a 4 percent annual growth rate. That performance is the seventh largest 12-month gain in 25 years.

Unlike a year ago, when several sectors still struggled to create jobs, every sector in Houston grew over the past 12 months. July’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate stood at 5.5 percent.

At the current rate of growth, Houston should surpass 2.9 million jobs in September, and if the economy continues along its current expansion path, should surpass 3.0 million jobs by this time next year.

Construction permitting in the City of Houston hit another record in July. The running 12-month total reached nearly $7.6 billion, the fifth consecutive record-setting month and a 30.5 percent increase over the 12-months ending July 2013.

Houston-area realtors sold 89,666 homes in the 12 months ending July 2014, a 7.1 percent increase over the 83,746 homes sold in the comparable period in 2013, according to data from the Houston Association of Realtors.

In the first seven months of this year, more than $150.9 billion in foreign trade passed through the Houston-Galveston Customs District, up 5.1 percent from the $143.5 billion in trade handled in the first seven months of 2013.

Exports totaled $77.7 billion, up 9.4 percent from the $71.0 billion handled during the same period in 2013. Imports totaled $73.2 billion, up 1.0 percent from the $72.5 billion handled over the same period in 2013.

Source: Greater Houston Partnership

You must see this if you want the latest! Click here to see the full Houston Economy at a Glance Sept. 2014 PDF.

Fort Worth: TCC lands Alliance in aviation education 

(9/30/2014 6:59:00 AM)

FORT WORTH - Tarrant County College (TCC) has opened a 163,500-sf aviation center at 2301 Horizon Dr. in the AllianceTexas development.

TCC invested approximately $20 million for its purchase, design and renovation and the cost of furnishing and moving programs from the Northwest Campus.

The Northwest Campus Center of Excellence for Aviation, Transportation and Logistics reflects the district’s desire to educate future pilots, aircraft mechanics and logistics professionals, which manage and track goods in and out of the state.

Bell Helicopter set the stage for the new facility by selling the district its 161,000-sf military programs facility in 2013.

The district paid about $5.2 million to purchase 20 acres at the airport, which now features the aviation and logistics learning center. More than 900 students are enrolled in the district’s aviation program this semester.

Read more at Tarrant County College and the Fort Worth Business Press.

ADP plan: $41M facility in El Paso; hire 1,100 


EL PASO - Automatic Data Processing (ADP) will create 1,100 new jobs and invest about $41 million to construct a 150,000-sf facility immediately north of its current one on Resler Dr., about half a mile south of Loop 375.

ADP has until the end of 2015 to begin construction, though groundbreaking is expected before the end of 2014. The new building must open by the end of 2017, though ADP expects to open by September of 2015.

"Today's announcement will have an overall impact to the El Paso economy of more than $653 million, and I am honored that ADP has chosen El Paso as the home for their future growth," said Mayor Oscar Leeser.

"Our expansion is an expression of our faith and confidence in the labor market in El Paso. At ADP we're proud to shine the light on El Paso for all of the right reasons; the promise we see in the people we hire and the community partnerships we have cultivated and grown," said Terry McGreehan, ADP Vice President and General Manager.

ADP first opened in El Paso in 2006 and currently employs about 1,100 people. The company primarily works with Fort Bliss and the University of Texas at El Paso.

This isn’t the first expansion announcement that ADP has made for its El Paso office. In 2012, the company announced plans to create an additional 585 jobs in the Sun City and invest $21 million to expand its operations, a deal that resulted in an incentives package from the City of El Paso. Those expansion plans never moved forward.

In July 2014, Charles Schwab announced that it will create a new operations center in El Paso that will add 445 data entry and processing jobs. It will invest $21.5 million and open in West El Paso.

Read more at the El Paso Times and KTSM-TV.

Rio Grande Valley housing market heats up 


RIO GRANDE VALLEY - There were 430 home starts during second quarter 2014, up 18 percent from 2Q 2013, according to Metrostudy. Furthermore, there were 470 closings in 2Q 2014, up 39 percent over 2Q 2013.

Through 2Q 2014, there have been 1,850 total starts — up 12 percent from 2Q 2013.

There were 1,874 new home closings in the year ending 2Q 2014 (up 11.3 percent) from 1,684 in 2Q 2013.

The top 58 subdivisions ranked by annual starts garnered a 54 percent share of the 2Q 2014 annual rate, and the remaining 387 subdivisions generate the other 46 percent share of annual starts.

Inventories are improving, prices are rising, and there is a good pocket of construction in the most active subdivision group.

For the near future, there will be a core group that generates more than 50 percent of all new home construction, holding tighter inventories and exhibiting better trends.

Read more at Metrostudy.

Austin Stonecreek, Canyon rock with 314,000-SF office sale 


AUSTIN - Three Class A office buildings totaling 314,399 sf have been sold — Stonecreek I and II and Canyon at Wild Basin.

Stonecreek I and II, located at 11920 and 11921 N. Mopac Expy., total 239,819 sf. The buildings sit on a combined 9.6 acres north of The Domain. The two buildings are 97.9 percent leased to CoreLogic, Time Warner, Century Link, Intellimark, TSMC and Siemens.

The Travis Central Appraisal District values Stonecreek I at $11.3 million and Stonecreek II at $34.8 million.

Canyon at Wild Basin, a 74,580-sf building at 115 Wild Basin Rd., was also sold. The property is located on 10.7 acres and includes a three-story building as well as a two-story parking garage.

The property is 80 percent leased to tenants including Open Symmetry, Alliance Association Management, Downs & Stanford, Dynamic Computing Services, X1 Labs, Creative Solutions, Cloud eight Sixteen, Powell & Leon, Human Software Group and Texas Republic Capital Corporation.

The Travis Central Appraisal District values the property at $12.6 million.

A private real estate fund purchased Stonecreek I and II, while CapRidge Partners purchased Canyon at Wild Basin. All three buildings were sold by Intercontinental Real Estate Group.

Read more at Commercial Property Executive and at the Austin Business Journal.

Angelo State (ASU) records graduate enrollment 


SAN ANGELO - Angelo State University (ASU) fall 2014 overall enrollment totaled 6,494, the fifth-highest ever mark recorded for the university. The fall enrollment numbers include students from 220 Texas counties, 46 other states and 29 countries.

Graduate enrollment reached 1,069, compared to 990 in fall 2013, marking the tenth consecutive long semester that College of Graduate Studies had an enrollment high.

Total graduate and undergraduate semester credit hours for this fall were 80,208 compared to fall 2013’s 81,512.

ASU Fall 2014 Enrollment Numbers*
Classification 2014 2013
Freshman 1,625 1,589
Sophomore 1,103 1,095
Junior 1,097 1,191
Senior 1,450 1,525
Graduate 1,069 990
Total 6,494 6,536

*Enrollment totals were counted as of the 20th class day.

Source: Angelo State University

Angelo State (ASU) nearly doubles donations record 


SAN ANGELO - Angelo State University (ASU) received $13 million in donations during the 2013-14 fiscal year, compared to the previous record of $7.7 million in 2011.

The single largest donation in ASU history, an anonymous $4.5 million contribution, will be used to fund construction of a facility for a proposed civil engineering degree program announced in May 2014.

Dr. Robert and Jean Ann LeGrand contributed $1.4 million to renovate the LeGrand Sports Complex into what is now called LeGrand Stadium at 1st Community Credit Union Field.

In addition to 1st Community Federal Credit Union, the San Angelo Health Foundation, Larry C. Clark and an anonymous donor provided $1.2 million for installation of artificial turf.

Other major donations include $600,000 from Richard and B.J. Mayer to install artificial turf at the new Mayer Softball Field; and a host of donors, led by the Mayer-Rousselot family, contributing toward construction of the Mayer-Rousselot Agricultural Education Training Center.

Read more at the San Angelo Standard-Times.

TAMIU ranking gains Laredo national recognition 

(9/29/2014 11:00:00 AM)

LAREDO - Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) was ranked No. 20 in Top Public Schools Regional Universities West, up from the 2013 ranking of 35, according to U.S. News and World Report.

TAMIU is sixth in the nation for lowest net price among public four-year universities, according to figures released by the College Affordability and Transparency Center.

For the second year in a row, The Chronicle of Higher Education named TAMIU among the nation’s fastest-growing public master’s institutions, ranking it No. 8 in its “Almanac of Higher Education 2014.”

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Accountability System indicated that TAMIU’s current student retention rate is almost 87 percent for students remaining in higher education, among the highest for The Texas A&M University System’s regional campuses.

Read more at Texas A&M International University News.

Goya sells Houston 140,000-SF plant 

(9/29/2014 10:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Goya Foods sold its 140,110-sf plant and distribution facility at 5750 Brittmoore Rd.

The freestanding complex includes 17,462 sf of office space, 21,785 sf of large capacity cooler and freezer space, and a 3,600-sf climate controlled processing room, in addition to 16 dock high doors, 40'x45' column spacing, 2,500 amp service and an ESFR sprinkler system.

Fully vacant at the time of sale, the facility delivered in 2006 on a nearly 25-acre site just off the W. Sam Houston Tollway South. The site can be expanded to accommodate future growth.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Underway: Plano Legacy Center kicks off 175,000-SF office 

(9/29/2014 9:00:00 AM)

PLANO - Cawley Partners has broken ground on Legacy Center, a four-story, 175,000-sf office building in Legacy Business Park.

Rents will start at $27.50 per sf, according to developer Bill Cawley.

The speculative office development is being built on 12 acres at the northwest corner of Legacy Dr. and Hedgcoxe Rd., east of the Dallas North Tollway.

The office development is scheduled for completion in August 2015 and will be priced lower than other recent projects in West Plano.

The announcement of Cawley Partner’s Plano project comes just a week after developer Granite Properties said it would start the next office tower in its Granite Park project on the Dallas North Tollway south of SH 121 in Plano. The 12-story, 306,000-sf Granite Park Five will be finished late next year.

Read more at the Dallas Morning News.

For more on Granite Park Five, see previous story 306,000-SF Granite Park Five underway in Plano.

Houston: 155,000-SF Schlumberger building sold 

(9/29/2014 7:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - The 155,324-sf office building at 1325 S. Dairy Ashford Rd. has been sold.

