NewsTalk Texas

Midland

Midland-Odessa construction sector on fire  

(4/7/2014)

MIDLAND, ODESSA - The Midland-Odessa Regional Economic Index posted its 48th consecutive month of increase in February 2014, and was 5.5 percent above February 2013 levels, according to economist Karr Ingham.

Midland-Odessa’s construction sector saw a February 2014 total permit valuation of just more than $63 million, up 46.7 percent from February 2013. During the first two months of 2014, the combined permit valuations totaled $140.4 million, up 36.6 percent from the $107.8 million issued during the first two months 2013.

Existing home sales were slightly higher in February 2014, with the 202 closed home sales up 2.5 percent from 197 in February 2013. There have been 403 closed sales so far in 2014, up 10.7 percent from 364 during the same time in 2013.

In February 2014, the average home sales price was $225,403, up 3.6 percent from $217,519 in February 2014. During the first two months of 2014, the average sales price has been $227,323, up 4.5 percent from $217,605 averaged in the first two months of 2013.

Payroll employment — the number of jobs estimated to exist in the Midland-Odessa combined metro area — was up by 3.2 percent in February 2014 compared to February 2013, reflecting the addition of 5,000 jobs to the economy over the last 12 months.

The unemployment rate remains the lowest in the state, averaging 3.3 percent in February 2014, down from 3.7 percent in February 2013.

Consumer spending — inflation adjusted — was up 7 percent over February 2013, which was more than 10 percent higher than February 2012. Automotive spending remains on the rise, with February 2014 figures up 8 percent compared to February 2013.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

What's normal? Over 400,000 at Midland International Airport 

(4/4/2014)

MIDLAND - Midland International has accommodated more than 450,000 passengers every fiscal year since 2007, other than in fiscal years 2009 and 2010 due to the national recession.

Midland had 165,028 enplanements thus far in fiscal year 2014 (between October 2013 and January 2014). This figure is already above the seven-year average, prompting predictions that the airport may surpass 500,000 passengers by the end of the fiscal year.

From fiscal year 2010 to January 2014, the number of passengers at Midland International increased by 17 percent.

Midland International’s soaring enplanements are an echo effect of the oil boom that continues to bring more job seekers from across the country, with business travelers outnumbering leisure passengers, according to Marv Esterly, director of airports.

Of all the airport passengers, 40 percent come from Midland, 40 percent come from Odessa and the remaining 20 percent come from the surrounding area, said Esterly.

With the robust economy, the airport is adding corporate hangars, renovating its food court and lounge area and making other improvements.

The Wright Amendment appeal will open the door for Southwest Airlines to offer additional nonstop flights out of Love Field starting in October 2014. Dallas Love is the top destination for Midland International passengers, according to the Research and Innovative Technology Administration.

As of January 2014, the airport has about $6.7 million in the bank, $1.9 million of which is in its operating fund. Taking advantage of the land, the airport recently opened a new revenue stream by leasing mineral rights to oil companies.

One recent project that also has long-term ramifications is the construction of a spaceport at Midland International. The spaceport would be the first in the country that would be built at a commercial airport rather than in a private field or one specifically meant for aerospace use.

Midland International Airport Boardings
Year # of
Boardings
FY 2007 488,792
FY 2008 496,841
FY 2009 433,032
FY 2010 426,648
FY 2011 463,874
FY 2012 488,138
FY 2013 499,169

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland hotel industry strongest revenue in history 

(3/30/2014)

MIDLAND - In 2013, hotels brought in more cash than any other year in history, with revenues totaling $101,001,406, up about 1.7 percent from 2012, according to the Office of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism.

The average daily rate in 2013 was $107.74, the third highest in all of Texas. Only in Austin, $116.70 per night, and Odessa, $115.34 per night, were the average rates higher, according to Source Strategies Inc. The average price throughout Texas was $94.44 per night.

Each individual hotel in Midland booked an average of 81.9 percent of its available rooms in 2013, the second highest occupancy rate in Texas, but down from 91.5 percent in 2012. San Angelo maintained the highest occupancy rate in 2013 at 82.9 percent.

The occupancy rate went down in 2013 because the overall hotel supply increased significantly while the number of people staying in hotels stayed virtually consistent, according to Keith Dial, Permian Basin Hotel Lodging Association president, said

More than 1,600 additional rooms were available between new hotels built in 2013, bringing the total up to 4,776 rooms at the end of 2013, according to the Midland Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The demand for hotels is not anticipated to go up too much in 2014, so the increased supply will likely continue to drive the average price of a room down, according to Dial.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

See previous story Texas hotel occupancy 2013; 11 metros beat state average.

Midland energy leaders expand campuses 

(3/26/2014)

MIDLAND - Oil companies are investing millions to build modern campus-like office space with many amenities. While many companies have moved north where more property is available, there still is significant interest in downtown.

Downtown Midland office buildings have typically been set up for multiple tenants, whereas large companies prefer their own buildings in campus-like settings, said former Midland mayor Wes Perry.

With all of downtown’s Class A office space full and “even the ‘C’ space is going up, price-wise, the market is very healthy and creates opportunities for us all,” said Perry.

Concho Resources acquired the ten-story Hightower Building and a nearby six-story building from Basic Energy Services in 2011 and spent about 18 months renovating the 180,000 sf of space into One Concho Center.

Pioneer Natural Resources, currently located downtown in the Bank of America Building, is constructing a $50 million six-story office building — complete with day care and cafeteria — north of ClayDesta Center on north Big Spring St. The project includes a three-story parking garage adjacent to the office building.

Fasken Oil & Ranch built a 60,000-sf two-story office building to accommodate its 150-plus employees in the southeastern-most section of the C Ranch. The office building was the first step in The Vineyards development, which will include The Office Park at The Vineyards, where two office buildings are under construction.

Chevron, located in ClayDesta Plaza at 15 Smith Rd., will head west in 2015 after the completion of its new $100 million campus near the Scharbauer Sports Complex. The new campus will have two four-story buildings totaling 330,000 sf with the capacity to accommodate 800 employees.

Establishing a vital downtown is a challenge every city faces, said Perry, and Midland is hampered by a shortage of ancillary attractions like retail and grocery stores and residences. That is why construction of Wall St. Lofts is so important: It will help provide that 24-hour component, said Perry.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland, Odessa: 2,976 units part of $300M deal 

(3/25/2014)

MIDLAND, ODESSA - The Related Real Estate Recovery Fund has acquired 21 Class B multifamily properties, comprised of 3,128 units, for about $300 million. Fourteen of the assets with 1,751 units are in Midland; six assets of 1,225 units are in Odessa. The remaining 152 units are in Longview.

The properties were completed between 1974 and 1983, but have been extensively renovated after being acquired by Pivotal Group in 2012 for about $13 million.

The Midland-Odessa area has 3.2 percent unemployment, an average household income of $157,000, 97 percent occupancy of multifamily housing, and the potential to substantially raise rents, according to CBRE.

The Related Cos. expects to improve the portfolio by implementing institutional-quality management practices and investing significant capital to upgrade the properties.

“With the exception of the past five years, the Midland-Odessa region experienced an extremely limited amount of new construction and capital upgrade investment since mid-1980s, creating a gap in the marketplace,” said Justin Metz, managing principal of Related Fund Management.

Read more at Globe St. and Realtynewsreport.

Midland No. 1 MSA in U.S. under 3 percent jobless rate 

(3/24/2014)

MIDLAND - Midland’s 2.9 percent jobless rate made it the only MSA in the nation to post a jobless rate less than 3 percent in January 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Midland’s civilian labor force grew by 2,500 people from January 2013 to January 2014. Of the 95,600 people in the labor force, 2,800 were unemployed.

During a five-month stretch from December 2012 through April 2013, no community in America posted a lower jobless rate than Midland.

Odessa’s 3.6 percent unemployment rate during January 2013 put the area in a three-way tie with Iowa City, Iowa, and Fargo, North Dakota for fifth best in the nation.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland Fasken Oil adding 39 units to The Vineyard 

(3/21/2014)

MIDLAND - The 39-unit second phase of The Vineyard development will be located on 7.212 acres west of the Holiday Hill Rd. and Green Tree Blvd. intersection. Construction starts during summer 2014 and finish in 2015.

Fasken Oil and Ranch Ltd. will develop the luxury complex, which will be comprised of nine two-story buildings only holding at most six units, and an ample 128-space parking lot

The Vineyard is a master-planned, mixed-use development by Fasken that includes space for single-family homes, apartments, office space, parks, retail and an elementary school.

Fasken previously developed The Vineyard’s 176-unit Sandstone Ridge complex, and both complexes will be for rent to the public, not just exclusively for Fasken employees.

Construction of The Vineyard began in 2010 with the development of Fasken’s corporate headquarters. Construction is already underway for two office buildings, one of which will be occupied by SM Energy Co.

Barbara Fasken Elementary, a 92,000-sf campus that will accommodate 800 students, will be in construction in the near future, said Arthur Zuniga, real estate development manager for Fasken.

Read more at the Midland-Reporter Telegram.

Midland International Airport activity takes off 

(3/18/2014)

MIDLAND - The Midland International Airport has released enplanement, deplanement and other statistics for February 2014.

Midland International Airport Progress Report
  Feb.
2013
%
Chg.
Feb.
2014
Total enplanements 35,214 6.5 37,503
Total deplanements 35,010 5.2 36,847
Commercial landings 661 9.7 725


Read more at the Midland International Airport.

Midland-Odessa economy regains balance in 2014 

(3/17/2014)

MIDLAND - Over the past 47 months, the Midland-Odessa economies have grown 55 percent, according to economist Karr Ingham. January 2014, the 47th consecutive month of increase in the Midland-Odessa Regional Economic Index, was 5.5 percent above January 2013.

January 2014 retail spending was up 5.2 percent from January 2013, which was more than 16 percent higher than January 2012. Automotive spending was up 22.4 percent in January 2014 compared to January 2013 and was the biggest year-over-year gain in 14 months.

Building permit valuations issued by Midland and Odessa in January 2014 totaled $77.2 million, up 29.3 percent compared to January 2013. Additionally, January 2013 was more than 80 percent above January 2012.

The 109 new home construction permits issued in January 2014 is the highest on record for the month of January, and outpaced January 2013 by 5.8 percent.

There were 201 existing homes sold in January 2014, up 20.4 percent from 167 sold in January 2013. The average sales price continues to rise, with the January 2014 average of $229,253 up 5.3 percent from the January 2013 average of $217,706.

“The numbers will begin to reflect a cooling in construction activity, housing prices, and so on, first in terms of a slowdown in the rate of growth, and then perhaps by an actual decline at some point,” said Ingham.

When the economy comes into balance, it should continue expanding at normal rates and will be “a much bigger economy than it was ten, even five years ago,” said Ingham.

The area economy is transitioning from an economy established to accommodate $20 to $30 crude oil to one capable of accommodating $90 to $100 crude from unconventional resources. The current economic expansion has been technology-driven.

Midland and Odessa residents will see a growth rate of between 4 and 5 percent for the remainder of the year, according to Ingham.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Downtown Midland: 300-unit Sun Dance Creek underway 

(3/7/2014)

MIDLAND - Construction is underway on the $24 million, 300-unit Sun Dance Creek Apartments along Edwards St., north of downtown. Koontz McCombs is constructing the project.

The apartment complex, comprised of multiple three-story buildings, will have one- and two-bedroom units, a clubhouse, pool and a cabana building, according to Carl Fairchild, project superintendent.

The entire project should be finished within 14 to 16 months, but the clubhouse and the first 48 units are slated to be complete by September 2014.

Sun Dance Creek Apartments will be similar to other luxury apartments around Midland like the Blue Ridge Apartments and Midway Station apartments, according to Steve Thorpe, City of Midland building official.

One-bedroom apartments at Blue Ridge range between $1,367 and $1,412 a month. Rent for a two-bedroom apartment is currently between $1,587 and $1,672.

At Midway Station, a one-bedroom apartment’s rent sits between $1,399 and $1,625 a month. Two-bedroom apartments rent for between $1,825 and $2,010 a month.

