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Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown

Houston housing market not so hot for first-time homebuyers 

(8/29/2014 7:40:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Houston’s housing market is ranked among the least affordable for first-time homebuyers, according to a new report by WalletHub.

WalletHub analyzed housing markets in the 300 largest cities nationally, looking at 17 metrics such as median household income adjusted for cost of living and median home prices.

The website then ranked the cities based on the affordability of homes, the strength of the local real estate market and residents’ quality of life.

Houston's strong real estate market was ranked No. 1 in the country. This was calculated based on factors such as median home value, average home square footage and median home price appreciation.

However, Houston ranked No. 273 for affordability of homes for first-time homebuyers. Here are two major reasons contributing to Houston’s lack of affordable housing, according to a recent Metrostudy report.

  • Cost of land, construction materials and labor are skyrocketing, causing home builders to construct more expensive homes to maintain their profit margins.
     
  • Houston’s historically low inventory of homes, coupled with its job growth and subsequent population boom, is driving up home prices.

In Houston, just 9.8 percent of new home starts were priced below $150,000 during first quarter 2014. That is down from 19.1 percent over the same time period in 2012. Meanwhile, a little more than a third of home starts in 1Q 2014 were priced above $300,000.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Sugar Land: 214-room Hyatt Place acquired by Noble 

(8/29/2014 6:46:00 AM)

SUGAR LAND - The 214-room Hyatt Place Houston-Sugar Land located on 3.7 acres at 16730 Creek Bend Dr. has been sold.

The hotel, which opened in 2010, has 6,000 sf of meeting space, round-the-clock food and beverage options, an outdoor pool, complimentary shuttle service and a 24-hour fitness room and business center.

Atlanta-based Noble Investment Group purchased the property near US 59 and SH 6. It is the only local property in Noble’s portfolio, which consists of Hyatt, Hilton, Starwood and Marriott branded properties across the country.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle and Realty News Report.

Clear Lake: 160,000-SF Aerospace Plaza sold! 

(8/29/2014)

CLEAR LAKE - Aerospace Plaza, a 160,080-sf two-building office property, has been sold. The buildings at 2400 and 2450 NASA Pkwy. are connected by a skybridge.

The property is directly across from NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.

Boxer Property purchased the property.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: 114,000-SF Offices at Sam Houston 60% leased and... 

(8/28/2014 6:45:00 AM)

HOUSTON - The Offices at Sam Houston, a four-story 113,363-sf building, is underway. The project has secured tenants for 60 percent of the building and is set for completion next June.

The northwest Houston property is within the 42-acre Sam Houston Crossing Business Park along Beltway 8 between US 290 and SH 249.

Caterpillar and Solar Turbines have preleased space in the building and the remaining 46,000 sf is still available.

D’Agostino Cos. is developing the project. Metzger Construction Co. is the general contractor and Browne McGregor Architects is the architect for the tilt-wall building.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Office Furniture Connection to 125,000 SF in Houston 

(8/28/2014 6:29:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Office Furniture Connection, a full-service office furniture company, signed a lease to fully occupy 13101 Almeda Rd. The single-story, 125,278-sf industrial building was constructed in 1970.

Finial Group represented the landlord and Raintree Commercial represented the tenant.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Houston tourists spending on the rise 

(8/28/2014)

HOUSTON - When visitors come to Houston, they spend big money, according to the latest figures from the Texas Office of Economic Development and Tourism.

Visitors to the Houston metro area spent $16.2 billion in 2013, up from $15.5 billion in 2012, beating traveler money flows for all other covered metro areas in Texas including Dallas and Austin.

The Texas Office of Economic Development and Tourism reports that the travel and tourism industry housed more than 128,000 jobs in 2013, a 4.5 percent increase over 2012.

Travelers spent $2.4 billion on accommodations last year, up 14 percent from 2012. Visitors spent $2.6 billion in restaurant and food services, and $3.5 billion on local transportation and gasoline.

Houston was the 12th top travel destination, according to Canada-based tourism strategy development Resonance Consultancy Ltd.

The Houston Airport System showed an increase in international traffic of 2.5 percent to nearly 9 million passengers, a record for the city.

The U.S. Commerce Department reported that Houston saw a 22 percent increase in international visitors last year, the largest increase in the United States.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Rents increase fastest pace on record: Houston multifamily 

(8/27/2014 7:15:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Recent data show that apartment rents are increasing at the fastest pace on record, at the same time households are shifting from owning to renting, according to the second quarter report from CBRE.

According to the firm, Houston’s multifamily market is seeing positive absorption, fast rent growth, plenty of new construction, and strong investor interest.

Rents are growing at the fastest pace on record, 4.9 percent overall year-over-year. More than 18,000 new units are expected in the market by the end of 2014.

According to Real Capital Analytics, Houston posted $1.2 billion in multifamily sales in 2Q 2014, a gain of 48 percent from 1Q 2014.