The building was constructed in 1983. It is a single-tenant building that is 100 percent occupied by Schlumberger, an oilfield services company.

Los Angeles-based Associated Financial Corp. purchased the building from Parkway Properties.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Cy-Fair: 592,000-SF high school to hold 3,000 students 

(9/29/2014 6:30:00 AM)

CYPRESS - The Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District will immediately start building a $128 million, 592,000-sf high school to relieve overcrowding. High School #11 will be located at the corner of FM 529 and the future Westgreen Blvd., between Grand Pkwy. and Fry Rd.

The school will accommodate 3,000 students and open August 2016. The project consists of four buildings: a three-story academic wing, a community building for fine arts and indoor athletics, a dining facility and a central utility plant building.

There will also be baseball and soccer fields, tennis courts, soccer fields, track and field facilities and football fields.

Satterfield & Pontikes Construction will be the general contractor. PBK Architects designed the school.

High School #11 will be part of a new 179-acre campus that will also include a middle school and an elementary school.

See previous story Cypress: preparations begin for two multi-school sites for information.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Lubbock: Betenbough breaks ground on 27,000-SF expansion 


LUBBOCK - Betenbough Homes has broken ground on its 27,000-sf office expansion just east of its current location on 82nd St., east of Milwaukee Ave. The estimated cost of construction will be $5 million, according to state filings.

The building is expected to be completed in 2016.

The first level will be below ground and will include a courtyard between the two buildings. It will have an outside amphitheater and room inside to accommodate about 350 people.

The ground floor will be used as a new regional office, where about 25 employees will work with customers in the studio to design and discuss future homes. It will also include a coffee shop with outdoor seating.

The top floor will be mostly office space, housing the leadership team with other spaces available for lease.

The faith-based, employee-owned company that has built more than 5,000 homes in communities across West Texas, and in 2013 it sold 730 homes, totaling about $130 million.

Read more at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

Richardson: 360-unit Jefferson Center opens near CityLine 


RICHARDSON - Jefferson Center, a 360-unit apartment community near the CityLine development, has been completed.

The one-, two- and three-bedroom homes range from 650 sf to 1,500 sf.

The new 30-acre apartment community gives residents a resort-style pool, two clubrooms, a coffee bar, grilling and cabana areas, beach volleyball courts, a dog park, playgrounds, and event lawn with an outdoor movie theater.

Jefferson Center was developed by Irving-based apartment builder JPI. It is one of a number of projects underway near State Farm Insurance's new regional hub in Richardson that will help provide housing for the company's workers.

Read more at the Dallas Business Journal.

Will Rogers Memorial Center $15M headed to Cowtown 


FORT WORTH - Plans are in the making to launch construction in early 2015 on a $15.1 million renovation at the Will Rogers Memorial Center.

The project would ease pedestrian flow between the north and south ends of the complex.

The Fort Worth Stock Show, which calls Will Rogers home for its annual one-month run, is kicking in $6.5 million — or 43 percent — of the project cost.

The project will likely take until December 2015 to complete, just ahead of the 2016 Stock Show, according to Kirk Slaughter, Fort Worth’s public events director.

The project will extend Tower Dr. from the south side of Burnett-Tandy Dr., through the section of the building connecting Cattle Barns 1 and 2 that today houses the milking parlor, and to the parking areas south of the barns.

The milking parlor will move into Cattle Barn 2.

The promenade between the cattle barns will be covered, creating a shaded pedestrian walkway that will make it easy for exhibitors to move freely between the north and south sides of the Will Rogers complex. The walkway also could be used as space for major events.

Read more at the Fort Worth Business Press.

Spring: 1M-SF office coming to Skanska's 14 acres 


SPRING - Skanska Development will build a master-planned Class A commercial office space on 14 acres it acquired in North Houston.

A one million-sf master-planned Class A commercial office development will be built on 14 acres on Springwoods Village Pkwy.

The office development will be adjacent to the Exxon Mobil corporate campus under construction near The Woodlands.

The site can accommodate either a single tenant seeking a “build-to-suit” corporate campus or a three-building office complex with multiple tenants.

“With the growing demand for high quality office space in North Houston, we look forward to delivering a Class A, highly sustainable office complex in this dynamic area,” Michael Mair, Skanska executive vice president and regional manager, said in statement.

The company is also developing West Memorial Place, a two-phase 700,000-sf office campus in the Energy Corridor and Capitol Tower, a commercial office tower in downtown.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Retail: 112 acres on Camp Strake site sold in Conroe 


CONROE - A 112-acre property at the corner of Loop 336 and I-45, part of the former Camp Strake property, has been sold. Plans for the site include a shopping, dining and entertainment destination spanning 750,000 sf.

The transaction represents the first major sale of the 2,046-acre mixed-use master-planned development. A range of residential options, from single-family homes to urban living designs, also are being considered for the rest of the land.

Johnson Development sold the tract of land to Fidelis Realty Partners. The Fidelis project is scheduled to open by early 2017 and construction will begin in late 2016.

“The opportunity to create a regional shopping experience at such a prominent location was very appealing,” said Lynn Davis, principal and chief marketing officer of Fidelis Realty Partners, in a statement.

Johnson Development purchased the former Camp Strake property in late 2013. Plans on the site also call for an open-air, mixed-use town center adjacent to the regional shopping area under development by Fidelis, said Doug Goff, Johnson’s chief operating officer.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Hines fires up new Laurel Park North near Exxon Mobil campus 


SPRING - Hines Interests LP plans to develop Laurel Park North, a new community, on 130 acres on the east side of David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport, near FM 2920 and Stuebner Airline Rd., acquired in April.

The undeveloped property is about a half mile from the proposed Grand Pkwy. extension and about a ten-minute drive to the new Exxon Mobil Corp. campus.

Hines will begin developing 310 lots within the coming month. The first residents are anticipated to move in as early as fourth quarter 2015.

Adil Noorani, managing director at Hines’ southwest division, said that Laurel Park North will be a more traditional suburban Houston community. It will feature a 25-acre lake, recreation center, parks and a putting green.

Laurel Park North will offer a variety of homes, from patio homes catering empty-nesters to larger, more traditional homes on 60-foot to 70-foot lots.

Sizes will range from 3,000 sf to 5,000 sf. Home prices will be between $350,000 to $500,000.

Hines has partnered with four home builders to develop Laurel Park North. The builders are: Chesmar Homes, based in Houston; Highland Homes, based in Plano, Texas; Princeton Classic Homes, based in Houston; and Shea Homes, based in Walnut, California.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Shale play fueling a manufactured-housing boom 


SAN ANTONIO - The manufactured housing market is booming, according to the latest Manufactured Housing Research Report by Marcus & Millichap.

The demand for manufactured homes is on the rise — as a result of such factors as rising home prices and increased job creation. Retiring Baby Boomers looking to get a second home — often in a warmer climate — are fueling the demand for this housing product as well.

Oil and gas plays like the Barnett Shale in North Texas and the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas are also pumping up demand for manufactured housing.

But it’s not just would-be residents that are seeking manufactured housing communities. These neighborhoods are a hot commodity among investors too — including real estate investment trusts (REITs), insurance companies and equity funds.

Read more at the San Antonio Business Journal.

JLL: Austin No. 5 in U.S. high-tech markets 


AUSTIN - The Austin area is ranked fifth in the nation for its high-tech market, according to the 2014 JLL High-technology Office Outlook report.

The report ranks metropolitan areas based on high-tech growth, high-tech wage growth, high-tech services concentration, share of U.S. venture capital funding, intellectual capital, innovation and market dynamism.

The Austin area was given a weighted score of 58.5. Topping the list was San Francisco with a rating of 84.6, followed by Seattle-Bellevue (71.4), Silicon Valley (70.6) and New York (58.7).

The report noted that Austin has 65,010 high-tech sector employees, up 8.3 percent from 2013. The average high-tech wage in Austin is $100,431, with annual wage growth in 2013 of 8.3 percent.

The JLL report gave Austin high marks for its pro-business environment and quality of life, with its growing access to accelerators and incubators.

It also reported an average rent of $30.44 per sf and noted that due to the fierce competition for workers, high-tech companies are investing heavily in amenities in office spaces.

The Dallas area, which includes Dallas proper and surrounding suburbs north of Fort Worth, also ranked tenth.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

For the full report, see JLL.

Waco index ticks up with spending, construction growth 


WACO - Riding strong showings in consumer spending and construction, the Greater Waco Economic Index improved to 114.3 in August from 114.2 in July, according to a report released by Amarillo economist Karr Ingham.

Inflation-adjusted taxable spending per August sales tax receipts was up nearly 4 percent compared to August 2013.

During the past 12 months, the area has seen an increase of 1,500 jobs, including 400 in construction, 700 in trade, transportation and utilities and 500 in leisure and hospitality.

The unemployment rate of 5.6 percent in August compares favorably with the August 2013 jobless rate of 6.2 percent.

Single-family housing construction was slightly improved in August, with 21 permits issued compared to 19 in August 2013.

A total of 230 existing homes were sold in August, a dip of more than 5 percent from August of last year. Year to date, existing home sales are 4.6 percent ahead of the first eight months of last year.

The $161,000 average sales prices of those homes is nearly 7 percent more than the average in August 2013.

Read more at the Waco Tribune-Herald.

Chestnut Hill's 460 units trade hands in Houston 


HOUSTON - Chestnut Hill, a 460-unit, Class B community located at 7500 Bellerive Dr., has been sold.

The 32-year-old property is 92 percent occupied with average rents at $0.90 per sf. The community features one- and two-bedroom floor plans ranging in size from 414 sf to 970 sf.

The garden-style community is situated on 10.28 acres. Property amenities include maid service, access gates, swimming pool, shuttle route, 24hr emergency maintenance and a fitness center.

SRG Apartments LLC, an entity of KMG Apts Inc., purchased the community from 7500 Bellerive LLC, an entity of RAF Properties LLC.

Read more at O'Connor and Associates.

Longview High School opens $2.2M meat processing lab 


LONGVIEW - Longview High School has opened a $2.2 million meat processing lab that is the only facility of its kind east of I-45.

The lab, which is aligned with similar facilities universities across the state, allows students to learn how to age and cut meat. It also will help prepare them for work as a butcher or food service manager.