San Antonio-based Koontz McCombs will oversee the construction, leasing and management of the apartments.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland Daybreak Estates set for 165 homes 

(3/5/2014)

MIDLAND - Daybreak Estates' final plat for about 165 single-family homes on 54.5 acres has been approved by the Midland Planning and Zoning Commission. The homes will be near Big Spring St. and Mockingbird Ln.

Daybreak Estates will be developed by Permian Homes and will offer seven different floor plans ranging from $209,990 to $294,990.

The smallest house has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and is about 2,460 sf, while the largest home design has two stories, four bedrooms, three bathrooms and is about 4,110 sf.

Other approved housing developments on Big Spring St., north of Loop 250 include Lone Star Trails with 952 homes and Adobe Meadows with 270 homes.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland office supply sales gushing  

(2/27/2014)

MIDLAND - Total Office Solution has been named the number one provider of Xerox products within similar-sized markets across the country. The store has seen about a 67 percent sales increase since 2008, according to co-owner Tommy McCrury.

In 2013, Total Office Solution recorded $12 million in sales, and about $5.5 million was from Xerox products — which exceeded expectations by about 177.4 percent, according to Rose Willis, Xerox’s regional vice president.

“Midland is definitely where the opportunity is, as far as accounts,” said McCrury. There are about 6,000 business establishments in Midland and Odessa.

Total Office Solution provides businesses with equipment, furniture, supplies and management services, or technology support. The business also has physical locations in Odessa and in San Angelo.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-News.

Home runs, match points love Midland  

(2/24/2014 8:00:00 AM)

MIDLAND - Each sporting event hosted in the Tall City brings between about $200,000 and $1.3 million from visitors spending, according to Brenda Kissko, a spokeswoman for the Midland Texas Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB).

The Schlumberger Tournament of Champions, a baseball tournament, is expected to bring in the largest chunk of cash — totaling more than $1.3 million, according to the CVB. The West Texas Classic Softball Tournament is projected to contribute $875,000 in direct visitor spending — the second highest of the events.

The U.S. Tennis Association — Texas Junior Team Tennis Spring Section Championships is estimated to draw about 750 people to the city, creating $700,000 in direct visitor spending between two nights.

The increased number of hotel rooms in Midland has really helped to drive down rates, allowing more teams to afford to stay here, according to Kissko. More than 1,600 hotel rooms were built in 2013, according to CVB statistics.

Sarah Marston, CVB sports sales manager expects Midland to get even more events in 2014, citing the benefit of having more available hotel rooms.

“We need sports to stay alive in Midland and I think our community knows that,” said Marston. “We’re ready to roll out the red carpet.”

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland office spaces mixing perks 

(2/20/2014)

MIDLAND - Conventional office space in Midland is giving way to more modern facilities that offer employees additional luxuries that were once only found in larger cities. As more oil industry headquarters, campuses and office buildings emerge around the city, the face of “traditional office space” continues to evolve.

Pioneer Natural Resources, currently located in the Bank of America Building, is constructing a six-story building within the ClayDesta Plaza that will house a day care center, cafeteria and fitness center.

Chevron is building a 340,000-sf campus on 25 acres west of the Scharbauer Sports Complex. A fitness center and cafeteria will also be included in the design.

Each Chevron floor will include a “town center,” which will provide employees an updated coffee bar and flatscreen televisions that feature company news.

Fasken Oil and Ranch Ltd. is constructing The Vineyard, a master-plan development that will include an apartment complex, an elementary school, retail shops and restaurants, single-family homes and a biking and hiking trail.

The first set of apartments, Sandstone Ridge, should be available for occupancy sometime during summer 2014.

Fasken’s new headquarters, located on the development, are already complete, and the company is now constructing two additional 58,000-sf buildings that will be leased to other oil companies. SM Energy Co. will move into one building, which should be finished by April 2014. The other building may have multiple tenants and should be complete by May 2014.

Despite the vast differences between each individual building and campus, employees working inside new oil-company facilities in Midland can expect their environments to be much more state-of-the-art than they once were.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland's Commons at Northpark plans 32,000-SF expansion 

(2/19/2014)

MIDLAND - The Midland Planning and Zoning Commission has approved a 32,000-sf expansion of the Commons at Northpark shopping center on four acres just east of the current development.

The new shopping center expansion will include a strip mall for several businesses to lease space in addition to two stand-alone buildings, which will likely house restaurants or smaller retail stores.

The expansion plan currently calls for six or seven businesses and 262 additional parking spaces for customers.

Lubbock-based Graco Real Estate Development Inc. developed the Commons at Northpark and will also develop the new shopping center.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland $2M boost to spaceport 

(2/12/2014)

MIDLAND - The Midland Spaceport Development Corp. accepted a $2 million grant from the Office of the Governor to help Midland International Airport’s spaceport grow.

The funds came from the state’s Spaceport Trust Fund, which was created by the Legislature to assist with infrastructure costs for spaceports. The goal of the fund is to create jobs and continue support of the space industry in Texas.

The $2 million will be used for spaceport-related capital improvement projects, according to Marv Esterly, director of airports.

“Two million dollars goes a long way to bring spaceport development to the City of Midland and diversifying our economy,” said John Love III, president of the Spaceport Development Corp. The corporation will be eligible to re-apply for the grant next year.

The aerospace industry’s presence in Midland began in 2012 when XCOR Aerospace announced its intent to relocate from Mojave, Calif. to Midland after agreeing a $10 million incentive package with the Midland Development Corp (MDC).

XCOR plans to launch one of its newest spacecraft, the Lynx, into space from the airport.

MDC previously struck a deal with another aerospace company, Orbital Outfitters. The spacesuit and spacecraft mockup company also will be moving to Midland. The arrival of XCOR was one of the reasons why Orbital Outfitters chose to relocate to Midland.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

See previous story Midland stellar deal with Orbital Outfitters.

Southwest loves another Houston flight to Midland 

(2/12/2014)

MIDLAND - Southwest Airlines will offer an additional direct flight between Midland International Airport and William P. Hobby Airport in Houston beginning in June 2014.

There will be four daily flights to and from Houston and Midland, according to Michelle Agnew, a Southwest spokeswoman. There are currently three daily flights.

Other direct Southwest flights are expected to stay the same, increasing the airlines’ total number of direct flights to 11. There are five direct flights to and from Dallas and two to and from Las Vegas.

Midland will not lose or gain any additional flights because of the repeal of the Wright Amendment, according to Marv Esterly, the city’s airport director.

Southwest has the largest market share in Midland with around 52 percent of those boarding an airplane at Midland International. In December 2013, 19,939 travelers boarded a Southwest plane, an increase of 2.6 percent compared to December 2012.

Midland International is the eighth largest airport in Texas and thirteenth for the southwest region, according to Esterly.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland tops! Global think tank says so 

(2/7/2014 6:45:00 AM)

MIDLAND - Midland has been ranked number one for employment growth and named the fastest-growing economy in the country for the second year in a row, according to IHS Global Insight, a global think tank.

Midland’s gross metro product (GMP) grew 7.5 percent in 2013, and had previously grown 14.4 percent in 2012 when compared to 2011. “The GMP is sort of the equivalent of GDP, just at the metro level,” said Ana Orozco, a principle economist with IHS.

About 6.3 percent more jobs were created in 2013 compared to 2012, the largest percent change in any city in the country.

In 2014, Midland’s projected GMP is 3.9 percent, which would make it the tenth best in the country. As far as job growth goes, Midland is expected to see a 3.4 percent increase during 2014.

Odessa is ranked second in both the real GMP, with a 6.7 percent increase, and highest year-over-year employment growth. In 2014, Odessa is anticipated to have a 3.1 percent gain in GMP and a 2.5 percent increase in job growth.

Colo.-based IHS Global Insight uses data from the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland nonprofits open 42,000-SF facility 

(2/2/2014)

MIDLAND - The 42,000-sf Midland Shared Spaces opened its doors at 3500 N. A St. with 11 nonprofit organizations and their 60 employees housed under one roof. The building has space for 13 nonprofits.

The idea for a shared nonprofit facility is to offer a discounted rent by maintaining separate office spaces but sharing the cost of common areas, office supplies and IT services.

Tenants will pay a discounted rent of $8 per sf per year and share common areas such as a commercial kitchen, break rooms, conference rooms and a community room for lectures and banquets.

Each nonprofit’s office size is different — Mission Adult Day Services occupies the largest space, with nearly 9,000 sf, and Midland Opera Theater has the smallest, with a one-room office.

The building is environmentally green, with LED lighting, shared servers, trees to be planted around the perimeter and other conveniences. The lawn outside the building can hold more than 1,000 people and will serve as a space for fundraisers, shows and other events.

The building also includes two “flex offices” that can be leased by nonprofits — including those that are not tenants at Midland Shared Spaces — for up to one year.

The shared facility has been under construction since early 2013. Led by the Abell-Hanger Foundation, the initiative has raised nearly $10.5 million.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland: Pontikes buys land for plan in Westridge Park 

(1/30/2014 6:58:00 AM)

MIDLAND - Pontikes Development LLC has purchased 19 acres in the 100-acre Westridge Park, according to CB Richard Ellis (CBRE). SBC LP sold the property.

Pontikes plans to develop a complex consisting of approximately 500,000 sf of office space, including structured parking facilities. Construction plans will allow tenants to begin occupying the space in 2015.

Additionally, Chevron Corporation is constructing an approximately 350,000-sf facility adjacent to the Pontikes development within Westridge Park.

"Midland and its economy have experienced a great deal of growth in the last few years, and we expect to see this expansion continue into the future,” said Alan Feinsilver, president of Pontikes Development.

Westridge Park is currently Midland’s fastest growing multi-use development. The location is within proximity to numerous major retail, restaurant and hotel facilities, as well as to Loop 250 and Hwy. 191.

Pontikes Development is affiliated with Satterfield & Pontikes Construction Inc.

Source: CRBE

2013: Which city averaged 40 days on the housing market? 

(1/29/2014 9:00:00 AM)

MIDLAND - The average home price reached $254,680 in 2013, a 7 percent increase from the average in 2012, according to the Permian Basin Board of Realtors. August 2013 saw the largest home prices, with an average of $283,568.

The median home price in 2013 was $221,504, nearly an 8 percent increase from 2012.

The average number of days homes sat on the market in 2013 was 39.75. The average was 41 days in 2012, 55.75 days in 2011 and 65.67 days in 2010.

The average number of homes on the market in 2013 was 271 per month. In 2012, the average number was 277. That figure sat around 350 in 2011 and topped 500 in 2010.

The Midland City Council has approved the zoning for a subdivision in north Midland that will add about 900 new homes to the market.

The first of several phases of homes are expected to be on the market in September 2014, according to Rick Betenbough, president of Betenbough Homes.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland, San Angelo, Abilene drink from same cup 

(1/29/2014)

MIDLAND - The Cities of Midland, Abilene and San Angelo have formed the West Texas Water Partnership, a coalition addressing long-term water needs of the region. The municipalities will share costs and combine efforts to find enough drinking water.

“Nowhere else in the state are cities combining their resources to find a regional solution to their future water needs,” said Leah Mazzarelli, City of Abilene communications and media relations manager. City managers from each community jointly signed the same contract after their respective city council’s approval.

In Midland, a public-private partnership has begun delivering about 20 million gallons of water daily to 50,000 homes. 

The City of Midland worked with the Midland County Fresh Water Supply District No. 1 to develop the $200 million T-Bar Ranch water pipeline, which is estimated to provide 40 years of water. The district’s next project, the $30 million ClearWater Ranch water pipeline, merges with T-Bar’s water to give the distant water supply better quality and additional years of life.

In San Angelo, the $120 million Hickory Well Field provides 9 million gallons daily.

The City of Abilene signed a letter of intent to share existing and to-be-developed water supplies as part of the partnership.

The Abilene City Council has approved $17.25 million for phase 2 of the Hamby Wastewater Treatment Plant project. The council previously authorized $41.4 million for phase 1 of the project which began in December 2013.