“Although new supply is robust, new units continue to trail demand, which has been driven by significant net migration and job growth. Houston added 370,000 new jobs since the recovery began and expanded by more new residents than any other U.S. metro in 2013,” Sara Rutledge, director of research and analysis at CBRE, said in a statement.

For the full report, see Houston Multifamily MarketView 2Q 2014 (PDF).

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: 21Eleven rises on former Adobe Cafe site 

(8/27/2014 7:09:00 AM)

HOUSTON - The 21Eleven building now stands with four stories but will ultimately boast five levels of residential space with 215 units sitting atop two levels of parking with space for 300 vehicles.

Rents will range from $1,400 for one-bedroom units to $2,500 for two-bedroom units.

The complex is on the former Cafe Adobe site at the corner of Shepherd and Westheimer.

The development will offer apartment homes with custom touches such as stainless steel appliances, gas stoves and fitness center.

Mark Clegg, director of media relations and communications for Hines, the company developing 21Eleven, said that although it won't be complete until April or May 2015, the complex will be open to residents beginning December 2014.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Game changer for UH's new $120M TDECU Stadium 

(8/27/2014 7:06:00 AM)

HOUSTON - The University of Houston (UH) will debut the $120 million football stadium August 29. UH and Texas Dow Employees Credit Union (TDECU) agreed this summer to a ten-year naming rights partnership that will pay $15 million total.

The 40,000-seat TDECU Stadium was built on the former site of Robertson Stadium. Seating includes 5,000 permanent student seats in the east end and 26 suites spanning from end zone to end zone on the south side.

There are four open-air end-zone party decks, each with 24 armchairs. There are also two open-air party suites located on the east and west end of the suite level featuring 60 padded armchairs each.

A 12,400-sf multipurpose club area will overlook the field of play (25 feet above the playing surface) from the south side concourse.

The 39,089-sf Bert F. Winston Band Complex, home to UH's Spirit of Houston Band, is located on the stadium's east end.

A total of 160 concessions areas are located throughout the stadium, including portable kiosks on the upper level. There are more than 50 restrooms located throughout the stadium.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Pasadena: 514-unit Alta Vista sold 

(8/27/2014)

PASADENA - Alta Vista, a 514-unit, Class C community located at 621 South Richey St., has been sold. The garden-style community is situated on 45.9 acres.

The 42-year-old property is 95 percent occupied with average rents at $0.72 per sf. The community features one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans ranging in size from 440 sf to 1,200 sf.

Property amenities include 24-hour emergency maintenance, playground, volleyball court, tennis court, clubhouse, swimming pool and sports court.

Alta Villas Nominee LLC, an entity of Global Securitization Services LLC, purchased the community from Focus Columns LLC, an entity of Focus Hospitality Group.

Read more at O'Connor and Associates.

Houston: MetLife buys 450,000-SF Galleria-area office 

(8/26/2014 1:00:00 PM)

HOUSTON - MetLife Real Estate Investors has purchased a 22-story, 450,000-sf Galleria-area office building at 3040 Post Oak Blvd. According to Real Estate Alert, MetLife was under contract to pay nearly $130 million for the building last month.

The building is part of the Lake on Post Oak office complex, a three-building office project built by Hines in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The buildings total approximately 1.2 million sf and sit on 23 acres.

The other two buildings are at the 20-story 3000 Post Oak Blvd. and the 17-story 3050 Post Oak Blvd.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

CoStar: Houston Office Mid-Year 2014 Report 

(8/26/2014 7:30:00 AM)

HOUSTON - The office market ended second quarter 2014 with a vacancy rate of 11.0 percent, according to CoStar Group's Houston Office Mid-Year 2014 Report.

Net absorption for the overall office market was positive 2,042,698 sf in 2Q 2014. That compares to positive 2,672,285 sf in 1Q 2014.

The largest lease signings occurring in 2014 included:

•  American Bureau of Shipping at One Greenspoint Place leased 224,833 sf;

•  Sasol North America at Woodbranch Plaza IV took 171,475 sf deal signed; and

•  the 127,684-sf lease signed by Energy XXI Services at One City Centre.

The average quoted asking rental rate for available office space, all classes, was $27.03 per sf per year at the end of 2Q 2014. This represented a 1.5 percent increase in quoted rental rates from the end of 1Q 2014, when rents were reported at $26.64 per sf.

During 2Q 2014, 23 buildings totaling 1,971,823 sf were completed. This compares to 39 buildings totaling 2,487,107 sf that were completed in 1Q 2014. There were 17,760,993 sf of office space under construction at the end of 2Q 2014.

Click here for The CoStar Office Report Mid-Year 2014: Houston

Source: downtownHouston.org

Spring: 44 homes dock at The Lakes of Shadow Creek 

(8/26/2014)

SPRING - Frankel Building Group has embarked on an upscale community called The Lakes of Shadow Creek. The home builder will build 44 custom homes on 23.6 acres of undeveloped land.