One feature of the lab is a state-of-the-art smoker machine. Controlled by a digital keypad, it can chart the cook cycle and temperature of each product for federal compliance purposes.

Other features include a harvest floor where students can learn how to process cuts of meat from an animal.

Instructor John Denson is certified to teach hunter’s education at the lab and hopes to host clinics teaching hunters how to clean and process their own meat. The room is built with a rail and hooks so Denson can slide carcasses along and into the classroom for discussion and examination.

The lab has its own storage room with an additional freezer and refrigerator to store products. The lab will eventually sell meat to the community, according to Denson.

Read more at the Longview News-Journal.

Fort Worth: Texas Wesleyan buys two shopping centers 


FORT WORTH - Texas Wesleyan University has purchased two shopping centers on E. Rosedale St. across from its Southeast Fort Worth campus.

The centers, in the 3000 and 3100 blocks of E. Rosedale, include more than 20,000 sf and are mostly vacant. The Texas Wesleyan University Bookstore and a Subway sandwich shop are tenants in one of the buildings.

The university will pursue restaurant and retail tenants, according to Frederick G. Slabach, Texas Wesleyan’s president.

“We’ve already received significant interest by food service providers,” Slabach said.

The seller, Tsc Poly Retail LLC, began assembling the property 12 years ago. The shopping centers, which comprise several lots, are about 25 percent occupied.

Officials expect business interest in the area will continue to pick up, as the city completes a major reconstruction of E. Rosedale, now underway into the campus. Texas Wesleyan also is overhauling the entryways to the school with the help of the city.

The $1.8 million in street improvements are a public-private partnership between Texas Wesleyan, the City of Fort Worth, Tarrant County and the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

Read more at the Fort Worth Business Press.

Plano's sweet Preserve(s) for $41M 

(9/26/2014 8:15:00 AM)

PLANO - The Preserve at Arbor Hills (The Preserve), a 330-unit apartment complex located at 7001 West Parker Rd., has been sold for $41 million.

The Preserve’s 330 units range in size from 692 to 1,415 sf, with 310,072 sf of rentable area in four two-story and 13 three-story stucco buildings. The complexes one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans range in rent from $905 to $1,785.

The 15-acre property, which was built in 1998, was 97 percent leased at the time of sale. The Preserve overlooks the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve, a 200-acre park featuring vast areas for walking, jogging, hiking, and other outdoor activities.

The Preserve was purchased by Canada-based Pure Mutli-Family REIT from a subsidiary of Sunstone U.S. Opportunity Realty Trust.

Read more at Pure Multi-Family REIT and at Multi-Housing News.

Transwestern Austin office: premium not only in gas 

(9/26/2014 7:30:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Austin is one of the most expensive office investment markets in the country, according to information compiled by Transwestern using data from Real Capital Analytics.

The average sf cost for second quarter 2014 was $269 in Austin, ranking it as No. 7 among high-priced markets.

The most expensive market, as might be expected, is Manhattan with an average price per sf of $770. Washington, D.C., San Francisco, San Jose, Boston, and Salt Lake City all landed above Austin on the list.

Of course, Austin doesn’t compare with the big markets when it comes to total volume and velocity of deals. Manhattan topped the volume list with $11.2 billion in sales in the second quarter followed by Los Angeles with $5.1 billion.

According to Transwestern, there were 27 office investment sales including properties or portfolios valued at more than $2.5 million in Austin during the first six months of 2014.

CoStar Group, which has different parameters, calculates the price per sf in Austin much lower — $138. CoStar’s data also indicates a dramatic drop in the amount of office investment deals in the past two quarters — $137 million in 2Q 2014 and $348 million in 1Q 2014.

Compare that with $818.4 million in 4Q 2013, which was the highest quarterly total since 3Q 2012 when nearly $1.1 billion in office investment deals were closed locally.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

For an infographic with the full ranking, see Transwestern.

DuPont's $100M expansion in Orange County 

(9/26/2014 7:00:00 AM)

ORANGE COUNTY - DuPont's existing Sabine River Works can't keep up with worldwide demand for its materials. In response, the company intends to spend $100 million to expand it.

DuPont is experiencing revived demand for ethylene copolymers, a plastic material used in food packaging.

The Sabine River Works also produces materials for the automotive, industrial and consumer industries.

DuPont plans to complete the project over the next three to four years and expects to invest the first third of the $100 million by late 2015.

The investment will help boost Orange County's economy, said Bobby Fillyaw, executive director of the Orange County Economic Development Corp., and add construction jobs as well as permanent jobs to Sabine River Works' roster of about 900 full-time employees.

The expansion will protect existing jobs and could add to its local workforce whether DuPont hires locally for the construction or not, Orange County Judge Carl Thibodeaux said.

Thibodeaux said a project of this size would result in what he likes to call "collateral gain," which he described as an increase in sales taxes for local goods and services bought as a result of DuPont's investment.

Fillyaw said that DuPont's willingness to invest in the plant shows that the company has long-term plans for the plant that will ensure the stability of the local industry and those who depend on it.

Read more at the Beaumont Enterprise.

School's in: UTPB sees record enrollment 

(9/26/2014 6:43:00 AM)

ODESSA - The University of Texas of the Permian Basin has a record-high fall 2014 enrollment of 5,565 students, which represents an 8.6 percent increase in number of students and a 4.4 percent increase in student course hours over fall 2013.

Among the programs with a significant increase in enrollment are petroleum engineering (up 95 percent), and mechanical engineering (up 32 percent).

The Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science (BAAS) program is up 80 percent.

In the College of Education, the Fast Track to Teaching program, which offers students a convenient transition to teaching, is up 72 percent.

Enrollment for the new Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is up 236 percent, and for the pre-nursing program enrollment is up 45 percent.

The first school in Texas to offer a $10,000 bachelor’s degree in select majors, UTPB now has been recognized as the second least expensive Texas public, four-year institution for all college expenses, including tuition and fees, according to a College for All Texans’ report.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Texas Tech Red Raiders score enrollment record 

(9/26/2014 6:40:00 AM)

LUBBOCK - Texas Tech has broken its student enrollment record for the sixth year in a row with a fall 2014 enrollment of 35,134, an increase of 2,023 from fall 2013.

Graduate enrollment has increased 8.3 percent, said Tech President M. Duane Nellis, and the continued growth of graduate enrollment will be important to the university in the future.

In addition to increased enrollment numbers, Tech has seen an increase in diversity. As of fall 2013, Tech’s Hispanic enrollment was at 19 percent, which is up to 22 percent in fall 2014.

Read more at the Daily Toreador.

Austin office space: More supply, less demand? Guess again 

(9/26/2014 6:30:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Even with nearly 750,000 sf of office space under construction in downtown Austin, the area's occupancy rate is poised to increase under intense demand from tenants in a variety of industries.

"When all the buildings that are under construction deliver, the occupancy rate will actually go up, because of the preleasing in the buildings," said Charles Heimsath, president of Austin-based Capitol Market Research.

"That may be an unprecedented situation and shows the tremendous strength of the downtown market."

The occupancy rate in downtown Austin was 88.2 percent in second quarter 2014, up from 84.4 percent two years ago, according to CBRE.

Of five office projects scheduled for completion over the next 15 months, four are more than 90 percent leased, and the developer of the fifth project expects to be fully leased by January 2015. That means the buildings will likely add little to the supply of available space upon completion.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

Tyler: first stores trail into Village at Cumberland Park 


TYLER - The first stores in The Village at Cumberland Park will begin opening this week.

Vitamin Shoppe is open and Gordmans and Kirkland’s will open today.

About 12 stores will open through October and more than 20 businesses are expected to be open by Christmas, according to David Wilson of The Retail Connection.

Stores that should open in November include Bed, Bath & Beyond; Cost Plus World Market; AT&T; Carter’s; Osh Kosh B’Gosh; Skechers; Compass Trading Co. and Massage Envy.

A second wave of stores will begin opening in February and will trickle in throughout 2015.

When completed, The Village at Cumberland Park will give shoppers the opportunity to move around one center offering 700,000 sf of space, as well as a hotel.

Read more at the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

SpringHill Suites discover Cedar Park 


CEDAR PARK - An 86-room SpringHill Suites by Marriott is set for construction at 1110 Discovery Blvd., west of SH 183.

The hotel will include a full bar and approximately 1,500 sf of meeting space, along with an outdoor gathering area of about 3,000 sf.

The hotel's outdoor patio and pool will have direct access to the City of Cedar Park’s hike and bike trail.

Solar panels will be installed on the roof to generate a portion of the electricity used by the hotel, while LED lighting throughout the property, above average insulation values and heating and cooling controls will reduce energy use.

Wichita Falls-based Worth Hotels LLC is developing the hotel. When the hotel opens in first quarter 2016, Worth Hotels will operate the facility.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Spring's high altitude in 41,000-SF trampoline park 


SPRING - Altitude Trampoline Park has leased 41,000 sf in the Spring Cypress Shopping Center at 4710 Spring Cypress Rd. near Kuykendahl. Opening is planned in December.

Altitude Trampoline Park will occupy the former Albertson’s grocery store, a portion of which has been converted into space leased by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The venue provides a place for adults and kids to jump on trampolines, play dodgeball, take fitness classes and host birthday parties. The company has also leased space in San Antonio’s Heubner Oaks Shopping Center.

The chain is the latest to enter the trampoline space in Houston:

•  Sky Zone opened locations at 605 Spring Hill Dr. in Spring near The Woodlands in 2011.
•  Sky High Sports opened a 57,000-sf location at 10510 Westview in west Houston in 2011.
•  Cosmic Jump Trampoline Entertainment Center leased the 28,000-sf former anchor space of Velocity Sports Performance at 10535 Jones Rd. in 2012.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Austin XBiotech firm on Phase I of $200M campus 


AUSTIN - XBiotech USA Inc., an emerging Austin drug developer, has broken ground on the first manufacturing and research (R&D) facility at its 48-acre site off Riverside Dr. in Southeast Austin.

The R&D facility is expected to eventually house a $200 million campus of buildings.

The 46,000-sf building will cost “no more than $12 million,” according to company President and CEO John Simard.

Currently, there is no firm timeline for the start of construction of a second manufacturing and research building — the campus will eventually feature several such buildings and employ about 2,000 people.