The Cedar Ridge Reservoir project, located at a site 40 miles north of Abilene, could hold as much as 74 billion gallons of water. The reservoir, with a dam beside the Brazos River, could provide water for the Abilene region for 100 years.

The reservoir will provide 23,380 acre-feet per year of water starting in 2020, but the City of Abilene is still in the process of getting the required permits for Cedar Ridge.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram and the Abilene Reporter-News.

Midland stellar deal with Orbital Outfitters  

(1/28/2014)

MIDLAND - Orbital Outfitters will receive nearly $7 million from the Midland Development Corporation (MDC) for relocating its equipment and constructing a headquarters that includes an altitude chamber complex.

The economic development agreement includes:

$2.2 million for headquarters construction;
$3.2 million for altitude chamber complex construction; and
$1.5 million for salaries and relocation of equipment and other materials.

The MDC will own the chamber complex, but Orbital Outfitters will manage it. The altitude chamber could have practical applications beyond the aerospace industry such as the medical and engineering industries.

Orbital Outfitters will be the second space company that the MDC has attracted to the area; the first is XCOR Aerospace.

The arrival of both companies come at a time when Midland International Airport nears its completion of a spaceport designation license from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The MDC has plans for one or two additional incentive deals with aerospace companies. As they have discovered from the past five or six years, targeting one industry is much easier than attempting to lure many industries at once.

California-based Orbital Outfitters specializes in space suits and vehicle mockups.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram and Orbital Outfitters.

H-E-B calls on AT&T's 135,000-SF Midland property  

(1/24/2014 9:30:00 AM)

MIDLAND - The 135,000-sf former AT&T Call Center building, located at 5407 Andrews Hwy., has been purchased by H-E-B.

In 2013, the assessed value for the property was about $11.2 million, according to the Midland Central Appraisal District.

H-E-B operates an existing store at at 3325 W. Wadley Ave., less than five miles away from the new property.

The building opened in 2001 as a Cingular Wireless and later housed Builders Square, a home improvement retailer . AT&T officials announced the closure of the call center in June 2013, which meant a loss of about 100 jobs, according to the Midland Reporter-Telegram archives.

Read more at the Odessa American.

Play it again Midland! Permits a hit in 2013 

(1/10/2014 6:45:00 AM)

MIDLAND - For three years in a row, the City of Midland has issued a record number of housing permits as the population continued to grow.

The city issued 732 housing permits in 2013, an approximate 20 percent increase from the amount issued in 2012. Commercial permits also increased as the city issued 88 permits in 2013 compared to 58 in 2012.

The constant population increase caused by the oil boom and the subsequent high demand for housing played major roles in the record-breaking year that the city went through.

Betenbough Homes, with its nearly 700-unit Legends Park in West Midland, requested the most permits in 2013, according to Steve Thorpe, a city building official.

The number of housing permits in 2014 will be “level” with 2013’s number, according to Thorpe. However, the lack of infrastructure, such as water and sewer lines, could limit the capacity of the building community in 2014.

  2013 2012 %
Chg.
Midland Construction Permits and Values
New residential permits 732 598 18.31
New commercial permits 88 58 34.09
Total permits 9,550 9,328 2.32
Construction value $836,692,614 $339,812,837 59.39

Source: City of Midland

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland International Airport busy with activity 

(1/10/2014)

MIDLAND - The Midland International Airport has released enplanement, deplanement and other statistics for December 2013.

  Dec. 2013 %
Chg.
Dec. 2012
Midland International Airport Progress Report
Total enplanements 42,590 3.9 40,984
Total deplanements 41,789 6.7 39,163
Commercial landings 797 14.2 698


Read more at the Midland International Airport.

Pioneer eyes $50M office; 3Q 2014 move-in  

(1/7/2014)

MIDLAND - Construction of Pioneer Natural Resources’ new $50 million office building at ClayDesta Plaza remains on schedule, according to Danny Barker, company director of facilities.

Pioneer’s Midland employees will begin moving into the new six-story building in third quarter 2014 and all estimated employees will be settled into the new building by fourth quarter 2014.

The new building will house a cafeteria, daycare center and fitness center complete with locker rooms. A three-story parking garage will be constructed adjacent to the new office building.

The company has expanded its mobile home park on Midland’s east side and has moved into a new pumping services building on County Rd. 307, near the Midland Tank Farm. The pumping services building houses the company’s frac crews.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Greenwood ISD approves 160,000-SF Midland school  

(12/19/2013)

MIDLAND - The Greenwood ISD Board of Trustees has approved project plans for the 160,000-sf Brooks Middle School. The school will serve about 900 students in fifth through eighth grades.

The campus will be designed in a manner that would allow for a 77,000-sf addition for third and fourth grades, should future enrollment growth call for it.

The $51.5 million bond package approved in May 2013 allotted about $37.4 million for the construction of the new school.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland housing 3Q 2013: Coldwell Banker Covenant 

(12/10/2013)

MIDLAND - Median home prices increased by nearly 7 percent in third quarter 2013 from 2Q 2013, and have increased by 17.5 percent on a year-over-year basis, making Midland one of the highest price growth cities in both Texas and the nation.

Marketing times in Midland are quite low, having dropped to under one month on average, down almost one week from 2012.

Months-of-supply also remains low, hovering around two months for the past several quarters. Six months of inventory is considered by many to be a normal supply-demand condition, however that has typically been a high point in the Midland market.

  3Q
2012
3Q
2013
Y-O-Y
Chg.
Key Midland Home Statistics
Avg. sales price $237,332 $271,038 14.2%
Avg. $/SF $104 $117 12.8%
Median sales price $200,000 $235,000 17.5%
DOM 38 29 -23.3%
Sale % of list 98.1% 98.4% 0.3%
# of sales 528 490 -7.2%
Listed inventory 359 326 -9.2%


Source: Coldwell Banker Covenant

Also see Coldwell Banker Covenant's full report under housing in Midland Data Sources.

Record construction in Midland, Odessa tops $1B 

(12/5/2013)

MIDLAND-ODESSA - The City of Midland and the City of Odessa have issued a combined $1.126 billion in construction permits as of October 2013, according to economist Karr Ingham. The previous record of $754 million was set in 2012.

October 2013 building permit values were 140.2 percent higher than October 2012, and through the first ten months of 2013, values are up 70.6 percent compared to the same period in 2012.

The Midland-Odessa Regional economic Index posted its 44th consecutive monthly increase in October 2013, gaining 7.9 percent over October 2012. However, every month in 2013 has seen a decline in the rate of growth compared to 2012, from 13.9 percent in January 2013 to 7.9 percent in October 2013.

A slight flattening of the index began in late 2012, but given the stresses rapid economic growth has put on Midland-Odessa’s housing, labor force, roads and other infrastructure that may not be a bad thing.

Retail sales were up 10.3 percent in October 2013 compared to October 2012. Since retail sales bottomed out in 2009, spending is up about 75 percent through October 2013, which is more than double October 2009 spending.

An estimated 7,700 jobs were added to the combined metro area economy over the last 12 months, nearly 3,500 of which were with oil and gas companies. The year-over-year growth rate of nearly 5 percent continues to top all Texas, and most national metros.

Midland and Odessa issued 112 new housing permits in October 2013, up 17.9 percent from 95 in October 2012, which was up more than 50 percent compared to October 2011. To date in 2013, the two cities have issued 1,142 new housing permits, up 20.2 percent from the 950 issued during the same period in 2012.

Existing home sales remained flat, with 258 homes selling in October 2013, compared to 256 in October 2012. The October 2013 home sales price averaged $232,329, up 7.5 percent from $216,191 in October 2012.

The only negative in the October 2013 index was seen in hotel-motel tax collections, which were down 2 percent compared to October 2012. The decline suggests enough new hotel room capacity has been added to take pressure off demand for hotel rooms.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland International Airport activity: October 2013  

(11/26/2013)

MIDLAND - The Midland International Airport has released enplanement, deplanement and other statistics for October 2013.

  October
2013
October
2012
%
Change
Midland International Airport Progress Report October 2013
Total enplanements 45,286 42,244  7.2
Total deplanements 44,080 42,280 4.3
Total passengers 89,366 84,524 5.7
Commercial landings 845 686 23.2


Read more at the Midland International Airport.

Midlandís average personal income per capita tops 

(11/22/2013)

MIDLAND - For the third straight year, Midland is the nation’s fastest growing MSA in terms of personal income, growing 12.1 percent from 2011 to 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Midland’s average per capita income was $53,161 in 2009. In 2012, the average was $83,049, a gain of 56.22 percent from 2009 and the highest per capita income in the nation.

Area 2009 2012 % Chg.
Average Personal Income Per Capita in Texas Areas*
Midland $53,161 $83,049 56.22
Houston-Sugar Land-The Woodlands $43,291 $51,004 17.82
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington $40,485 $46,136 13.96
Austin-Round Rock $38,270 $42,902 12.10
Odessa $32,216 $42,698 32.54
San Angelo $34,848 $39,711 13.95
Abilene $33,122 $37,918 14.48
Lubbock $32,345 $36,074 11.53

* ranked by 2012 income

Source: The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

2,800 Self-storage units sold in Midland and DFW for $27M 

(11/21/2013 7:45:00 AM)

MIDLAND, DFW AREA - Strategic Storage Trust Inc. (SSTI) has acquired five self-storage properties in Midland and the DFW Metroplex for a total of approximately $27 million. The properties totaled about 390,000 sf in 2,800 units.

The five-property acquisition includes:
•  1712 W. Randol Mill Rd. in Arlington (445 units, 59,495 sf)
•  810 S. Denton Tap Rd. in Coppell (740 units, 101,735 sf)
•  5005 Andrews Hwy. in Midland (615 units, 92,820 sf)
•  1904 W. Loop 250 N. in Midland (535 units, 75,800 sf)
•  1925 S. Bowie Dr. in Weatherford (470 units, 61,995 sf)

These, along with four additional properties acquired by SSTI in Alabama and Tennessee, will be rebranded under the SmartStop Self Storage name.

Source: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Listen to Podcast 196 that highlights Small Towns, Big Deals including
Santa Rosa: the sweetest little town in Texas
Abilene home sales stable; and 
Coca-Cola to pop in new 81,000-SF Amarillo facility.

For self-storage market information for all 25 MSAs, see SpareFoot Self-Storage data under retail in Market Data Sources!

Midland expecting 2,000 units by spring 2014 

(11/1/2013 6:45:00 AM)

MIDLAND - New apartment complexes are being built across the city, but Midlanders will not see any relief before first quarter 2014, when a significant amount of new units are set to open, according to city officials.

The last new complexes of apartments that opened were both in 2011 — the Blue Ridge Apartments and the Gateway Plaza Apartments.

“The new apartments will help ease the housing crunch. A year from now, it might solve the housing shortage,” said Steve Thorpe, City of Midland building official.

Apartments that currently have building permits, according to City of Midland Code Administration, are listed below.

Apartment Complexes Coming to Midland*
Complex Name # of
Units
Address Area**
Wadley Avenue Apartments 290 Wadley Ave. and Whittle Way
Midway Station 216 3700 North A St.
Tradewind Apartments 214 Tradewinds Blvd.
Mesquite Terrace 200 Loop 250 and Leisure Dr.
Sandstone Ridge 176 Sherwood Dr. and Holiday Hill
Wall Street Lofts 110 Wall St. and Main St.
Playa del Pueblo 96 611 E. I-20
Sunrise at Fairgrounds 54 1400 Fairgrounds Rd.
Westwood Villas 52 4100 W. Illinois Ave.

* listed by unit totals
**addresses may be preliminary

Source: City of Midland Code Administration and Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland new furniture store not run-of-the-mill 

(11/1/2013)

MIDLAND - Bob Mills Furniture has opened its new location at 3111 W. Cuthbert Ave., a former Rooms To Go store. The new store, with 60,000 sf of showroom and warehouse space, will employ 30 to 35 people.