The Lakes of Shadow Creek will feature homes ranging in size from 3,500 sf to 5,500 sf, sitting on lots from 12,000 sf to 25,000 sf. The homes will have access to three lakes. Home prices start at $895,000.

The gated community, situated three miles from the new Exxon Mobil campus, is zoned to Klein Independent School District.

The first phase of construction consists of five model homes and is expected to be complete by the end of this year.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Cordyne Inc. expands to 45,000-SF facility in Houston 

(8/26/2014)

HOUSTON - Cordyne Inc., a Houston-based electrical supply firm, acquired a new 45,000-sf manufacturing facility in Northwoods Industrial Park in early August.

Cordyne has already begun operations in the facility, only four miles from the company's primary facility at 9820 Drysdale Lane.

The facility more than doubles the company's manufacturing space and will be used primarily for heavy manufacturing projects that would not fit in its primary facility.

"The ultimate goal is to run the two facilities for a few years and ultimately build one large mega facility solely customized for our operations. We're thinking in the next two to three years, counting about a year and a half for construction," President Ben Devine said.

Cordyne specializes in industrial process controls and electrical supply manufacturing. It focuses primarily on oil and gas clients, which comprise about 70 percent of its business.

The company is also involved in renewables, mining and marine industries. It has grown from 52 employees last year to over 100 this year, including 28 employees hired in the last month and reported revenues of $65 million for 2013.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Tomball: Back to school upgrades, $51.3M for new campuses 

(8/26/2014)

TOMBALL - The Tomball Independent School District (TISD) is in the early stages of construction on three schools that will open August 2015. TISD broke ground on the three schools in May.

Construction costs are about $51.3 million for all three schools. Finance Director Jim Ross said TISD will pay an estimated $3.6 million in operating costs when it opens the three new campuses next year.

The district is building Wildwood Elementary and Oakcrest Intermediate on the south side of the district, and Creekview Elementary in The Woodlands.

Wildwood and Oakcrest are being constructed next to one another, on the west end of the Wildwood subdivision where Northpointe Blvd. intersects Shaw Rd.

Creekview, the first kindergarten through fifth-grade campus in the district, will be the third elementary campus built in The Woodlands' Creekside Park neighborhood since 2009 when TISD opened Creekside Forest Elementary.

There also were upgrades completed throughout TISD. New security vestibules were added to Tomball High School, Tomball Elementary, Tomball Junior High, Northpointe Intermediate, Willow Wood Junior High, Rosehill Elementary and Willow Creek Elementary at a cost of $600,000.

New drives were added outside Northpointe Intermediate and Willow Creek Elementary, which will alleviate traffic congestion on North Eldridge Pkwy. and Northpointe Blvd.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Pearland: 115 homes headed to 22-acre Shadow Ridge 

(8/26/2014)

PEARLAND - Newmark Homes will build 115 homes in Shadow Ridge, a new 22-acre enclave adjacent to Shadow Creek Ranch along FM 518.

The Houston-based builder will offer homes starting from $250,000 on three different lots sizes — 50 feet, 55 feet and 60 feet wide. Newmark will be the only builder in the neighborhood.

Michael Doyle with DCI is developing the neighborhood, which will be marketed as part of Shadow Creek Ranch. Residents will pay dues to Shadow Creek’s homeowners association and will have access more than 150 acres of amenities in the master-planned community.

“This is one of the few remaining opportunities for a new home in Shadow Creek Ranch that is zoned to Alvin ISD,” Jeff Dye, Newmark vice president, said in an announcement.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

New $67M Crosby High School underway 

(8/25/2014)

CROSBY, HARRIS COUNTY - The new $67 million Crosby High School has broken ground. The school is being built by Houston-based DuroTech and will be 416,411 sf, according to the company’s website.

The school is being built with funds from Phase 1 of the district’s bond package.

Upon completion of the high school, the current Crosby High School will be renovated — also by DuroTech — to be repurposed as a junior high facility. The existing Crosby Middle School will become an elementary campus.

Read more at Your Houston News.

Rice University new building ‘reshapes’ underdeveloped side 

(8/25/2014)

HOUSTON - Rice University's Anderson-Clarke Center for Continuing Studies recently opened. The three-story, 54,800-sf building, designed by San Antonio-based Overland Partners, is situated at a busy entrance to the campus.

The building houses the Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, which expects to attract nearly 20,000 enrollments a year in coming years. Before the new building opened, the school’s classrooms and offices were spread across campus.

The center was entirely funded by more than 400 private donations. It features a 240-seat auditorium with high-end digital video display and surround sound, a 200-person interior gathering space with a nine-screen video display wall and view of The Texas Medical Center.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Missouri City: 479-unit Bankers Mini Storage sold 

(8/25/2014)

MISSOURI CITY - Bankers Mini Storage located on FM 1092 about 18 miles southwest of Houston has been sold. The 479-unit facility includes 92,733 sf of rentable space.