Construction is expected to finish by mid-2015 and start manufacturing and shipping the company’s colorectal cancer-fighting drug Xilonix by early 2016. That drug is currently going through Phase Three trials in the United States and Europe.

XBiotech is privately held company that was started in the mid-2000s and has raised more than $50 million. The company is constantly raising capital to fund development and clinical trials, with a new drug intended to fight MRSA-resistant staph infection expected to start clinical trials in late 2014 or early 2015.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Set to start on 179,000-SF Austin 5th+Colorado Tower 


AUSTIN - Construction is set to begin on the 179,000-sf 5th+Colorado Tower at the corner of Fifth St. and Colorado St.

Lincoln Property Company (LPC) is developing the 18-story tower, which is scheduled to be completed in first quarter 2016.

The 5th+Colorado Tower will feature nine floors of office space above the eight-floor parking structure. Floor plates will be 19,000 sf, with the first floor featuring retail tenants.

Though tenants have not yet been announced, preleasing interest has been strong, according to Trish Williams, a vice president with LPC.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Wheatley Housing revitalization to East San Antonio 

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

SAN ANTONIO - The San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA) has started the demolition of the Wheatley Courts housing project at 906 N. Mittman St. on the city’s East Side.

The property is being demolished to make room for a new 417-unit, mixed-income community.

This complex will be a major component of the Wheatley Transformation Plan that has been designed to bring quality housing, education, employment, health care and economic development opportunities to the East Side.

SAHA received nearly $30 million in December 2012 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the Wheatley revitalization.

Read more at the San Antonio Business Journal.

Calif. investor sells 559 Class B units in San Antonio 

(9/25/2014 7:01:00 AM)

SAN ANTONIO - The 327-unit Park West and the 232-unit Parliament Bend have both been sold to California-based Regional Investment & Management.

The two Class B, garden-style communities are located in the Castle Hills submarket.

Park West, located at 11845 West Ave., offers studio, one- and two-bedroom floor plans that range from 413 sf to 823 sf. Rent varies from $489 to $829. It was constructed in 1979.

Parliament Bend, located at 11838 Parliament St., offers one- and two-bedroom units that range from 476 sf to 905 sf. Rent varies from $499 to $849. It was constructed in 1981.

“Mid-1980s construction is popular with multifamily investors due to the ease at which you can upgrade this property type and seek increased rents,” said Pat Jones, Austin-based principal at ARA Austin.

Read more at Multi-Housing News.

Houston: $25M basketball facility to dazzle UH recruits 

(9/25/2014 7:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - The University of Houston (UH) will begin construction on a $25 million basketball practice facility this week. The 53,000-sf, multi-level basketball development facility — the Houston Basketball Development Facility — will serve as the headquarters for the men’s and women’s programs.

The facility will be built adjacent to Hofheinz Pavilion, where the Cougars currently practice and play games. The estimated completion date is August 2015.

New UH men’s coach Kelvin Sampson said the facility is a must to remain competitive with other teams nationally and in the American Athletic Conference.

“We don’t have a choice,” Sampson said. “If we want to compete in this league, then we cannot be at a competitive disadvantage. If you are the coach at the University of Houston, you want to be in a fair fight. You want to be able to have equal footing with other teams in the league.”

The school released three renderings of the project, which show a modern exterior that will keep the look of the facility in line with other nearby projects, including TDECU Stadium. A large glass entrance greets visitors on the Cullen Blvd. side.

The first level will include separate basketball courts for the men’s and women’s basketball teams — with the same specifications of those in games at Hofheinz — as well as sports performance and sports medicine areas that will be shared by both programs.

The second level will feature modern locker rooms, academic/film theaters and a player lounge. The offices for coaching and support staff will be on the third level.

The cost of the facility will be privately funded, following budget approval for the project by the UH Board of Regents in late February.

Read more at the University of Houston.

SpaceX blasts onto Brownsville launch site 

(9/25/2014 6:59:00 AM)

BROWNSVILLE - Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has broken ground on its $85 million commercial satellite launch site at Boca Chica Beach, east of Brownsville. The facility will be the world’s first vertical rocket launch site.

SpaceX plans to create 500 jobs over a ten-year period, and the payroll will exceed $51 million annually. The project will create another 300 to 400 jobs from suppliers moving to the area or expanding in the area.

The State of Texas is providing $2.3 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund along with additional $13 million from the Spaceport Trust Fund to pay for infrastructure development. The Greater Brownsville Incentives Corp. committed $5 million in incentives.

SpaceX already has a rocket testing facility in McGregor, near Waco, that employs 250 people.

Read more at KXAN-TV and the San Antonio Business Journal.

HEB sets up 46,000 SF in Wimberley 


WIMBERLEY, HAYS COUNTY - HEB Grocery Co. has broken ground on a new store at 14401 Rural Route 12 on the site of the former Bowen Intermediate School.

The 46,000-sf HEB will be the second grocery store in Wimberley, which has about 2,600 residents, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics.

The only other major grocery store is Brookshire Brothers.

About 100 people will be employed at the store when it opens in summer 2015.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Dual Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites add 330 rooms to Houston 


HOUSTON - American Liberty Hospitality broke ground on a new 300-room hotel project in downtown and purchased the land adjacent to the site for future development.

The dual branded hotel — Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites by Hilton — is expected to be complete in time for the 2016 NCAA Final Four.

However, the newly acquired land, which is along La Branch between Capitol and Rusk, is slated for a not-yet-branded hotel.

"We'll gauge the market in a few months and decide (the brand) at that time," Nick Massad, president and CEO of American Liberty Hospitality, said.

The Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites will have separate entrances for each hotel, but they will share a common lobby. Both hotels will also offer guests access to amenities such as two dining areas, a fitness center and an outdoor swimming pool.

Once the hotels are finished, American Liberty will own four downtown, Hilton-branded properties with a total of 662 rooms.

Hotel development around downtown Houston is booming in anticipation of the 2016 NCAA Final Four as well as the 2017 Super Bowl. There are currently at least eight hotels planned and underway in downtown.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Galveston: $11M upgrades Cruise Terminal No. 2 


GALVESTON - The Port of Galveston’s governing board awarded a contract worth about $11 million to Webber LLC for the expansion of Cruise Terminal No. 2 to accommodate more and larger passenger vessels planning to sail from the island.

Plans call for expanding the 90,000-sf terminal by 60,000 sf on two stories — 30,000 sf on each floor. The expansion would accommodate ships carrying more than 4,000 passengers and allow for seating for at least 2,000 people.

As it stands, the terminal can accommodate seating for only about 700 people.

Plans also include expanding areas for passenger screening, baggage handling and customs enforcement. It also would ease long lines that force passengers to wait outside in the heat or inclement weather, Port Director Michael Mierzwa said.

In January, the wharves board approved a five-year agreement with Royal Caribbean Cruises that would mean more island sailings this year and next.

Royal Caribbean also promised to bring a larger vessel to Galveston if the port improved Cruise Terminal No. 2 to accommodate more passengers.

Also this year, Carnival Cruise Lines announced it would bring a third ship to Galveston if the terminal was improved and expanded. Carnival’s announcement marked the first time a cruise line had decided to deploy three ships in Texas.

Webber is expected to begin work by late October or early November and should be done before the summer cruising season, Mierzwa said.

Read more at the Galveston Daily News and the Houston Chronicle.

NerdWallet: College Station 2nd fastest growing city in U.S. 


COLLEGE STATION, BRYAN - College Station is the second fastest growing city in America, and Bryan is ranked 17th, according to a report released by NerdWallet.

NerdWallet analyzed more than 500 cities from 2009 to 2013 based on three factors: working-age population growth, growth in the number of residents in the workforce, and median income growth for workers.

Only Boulder, Colorado, beat College Station. While the working age population grew 17 percent in College Station, the city's biggest gain was in earnings growth, which is up more than 25 percent since 2009.

Bryan's working age population went up 12 percent over the four years, and while employment growth was slightly down over that time, earnings growth went up more than 22 percent.

Two other Texas cities, Midland and McKinney, also made the top 20. The only other state with four cities in the top 20 was California.

Read more at KBTX. Click here to see NerdWallet's full report, and scroll to the bottom for the full chart.

Northeast San Antonio: 28,000-SF senior center underway 


SAN ANTONIO - Guido Brothers Construction has broken ground on the $10 million, 28,000-sf Northeast Senior Center at 4135 Scarsdale in Northeast San Antonio.

The facility will have a large reception area, classrooms, offices, space for health screenings, exercise rooms, meeting rooms and a kitchen. The large multi-purpose room can be configured to a dining room that can hold up to 300 guests.

The City of San Antonio is paying for the construction with money set aside from the 2012 bond program. The facility is scheduled to be completed in 2015.

Read more at the San Antonio Business Journal.

Forbes: Austin among fastest-growing family towns 

(9/24/2014 7:00:00 AM)

AUSTIN - A demographic study commissioned by Forbes shows that the Austin area has the second-highest percentage increase in children since the turn of the century.

According to the data, the Austin metro area saw a 49.3 percent increase in the number of children aged between five and 14 years from 2000-2013.

As of 2013, the number of children in that age bracket in the region stood at 261,199, roughly 14 percent of the area’s population.

Forbes chose the 5-14 age bracket because "it encompasses when parents often move due to such issues as school quality, the cost of housing and long-term economic security," says Joel Kotkin in the piece.

Austin was not the lone Texas contender on the list. The Dallas-Fort Worth area was ranked sixth on the list, and Houston came in at No. 8.

Topping the list is Raleigh, North Carolina, which saw a 55.7 percent increase in the number of children between 5-14 over the past 13 years. There, 177,866 school-aged tykes make up 14.6 percent of the total population.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

For the full ranking, see Forbes.

$18M drops to The Strand at Huebner Oaks in SA 

(9/24/2014 6:58:00 AM)

SAN ANTONIO - Whitestone REIT has purchased The Strand at Huebner Oaks for $18 million or approximately $244 per sf, with an 8.3 percent cap rate. The 73,920-sf property is located along Huebner Rd., just off of I-10, in Northwest San Antonio.