The sales staff is paid a flat salary rather than commission and the company has a “companion pricing” strategy, offering furniture groupings for less.

Oklahoma City-based Bob Mills also has locations in Odessa, Lubbock and Amarillo.

The Tall City’s thriving economy, fueled by the oil and gas industry, has brought expanded locations for Carter’s Furniture and Rooms To Go, the arrival of Haverty Furniture Co., along with Furniture Row and Ashley’s Furniture on Loop 250.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Listen to Podcast 192...for this story and more!

Gushing oil: Permian Basin still leads U.S. 

(10/29/2013)

PERMIAN BASIN - The Permian’s production has increased by 93,000 barrels per day year-over-year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The area is still the largest oil producer in the United States.

Production in the basin has increased steadily in recent years, hitting the 1 million-barrels-per-day point in 2011. It is projected to reach 1.3 million barrels of oil per day in October 2013.

The Eagle Ford reached the 1 million-barrels-per-day point in August 2013 and is projected to reach 1.1 million barrels per day in October 2013.

Several Houston companies have assets in the top plays. Occidental Permian Ltd. had the most production in the Permian for the first six months of 2013, with 20 million barrels.

The Bakken in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford in south Texas together account for 75 percent of current monthly oil production growth across the six regions the agency is tracking. Those regions include the Niobrara in Colorado and Wyoming, the Haynesville in east Texas and west Louisiana, and the Marcellus basin in Pennsylvania.

All together, the six basins represent almost 90 percent of domestic oil production and most domestic natural gas production growth in the past two years.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Border States opens in Midland territory  

(10/14/2013)

MIDLAND - Border States Electric has opened its new facility at 5206 Princeton Ave. The new location has 10,670 sf for office and 18,000 sf for the warehouse. The estimated cost of construction was $3.2 million, according to state filings.

The previous Border States Midland location was at 3303 W. Illinois Ave. "Growth in the Midland region, including energy, is a factor in the move to our new location," said Tom Nelson, BSE's corporate communications director.

In addition to the increased office space, the new location features a ten-acre lot with easy access for both contractors and tractor-trailers delivering product.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

See previous story Border States electrifies Midland with growth.

Wall St. lofty $12.8M for Midland downtown units 

(10/4/2013)

MIDLAND - The Wall St. Lofts, a 210-unit apartment complex located at the intersection of Wall St. and Main St., has broken ground. The $12.8 million complex is expected to open in December 2014.

The lofts will range in size from 605 sf to 1,096 sf, according to the site plan. Rents for the smallest lofts may start in the $1,100 to $1,200 range and will increase in accordance with square footage, said C.W. Fields, a partner with Wall Street Lofts. Some amenities will include a swimming pool and a parking garage.

Wall St. Lofts is one of the largest downtown Midland housing projects in more than 50 years; the other is the condo-bearing Energy Tower at City Center. The lofts will “help businesses grow and create a 24-hour life for downtown Midland,” said Robert Gunby, one of three partners of developer Wall St. Lofts LP.

The city, through the Midland Development Corporation, has invested $5 million in the project for the purpose of building a four-story parking garage. It will have private parking spaces for loft tenants and public spaces for general use such as the Midland Center and retail.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram and Dallas Business Journal.

Midland-Odessa Index rises for 45th month 

(10/3/2013)

MIDLAND - The August 2013 Midland-Odessa Regional Economic Index was recorded at 212.3, an 8.7 percent increase from the August 2012 recording of 195.3.

August 2013 represented the 45th consecutive month of economic growth, according to Amarillo economist Karr Ingham.

Average housing prices in Odessa and Midland reached a record high of more than $250,000 in August 2013. The August 2012 to August 2013 increase in housing prices was about 17 percent. In Midland, the average price was more than $300,000.

However, the number of sales actually declined, which Ingham attributed to people not being able to keep up with prices. “Not every household income is going up at the level housing prices are,” said Ingham. “In fact, most people’s probably are not.”

There are normally between 500 and 600 homes on the market, but a low of 215 was reached in July 2013; Odessa reached a low of about 200 from an average of about 400, according to Bobby McCourt, president of the Permian Basin Board of Realtors.

During summer 2013, houses were selling in an average 28 days in Midland and an average 38 in Odessa, said McCourt.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported a 7.47 percent increase in second quarter 2013 Midland housing prices compared to 2Q 2012. In Odessa, the increase was 9.53 percent.

While the region’s oil-fueled economy continues to expand, the rate of growth appears to be normalizing to levels that might allow infrastructure to catch up.

The Energy Information Administration and others have forecasted that crude oil prices in 2014 will average in the mid-$90 per barrel range. Ingham said those prices would sustain growth at a high but less extreme level.

Read more at the Odessa American.

Midland's unemployment rate lowest in Texas 

(9/25/2013)

MIDLAND - Unemployment in the Midland MSA was 3.2 percent in August 2013: a decline from the July 2013 rate of 3.5 percent, and the August 2012 rate of 3.5 percent, according to the Texas Workforce commission (TWC).

Midland recorded the lowest unemployment rate in Texas.

The drop in unemployment was largely due to a smaller labor force, which declined to 95,687 in August 2013 from 96,151 in July 2013. The number of employed Midlanders declined to 92,598 in August from 92,800 in July, while the number of unemployed Midlanders also fell to 3,089 from 3,351 in July.

The Tall City added 3,800 jobs from August 2012 to August 2013 for a growth rate of 4.6 percent.

Virtually all industrial sectors added jobs during the 12 months with only the government, education and health services and information losing 200 jobs each. The mining, logging and construction, sector, which includes oil and gas, added 2,500 jobs for a growth rate of 10.9 percent.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

For all Texas areas, see the Texas Workforce Commission.

Building by building: Midland CBD office statistics 2013 

(9/24/2013 7:30:00 AM)

MIDLAND - The Midland Development Corporation has released 2013 office space. The full report is available under the industrial category at Midland Market Data Sources.

Selected Midland CBD Class AA, A-B Office 2013*
Building Class Size Leased Rate
SF/YR.
Fasken Center AA 421,546 sf 100% $23
Bank of America Tower A-B 329,777 sf 99% $20
ARCO Building (Paragon) AA 223,368 sf 100% $19
Wilco Tower A-B 197,207 sf 95% $17
Mobil Building (Pure) AA 182,062 sf 100% $20
Centennial Tower AA 179,750 sf 100% $22
WNB Tower A-B 177,744 sf 100% $22
Independence Plaza AA 153,400 sf 100% $20
The Summit Building AA 148,936 sf 98% $22
Dinero Plaza A-B 121,454 sf 100% $18

*Selected ten in AA and A-B Class.

Read more at Midland Development Corporation.

See Midland NewsTalk Texas for more Midland real estate news.

Energy tower sparks already energized Midland 

(9/20/2013 4:00:00 AM)

MIDLAND - Due to the oil play western Texas, the Midland real estate market has been on fire. AngeloEconomics estimates more than 1.5 million sf of office space, 530 new hotel rooms, 12,289 multifamily units and 800,000 sf of retail space will be needed by 2023. 

Projected New Office, Hotel, Multifamily, Retail Space Needed by 2023*
Category Total Existing Pipeline Total SF Needed
by 2023**
Total New SF
Needed by 2013***
Energy
Tower
Office sf (June 2013) 9,935,477 1,104,000 12,548,507 1,509,030 564,000
Hotel rooms (2012) 3,000 1,301 4,831 530 198
Multifamily units (Mar. 2013) 9,825 1,866 12,980 1,289 132
Retail sf (2012) 6,677,968 50,000 7,526,070 798,102 53,500

*AngelouEconomics

**Office space and hotel rooms needed by 2023 are based on job growth projection of 52.6 percent. Multifamily units and retail space needed by 2023 are based on population growth projection of 25.4 percent. Hotel rooms and multifamily units include additional space necessary to achieve occupancy rates that mirror Texas state averages.

***Total new construction needed by 2023 = Total needed space by 2023 — (Total Existing Space + Pipeline).

Source: Midland Economic Development Corporation

Midland gushes jobs  

(9/18/2013 9:00:00 AM)

MIDLAND - From 2002 to 2012, Midland County gained 27,585 jobs, a 52.6 percent growth rate. The county is projected to gain 19,461 new jobs between 2013 and 2023.

The Permian Basin region will continue to be the largest and most important on-shore oil and gas production region in North America for many years. Most projections point to a 50 to 100 percent increase in crude oil production by 2016 compared to 2012 levels, which were well over 1 million barrels per day.

Several major business expansions in Midland and Odessa will lead to hundreds of millions of dollars of direct capital investment and thousands of direct, indirect and induced jobs.

Major Expansions (2012-2013)*
Company Direct Impact on Midland
Economy
XCOR Aerospace $12 million capital investment,
100 new jobs
Concho
Resources
Renovation of downtown office building
for corporate headquarters
Pioneer Natural
Resources
$50 million capital investment,
300 to 400 new jobs
Chevron $100 million capital investment,
up to 270 new jobs
EOG Resources 86,000-sf regional headquarters
Devon Energy $2.5 million capital investment,
60 new jobs
Baker Hughes** $22 million capital investment
Halliburton** $13 million capital investment
TMK IPSCO** $17 million capital investment,
100 new jobs

*AngelouEconomics

**Odessa

Source: Midland Economic Development Corporation

Permian Basin on track for top shale oil producer 

(9/17/2013 1:00:00 PM)

PERMIAN BASIN - Between January and June of 2013, the Permian Basin has already surpassed oil production in the Eagle Ford, showing 889,808 barrels each day compared to the 598,706 barrels per day in South Texas, according to the Texas Railroad Commission.

The top producer in the Permian Basin is Houston’s Occidental Permian Ltd., which produced more than 20 million barrels during first half 2013.

Irving-based Pioneer Natural Resources USA Inc. was next with more than 12 million barrels of oil production, and rounding out the top three was Houston’s Apache Corp., which produced almost 10 million barrels.

The Permian Basin oil production will reach 2 million barrels of oil per day within the next five years, said Stephen Shepherd, an associate in the exploration and production research group at Simmons and Company International in Houston.

As production moderates in the Dakotas' Bakken Shale, the Permian is expected to fill the gap, said Shepherd. Simmons and Company expects the Eagle Ford to surpass the Bakken in oil production sometime in 2014.

In 2013, the Eagle Ford is on track to produce about 930,000 barrels of oil per day. The Williston Basin in the Bakken Shale is producing in 2013 a little more than 1 million barrels, and those two are expected to flip in 2014. The Permian should produce around 1.4 million in 2013.

The Eagle Ford is expected to continue at the current pace while the Permian will accelerate production, driven by horizontal drilling.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Midlandís Cinergy tags cinemas, lasers and more 

(9/2/2013)

MIDLAND - The 50,300-sf Cinergy Cinema complex, located at 1917 Liberty Rd. in Gateway Plaza, has opened. The entertainment complex includes 11 movie screens, a 70-foot Hyper Digital Experience screen, the largest between Dallas-Fort Worth and Phoenix; the next largest screen will be 50 feet.

Complex amenities include

  • a two-story, 5,000-sf, 58-person Lasertron laser tag arena;
     
  • a 2,000-foot black light elevated ropes course above the lobby and arcade;
     
  • five big party rooms;
     
  • an arcade and gaming area with more than 50 games; and
     
  • various dining options.
     

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Million-dollar homes hit the ĎPaní and West Texas 

(8/27/2013)

WEST TEXAS, PANHANDLE COUNTIES - In Midland County, the number of single-family homes valued at $1 million or more has increased from five in 2005 to 104 in 2013. The Midland Central Appraisal District reported 41 single-family residences were added to the tax rolls in 2013 alone.

The area with the most million-dollar single-family homes — with 47 — is between Big Spring Dr./Hwy. 349 and Midkiff Rd., north of Bluebird Ln. There are 17 homes listed as being in Odessa but also in Midland County.

The Reporter-Telegram, in conjunction with a MyWestTexas.com presentation of the most expensive 100 houses in Midland County, requested the total number of million-dollar single-family residences in each of the major West Texas and Panhandle metropolitan areas.