The property has climate-controlled, non-climate-controlled, boat and RV storage units.

Read more at Texas Real Estate Business.

Friendswood: 40,000-SF Dave & Buster's to Baybrook Mall 

(8/25/2014)

FRIENDSWOOD - Dave & Buster’s will open a 40,000-sf location next year in the expansion wing of Baybrook Mall. The restaurant and entertainment center offers food, drinks, interactive games and video games.

Construction on the new 1.7 million-sf mall space, to be called the Baybrook Lifestyle Expansion, began in May and is expected to be completed by Christmas 2015, according to the mall’s owner General Growth Properties.

This will be Dave & Buster's third Houston area location.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle and Texas Real Estate Business.

Houston: July 2014 construction permits break record again 

(8/21/2014 6:40:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Construction permitting in the City of Houston hit another record in July 2014. The running 12-month total reached nearly $7.6 billion, the fifth consecutive record-setting month.

The $7.6 billion represents a 30.5 percent increase from $5.8 billion in permits issued over the 12 months ending July 2013.

Houston Building Permits July 2014
  Monthly Data Year-to-Date Total
  July
2014
July
2013
%
Chg.
July
2014
July
2013
%
Chg.
Building Permits
($, City of Houston)
733,370,015 715,175,322 2.5 4,938,898,722 3,510,743,282 40.7
Nonresidential total 493,204,753 486,441,733 1.4 3,321,435,602 2,276,769,851 45.9*
New nonresidential 201,438,031 316,886,234 -36.4 1,956,363,284 1,152,047,586 69.8
Nonresidential additions/
alterations/conversions
291,766,722 169,555,499 72.1 1,365,072,318 1,124,722,265 21.4
Residential total 240,165,262 228,733,589 5.0 1,617,463,120 1,233,973,431 31.1
New residential 213,973,631 210,105,547 1.8 1,437,967,559 1,107,170,131 29.9
Residential additions/
alterations/conversions
26,191,631 18,628,042 40.6 179,495,561 126,803,300 41.6

*Readers are cautioned that year-to-year comparisons of nonresidential data have become near meaningless because of the billion dollar contracts for chemical plant construction that have recently been awarded.

Read more at the Greater Houston Partnership. For more economic indicators, check out the full report.

Montgomery: Woodforest on pace to top 2013 sales 

(8/21/2014)

MONTGOMERY - Woodforest, a project of the Johnson Development Corp. spanning 3,000 acres, is on target to release 600 lots to builders this year, putting it on pace to top last year’s sales while adding two new types of housing.

Builders have started more than 300 homes in Woodforest so far this year, about 3 percent above last year’s pace.

Woodforest will offer the first townhomes in early October. Chesmar Homes will build 56 homes priced from $180,000 in the Cheswood neighborhood.

Taylor Morrison recently introduced housing for buyers age 55 and up in Bonterra at Woodforest, a community planned for 700 homes with 110 properties in its first phase.

“More than 30 homes have already sold in Bonterra, less than two weeks after the community’s grand opening,” Virgil Yoakum, general manager of Woodforest, said.

Builders sold a record 457 homes in Woodforest in 2013, a 40 percent increase over 2012. Since opening in 2009, 3,500 people have moved to Woodforest.

The community’s first onsite school, Stewart Elementary in the Conroe Independent School District, is set to open August 25.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Sugar Land: Dalfen buys 330,000-SF industrial building 

(8/20/2014 6:43:00 AM)

SUGAR LAND - Dalfen America Corp. has acquired the 330,674-sf Gillingham Distribution Center at 1601 Gillingham Lane. The company also acquired an adjacent five-acre parcel to house a new industrial development.

The property, which was built in 2005 and expanded in 2007, is 85 percent occupied. Candle-making company Pink Zebra recently signed a seven-year lease for 52,500 sf in the building.

Dalfen plans to build a 75,000- to 100,000-sf, freestanding industrial facility on the adjacent parcel in the coming months.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Katy: 84,000-SF Grandway West first building underway  

(8/20/2014)

KATY - Construction is underway on the first of five Class A planned buildings at Grandway West, an office development that will total 780,000 sf along Grand Pkwy. near Franz Rd.

The property sits on 56 acres at 1904 W. Grand Parkway North.

Set for completion in December, the first building totals 83,912 sf and is nearly 40 percent preleased.

A joint venture of InSite Realty and Urban Construction Southwest is developing the project.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: Yes Prep Public Schools buys 153,000-SF warehouse 

(8/20/2014)

HOUSTON - A 153,000-sf warehouse located at 5515 South Loop East has been sold to Yes Prep Public Schools Inc. The facility is situated on 5.8 acres.

The 43-year-old building was fully occupied at the time of sale. The tenants at the facility include Designer Arts, B Line Motor Sports, Texas Cellular and more.

Joseph Dow, an entity of Dow Fence and Supply Co., was the previous owner.

Read more at O'Connor and Associates.