The Strand boasts a 90 percent occupancy rate with tenants such as Half Price Books, Luce Italian Restaurant, Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, Pei Wei, Zoe's Kitchen, Birkenstock, and Smooth Lines Salon & Spa currently leasing space at the center.

Fulcrum Property Group was the seller.

Houston-based Whitestone also owns Windsor Park Centre, which spans roughly 200,000 sf along the northbound frontage of I-35 and Walzem Rd. on the Northeast Side.

Between Windsor Park and The Strand, Whitestone now owns nearly 300,000 sf of retail space in San Antonio.

Read more at the San Antonio Business Journal and CoStar Group.

DFW foreclosures down 24 percent from Oct. 2013 

(9/24/2014 6:50:00 AM)

DALLAS-FORT WORTH - DFW home foreclosure filings for October are down by almost 25 percent year-over-year, according to Foreclosure Listing Service.

Lenders have scheduled more than 1,500 homes for forced sale, compared to about 2000 properties in October 2013.

The decline in home foreclosure postings for next month continues a long trend of fewer problem residential loans.

So far in 2014, home foreclosure filings for North Texas are running more than a third behind where they were for the first ten months of 2013, according to the Addison-based firm.

DFW home foreclosures peaked in 2010 when almost 64,000 homes were posted for forced sale. Through the first ten months of 2014, 15,564 homes have been scheduled for foreclosure.

Not all homes scheduled for foreclosure each month actually sell at auction. Many times the foreclosure is delayed while the borrower and lenders negotiate or reach other agreements.

For October’s foreclosure auction, the biggest decline in filings was in Denton County where 31 percent fewer postings were recorded than in October 2013. Filings in Collin County were down 30 percent, and were 24 percent lower in Tarrant County and 20 percent less in Dallas County.

Read more at the Dallas Morning News.

Richardson: 800,000-SF Galatyn Park sold 

(9/24/2014 6:45:00 AM)

RICHARDSON - A California investor has bought one of the biggest office blocks in Richardson’s Telecom Corridor.

Spear Street Capital has bought the 800,000-sf, four-building Galatyn Park office complex located just east of North Central Expy.

The buildings — which are currently leased to State Farm Insurance and Bank of America — were constructed between 1997 and 2000.

State Farm will begin moving out of the complex in 2015 when it relocates to its new campus at the CityLine complex on President George Bush Turnpike. Its leases expire starting in 2016.

The new owner plans to invest “significant capital” to remodel the buildings, add amenities and set up a shuttle service between the property and CityLine, according to Cassidy Turley, which has been hired to lease the property along with Peloton Commercial Real Estate.

The California-based firm was founded in 2001 and has invested more than $3 billion in real estate nationwide.

Read more at the Dallas Morning News and the Dallas Business Journal.

Shipping out: Midland exports up 57 percent in 2013 

(9/24/2014 6:43:00 AM)

MIDLAND - The Midland MSA had merchandise exports totaling a record $164 million in 2013, up $60 million or 57 percent from 2012, according to the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Key merchandise export categories for Midland in 2013 included:

  • machinery;
  • computer and electronic products;
  • primary metal manufactures;
  • fabricated metal products; and
  • oil and gas.

“I believe it’s so imperative for Permian Basin manufacturers to keep a significant portion of their revenues focused on exports. It’s just good business — lending diversification to your business and a nice insurance policy for swings in the domestic market,” said Larry Richards, president and CEO of Hy-Bon Engineering.

Overall, Texas exported $60 billion in petroleum-related merchandise, followed by computers and other electronics, and then chemicals, said Dan Swart, director of the U.S. Commercial Service in North Texas.

The state’s top trading partner was Mexico, followed by Canada and then Brazil. China fell to fourth place.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Houston: 328-room JW Marriott Downtown includes Main Kitchen 


HOUSTON - The JW Marriott Downtown and its new restaurant, Main Kitchen, which is housed inside the hotel, are open. The 328-room hotel is located at 806 Main St.

The hotel is in the Samuel F. Carter building. Built in the 1900s, the building was scheduled for demolition until Pearl Hospitality purchased it and began renovations.

The renovation includes two ballrooms — the Picasso and the Monet — which are nods to the hotel’s eclectic art collection, which will eventually include a 13-foot sculpture of a gryphon, the mythical winged creature that makes up JW Marriott’s logo.

Main Kitchen will offer in-house dining and banquet catering services. The restaurant and lounge will seat 132 and will feature a variety of international flavors, including local seafood and a breakfast paella.

The JW Marriott is just one of eight new hotels either underway or planned for downtown Houston to be completed by 2017 when the Super Bowl comes to town.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Dallas' Lone Star Lofts a quick hit with tenants 


DALLAS-FORT WORTH - The historic Lone Star Lofts in downtown Dallas have only been open a few months, and the apartment project is already mostly leased.

“We’re 72 percent occupied and 81 percent leased — almost done with construction,” said developer Ted Hamilton.

Built in 1924 and 1931, the landmark former utility buildings are located on Harwood St. near the Farmers Market.

Hamilton Partners and Central Dallas Development Corp. spent about $30 million converting the vacant office buildings into 123 apartments. The apartments average about 940 sf and start at near $1,000 a month.

Read more at the Dallas Morning News.

Calif. steam shower HQ heats up Round Rock(s) 


ROUND ROCK - California-based DMA Enterprises Inc. will break ground on September 29, beginning construction on 27 acres at 1958 Steam Way. The company produces the ThermaSol product line of steam showers.

The cost of construction for the 37,000-sf project is $4 million.

The ThermaSol building will anchor a new industrial park featuring six buildings of between 30,000 sf and 50,000 sf, including a five-story office building.

ThermaSol was lured to Round Rock in November 2013, when City officials approved a $400,000 incentive package.

The company plans to bring a minimum of 45 employees to its new digs in Round Rock, and could eventually employ as much as 60 people, according to company officials.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal and Community Impact Newspaper.

Houston: 24-story, 334-unit SkyHouse from the ground floor 


HOUSTON - The Novare Group is planning another SkyHouse residential high-rise tower, SkyHouse Main, in downtown at 1625 Main St. The 24-story building will be located across the street from its recently completed SkyHouse Houston.

The new building will be a 335-unit project with ground-floor retail. Construction on the tower will begin later this year and is slated to be finished in early 2016.

SkyHouse specifically targets 25-to-34-year-old single young professionals who desire an affordable urban lifestyle.

Also under construction is the 25-story, 352-unit, SkyHouse River Oaks tower, located at 2031 Westcreek Lane near San Felipe and Loop 610.

Read more at Realty News Report.

Economic forecast panel sees risks ahead for Texas' growth 


TEXAS - A panel of three Dallas-area CEOs and an economist say consumer changes, demographic shifts and other factors could slow Texas’ fast growth pace.

“The Texas economy grew really robustly this year through August,” said Mine Yücel, director of research for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. “Employment was up 3.5 percent from 2013, compared with 1.8 percent for the nation and average historical growth rate of 2 percent for Texas.”

Yücel spoke to about 250 people gathered for the 2015 Economic Forecast in Dallas. She was joined by Fluor Corp. CEO David Seaton, Kimberly-Clark Corp. CEO Thomas J. Falk, and J.C. Penney Co. CEO Mike Ullman.

Yücel expects Texas’ 3.5 percent job growth to continue through the rest of the year for about 400,000 total jobs, but that high demand has led to labor shortages, especially in energy and construction.

Fluor’s Seaton feels “the pinch” from the labor shortage and he thinks comprehensive U.S. immigration reform would help alleviate some of that pressure. Fluor is one of the world’s largest engineering and construction services companies.

Kimberly-Clark’s Falk and J.C. Penney’s Ullman both see big changes in the middle-class consumer.

The middle class — the nation’s middle two income quartiles — is “what I spend the most time thinking about,” Ullman said. “We always say that middle consumer has too little time, too little money and too many kids.”

Falk sees two big demographic shifts affecting his Irving-based consumer packaged goods company: There are more Latino and Asian consumers; and flat wages and lower household income is leaving middle-class consumers with less money to spend.

The Dallas forum was the first of McCombs’ Texas Enterprise Speaker Series four economic forecasts. The others will take place in October in Austin, Houston and San Antonio.

Read more at the Dallas Morning News.

Mansfield's 40,000-SF Matlock Center sold 


MANSFIELD - Matlock Center, a 40,027-sf shopping center shadow-anchored by a Walmart Neighborhood Market, has been sold.

The property, which is located at the intersection of Matlock Rd. and Debbie Lane, was 90 percent leased at the time of sale to tenants including Subway, Pizza Hut, Great Clips, Liberty Tax Service, Advance America and No Frills Grill.

A Dallas-based investor sold Matlock Center to an Arlington entity.

Read more at Texas Real Estate Business.

San Antonio: Santikos Casablanca 'to play it, Sam' 

(9/23/2014 7:00:00 AM)

SAN ANTONIO - Santikos Theaters has broken ground on a new 110,000-sf movie theater in far west San Antonio at 11210 Alamo Ranch Pkwy. at SH-151 and Alamo Pkwy.

The Santikos Casablanca Theater will have a Spanish-themed edifice and feature the latest digital projection technology including an 85-foot 'AVX MAX' screen. Select auditoriums will have plush recliners and allow for food and beverage items to be delivered directly to patron’s seats.

The theater complex will also include a 16-lane bowling alley, a full-service sports bar and a restaurant.

Read more at the San Antonio Business Journal . Special thanks to Daniel Rodriguez of Santikos.

Amarillo 'by morning' to Asia: exports up 52 percent 


AMARILLO - Exports from the Amarillo MSA totaled a record $581 million in 2013, an increase of 52 percent or $198 million from 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

Key merchandise export categories included:

  • processed foods;
  • crops;
  • machinery;
  • manufactured products; and
  • leather products.

Trading partners in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and Asia were the leading destinations for Amarillo exports.

"Texas companies, large and small, continue to tap the growing spending power of the 95 percent of world consumers who live outside of the United States," said Harry Henson, Senior International Trade Specialist of the U.S. Commercial Service in North Texas.

Read more at KAMR-TV. See more Amarillo news!

Midland Wall Street Lofts ring opening bell in Nov. 


MIDLAND - The $17.4 million, 108-unit Wall Street Lofts in downtown are nearing completion, and will be ready for tenants by November 2014, according to developer Roger Gault.