Another 20 properties are valued at $1 million or more in the county but are listed as “E1” or “Real Farm-Ranch House +/- five acres.” There are 49 single-family residences on land covering two acres or more.

Million-dollar Single-family Homes in Major Counties Across West Texas*
County Population Number of million-
dollar homes
**Midland 146,645  104
Potter/Randall 255,808 69
Lubbock 285,760 61
Ector 144,325 26
Taylor 133,473  13
Tom Green 113,281  7

*Largest metropolitan area in the county: Midland (Midland), Ector (Odessa), Taylor (Abilene), Lubbock (Lubbock), Tom Green (San Angelo) and Potter/Randall (Amarillo).

**Midland County does not include properties classified as “E1” or “Real Farm-Ranch House +/- five acres.”

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Permian Basin oil and gas adds jobs 

(8/19/2013)

PERMIAN BASIN - The Texas Permian Basin Petroleum Index rose again in June 2013, coming in 4.9 percent above June 2012 levels.

The Permian Basin oil and gas industry continues to create jobs at a fast pace, with employment averaging 30,795 in June 2013, up 12 percent from June 2012 and 30,160 so far in 2013, up 14.7 percent in the same period in 2012.

High drilling activity continued to lift Permian Basin oil production volumes, which were up 2.1 percent in June 2013 over June 2012 and are up 4 percent so far this year compared to 2012.

Strong prices also improved the value of June 2013 oil production to $2.62 billion, up 18.9 percent from $2.2 billion in June 2012. For 2013, the value of oil production slipped 0.2 percent to $15.233 billion from $15.26 billion in 2012.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Business is ripe in Midlandís vineyard  

(8/19/2013)

MIDLAND - Ground has been broken on a new 58,000-sf, two-story office building at The Vineyard at Fasken Oil and Ranch Office Park on Holiday Hill Rd.

The building will serve as the regional headquarters for SM Energy which currently has 75 employees, but will add another 50 jobs once the building is completed in March 2014. The company also has an option to build a second building at a later date.

Situated on 1,000 acres on the C Bar Ranch, The Vineyard is an effort by Fasken to diversify away from being primarily an oil and gas company.

In addition to SM Energy's building, construction on a spec office building has also begun. The buildings are estimated to cost a combined $15 million. The office park may hold up to seven office buildings.

The Vineyard will also feature a 176-unit apartment complex currently under construction along with single-family residences and an elementary school.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Border States electrifies Midland with growth 

(8/8/2013)

MIDLAND - Border States Electric will open in its new 28,000-sf facility at 5206 Princeton Ave. in September 2013, according to Midland Manager Trish Marquez. The estimated cost of construction was $3.2 million, according to state filings.

The new building, situated on ten acres, will include 10,000 sf for offices and an 18,000-sf warehouse.

"We've experienced unprecedented growth" in Midland, said Marquez. The growth has led to increased staffing, going from eight employees to 26 currently, and hires have already been made for the new facility.

Border States, an employee-owned company, offers chemicals, lubricants and paints, and electrical supplies. The company is currently located in part of the former Dunlaps location at 3303 W. Illinois Ave.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram and Border States.

The Residence at Midland brings 290 high-end units 

(8/7/2013)

MIDLAND - The Residence at Midland, a 290-unit high-end apartment complex will break ground in September 2013 at the southwestern corner of the Deauville Blvd. and Tradewinds Blvd. intersection.

The first units will open in September 2014, but the total construction time for all units to be completed is 18 months, according to Jay Stewart, with Houston-based firm Parkcrest Builders.

The apartment buildings in the northern portion of the property, near the Chevron campus will be three stories. The southern buildings next to Legends Park will be two stories.

The Residence at Midland would be the first apartment complex near the Scharbauer Sports Complex and west of Loop 250. The area also includes housing subdivisions such as Legends Park, Chevron’s campus and hotels.

“We like the proximity to (Interstate 20) there,” said Stewart. “It has easy access to Loop 250, which would be good for people commuting to both Midland and Odessa.”

The complex will have one entrance each on Deauville Blvd. and Tradewinds Blvd., said Martin Siwek, planner for the city’s planning division.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Big Spring C-Container housing option 

(8/1/2013 7:05:00 AM)

BIG SPRING, HOWARD COUNTY - Living in Big Spring just got easier as the city has approved alternative housing. Council members voted to allow boxcar housing in certain areas.

With the oil boom continuing to thrive, more and more people are moving to West Texas. The city is dealing with the housing shortage in an unusual way, even if it is not the most attractive looking.

"This is a need — don't get me wrong, I think we can make some money off of it after everything's done and paid for but it's a need that's helping people," Don Avant, one of the co-founders of the alternative housing project, said.

Audrey Key moved into the very first boxcar. With year-long waiting lists for apartments, she was out of options. She said that moving in was easy since there was literally nowhere else to go that was affordable.

The houses come with full amenities, furniture and maintenance support for $1,200 per month.

There are currently about 50 people living in C-Container housing.

Read more and see the video at KWES NewsWest9.

Listen to Podcast 181 for this story...and more!

Midland Hotel Fuel heads to United Life 

(7/29/2013)

MIDLAND - The old Western United Life Building will be transformed into a high-end hotel — Hotel Fuel.

The building has been vacant for more than ten years. But Mahendra Patel and his son, Sagar Kumar (who heads the investment group JCM Furnishings), saw a vision to use the "beautiful" building for their next project.

The former office space on the corner of West Texas Ave. and Colorado will be open late next year.

In its place will be 142 apartment-like rooms, gyms and meeting rooms on every floor, along with restaurants and retail shops among other lounge space.

"You see an old building that everybody else is saying 'knock it down, tear it down!' They're saying, 'Oh no, let's make it beautiful," Trost said.

According to Patel, there are so many hidden costs when you do remodel work but it costs less than when you're building from scratch. He said that resurrecting a brand new building in this economy would cost about $50 million.

The actual cost for them is about $9 to $10 million. Patel also estimates the hotel will lead to about 50 to 80 permanent jobs, in addition to about 70 temporary construction jobs. The renovation is set to start in October.

Patel has a few hotels in the Midland-Odessa area. Consequentially, he said he is well aware of the market's ups and downs. That is why they have a contingency plan to be able to lease the double-sized rooms out as apartments.

Read more at NewsWest9.

Midland much ado about teachers 

(7/23/2013 7:00:00 AM)

MIDLAND - Midland’s city council approved a temporary land use permit for a 70-unit manufactured home development to alleviate the housing issues for Midland Independent School District (MISD) employees.

The MISD starting teaching salary is $48,000, and in 2012, Midland County had the second highest income per capita in the United States at $65,173.

However, monthly rent continues to rise in the Permian Basin, from $568 a month for an unfurnished one-bedroom apartment in 2011 to $779 in 2013, according to the latest Chamber of Commerce annual apartment survey.

Raises — $2,000 for teachers, 4 percent for clerical, technical and manual trades support staff, 4 percent for administrators on teacher salary schedule and 2 percent for executive directors, based on the midpoint salaries — were approved by MISD trustees as means to help all staff members combat the rising cost of living.

Additionally, a donation of $3.3 million from the Scharbauer Foundation to fund rental assistance up to 40 percent, and an apartment locator hotline run by WesTex Communities should provide teachers relief from the volatile housing market, said Superintendent Ryder Warren.

Read more at the Odessa American and the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Permian Rail Park to open in 2014 

(7/10/2013)

BIG SPRING, MIDLAND - Frontier Logistics and Kyle Kinsel Co., developers of Mission Rail Park, will begin constructing a 550-acre rail-equipped industrial facility, situated between Big Spring and Midland.

The Permian Rail Park, slated to open in second quarter 2014, will be situated in the Wolfcamp and Cline Shale plays in the Permian Basin. It's also 100 miles of the Delaware Basin’s Bone Springs Shale, Avalon Shale and Wolfbone play.

"Permian Park is important because it is located within four miles of ten major pipelines used to carry petroleum products to and from refineries," Kyle Kinsel, the developer said. "This makes it an ideal location for crude oil storage, blending or processing facility. We also see this as a logistical hub for the Cline and Wolfcamp shale plays."

The Rail Park will serve industrial tenants ranging from large distribution and manufacturing facilities to small rail users, the developers added. It will also house oilfield service and pipeline operations that need rail to move products to and from nearby shale plays.

"It will be the only rail facility capable of accepting unit trains on the eastern side of the Permian Basin which is essential in servicing the increasing production from the Cline and Wolfcamp Shale plays," Kinsel added. "What is key is our ability to tap into pipelines giving our customers the option to load and store crude by rail or pipeline."

The Permian Basin, a 102,000-square mile region that is considered the largest U.S. oil basin, has produced around 30 billion barrels since the early 1920s. Companies filed 845 oil and gas drilling permits in February alone in the basin, according to the Texas Railroad Commission (TRC).

Read more at Rigzone.com.

Landpoint hiring to serve pipeline operators in Victoria 

(7/9/2013)

VICTORIA - Land-surveying firm Landpoint Inc. is expanding into the Eagle Ford Shale, adding up to 30 employees to handle work on South Texas’ expanding pipeline infrastructure.

Bossier City, La.-based Landpoint uses high-definition scanning technologies in conjunction with GPS and conventional surveying methods during development of pipeline projects.

The company’s new work crews initially will operate out of its office in Victoria. However, Business Development Manager Robert Behrendt says the company could open additional locations across the shale as work expands.

In addition to its Victoria office, Landpoint has four other locations around the United States. The company will open a Midland office in the next 60 days.

Read more at the San Antonio Business Journal.

Economic growth remains strong in Midland-Odessa 

(7/8/2013)

MIDLAND, ODESSA - Economic growth remained strong in Midland-Odessa, according to the May Midland-Odessa Regional Economic Index.

Amarillo Economist Karr Ingham said the May index is 10.8 percent above the May 2012 index. The rate of growth has narrowed slowly but steadily.

“In fact, this would be the desired outcome. Rates of growth would not and could not continue at peak levels. However, a sharp peak followed by a nosedive would not be the preferred outcome, of course,” Ingham said.

While the index remains on the rise, it does so at a moderate pace “as the general economy and the regional oil and gas economy continue to flatten a bit, though at very high levels,” he said.

Ingham's May figures may appear flat compared to year-ago levels but stressed that year-ago levels were very high.

Growth in employment is a characteristic of local economic expansion, and Midland-Odessa unemployment remains among the state’s lowest.

Year-over-year employment growth has narrowed slightly but steadily so far this year, with estimated total employment up 5.3 percent over May 2012, which was up over 8 percent from May 2011.

Construction activity in Midland-Odessa remains on the rise with the valuation of all building permits issued up by 11.2 percent year-over-year and by 32.5 percent thus far in 2013 compared to the first five months of a year ago, which in turn was nearly double that of the previous year.

“Housing construction continues to expand as well, with new single-family residential building permits up by nearly 14 percent and 19 percent for the month and year-to-date, respectively. And again, these come on top of some high numbers from a year ago,” Ingham said.

The only negative in the index remained existing home sales, a trend Ingham attributed to tight inventory. May existing home sales fell 3.2 percent compared to last May but are up 2.4 percent so far this year compared to the previous year.

The May sales price averaged $222,837, up 1.8 percent from $219,000 last May. The year-to-date average of $213,071 is 3 percent higher than last year’s year-to-date average of $206,770.

Last year’s year-to-date average was more than 12 percent higher than the first five months of 2011.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland issues $107M in building permits in one week 

(6/27/2013 2:00:00 PM)

MIDLAND - A number of major construction projects completed the approval process at the same time, helping the city of Midland issue $107.5 million in building permits during the week of June 17, 2013.

“It was a good week,” said Steve Thorpe, city building official. He said approval for final plans allowed construction to begin on the projects.