Houston: 272-unit Woods of Inverness changes hands 

(8/20/2014)

HOUSTON - Woods of Inverness, a garden-style community, has been sold. It is located at the intersection of the Hardy Toll Roll and FM 1960 at 21717 Inverness Blvd.

It features 272 one- and two-bedroom units averaging 980 sf and is currently 93.4 percent occupied. The community was constructed in 1981.

The property was purchased from ComCapp LLC. Over the past two years, ComCapp invested in exterior and common-area improvements.

Additional community amenities include an Internet cafe with Wi-Fi, a children’s recreation area with a new pergola and a business center.

Read more at GlobeSt.

Houston lux 34-unit condos on the way for Montrose 

(8/20/2014)

HOUSTON - Houston-based Riverway Properties is developing a boutique, midrise condominium project at the northeast corner of Montrose Blvd. and Marshall St.

The seven-story luxury project — 3615 Montrose — will include 34 units, with residential square footage totaling just under 100,000 sf. The top floor will be composed of four penthouse units.

The project is expected to break ground in spring 2015. Presales are slated to begin this October.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Texas Bank adds Spirit to Conroe's five-phase park 

(8/20/2014)

CONROE - Spirit of Texas Bank has broken ground on a 24,000-sf, three-story building just east of I-45 on SH 105. The building is the first phase of a larger project that will transform the area into a historical park that will include an outdoor theater.

“The eight acres here will be part of a five-phase project,” said Dean Bass, president and CEO of Spirit of Texas Bank.

According to Bass, Spirit of Texas Bank will occupy the third floor of the building and will lease the other floors. The building is expected to be complete January 2015.

The second and third phases of the project will include two more buildings.

Phase four will be an art project in front of the buildings. That project is a collaborative effort with Friends of the Flag Park.

Phase five will include walking paths and a 1,200-seat outdoor theater.

Read more at Your Houston News.

The Woodlands' neighbors: 600 acres taken by Toll 

(8/19/2014 6:45:00 AM)

THE WOODLANDS - Toll Brothers has closed on 600 acres along FM 2978 where it plans to build a new master-planned community a quarter of a mile from the western boundary of The Woodlands.

The community will consist of mainly residential lots and about 15 acres of commercial property. Home building is expected to commence in second quarter 2015.

Jim Jenkins, Toll Brothers’ new vice president of master-planned communities, said that about 40 percent of the homes in this new community will be built by Toll Brothers. The developer will work with other home builders to develop the remaining lots in the community.

“This will not be part of The Woodlands. It will have its own distinct name,” Jenkins said. “This 600-acre community will be able to build on the wonderful reputation of The Woodlands.”

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Palais Royal leases 23,000 SF in Texas City 

(8/19/2014)

TEXAS CITY - Palais Royal is leasing 23,000 sf in the building that formerly housed Macy’s in the Mall of the Mainland, located at 10000 Emmett F. Lowry Expy. Palais Royal is moving from its current site in the mall where the department store has operated since 1991.

A November 6 grand opening is planned for the new store. It will join a 42,000-sf World Gym franchise — the largest World Gym in the state — at the Macy’s building.

Developer Jerome Karam earlier this year acquired the 150,000-sf building from Macy’s, which departed the mall in 2012 but still owned the building.

Earlier this year, Coastline Retail Center Inc., which gained control of Mall of the Mainland as a result of foreclosure action and related litigation, closed the interior common areas of the shopping center.

Read more at the Galveston Daily News.

Gulf Winds blow into 543,000 SF in Seabrook, La Porte 

(8/18/2014 11:01:00 AM)

SEABROOK, LA PORTE - Third-party logistics firm Gulf Winds International is expanding its facilities near the Port of Houston to handle more cargo for customers through the development and expansion of two industrial facilities totaling 543,000 sf.

Gulf Winds signed a ten-year lease in a 243,000-sf build-to-suit on 12 acres in Seabrook. The new cross-dock building will be next to Gulf Winds’ existing facility and will give it 460,000 sf adjacent to the Bayport Terminal. Completion is planned at the end of 2014.

In La Porte, Gulf Winds expanded its lease of 300,000 sf at 359 Old Underwood Rd.

Houston-based Gulf Winds International provides container transportation, transloading, warehousing, local and long haul transportation and customs exam services.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston retail adding 1.6M SF in 2014 

(8/18/2014 11:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Across the area, some 1.6 million sf of new space will open this year, up from about 679,000 sf in new and expanded projects in 2013, according to the Weitzman Group and Cencor Realty Services.

The new projects scheduled are dominated by grocers, including Kroger, Whole Foods Market, Walmart Supercenter, H-E-B, Fiesta and Sprouts Farmers Market.

At mid-year, retail space across the Houston area was 96 percent occupied, the highest it has been in more than a decade.

Rental rates are up sharply for the best space. For small shop space in a well-located center anchored by a prominent tenant, rents are as high as $40 per sf per year.