The Lofts will include one- and two-bedroom apartments ranging from 605 sf to 1,136 sf. A top-floor clubhouse with flat screen televisions and a kitchen will complement the Lofts’ pool and fitness center.

The 5,000 sf of retail space in the bottom of the building has not yet been leased.

The four-story lofts will be released floor-by-floor, with the top floor, leasing office and club room coming online first. The parking garage should also be completed in mid-November.

Private funds provided $12 million of the construction costs, and the City of Midland, in conjunction with the Midland Development Corp. (MDC), provided $5 million for construction of the parking garage.

The land that the Lofts sits on, which was valued at $350,000, was provided for the project at no charge through the city’s Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Board.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Beaumont: 86,000-SF Victory Medical sold in $131M deal 


BEAUMONT - The 86,128-sf Victory Medical Center specialty hospital and medical office has been sold for $33.6 million.

The Beaumont property was part of a portfolio that included three inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and two medical centers acquired by CNL Healthcare Properties for $131.1 million.

CNL also acquired the 23-bed Victory Medical Center in Hurst, Tex., for $29.5 million.

The other properties included:

  • Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital with 50 beds for $25.5 million in Oklahoma City;
  • Desert Canyon Rehabilitation Hospital with 50 beds for $22.3 million in Las Vegas; and
  • St. Joseph Rehabilitation Hospital with 40 bed for $20.2 million in Indiana.

The Hospital Portfolio now contains 180 bed in 296,000 sf, according to SEC filings.

Read more at the Beaumont Enterprise and SEC filings.

Lackland AFB: 645,000-SF hospital to enhance medical care 


SAN ANTONIO - San Antonio is home to a new military medical center, now rising at Lackland Air Force Base. 

The $457 million, 645,000-sf Lackland Ambulatory Care Center is a state-of-the-art replacement hospital that will become the largest ambulatory care center the Department of Defense has built to date.

Development of the new facility was driven by the Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC) of 2005, an initiative that consolidated all military medical training and health care in the San Antonio area.

The original strategy consisted of four phases totaling $480 million, including 680,000 sf of clinic space, a new central energy plant, a parking garage and overall site improvements. Phase one ended in November, and phases two and three are still under construction.

The $90 million phase two is 90 percent finished, with completion expected by January. Phase three should be done in June 2015. Valued at $92.5 million, the third phase is around 75 percent complete.

A fourth and final phase that includes demolishing Wilford Hall is planned for 2015-2016 but is contingent on government funding.

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Port Arthur: 63-room La Quinta sold 


PORT ARTHUR - La Quinta Inn & Suites Port Arthur, a 63-room hospitality property located at 7540 Memorial Blvd., has been sold.

This transaction was a part of a seven-hotel asset oil/gas portfolio that the buyer was acquiring.

The seller was a large developer in Southeast Texas. The buyer was in state and was attracted to the asset because of the strong oil/gas market and brand affiliation.

Source: Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services

Big Brothers Big Sisters big deal site in Houston 


HOUSTON - Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star, the largest Big Brothers Big Sisters agency in the world, has purchased a 23,505-sf high-profile site near downtown at 1003 Washington Ave. for its new headquarters building.

“We first considered buying an existing building, then considered a renovation project, and finally identified the ideal site at Washington and Franklin,” said Randy Hopper, senior vice president with the Houston office of The Weitzman Group. “The site has an existing building which will be demolished for this new headquarters project.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star currently operates out of a building in the Sharpstown area. They serve more than 9,500 children in 100 counties in Texas. Their existing building already has been sold to a neighboring building for expansion.

Working with parents and guardians, schools, corporations and others in the community, Big Brothers Big Sisters carefully pairs children (“Littles”) with screened volunteer mentors (“Bigs”) and monitors and supports these one-to-one mentoring matches.

Source: The Weitzman Group and Cencor Realty Services

Conroe: 170 homes to The Meadows at Imperial Oaks 


CONROE - McGuyer Homebuilders Inc. is developing a 400-acre community, The Meadows at Imperial Oaks, within the master-planned community Imperial Oaks, located five miles northeast of the new Exxon Mobil Corp. headquarters.

The developer has partnered with five builders to build the first 170 of an estimated 1,200 homes in the community, situated in unincorporated Montgomery County. Model home construction is expected to begin in the next 30 to 45 days. The home builders are:

•  Ashton Woods Homes USA LLC, based in Atlanta
•  Beazer Homes USA Inc., based in Atlanta
•  Coventry Homes, a subsidiary of McGuyer based in Houston
•  J. Patrick Homes, based in Houston
•  Plantation Homes, another subsidiary of McGuyer based in Houston

The builders will offer homes ranging in price from the $200,000s to the $600,000s. Beazer and Plantation will build on 50-foot lots; Ashton Woods and Plantation on 60-foot lots; and Coventry and J. Patrick on 70-foot lots.

The new homes will be zoned to the Conroe Independent School District. Student-residents will attend Birnham Woods Elementary, Tom Cox Intermediate, York Junior High and Oak Ridge Senior High schools.

By the end of the year, McGuyer Homebuilders also will start building a community recreation center, featuring a pool, toddler pool with spray features, pavilion, playground and clubhouse overlooking a 17-acre lake.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Makeover, new name set for Amarillo's 262-room Ambassador 


AMARILLO - The 262-room Ambassador Hotel, located at 3100 W. I-40, was purchased by First Capital Real Estate Investment, which plans a $5 million renovation and a rebranding as a Wyndham Garden Hotel.

The appraised value of the Ambassador property is approximately $4.5 million, according to the Potter-Randall Appraisal District. The hotel’s previous owner, Parthenon Hospitality Ltd., acquired it from the Shaner Hotel Group in 2004. The hotel was built in the early 1980s.

Renovations should be completed by the end of 2014 or first quarter 2015, according to Suneet Singal, chief financial officer of First Capital Real Estate Investment. Dallas-based Hospitality Management Corp. has assumed management of Ambassador.

A 2013 Smith Travel Research survey ranked Wyndham Garden, a sub-brand of the “upper upscale” Wyndham brand, with the top overall score in the upper mid-price tier, according to Business TravelNews article.

Read more at the Amarillo Globe-News.

Baytown's Lee College District receives $1M grant 


BAYTOWN - The U.S. Secretary of Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1 million grant to the Lee College District to support the construction of a new 50,000-sf training facility, the McNair Training Center.

The McNair Training Center will help meet an increasing demand for skilled workers in the petroleum industry due to recent growth in the area. According to the grantee, employers are concerned that the region does not have the talent it needs to fuel this expansion.

The training center will house welding and pipefitting training programs, which are currently running at capacity on Lee College’s main campus.

The Gulf Coast Workforce Board indicates these are in-demand fields and projects annual openings of 830 welders, 520 pipefitters and 175 pipefitter assistants in the region through 2020.

Read more at Your Houston News.

Hospitality house to serve families of Gatesville inmates 


GATESVILLE - The Central Texas Hospitality House, a new house for families who are visiting inmates in state prison units, has been completed.

The house includes ten bedrooms, a laundry room, a play room, kitchen, and more.

The structure cost about $900,000, and was built and furnished completely with donations from throughout Central Texas.

The Hospitality House will also be open to families visiting inmates at prison units in San Saba, Burnet and Marlin.

The house will open for day visitors in late September, and will start housing families overnight on October 31.

Read more at KWTX.

101,000 SF catches the eye of Hoya Vision in Irving 

(9/22/2014 12:15:00 PM)

IRVING - Lewisville-based Hoya Vision Care has leased a 101,817-sf industrial space in the Trade Center IX building at 755 Regent Blvd.

The space will help Hoya move its distribution center from Santa Clara, California to North Texas.

The company will start operations from the new facility in October.

The building, located near Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, is owned by Trammell Crow Co., Clarion Partners and Rosewood Property Co.

HOYA Vision Care is a U.S. firm owned by Hoya Corp. of Japan.

Read more at the Dallas Morning News.

TAMU sells 163 DFW acres to home builder 

(9/22/2014 11:15:00 AM)

DALLAS - The Texas A&M University System has sold 163 acres of farmland north of Campbell Rd. on Coit Rd. in North Dallas.

The tract is adjacent to the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center. The sale of the acreage is expected to help Texas A&M AgriLife kick off plans for a new state-of-the-art research center on the school’s remaining 80 acres in northern Dallas County.

Dallas-based Centurion American Development purchased the land with plans to bring hundreds of homes to the area.

Centurion Development's proposed plan for the tract includes 720 single-family homes and 180 townhomes, according to the city's planning and zoning department.

Read more at the Dallas Business Journal.

Houston Energy Corridor: Pacific Drilling adds 70,000-SF HQ 

(9/22/2014 11:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Pacific Drilling SA is leaving its Galleria office in 3050 Post Oak to move to a 70,000-sf space in the Energy Corridor at 11700 Katy Fwy. The move will increase the company's headquarters by 37,000 sf.

Pacific Drilling will take the top three floors and some space on the first floor of the 14-floor office tower. The company moved in to the new space in mid-September and has plans to renovate the space as employees occupy it.

“Pacific elected to relocate to the Energy Corridor primarily to be better located for their employees, achieve a better parking density and get prominent building signage and exposure for their name and brand,” said Jon Silberman, who represented Pacific Drilling on the lease.

The energy industry is pushing real estate activity in the Katy Fwy. submarket where there are 22 office buildings totaling more than 5.47 million sf under construction. About 60 percent of those are preleased and vacancy rates are at 3.7 percent for Class A buildings, according to CoStar.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

College Station: $91M Flu Vaccine Facility dedicated at TAMU 

(9/22/2014 10:17:00 AM)

COLLEGE STATION - The $91 million, 100,000-sf Pandemic Influenza Vaccine Facility is being developed as a partnership between Texas A&M University and pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline.

The facility will be housed at the Texas A&M Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing. It will have the capacity of manufacturing up to 50 million flu vaccine doses within a four-month window.

Gov. Rick Perry helped dedicate the facility at a ceremony in College Station on Sept. 18. The facility is expected to be fully operational in 2015.

The facility is only one of three public-private centers authorized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop rapid-response capabilities to both biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear threats, and naturally occurring infectious diseases.