Among the permits issued:

  • W.E. Bellows received a $57.8 million permit to begin construction of Pioneer Natural Resources’ new office building at 3617 N. Big Spring St.
  • CF Jordan Construction received a $15 million permit for two new office buildings totaling 110,000 sf in Fasken Oil & Ranch’s Vineyard development at 6301 Holiday Hill Rd.
  • The city issued a $14.8 million permit to Schlumberger for construction at 7220 W. I-20 and a $6 million permit for a new Candlewood Suites at 110 W. Longview Ave.
  • MW Builders of Texas took out a $5.8 million permit to renovate a building at 3510 N. A St. for Midland Shared Spaces.
  • Kent Oil received a $2 million permit to build a new Kent Kwik at 1709 Rankin Hwy.
  • Aztec A-1 Storage received a $1.3 million permit for new storage units at 1219 S. Midland Dr.


He expects this week to be another big week for his department.

“We just talked with Chevron,” he said about permits for the company’s $100 million campus west of the Scharbauer Sports Complex.

Thorpe said the city doesn’t keep track of weekly totals so he wasn’t certain if last week’s $107 million was a record. He said that through the end of May, the city had issued $178 million in building permits, compared to $157 million during the same period last year.

Application fees cover his department’s operating expenses, and any excess is turned over to the city’s general revenue fund.

“So in a roundabout way we’re helping lower the tax burden,” Thorpe said.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Lowest unemployment in Texas? Midland, Odessa 

(6/24/2013)

MIDLAND, ODESSA - Midland and Odessa top the list of cities with the lowest unemployment in the state.

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the City of Midland has the lowest unemployment rate at 3.4 percent, followed by Odessa at 4.1 percent.

Amarillo is at 4.8 percent.

Meanwhile, construction has remained the fastest growing major industry in the state, based on a 6.7 percent growth rate.

Read more at CBS7KOSA.com.

Looking for a job? One-way ticket to Midland 

(6/13/2013 7:00:00 AM)

MIDLAND - New figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirm what everybody already knows: If you’re looking for a job in Cleveland, Ohio, your best bet is a one-way ticket to Midland, Texas.

Midland is not the most scenic spot in the U.S., but the average rent on an apartment there is nearly twice what it is in nearby cities of comparable size, and rents are up more than 20 percent year over year — if you are lucky enough to get an apartment.

Official unemployment is about 3 percent; real unemployment is effectively zero. The reason for that is a booming energy industry.

Whereas previous Texas oil-and-gas booms have been driven largely by prices, this boom is underway when oil prices are high but not dramatically so, and natural-gas prices are on the low side (last year, they were at 13-year lows). This isn’t a price bubble, but real production improvements driven by technological advances.

Nellwyn Barnett of the Midland Chamber of Commerce is not telling any fairy tales. Sure, the capital of the West Texas oil patch has tried to diversify its economy, and has had some success, but it’s still an energy town.

“Rather than try to paint a picture of a diversified economy for the media, we embrace energy. But there has been a great deal of diversification within the industry, which gives us a lot more stability than we’ve had in our past," Barnett said.

The downside, if you want to call it that, is that Midland and the surrounding areas have been left with some pretty high-class problems: There are not enough houses and apartments for all of the new workers flooding into the Permian Basin, and the allure of high-wage jobs in the energy industry has made it hard to hire people for jobs in retail, services and education.

Last year, Midland was obliged to petition the state for waivers of student-teacher-ratio rules in its schools. Getting back within state guidelines has meant hiring new teachers, which has been a challenge with so much competition from the energy business.

Educational institutions are a critical factor: Midland College, the University of Texas of the Permian Basin and Texas Tech University all offer energy-oriented academic programs that help keep the oil and gas rigs staffed.

According to a 2012 report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Midland had a higher per capita income than did Silicon Valley, and the second-highest per capita income in the nation, trailing only the posh Connecticut suburbs of New York City.

“West Texas is not for everyone,” Barnett says. “For people relocating from other parts of the country, it can be startling.” In other words: It ain’t pretty, but it works. “But,” she adds, “if you want a job in Midland, Texas, you can find it.”

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram and the National Review Online.

Midland-Odessa economy continues expansion 

(6/7/2013)

MIDLAND-ODESSA - Extremely strong economic expansion continued as the Midland and Odessa economies entered second quarter 2013.

Amarillo Economist Karr Ingham, who prepares the Midland-Odessa Regional Economic Index for Midland Development Corp. and Security Bank, said the index in April was 11.7 percent above April 2012 and has posted 38 consecutive months of growth.

It is an economy that should be celebrated for its expansion and job creation, Ingham said. But, such an overheated economy comes with challenges such as the Midland-Odessa labor market.

The area's employment growth leads not only the state, but the nation, with Midland posting the nation's lowest unemployment rate for five consecutive months. Ingham predicted that the unemployment rate would continue to decline, meaning the labor market will get even tighter, putting upward pressure on wages and other elements.

"Everything is magnified in Midland-Odessa," he said. "When economic data is revised upward, the revisions are astounding, and when they're revised downward, you really get hammered."

"It's not logical to expect to maintain 20 to 30 percent retail sales increases or 20 to 30 percent growth in automotive spending or 6 to 7 percent job growth," he said. "The rate may stabilize at a high level of activity. By no means does that mean that area is on the verge of a contraction."

Retail spending, for example, was 7.3 percent higher than April 2012, which was over 34 percent higher than April 2011 levels.

Construction and housing have "a lot to do with continuing to push the index higher," Ingham said. The total value of building permits issued in the two cities in April reached $98.15 million, up 55 percent from $63.3 million last April, the fifth highest month on record.

For the year, those permits have totaled $324.77 million, up 36.7 percent from $237.6 million in the first four months of 2012.

Midland and Odessa issued 115 new home permits in April, compared to 91 last April, the fifth consecutive month that number has exceeded 100. The two cities have issued 451 so far in 2013, up 20.6 percent from last year, which was 38 percent above the first four months of 2011.

Realtors sold 283 existing homes in April, up 18.9 percent from 238 last April, a sign, that new home construction has expanded the inventory of available housing.

The average sales price of $211,268 was up 6.6 percent, from $198,224 last April, which was 28.7 percent above the April 2011 average.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland drops calls to Farmers Branch, Wichita Falls 

(6/6/2013 6:45:00 AM)

MIDLAND - The city will lose about 100 jobs with the closing of the AT&T call center.

The call center, then known as Cingular Wireless, opened in June 2001 in the 135,000-sf building that once housed Builders Square home improvement center at Loop 250 and Andrews Hwy.

"We are consolidating some call center work into larger AT&T centers in Farmer's Branch and Wichita Falls," said spokesman Marty Richter. "All affected employees are being offered the opportunity to follow their work to those locations, and a relocation allowance."

To bring the call center to Midland, Cingular received the city's first tax abatements, plus a $1.25 million forgivable loan, $1 million of which came from the city's water and sewer funds and $250,000 from the Abell-Hanger Foundation.

Center employees have until August to accept a move, apply for other jobs or leave the company. The building remains open because a handful of employees continue to work there.

Roughly half of the 100 jobs are moving to Farmers Branch and half to Wichita Falls.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Natatorium still to dip in Midland 

(5/30/2013)

MIDLAND - City of Midland Aquatics (COM), located at 3003 North A St., will break ground next week on the FMH Foundation Natatorium.

The expansion will consist of a 40,000-sf natatorium with a 50-meter pool, multipurpose pool and a 7,000-sf courtyard. Th

The expansion will bring COM Aquatics to a total of 110,000 sf of available programming space with seven pools, a courtyard, physical therapy center, diving arena, wellness and aerobics facilities, fitness gym and a learn-to-swim division.

The cost of the new facility is $7 million, according to previous news stories.

The new addition will allow the ongoing development of COM Aquatic programs to expand and better accommodate a rapidly increasing membership for both youth and adults.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

See previous story Midland to dip in $7M acquatics center.

Midland saddles up Horseshoe expansion 

(5/29/2013)

MIDLAND - In 2014, the Horseshoe, located at 2514 Arena Trail, will have two additions. A proposed pavilion will have 52,000 sf of multiuse space that can accommodate up to three events simultaneously, while a 33,500-sf livestock building will be a covered open-air facility that adjoins the existing livestock building. It will have 180 stalls.

In May 2013, County Commissioners approved a contractor to build the two new buildings for $24.3 million. To fund it, the county is using sales tax and hotel and motel tax revenue.

Direct economic impact from the Horseshoe is estimated at $7 million and indirect economic impact is estimated at $20 million, according to Mike Dooley, who runs the private company that manages the Horseshoe.

County Judge Mike Bradford said the Horseshoe will be able to book an additional 150 to 200 events within the first year of the pavilion's opening. Because big events are booked a year or more in advance, he said venue users will start talking to them during the construction phase.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

SpringHill Suites opens in Midland 

(5/29/2013)

MIDLAND - The 107-suite SpringHill Suites by Marriott has opened. Located at 5716 Deauville Blvd., the SpringHill Suites Midland will operate as a Marriott franchise, owned and managed by Insignia Hospitality Group Inc.

Located five miles from downtown and 15 miles from Midland International Airport, the hotel offers guests access to the Scharbauer Sports Complex, Midland Park Mall and Midland Memorial Hospital.

The property has 2,593 sf of meeting space to accommodate meetings and functions of up to 220 people. Additionally, the hotel also offers business services, guest laundry facilities, an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness center.

The project had an estimated cost of $5.1 million, according to state filings.

Read more at PRLOG.

Midland's hotel numbers soar 

(5/22/2013 7:00:00 AM)

MIDLAND - The hotel business collected more than $20 million in taxable receipts in first quarter 2013.

The Texas Comptroller’s Office reported $20.1 million was collected between January 2013 and March 2013, which was an excess of $1.5 million more than Lubbock and $2.5 million more than Odessa. The total fell short of beating the top quarter in the city’s history which was $20,501,877 in 3Q 2012.

The $20.1 million during 1Q 2013 also is nearly three times the amount brought in during 1Q 2010, $7,252,122. Midland hotels collected $16.9 million during 1Q 2012. That means receipts grew by more than 17 percent in one year.

The hotels bringing in the most total receipts during the first quarter were the LaQuinta on Loop 250 ($3.6 million), the MCM Fundome in Odessa ($3.154 million) and the DoubleTree by Hilton ($3.05 million).

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland employment on the rise 

(5/20/2013)

MIDLAND - The preliminary local jobless rates for April 2013 are available, with revised March 2013 numbers in parentheses. Only the top ten are listed.

  • Midland 3.0 (3.1)
  • Odessa 3.7 (3.7)
  • Amarillo 4.4 (4.6)
  • Abilene 4.8 (4.9)
  • Lubbock 4.8 (5.3)
  • College Station-Bryan 5.0 (5.1)
  • San Angelo 5.0 (4.9)
  • Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos 5.1 (5.3)
  • Victoria 5.1 (5.2)
  • Longview 5.4 (5.6)


Midland’s labor force grew to 94,321 from the March 2013 figure of 93,491 and created 1,000 new jobs from March 2013 to April 2013 for a job growth rate of 1.2 percent, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

Statewide, the unemployment rate remained at 6.4 percent, with 33,100 new jobs added in April 2013. The state has added 326,100 new jobs in 2013.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

For all Texas areas, see the Texas Workforce Commission's monthly report.

Apartments, convenience store coming to Midland 

(5/10/2013)

MIDLAND - The Planning and Zoning Commission passed items that will help develop the city’s east side.

Although construction has already begun on Sunrise at Fairgrounds Apartments, the commission approved a final plat for utility corrections.

Located near the intersection of Fairgrounds Road and Golf Course Road, Sunrise at Fairgrounds is a five-acre affordable housing apartment complex.

The complex will feature two-bedroom, two-bath and three-bedroom, two-bath apartments with vinyl plank flooring, kitchen appliances and washer and dryer hookups.

Phase one will be available for occupancy in November. The separate leasing office and amenity center will be built during phase two.

Another addition to the east side of town is a Stripes convenience store at East Loop 250 and Elkins Road.

Read more at MyWestTexas.com.

Midland housing shortage may last awhile 

(5/6/2013)

MIDLAND - Members of Midland's housing community believe it will be between 18 months to three years before the housing supply will catch up with demand.