The Weitzman and Cencor report lists the projects for 2014 and later. Projects listed with over 100,000 sf include:

• Costco opened a 152,000-sf store at I-10 and Grand Pkwy. in the Katy area. In late 2014, Costco is also scheduled to open a 153,000-sf store at SH 242 and I-45 in The Woodlands.
• A 150,000-sf center under construction at the intersection of I-10 and Yale near the Heights will include Sprouts Farmers Market, LA Fitness and Guitar Center.
• Walmart Supercenter will open a 185,000-sf store near the intersection of I-45 and Wayside in the second half of 2014.
• Nordstrom will open a two-level, 138,000-sf store at The Woodlands Mall.

The Mid-Year 2014 Shopping Center Survey from The Weitzman Group and Cencor Realty Services will be released soon. Click here to view their 2014 Shopping Center Survey & Forecast for Austin, DFW, Houston and San Antonio.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: 56,000-SF Greens Road Business Center underway 

(8/18/2014)

HOUSTON - Greens Road Business Center, a 56,000-sf office/warehouse project, is underway. The development will be comprised of four buildings on approximately six acres near the southwest corner of Hwy. 59 and Greens Rd.

The buildings, which will be offered for sale or lease, will be 10,000 sf, 13,500 sf, 15,000 sf and 17,500 sf. The facility will provide a combination of grade level and dock high loading.

The buildings will allow for expansion and some outside storage and will also have ample parking.

Nelson Commercial Properties is developing the project. The Greens Road Business Center is projected to be completed in late 2014.

To see more information about this project, click here.

Houston's Uptown Astoria 29-story condo underway 

(8/18/2014)

HOUSTON - Astoria, a 29-story high-rise condominium in the Uptown area, is under construction. The tower will have a total of 75 residences at 1405 Post Oak Blvd. It will be completed in December 2016.

Randall Davis is the developer of the tower. The project’s architect of record is Page Southerland Page and the general contractor is G.T. Leach Constructors LLC.

Read more at Realty News Report.

Houston: 312-unit Yorktown Crossing for $35M 

(8/15/2014 7:10:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Starlight U.S. Multi-Family (No. 3) Core Fund (The Fund) will acquire Yorktown Crossing, a 312-unit, garden style, Class A apartment complex, completed in 2010 and located at 15903 Yorktown Crossing Pkwy.

The Fund agreed to purchase Yorktown Crossing for approximately $35.2 million. Purchase of Yorktown Crossing is scheduled to close on or about August 28, 2014.

Yorktown Crossing consists of 13, three story walk-up buildings on a 12.2-acre site comprised of one- and two-bedroom units. As of August 4, Yorktown Crossing's occupancy was 96.8 percent.

Amenities include a central clubhouse with a 24-hour fitness center, a media room with large screen TV and an executive business center. Outdoor amenities include a pool, fireplace, barbeque grilling area and putting green.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

HAR: Houston area cities' home sales July 2014 

(8/15/2014 7:01:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Houston Association of Realtors (HAR) released home sales data for July 2014. Some quick facts include:

• The median price of existing single-family homes decreased to $204,000; down 5.1 percent from June 2014.
• Existing single-family home sales decreased 2.1 percent from June 2014 for a July 2014 total of 7,397 units sold.
• Condos decreased in price to $166,000; down 2.4 percent from June 2014.
• Existing condo sales decreased 4.2 percent in July 2014 over June 2014 for a total of 735 units sold.

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

HAR July 2014 Regional Sales and Price Activity
MLS Wide Median Price
  July 2014
Price Chg.
vs. July 2013
Units Sold
  July 2014
Sales Chg.
vs. July 2013
HAR
(single-family)
$204,000 7.40% 7,397 -3.50%
HAR (condo) $166,000 3.80% 735 -6.50%
Region Cities*        
Houston $195,000 8.50% 2,172 3.40%
Spring $205,000 17.80% 604 -0.50%
Katy $239,000 10.60% 560 -9.50%
Cypress $226,400 11.50% 351 -0.30%
Humble $168,000 5.00% 269 4.30%
Richmond $220,000 8.90% 248 -2.70%
Pearland $215,000 10.30% 238 -12.50%
The Woodlands $388,000 -6.50% 193 -6.80%

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

See Housing under Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Market Data Sources or see the full report from Houston Association of Realtors.

Houston: 218,000-SF Frost Bank(s) $46M in Westchase 

(8/15/2014 6:43:00 AM)

HOUSTON - The 218,680-sf Frost Bank office building at 10333 Richmond Ave. has been purchased for $46.3 million. The 11-story building is 91 percent occupied.

The building delivered in 1983 on 3.33 acres in the Westchase area. The property underwent renovations in 2012 and is currently home to offices for MetLife Financial Services, TEKsystems, Brown, Fowler & Alsup and The Guardian Life Insurance Co. among others.

Beacon Investment Properties purchased the building. This is the 15th building for Beacon's Houston portfolio, bringing the total sf to 2.89 million.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle and CoStar Group.