Just ten years ago, the nation faced a shortage of flu vaccine that cost the economy an estimated $20 billion in health care costs and lost productivity among workers.

Even when supplies of flu vaccines are readily available, U.S. flu outbreaks can cause an average of 36,000 deaths and result in more than 200,000 hospital stays each flu season.

Read more at the San Antonio Business Journal.

ABoR: Austin home sales dip among rising prices 

(9/22/2014 9:15:00 AM)

AUSTIN - The Austin Board of Realtors (ABoR) has released data for August 2014, which became the second consecutive month of declining home sales.

Austin-area home sales decreased 4 percent from August 2013, with 2,835 single-family homes sold. The decline is attributed to rising home prices and housing affordability issues.

“A majority of Austin-area homes are now priced out of an affordable range for first-time and first-time move up homebuyers, where a significant portion of home sales volume occur,” said Bill Evans, President of ABoR.

August 2014 Statistics

•  $247,500: Median price for single-family homes, 11 percent more than August 2013.
•  $311,414: Average price for single-family homes, 9 percent more than August 2013.
•  42: Average number of days single-family homes spent on the market, one day fewer than August 2013.
•  3,310: New single-family home listings on the market, 4 percent more than August 2013.
•  6,707: Active single-family home listings on the market, 10 percent more than August 2013.
•  3.0: Months of inventory* of single-family homes, 0.2 months more than August 2013.

Read more at the Austin Board of Realtors.

For more stats and information on housing and more, check out Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos Market Data Sources.

Houston: nine-building 290 Gateway Park underway 

(9/22/2014 9:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - 290 Gateway Park, a new 63,600-sf office and warehouse project, is underway located at 20212 Hempstead Hwy. near the intersection of Hwy. 6.

The deed restricted Class A park will feature nine separate buildings — five with 6,000 sf available and four with 8,400 sf available. Buildings are expected to deliver in October, and the first building should be fully erected and completed by December.

The space can be developed as spec office, is five-ton crane ready and can also be used for distribution or storage. The space is available for lease or for sale.

The buildings will be metallic, but made with stucco and stone in the front, and made with red iron steel. Buildings will feature two 16-by-14-foot overhead grade level doors. Some outside storage space will also be available along the sides of the buildings.

The project is being developed by Covey Ridge, and it is being built adjacent to another upcoming business park from Duke Realty — Gateway Northwest — which went online earlier this year.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Victoria's 2.8 months inventory for Aug. 2014: Swearingen 

(9/22/2014 8:45:00 AM)

VICTORIA - The Swearingen Report for residential homes has been released for the 12 months ending August 2014 by Coldwell Banker The Ron Brown Company.

The average sales price for residential homes was $176,545, up 6.3 percent versus the same period ending August 2013 when it was $166,040.

The median price of residential homes for August 2014 was $159,900, up 6.6 percent versus July 2013 when it was $150,000.

There were 929 residential homes sold in the Victoria MLS for the 12 months ending August 2014, 4.5 percent (40 homes) more than the same period in 2013.

Victoria MLS Residential Home Sales August 2014
All Categories* 12 Months Ending
Aug. 2013
12 Months Ending
Aug. 2014
Residential property sales 889 929 4.5%
Residential total dollar volume $147,609,596 $164,010,586 11.1%
Average residential sales price $166,040 $176,545 6.3%
Median residential sales price $150,000 $159,900 6.6%
Total active listings end of month 248 242  -2.4%
Months inventory 2.8 2.8 0.0%

*These figures refer to the residential homes market.

See the full report at Coldwell Banker The Ron Brown Company.

Houston: 256-unit Haven at Main to rise near NRG Stadium 

(9/22/2014 7:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - A five-story, 256-unit apartment complex, Haven at Main, is set to break ground on a former motel site at 8700 South Main near Old Spanish Trail.

The complex will include one- and two-bedroom units ranging from 634 sf to 1,274 sf.

One-bedroom units will rent for between $1,225 and $1,375, and two-bedrooms will rent from $1,650 to $1,825. Initial move-ins are expected in November 2015.

“This high-end development coincides with the type of development the Stadium Park Redevelopment Authority wishes to accomplish along the South Main corridor and will serve as a catalyst to additional quality development as South Main St. is refaced in time for the Super Bowl in 2017,” said Houston City Councilman Larry Green.

Guefen Development Co. is building the project. Guefen has several other multifamily projects in Houston under the Haven brand and the company is seeking more development sites.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: Israelis buy 227,000-SF 8 West Centre for $76M 


HOUSTON - Azrieli Group, a real estate firm based in Tel Aviv, Israel, has purchased the 227,045-sf 8 West Centre office building at 3505 West Sam Houston Pkwy. N., just north of Kempwood for $76 million. It was completed in 2013.

Core Real Estate sold the four-story property, which is fully leased to two tenants: Cameron International Corp. and Helix Energy Solutions.

Helix was the first to lease space in the building, taking 118,630 sf in November 2012. Cameron signed a long-term lease for 106,801 sf in February 2013.

The building is designed to achieve LEED Silver certification. Features include floor-to-ceiling glass around 60 percent of the perimeter, natural stone materials in the lobby and common areas, an outdoor courtyard with seating area, more than two stories of parking and a full-service café.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle, Houston Business Journal and Globes.

Austin: 156,000-SF Centennial Towers sold 


AUSTIN - The six-story Centennial Towers at 505 E. Huntland Dr. has been purchased by Boston-based Taurus Investment Holdings LLC. The 156,000-sf property was built in 1986 and is 99 percent occupied.

Tenants currently include Securitas Security Services Inc., KBR USA Inc., Texas A&M University and Walsh, Anderson, Brown, Gallegos & Green PC.

Taurus purchased the office property from Braun Enterprises of Houston. The Travis Central Appraisal District most recently valued the property at about $15.1 million.

Taurus has had a presence in Austin since 2005 when it acquired more than 2,000 acres near SH 130. Through the Dallas offices, it has been moving forward with the development of Whisper Valley and Indian Hills — two massive master-planned communities.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Rockport home sales Aug. 2014: Swearingen 


ROCKPORT - The Swearingen Report for residential homes has been released for the 12 months ending August 2014 by Coldwell Banker The Ron Brown Company.

The average sales price for residential homes was $255,372 for the 12 months ending August 2014 — up 0.7 percent versus the same period last year when it was $253,617.

Total sales of residential homes for the Rockport MLS for the 12 months ending August 2014 was 418, an increase of 3.2 percent (13 homes) versus the same period last year.

Rockport MLS Single-Family, Condo/Townhome Residential Sales
All Categories* 12 Months Ending
Aug. 2013
12 Months Ending
Aug. 2014
Residential property sales 405 418 3.2%
Residential total dollar volume $106,764,987 $106,745,435 0.0%
Average residential sales price $253,617 $255,372 0.7%
Median residential sales price $190,000 $184,775 -2.8%
Total active listings end of month 338 330 -2.4%
Months inventory 8.0 8.9 11.3%

*Figures refer to the single-family and condo/townhome market.

See the full report at Coldwell Banker The Ron Brown Company.

Houston: 165,000-SF St. James office underway in Galleria 


HOUSTON - Nelson Murphree Legacy Partners has broken ground on a 15-story, 165,146-sf boutique office tower at 1885 St. James Place. Nine floors of office space will sit atop six levels of parking.

The building is going up on the site of the former Courtyard on St. James, which had been a popular venue for weddings and business meetings for years.

The building will be owned by 1885 St. James Place Partners and is being developed by Nelson Murphree Legacy Partners.

The project is next to the 1900 Yorktown apartments being developed by the Finger Cos. and across from Weatherford’s headquarters.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Amarillo building report Aug. 2014 


AMARILLO - The City of Amarillo has released the August 2014 building report.

Amarillo Building Report
Type Aug. 2014 YTD 2014
Permits Total
Permits Total
New single-family
34 $10,578,755 313 $82,379,187
Retail/restaurant 2 $1,713,085 7 $7,166,477
1 $1,000,000 20 $20,313,072
620 $7,691,291 6,049 $75,166,022
67 $7,136,978 940 $113,252,393
Total* 736 $28,402,713 7,459 $364,445,483

*Total represents all permit types.

Source: City of Amarillo

PicaPica Flip'z to Trampoline Park in San Antonio 


SAN ANTONIO - Local developer Al Honigblum is once again spicing things up at his South San Antonio venue, PicaPica Plaza. The latest addition is the 25,000-sf Flip’z Trampoline Park.

Flip’z will join another leading children’s attraction of PicaPica Plaza — Kiddie Park, which opened two years ago. Flip'z will feature two trampolines for high-flying basketball dunking, a foam pit and two full-size dodgeball courts.

PicaPica Plaza debuted in December 2012 — bringing new purpose to a 130,000-sf retail box that once had been home to both Walmart and defunct retailer Steve & Barry’s.

PicaPica Plaza now has roughly 200 retail and service vendors doing business.

Read more at the San Antonio Business Journal.

Sprouts adds 25,000-SF Arlington store, plans for more 


ARLINGTON - Sprouts Farmers Market has opened its first Arlington store at 5711 W. I-20.

The 25,000-sf store is the grocer’s second Tarrant County store to open in the past month. It opened in Hurst on Aug. 6.

The store employs 130 people. Sprouts plans to continue adding three to five stores per year in DFW, according to Eric Stover, Sprouts divisional vice president.

The Phoenix-based grocer now has 189 stores and more than $2.5 billion in annual sales.

Read more at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and at the Fort Worth Business Press.

$5.5M Hospice of Texarkana breaks ground 


TEXARKANA, TEX. - Hospice of Texarkana has broken ground on a $5.5 million, 22,000-sf Inpatient Care Center at 2223 Galleria Oaks Dr. Construction is expected to be complete in 18 months.

The new facility will include 12 patient rooms, a family mediation area, a chapel and a grief counseling room. Hospice of Texarkana will be the only free-standing hospice center within about 70 miles.

Read more at KTBS-TV.

$38M Affordable housing project to debut in Southeast Austin 


AUSTIN - A $38 million affordable housing apartment complex is set to break ground later in September.

The 252-unit William Cannon Apartments, which will be developed by a partnership between Pedcor Investments and the Travis County Housing Finance Corp., will be located on 28 vacant acres on William Cannon Dr.