There is a flood of combined housing units in the works — hotel rooms, apartment units and housing lots — reaching into the 5,000 range, according to the City of Midland.

In September 2012, City Manager Courtney Sharp said Midland was about 5,000 units short. In first quarter 2013, the city issued 283 housing permits.

Developers are working with the city to catch up with the demand that has workers living in hotel rooms and man camps.

People in the Midland housing industry, such as Mark Payne, a local home builder and developer of Mark Payne Homes, said the 5,000-unit shortage is a reasonable estimate that will go away in about two to three years.

The average price of a home is now at $271,000, a $30,000 increase from September 2012 and an increase of nearly $80,000 from May 2010, according to Bobby McCourt, president of the Permian Basin Board of Realtors.

National developer D. R. Horton is currently working on a 398-unit subdivision west of the Scharbauer Sports Complex.

Read more at MyWestTexas.

Chevron human energy taps $100M Midland campus 

(4/30/2013)

MIDLAND - Ground has been broken on Chevron’s new $100 million Midland campus. It will feature two four-story buildings totaling 330,000 sf. The two buildings will be connected by a walkway and will accommodate 800 employees, twice the capacity of the current offices.

Construction is expected to begin this summer on the campus west of the Scharbauer Sports Complex is expected to take 22 to 24 months. There will also be an adjacent parking garage with space for 700 cars and separate visitor parking. Amenities include a conference and training center.

The 25 acres Chevron purchased from the Scharbauer Brothers also has room for a third four-story building with capacity for 400 people.

The new campus is the largest such project to be built in Midland in at least 30 years, when the oil industry was last booming, according to Wes Perry, Midland’s mayor.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Restaurants, stores, hotels coming to Midland 

(4/25/2013)

MIDLAND - The zones for two hotels in development on Deauville Blvd. southeast of Sam’s Club have approved. The northern hotel will be a Cambria Suites and the southern hotel will be an independently owned upscale hotel, according to Ken Van Dyne, the city’s planning director.

Additionally, a Four Point Sheraton on Starboard is being built near the upcoming Cinergy Cinema movie theater on Liberty Drive.

A Golden Chick restaurant will be located on South Fort Worth St., just south of East Florida Ave.

Jared The Galleria of Jewelry will be built on the Midland Park Mall property, just south of Genghis Grill.

Two separate apartments were approved. The first was a 300-unit luxury apartment complex at Edwards St. and Spring Park Dr. The second was a 250-unit apartment complex at Briarwood Ave. and Mathis St. that will include single-floor buildings next to neighboring homes north of the complex.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Oil boom flows to Midland office projects 

(4/23/2013)

MIDLAND - All the growth in oilfield activity and new jobs have sparked a building boom with several oil companies announcing plans for or completing new office buildings to meet demand for extra space.

Chevron will break ground on a new campus west of the Scharbauer Sports Complex on 25 acres purchased from SBC Corp. The $100 million project will consist of two four-story buildings connected by a walkway. Construction is expected to be completed in early 2015.

Employees of EOG Resources will begin moving into their new three-story office building at 5509 Champions Dr. The 86,250-sf building will accommodate EOG's 112 employees and the attached covered garage has room for 215 vehicles.

Pioneer Natural Resources plans to soon break ground on a $50 million, six-story office building with an adjacent three-story parking garage to house the several hundred employees. The facility will hold the additional hundreds to be hired in the coming years. A large workout facility and cafeteria will be included.

Fasken Oil and Ranch recently moved into its new 60,000-sf headquarters at Holiday Hill Rd. and Sherwood Dr. west of Green Tree Country Club.

The two-story building is the first phase of Fasken's master-planned community, The Vineyard, which company officials hope will eventually include single- and multifamily residences, office and retail space.

There are also plans for Energy Plaza at Westridge Park, located near Chevron's new campus, which could hold up to five multitenant office buildings.

Occupancy of Class A office space is 99.8 percent and Class B office space is 98.5 to 99 percent full, according to Bill Scott of Real Estate One Midland.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland labor market remains strong 

(4/23/2013)

MIDLAND - Midland's unemployment rate in March dipped to 3.1 percent from 3.2 percent in February and 3.6 percent a year earlier.

Midland continued to report the state's lowest unemployment, followed by Odessa at 3.7 percent, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

Midland has also recorded the nation's lowest unemployment for three consecutive months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau's February data had Midland's 3.2 percent rate lower than second-place Burlington, Vt. among its 372 MSAs.

Midland and Odessa combined have added nearly 25,000 jobs over the past two years, according to Karr Ingham, Amarillo economist.

Midland's civilian labor force grew to 93,450, up from 93,154 in February and 87,565 from last March. Of that labor force, 90,536 were employed, up from 90,177 in February and 84,445 last March.

Midland added 600 jobs from February to March for a growth rate of 0.7 percent and added 5,800 jobs from March 2012 to March 2013 for a growth rate of 7.4 percent.

Midland's industrial composition remained steady with mining, logging and construction, which includes oil and gas activity, making up the largest chunk at 29 percent, according to Willie Taylor, CEO, Workforce Solutions Permian Basin. This sector added 300 jobs from February to March and has added 3,200 jobs over the last 12 months for a growth rate of 15.2 percent.

Education and health services and leisure and hospitality were the only other two sectors adding jobs from February to March. Over the past 12 months, only education and health services didn't add jobs, and information lost 200 jobs.

Trade, transportation and utilities posted the second-largest gain in jobs behind mining, logging and construction with 1,200 new jobs added, followed by leisure and hospitality with 700 new jobs.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

For all Texas areas, see the Texas Workforce Commission's monthly report.

Midland College to raise tuition 

(4/17/2013)

MIDLAND - Midland College trustees voted to increase tuition by $3 per credit hour for in-district and Pecos County students and $7 per credit hour for out-of-district and non-resident students.

The increase will move lower-level tuition for in-district students to $56 per credit hour, out-of-district students to $103 per credit hour and non-resident students to $142 per credit hour.

For students in upper-level courses, in-district student tuition will increase to $104 per credit hour, $151 per credit hour for out-of district students and $190 per credit hour for non-resident students.

The increase represents approximately 4 percent for in-district students, 6 percent for out-of-district students and 4.5 percent for non-resident students.

These increases will begin with the fall 2013 semester and are seen as a way to balance the college’s budget when the likelihood is that additional state funds is slim and the need to pay faculty and staff higher wages is paramount.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland-Odessa economy stronger still 

(4/10/2013)

MIDLAND-ODESSA - Annual revisions to labor market data by the Texas Workforce Commission found the Midland-Odessa economy was even stronger in 2012 than believed.

The Midland-Odessa Regional Economic Index for February was 12.8 percent higher than February 2012 and marks the 36th consecutive month of increase, according to Karr Ingham, the Amarillo economist who prepares the index.

The figures showed Midland-Odessa had added an average 5,100 additional jobs in 2012, and by the end of the year, the monthly estimate was revised higher by an additional 9,100 jobs. Ingham estimated the two cities have added nearly 25,000 jobs over the last two years.

Retail sales in February were 10.5 percent higher than last February and so far this year sales are up 12.9 percent compared to 2012. Automotive spending in February was 1.9 percent above last February, but February 2012 automotive spending was 62 percent above February 2011 figures.

Building permit valuations in February were 13.8 percent below last February, but February 2012 was more than 80 percent higher than February 2011.

Midland and Odessa issued 119 new housing permits in February, down one from February 2012, which was more than double the number issued in February 2011.

Existing home sales fell 18.3 percent compared to last February, which was 40 percent above February 2011 sales. The average sales price rose 2.9 percent to $217,519 from $211,356 last February.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Second to Saudi; money not an issue for Midland tower 

(4/8/2013)

MIDLAND - The proposed 53-story Energy Tower at City Center has begun preleasing its 560,177 sf of office space. The $350 million office-and-condominium tower will be more than twice the height of the city’s tallest building. (And Midland is known as the Tall City.)

Energy Related Properties, Wexford Capital and Edmonds International revealed how the site of the proposed Energy Tower, composed of multiple parts, will transform after construction is complete.

Regarding the tower itself, the rooftop will feature a lounge area. Underneath the lounge will be 28 floors, or 560,177 sf of office space. Underneath the office space will be 12 floors of residential space, 12 floors of hotel space, one floor of retail and five underground parking levels.

Outside the tower, 104,410 sf will be used for public park space. And 59,500 sf will be used for convention and ballroom space.

While Wexford hasn’t completed financing for the tower and office rents aren’t yet set, “money isn’t an issue,” Joseph Jacobs of Wexford said.

Midland is located in the Spraberry-Wolfcamp range, which has 50 billion barrels of recoverable oil, second in the world to a Saudi Arabian field, according to oil-exploration firm Pioneer Natural Resources Co.

See previous NewsTalk Texas.

Read more at Bloomberg.com and the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Devon expands office in Midland 

(4/1/2013 3:00:00 PM)

MIDLAND - Devon Energy, which opened its 20,500-sf office at 10200 Younger Rd. near Midland International Airport in 2009, is expanding its offices.

The $2.5 million project will add 18,000 sf, providing room for 60 new offices.

Construction is currently underway and should be completed by the end of August, according to Cindy Allen, spokeswoman for Devon.

The original building design incorporated environmentally-friendly touches as HVAC ventilation units for efficient heating and cooling, automatic sensor lights to reduce energy use and energy-efficient appliances.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

New apartments head to Midland 

(4/1/2013)

MIDLAND - The City of Midland issued a $28 million permit for a 290-unit complex planned by Weidner Apartment Hopes. The complex will be located at 5001 W. Wadley Ave., next to Ranch House.

Spread over 15 buildings, it is expected to be similar to The Palms at Briarwood, also owned and operated by Weidner. There will be one-, two- and three-bedroom units.

To be built by McDougal Construction of Lubbock, construction is expected to take about 14 months.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland repeats lowest jobless rate in Texas 

(4/1/2013)

MIDLAND - Following the report that Midland posted the lowest unemployment nationwide in January, Midlanders learned their city had the lowest rate statewide in February.

The Texas Workforce Commission said its Midland metropolitan statistical area had an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent in February, down from 3.4 percent in January and 3.7 percent last February. Odessa reported the second lowest rate at 3.8 percent.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

For all Texas areas, see the Texas Workforce Commission's monthly report.

 

Space adds another dimension to Midland 

(4/1/2013)

MIDLAND - XCOR Aerospace and Space Exploration Corporation (SXC) is completing the prototype of the Lynx spacecraft, expected to come out sometime after the summer 2013. XCOR is simultaneously planning for the company's expansion to Midland.

XCOR's new research and development flight test center will enable sustainable growth over the next few years.

The new facility will allow for further growth of XCOR and the development of future products such as a fully reusable orbital system in the coming years.

Upon completion and after settling into the new facility, XCOR will be able to present the Lynx to travelers at an unveiling event.

Space Exploration Corporation is aiming to send travelers on a 45 minute to an hour journey 60 km above the Earth’s surface, according to Michiel Mol, the company’s CEO.

Space Exploration Corporation expects demand for space travel to grow as they near their launch date.

In a survey conducted by the company, they estimated that by the year 2020, 20,000 people would both want to go to space and could afford SXC’s $100,000 ticket price. Travel agents can sell SXC flights.

See more about space tourism's annoying details. See 'McGregor: Help wanted for space exploration.'

Read more at Travel Agent Central.

Lakes and windscape sold in Midland 

(3/27/2013)

MIDLAND - The Lakes and Windscape Apartment Homes, both built in the early 1980's, have been sold to affiliates of Stoneleigh Companies LLC. The Class B communities were each 97 percent occupied at time of sale.

The properties total 478 units. Demand for rental units is extremely high due to the city’s exceptional population growth — in a recent study, CNN ranked Midland as one of the fastest growing cities in the country.

ARA Dallas arranged the sale.

Read more at MultifamilyBiz.

Midland shopping center coming next to Lowe's 

(3/26/2013)

MIDLAND - Developers have acquired the former Putt-Putt at 3415 N. Loop 250 West, next to Lowe’s Home Improvement with plans for a 50,000-sf shopping center on the site.