Houston's 525,000-SF Southwest Corporate sold 

(8/15/2014)

HOUSTON - Omninet Capital has purchased the 525,580-sf Southwest Corporate Center, a two-story office complex. The property sits on 40 acres at 9700 Bissonnet, close to US 59 and Beltway 8.

Southwest Corporate Center formerly housed Westwood Mall in southwest Houston before being converted to office space in 2000. It was expanded in 2007 with a second phase that added a 175,000-sf building.

The property is 61.9 percent leased to tenants including Stewart Lending Services, Texas Children’s Health Plan and Corinthian College.

“Due to the current opportunities in the Texas markets, Omninet has decided to allocate an additional $250 million in Texas in the next 12 months,” Michael Daniel, a partner with Omninet, said.

The Los Angeles-based private real estate investment firm purchased the property in a cash deal that closed in less than 20 days.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston MLS housing market's hot July 

(8/14/2014 9:03:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Single-family home sales totaled 7,769 units, up 1.0 percent compared to July 2013, according to the latest monthly report prepared by the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR).

July sales of all property types increased by 0.7 percent compared to July 2013. Total dollar volume for properties sold rose 7.0 percent to $2.4 billion versus $2.3 billion in July 2013.

Prices climbed to a record high for a July but were lower than June’s all-time record highs. The average price of a single-family home jumped 6.4 percent year-over-year to $277,023. The median price increased 6.8 percent year-over-year to $202,000.

Days on Market — the number of days a home takes to sell — fell to a record low of 45.

Housing inventory has edged up each of the last three months reaching a 3.0-months supply in July. It is down from the 3.4 months supply of June 2013 and below the current 5.6-months supply of inventory across the U.S. reported by the National Association of Realtors.

Housing Market Summary: July 2014 vs. July 2013
  July 2013 July 2014 Chg.
Total sales 9,189 9,250 0.7%
Total dollar volume $2,286,767,930 $2,447,214,048 7.0%
Total active listings 32,966 29,808 -9.4%
Total pending sales 4,419 4,743 7.3%
Single-family sales 7,690 7,769 1.0%
Avg. price single-family home $260,293 $277,023 6.4%
Median price single-family home $189,180 $202,000 6.8%
Single-family inventory* 3.4 3.0 -10.7%

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

Source: Houston Association of Realtors

Also see 'Housing' under Houston Market Data Sources.

Katy checks out 124,000-SF Kroger, Fiesta Mart, Trader Joe's 

(8/14/2014 8:30:00 AM)

KATY - A new 124,000-sf Kroger Marketplace has broken ground at the corner of Spring Green Blvd. and FM 1463. It is slated to open in spring 2015.

Construction has also begun on a 63,000-sf Fiesta Mart at FM 529 and Fry Rd. The store is set for a November opening. It will be the anchor tenant on a 23-acre site that will include 32,900 sf of small-shop retail.

Trader Joe's will open its fourth Houston-area store in the third phase of LaCenterra at Cinco Ranch located at 23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd. That phase is expected to be complete this fall.

Supermarkets will dominate aggressive retail development in Houston over the next year, representing half of 2014’s retail growth with 28 new grocery stores planned, according to Houston-based Wulfe & Co.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Tesco leasing 26,000 SF in Houston's Westway Plaza 

(8/14/2014)

HOUSTON - Tesco Corp., a world leader in oil field services, signed a lease for 26,510 sf in the Westway Plaza Development located at 11330 Clay Rd.

The five-story, 312,000-sf, Class A office building is currently under construction and is scheduled to be completed in March 2015.

Tesco is the second tenant to sign on at the development, following GE Oil & Gas' 150,000-sf lease signed earlier this year.

Read more at CoStar Group.

M.D. Anderson opens 35,000-SF west Houston imaging center 

(8/14/2014)

HOUSTON - The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center is opening a 35,000-sf full-service diagnostic imaging center in west Houston in September. M.D. Anderson Diagnostic Imaging is located at 15021 Katy Fwy. near I-10 and US 6.

The clinic, with a separate women’s imaging center, will be for patients with confirmed cancer diagnoses or those with doctors’ referrals. The center will be for all cancer patients, regardless where they receive treatment or prefer to have treatment if cancer is detected.

The center’s services will include magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, positron emission tomography, general and Doppler ultrasound for diagnostics and biopsies and digital X-ray.

The women’s imaging center has technologies that will allow for same-day diagnosis. Digital mammography for screening and diagnostics also will be available.

The center will include lab and cytopathology services to detect and determine the stage of cancers. Dr. Monica Huang, the center’s medical director, and a team of radiologists, imaging nurses, technologists and administrative employees will staff the center.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Phillips 66's $1B terminal underway in Freeport 

(8/14/2014)

FREEPORT - Phillips 66 has broken ground on its $1 billion liquefied petroleum gas export terminal — its first ever — to sell propane, butane and more to international markets. The terminal will export 4.4 million barrels of fuel a month to countries in Europe and Asia.