Preleasing will start June 2014, with the first apartments ready for move-in by August.

Nearly all the units at the William Cannon Apartments will be aimed at people making no more than 60 percent of the area’s median income, which is $45,250 for a family of four, said Craig Lintner, Pedcor’s senior vice president of development.

A handful of one-bedroom apartments are targeted at those making 50 percent of the median income or less.

Rents for the 72 one-bedroom apartments will range from about $600 to $750, including sewer and water, which is under the market rate of $900.

The 132 two-bedroom apartments will go for $885, compared with the market rate of $1,100, and the 48 three-bedroom apartments will rent for $1,000, while the market rate is $1,250.

Pedcor, which will manage the apartment complex, plans to provide a bevy of on-site social services, some of which were required by the state. Services will include daily after-school homework help, summer youth programming, General Educational Development preparation classes, financial and health courses and an on-site notary public.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

25,000-SF Odyssey first tenant in Round Rock park 


ROUND ROCK - Odyssey Technical Solutions LLC will become the North Park Business Park’s first tenant, signing on for a 25,000-sf facility.

North Park Business Park, which is located off E. Old Settlers Blvd., will be between Chasco Constructors Ltd. and Casa Mechanical Services.

Odyssey, a semiconductor repair company, will bring 48 employees to the park with plans to expand to roughly 110 within two years.

To bring Odyssey within the city limits, the City of Round Rock will award an economic development grant of $55,000 plus an additional $1,000 per job, up to $55,000.

Furthermore, the business will see a total tax abatement for two years, then a 75 percent abatement in the third year and a 50 percent tax abatement in the fourth year.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Eastman completes plasticizer expansion in Texas City 


TEXAS CITY - Eastman Chemical Co. has completed a capacity expansion of its Eastman 168 non-phthalate plasticizers at its manufacturing facility. The expansion increased overall capacity by about 15 percent.

The firm projects global demand for DEHT at 500,000 tons in 2014 and sees continued demand for non-phthalate plasticizers.

Eastman expects the market to need its next phase of capacity expansion by mid-2016, which would take the firm’s full capacity to more than 200,000 tons.

Eastman said non-phthalate plasticizers are broadly used in products like toys, childcare items, food contact materials and medical devices. They also are used to provide flexibility to polyvinyl chloride in a variety of applications.

The firm serves the building and construction, health and wellness, and a wide range of consumer product industries.

Eastman is a global chemical company that serves customers in about 100 countries and reported revenues of $9.4 billion in 2013. The firm is headquartered in Kingsport with 14,000 employees worldwide.

Read more at Rubber News.

Walmart breaks ground on 22,000-SF store in Waskom 


WASKOM, HARRISON COUNTY - Construction has begun on a 22,000-sf Walmart Neighborhood Market at 1005 Texas Ave. on the left side of Devon Energy and across from Azz Galvanizing.

The Neighborhood Market will offer a full grocery department with a bakery and deli, health and beauty items, baby and pet supplies, select household merchandise and a full-service pharmacy. The store also will have fuel pumps on site.

The Waskom Walmart Neighborhood Market is expected to employ up to 30 associates. Walmart employs more associates in Texas than any other state with an average hourly state wage of $12.46, according to Anne Hatfield, director of communications for Walmart public affairs and government relations.

Besides Waskom, Naples, Tatum and Lone Star are among the East Texas towns that could see construction starting soon on smaller Walmart Neighborhood Markets, previously called “Express stores.”

Walmart opened a Neighborhood Market in Longview on Gilmer Rd. earlier this month, part of its plan to open between 270 and 300 small-format stores nationally this year.

Read more at the Marshall News Messenger.

For more on the Longview Neighborhood Market, see previous story Longview: Walmart opens 41,000-SF Neighborhood Market.

TAMU-San Antonio opens 171,000-SF academic center 

(9/19/2014 3:30:00 PM)

SAN ANTONIO - Texas A&M University-San Antonio has formally dedicated Central Academic Building & Patriots' Casa. The $75 million building is the largest yet on TAMU-San Antonio's growing campus located in South San Antonio.

The four-story, 170,750-sf building will be the physical heart of the fastest-growing component of the Texas A&M University System. It features an auditorium, lecture halls, science labs and classrooms.

Space will be provided for various student services, student lounge areas and an “Opportunity Mall/Hall” for events and club activities. A cyber café and food court are also planned with wireless Internet throughout.

About 300 new parking spaces are being added near the Central Academic Building for visitors, students, faculty and staff.

The school near the intersection of Loop 410 and Zarzamora St. has an enrollment of about 4,520 students and has grown 216 percent in the past five years.

About 74 percent of the student population are first-generation college students.

Read more at the San Antonio Express-News.

193,000-SF Rice Village Arcade sold in Houston 

(9/19/2014 10:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Rice Management Co. has closed on its acquisition of the Village Arcade, a three-building, 193,000-sf retail property in Rice Village.

Earlier this year, Rice Management Co. agreed to buy out Weingarten Realty’s ground lease on the property for an estimated $55 million to $60 million.

Rice and Trademark Property Co., which was hired earlier this year to lease and manage the Arcade, “plan to completely revitalize the properties by significantly upgrading the merchandising mix, facades and site amenities and considering a rebranding,” the companies said.

“There is clearly great pent-up demand among leading national and international brands and special local merchants who have wanted to open stores in the Village for years but for one reason or another couldn’t,” Tommy Miller, managing director at Trademark said.

The Village Arcade properties haven’t changed since they were built in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They include such retailers as Ann Taylor, Athleta, Banana Republic, Chico’s, Gap, Kendra Scott, Starbucks and Victoria’s Secret.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

PwC Analyst: DFW office market gives reason to cheer 

(9/19/2014 8:00:00 AM)

DALLAS-FORT WORTH - DFW real estate developers and investors have reason to cheer as the region's office market continues to expand, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers U.S. Real Estate Practice Leader R. Byron Carlock Jr.

"This is the year for office market improvement; there's been a lot of absorption and landlords are trying to raise rents again," said Carlock.

"Tenants are ready for a new generation of space," he added. "The users are now having to consider space and space aesthetics in the war for good talent."

PricewaterhouseCoopers recently released its third quarter 2014 Real Estate Investment Survey, which surveys commercial real estate investors on their outlook for markets throughout the United States.

Dallas was ranked firmly in the expansion phase of the real estate cycle, according to the survey.

As a result of a growing number of tenants in North Texas, he said, there's been a run on high-quality real estate by growing DFW companies. And developers are joining the action, constructing build-to-suit corporate offices and going vertical on multitenant office buildings.

"The attractiveness of Dallas will continue — not only for business migration, but inbound population growth as employers expand," Carlock said.

Read more at the Dallas Business Journal.

GTAR: Tyler region home sales August 2014 


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

Home sales dipped by 2.8 percent from August 2013. However, the drop could mean a difference of only one house sale, according to Tyler Area Builders Association President Kerry Hamblett.

The median home price for August was $154,400, a 5.4 percent hike from $146,500 experienced in August 2013, and a 2.9 percent increase from the median home price of $150,000 in July 2014.

The home inventory for the greater Tyler area was 9.1 months in August, down from 9.4 months in July and from 10.4 months in August 2013.

Tyler Region Sales and Price Activity by Units Sold August 2014
MLS Wide Median Price
  Aug. 2014
Price Chg.
Aug. 2013
Units Sold
Aug. 2014
Sales Chg.
Aug. 2013
TYLER (single-family) $151,000 5.6% 336 -11.8%
TYLER (condo) $109,150 -48.5% 2 -50.0%
Region Cities**        
Tyler $154,950 -1.0% 114 7.5%
Whitehouse $155,750 20.5% 18 -21.7%
Lindale $207,450 57.8% 18 -5.3%
Mt. Pleasant $135,000 -1.5% 17 0.0%
Bullard $224,000 -5.3% 15 -25.0%
Flint $185,250 18.8% 14 -46.2%

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

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

Forbes: young professionals flock to Amarillo 


AMARILLO - Amarillo ranked No. 16 on a list of opportunity cities for young professionals, according to Forbes Magazine.

The list is a compilation of 19 cities and focuses on professionals ages 25 to 39. Three main factors influenced rankings — median home sales prices, unemployment rates and trends and population growth for cities of at least 150,000 people.

Amarillo’s median home price at the end of first quarter 2014 was $97,700, according to Sperling’s Best Places.

The average home sale price through July 2014 was $167,439, compared with $156,160 at the same point in 2013, and $96,316 in 2000, according to the Amarillo Economic Index from InghamEcon.

The unemployment rate was listed at 3.9 percent, and the rate has been on a downward trend. Additionally, the population grew by 0.8 percent from 2008 to 2012.

The Amarillo MSA had the third-lowest unemployment rate in the state at 4.1 percent in July 2014, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

Lubbock hit the list at No. 7, with a 1Q 2014 median home sales price of $108,400. Lubbock’s unemployment rate was listed at 4.5 percent, also on a decreasing trend, and its population growth from 2008 to 2012 was 10.7 percent.

Read more at the Amarillo Globe-News.

Sanyo Energy recharges with HQ move to The Colony 


THE COLONY, DENTON COUNTY - Sanyo Energy U.S.A. Corp., a rechargeable battery manufacturer and supplier, is relocating and expanding its Dallas-Fort Worth headquarters within the region.

The Frisco-based company plans to relocate its headquarters into a new 30,000-sf build-to-suit building on Plano Pkwy. in Austin Ranch, near SH 121.

Construction on the new building is scheduled to begin immediately, with an expectation the property will be ready for the tenant by July 2015.

This moves Sanyo — and the company's upwards of 100 employees — from its current location in 29,842 sf of office space within Hall Office Park at 2600 Network Blvd. in Frisco.

The Colony Economic Development Corp. expects to give in excess of $200,000 for the move in cash incentives.

Sanyo Energy decided to consider a build-to-suit headquarters based on the rising rental rates due to growing tenant demand by relocating and expanding companies, said Dean Collins, an associate director in Cushman & Wakefield's Dallas office.

"Tenants have a unique opportunity to consider build-to-suits because interest rates are currently low and pricing is very competitive versus existing product," said Collins.

Read more at the Dallas Business Journal.

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