The project is already about 30 percent leased, according to Kevin Leary, one of the partners in the project.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Apartment complex approved for Midland 

(3/25/2013)

MIDLAND - Housing in the north and west sides of town continues to develop with the approval of zone changes for a hotel and apartment complex by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The apartment, planned to be located at the intersection of Briarwood Ave. and Spence Dr., will be 250 units at 21 units per acre, said Ken Van Dyne, senior planner for the city's planning division.

The apartment complex will be a mixture of one-, two- and three-story units. The buildings closest to Briarwood Dr. will be three stories, the buildings in the middle will be two stories and the buildings on the northern part of the lot will be one story.

The apartments also will feature a two-story clubhouse, a swimming pool, a spa and a sand volleyball court.

The hotel, located on Starboard Dr., west of South Loop 250 West, will be a Four Point Sheraton, according to Sara Higgins, city spokesperson. The hotel will be five stories and is being built near the upcoming Cinergy Cinema movie theater on Liberty Dr.

Earlier this month, Planning and Zoning approved zone changed for two other new hotels — and the possibility of at least 180 new hotel rooms — near the Scharbauer Sports Complex.

The week before, in February, the Midland City Council approved zone changes for two other hotels in the area — a Hilton Home 2 and Staybridge Suites.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Nation's flood of oil hits Andrews, Midland, Odessa 

(3/22/2013)

MIDLAND, ODESSA, ANDREWS - Rising oil and gas prices have brought big oil, plenty of workers and lots of housing headaches to the nation's fastest-growing boomtowns.

Three Texas cities are among the fastest growing boomtowns in the United States, according to CNN Money. Below is the complete list of the fastest growing boomtowns.

Be sure to catch Wes Perry, Mayor of Midland on Fox Business talking about the boom and Midland's lowest employment rate in the nation.

Fastest Growing Boomtowns
City Population One-Year
Growth*
Williston, N.D. 26,677 9.3%
Dickinson, N.D. 26,771 6.5%
Andrews, Tex. 16,117 4.6%
Midland, Tex. 151,662 4.6%
Vernal, Utah 34,524 4.1%
Elk City, Okla. 23,081 3.5%
Elko, Nev. 53,217 3.5%
Odessa, Tex 141,325 3.4%
Casper, Wyo. 78,621 3.0%

*Rankings are based on the change in annual population estimates for metropolitan and micropolitan areas between July 1, 2011 to July 1, 2012.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Read more at CNN Money.

Listen to Podcast 164 for this story...and more!

Tall City getting taller with tallest tower 

(3/20/2013)

MIDLAND - Energy Related Properties (ERP) plans to develop a property that will be double the size of Midland’s tallest building and could be open as early as 2016.

The Energy Tower will have 53 stories with one underground retail floor and five basement parking floors, effectively making a total of 59 floors, according to the fact sheet given to the media.

To the very tip of the building, the height will be 869.3 feet and the site area will occupy 219,582 sf.

ERP partners Wendell “Scooter” Brown and Bill Meyer, Midland County Judge Mike Bradford, Midland Mayor Wes Perry and City Manager Courtney Sharp were all onstage to unveil Energy Tower at City Center on Monday at Centennial Plaza, which is adjacent to the future site of the proposed City Center.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland employment stands tall, again 

(3/13/2013)

MIDLAND - Unemployment in the Midland Metropolitan Statistical Area was 3.4 percent in January, up from 2.9 percent in December but below the 3.9 percent reported last January, according to Texas Workforce Commission.

The increase was attributed to college students home for the holiday break took seasonal jobs.

Midland continued to report the state's lowest rate, followed by Odessa at 4.1 percent, up from 3.7 percent in December.

Midland's lowest rate remains 2.4 percent, reported in 2008.

"The news is spectacular," said Karr Ingham, the Amarillo economist who analyzes the oil and gas industry.

Ingham said not only did Midland and Odessa have the lowest unemployment in the state but the highest rates of job growth at 9 percent and 8.2 percent, respectively. The next closest MSA was Houston at 4.5 percent job growth.

In the area's dominant industrial sector — mining, natural resources and construction — growth was similarly revised upward.

The commission originally estimated Midland employment in that sector, which includes oil and gas, at 19,800 jobs at the end of 2012. That number has been revised to 23,100 jobs, a gain of 3,300 jobs, sending the rate of job creation in that sector from the original 3.7 percent to 16.1 percent.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram and see Fox News Midland Boasts Nation’s Lowest Unemployment.

Midland among best in nation for corporate facilities 

(3/8/2013)

MIDLAND - Midland tied for fifth in the nation for new and expanded corporate facilities for 2012, according to a press release from Gov. Rick Perry’s office.

Citing Site Selection Magazine, Midland was one of two Texas cities to make the top ten for metropolitan areas with a population of less than 200,000.

Perry’s release also indicated Texas won Site Selection Magazine’s Governor’s Cup for 2012, which is awarded annually to the state with the most new and expanded corporate facilities announced over the year.

Texas took the top spot with 761 projects in 2012, up substantially from 464 in 2011, and 270 projects more than the second best state.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland sales tax revenue rises 17 percent 

(3/7/2013)

MIDLAND - The City of Midland has collected this month's revenue from the State Comptroller's Office. The total amount of revenue received was $3,035,143, a 16.94 percent increase from March 2012.

The year-to-date total sales tax revenue for fiscal year 2012-2013 is up 15.36 percent or a $2,557,429 increase from last year's totals at this time. Fiscal year-to-date actual sales tax revenue is $19,204,097.

For cities and counties, see the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Hotels kick off near sports complex in Midland 

(3/7/2013)

MIDLAND - The Planning and Zoning Commission approved zone changes for two new hotels near the Scharbauer Sports Complex, an area where nine other hotels already are located or soon will be.

Both hotels are adjacent to each other and will be built south of the intersection of Loop 250, just southeast of Sam's Club and south of the AT&T call center. These two hotels bring the grand total of planned hotels in this area to 11.

One hotel will be four stories and feature about 90 to 100 rooms with 105 parking spaces. The other will be three to four stories and feature 93 rooms with 93 parking spaces.

City Council approved zone changes for two other hotels in this area that will also be adjacent to each other: a Hilton Home 2 and Staybridge Suites.

In total, hotels planned or already opened nearby Scharbauer Sports Complex includes two hotels with unknown brands, Hilton Home 2, Staybridge Suites, Homewood Suites, Spring Hill Suites by Mariott, Sleep Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Towne Place Suites, Residence Inn and Courtyard.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Double-digit growth = Midland-Odessa 

(3/5/2013)

MIDLAND - Midland and Odessa's economies began 2013 as they ended 2012 — with double-digit growth. The Midland-Odessa Economic Index for January 2013 was 11.8 percent above January 2012 levels and surpassed 200 for the first time in its history, according to Karr Ingham, the Amarillo economist who prepares the index

The number of drilling permits issued for the three Railroad Commission districts that comprise West Texas was up 36.6 percent over January 2012 at 1,012 permits issued and was easily the highest January total in the history of the analysis.

Consumer activity remained strong, with retail sales up 16.2 percent compared to January 2012. Automotive spending was up 9.2 percent, but Ingham said that January 2012 automotive spending was more than 40 percent above January 2011 levels.

Construction continued sharply higher, with the value of building permits 83.1 percent above January 2012 levels, the highest on record for January. Midland and Odessa issued 103 permits for new homes, 51.5 percent more than the 68 issued last January.

Existing home sales dipped 6.7 percent to 167 from 179, but Ingham said that's a reflection of a lack of homes to sell. The average sales price rose 2.2 percent to $217,706 from $212,930 last January. The January average was more than 15 percent higher than January 2011.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland library to open its $7 million books 

(3/5/2013)

MIDLAND - The Midland County Public Library will open its new Centennial branch April 14. The total cost of the project is estimated to be more than $7 million, including the building purchase and construction according to Monte Jamison, a purchasing agent with Midland County.

The library will be located near the Best Buy on the south side of Loop 250 near Ward St. and Whitmire Blvd.

Read more at CBS 7.

Luxury apartments planned for Midland 

(2/20/2013)

MIDLAND - The Planning and Zoning Commission approved a new luxury apartment complex on the east side of Midland, a contrast to the affordable housing development in that area.

The commission voted for the zone change of the area to a planned district for a housing development, generally located west of Lamesa Rd. and about halfway between Wadley Ave. and Loop 250 or southwest of the intersection at Corporate Dr. and Edwards St.

There will be eight three-story buildings, which will be for 300 one- to two-bedroom units at about 17.7 units per acre, according to Jim Compton, senior planner for the city.

The northern two-thirds of the zone will be used for a luxury apartment complex that will have amenities such as a clubhouse and a gated entrance. There are currently no site plans for the southern third of the property.

The commission also approved 16 two-story townhomes on the southeast corner of the intersection of North "A" St. and Douglas Ave. The townhomes will be meant for single-family use and will be for sale, according to Richard Tatsch, the developer.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland sales tax collection sets record 

(2/12/2013)

MIDLAND - For the first time in the city’s history, a sales tax collection broke the $4 million barrier.

The City of Midland collected $4,006,408 in revenue from the Comptroller’s office. That was a 15.7 percent or $543,609 increase from February 2012, which at the time was the previous record for a month.

Year-to-date sales tax collections are up by more than 15 percent compared to the same time last year. Fiscal year-to-date sales tax revenue is $16,168,954.

For cities and counties, see the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland-Odessa economy still booming 

(2/4/2013)

MIDLAND-ODESSA - The Midland-Odessa Regional Economic Index at the end of 2012 was 12.4 percent higher than at the end of 2011, according to Karr Ingham, the Amarillo economist who prepares the index. The index has risen more than 43 percent, an average of over 15 percent annually, in the current growth cycle.

The December increase was the 34th consecutive month-to-month increase. At year's end, Midland reported the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

More than $4.6 billion in taxable retail sales were made in the two cities in 2012, up 16.8 percent compared to 2011. Automotive spending also remained strong in 2012, rising 28.6 percent compared with 2011, the third year of double-digit growth

Construction spending totaled $753.6 million, up 59.6 percent compared to 2011. The cities of Midland and Odessa issued a combined 1,144 permits for new homes in 2012 and 3,035 existing homes were sold during the year. The average home sales price rose 10.8 percent to $210,086.

Hotel-motel tax collections have doubled in two years, with $10.2 million collected last year. This reflects not only business travel but the housing shortage as companies rent hotel rooms for their workers. Hotel-motel tax receipts were up more than 50 percent compared with the previous year for the second straight year.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Midland reaches new Cornerstone 

(2/4/2013)

MIDLAND - Cornerstone Shopping Center, located at Midland Dr. and Loop 250, is set to undergo remodeling as well as an additional 10,000 sf of multi-tenant space. Construction and remodeling is scheduled to begin in mid-February.

The center will include a new Starbucks, Mattress Firm, Jersey Mike’s, Aspen Dental, GNC and Plato’s Closet, according to Scott Gordon, director of retail development and brokerage at Gordon Partners of Houston.

The stores should be open by late summer or early fall.

Read more at CBS 7.

Midland leads the nation with lowest unemployment 

(2/1/2013)

MIDLAND - Midland's unemployment rate in December was not just the lowest in Texas — it was the lowest in the country at 3.1 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Neighboring city Odessa ranked seventh at 3.7 percent.

In November, Midland had tied for the second lowest unemployment rate of 3.0 percent; Bismarck, N.D. took the top spot at 2.6 percent. Midland, Bismarck (3.3 percent) and Lincoln, Neb. (3.4 percent) posted the three lowest rates in December.

The leisure and hospitality industry composes about 10 percent of the city's total workforce, according to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). The mining, logging and construction industry takes 25 percent, the biggest piece of Midland's workforce.

Midland's unemployment rates have trended downward, according to Lisa Givens with the TWC. Midland's rate in June was 4.3 percent, 1.3 percentage points above the December rate.

Read more at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

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