The project, which is expected to be completed mid-2016, is part of a $3 billion Phillips 66 capital investment in the Houston region, which also includes a new fractionator at its Sweeny Refinery location.

The new LPG export terminal is at Phillips 66's existing marine terminal in Freeport. The company will get the fuel from its Sweeny complex in Old Ocean and its Gulf Coast Fractionators facility in Mont Belvieu.

Phillips 66 spun off in 2012 as a midstream and refining company from ConocoPhillips, which is focusing on energy exploration and production. Low natural gas prices from the nation's shale boom have helped fuel Phillips 66's infrastructure growth.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston: 630-acre The Vintage nears completion 

(8/14/2014)

HOUSTON - The Vintage, a 630-acre master-planned community, is nearing completion with less than 50 acres left for new development. The Vintage has a hospital, hotel, thousands of multifamily and single-family residences and more than 500,000 sf of retail and office space.

The remaining retail space available for lease has shrunk exponentially over the last two years with the rapid development of Vintage Park and Vintage Marketplace.

Since Vintage Park was sold from original developer Interfin to Dunhill Partners in March 2012, the 342,000-sf shopping center jumped from 35 percent occupancy to nearly 90 percent.

Vintage Marketplace houses a 40,000-sf Whole Foods grocery store as part of Phase I of the nine-acre center, which also includes 30,000 sf of retail and restaurants.

Vintage Lakes, developed by Kickerillo and Toll Brothers, has only about a dozen homes remaining in the 150-home subdivision.

The Mischer Investments executive vice president said there are five existing multifamily developments within The Vintage housing as many as 1,500-2,000 apartments that are completed or nearing completion.

Read more at the Community Impact Newspaper.

Pasadena's El Capitan Theater sold for $4.6M 

(8/14/2014)

PASADENA - The Pasadena City Council approved the sale of the historic El Capitan Theater and the adjoining Corrigan Center property for $4.6 million to Camin Cargo Control Inc., a chemical testing and inspection company based in New Jersey. The company currently has a Pasadena location on Dabney St.

The 11,529-sf theater and the 70,789-sf Corrigan Center sit on a 9.1-acre parcel located at 1001 Shaw Ave.

City officials agreed to a two-year, lease-back agreement to include 31,982 sf for monthly payments of $31,982.

The El Capitan Theater was built in 1949 and was a popular city attraction until it closed in 1965. The City of Pasadena purchased the property in 1995 in hopes of attracting an investor to help share remodeling costs to reopen the theater.

In 2009, city officials awarded an $85,000 contract to Civil Concepts for engineering services and a $105,000 contract to M. Arthur Gensler Jr. for architecture services. Shortly after, the front façade of the property was restored.

However, in the years that followed the long hoped-for investor never materialized and the theater fell into disrepair.

Read more at Your Houston News.

Nine office buildings break ground — guess where 

(8/13/2014 7:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Nine office buildings broke ground in the Houston area during second quarter 2014, according to CBRE research:

• Hilcorp Energy Tower, Downtown
• Enclave Place, Energy Corridor
• Mason Creek Office Center II, Katy
• Katy Ranch Phase I, Katy
• Generation Park, Northeast
• Hughes Landing Exxon I, The Woodlands
• Hughes Landing Exxon II, The Woodlands
• Kiewit Energy Group, The Woodlands
• Westway Plaza, West Belt

The Woodlands saw the most new groundbreakings and the most dramatic changes in vacancy and rental rates. The vacancy increased to 9.4 percent in 2Q 2014 from 4.5 percent in 1Q 2014. Rental rates increased by $8.48 per sf to $37.14.

Overall asking rental rates throughout Houston increased from $25.03 per sf in 2Q 2013 to $25.91 per sf in 2Q 2014.

In addition to The Woodlands, the Katy Freeway and Westchase areas saw the largest rate increases throughout the city.

Year-over-year for 2Q, Katy Freeway Class A rates increased $2.23 per sf to $37.95 per sf, while Westchase Class A rates increased $2.40 per sf to $41.20 per sf.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

For the full CBRE report, see Houston Office MarketView 2Q 2014 (PDF) under Office at Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Market Data Sources.

Houston: 468 layoffs for Xerox call center 

(8/13/2014 6:56:00 AM)

HOUSTON - A Xerox Corp. subsidiary will cut 468 jobs when it closes a call center it operates at 3100 Hayes Rd. on September 30. Xerox submitted a Workforce Adjustment & Retraining Notification Act letter to the Texas Workforce Commission in early August.

Xerox bought the owners of the call center, Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Services LLC, in 2010 and changed its name to Xerox Business Services LLC. The company provides outsourcing and IT services.

In a statement, Kevin Lightfoot, vice president of corporate communications for Xerox, said that the cuts did not mean the company had put off hiring plans for Houston. "We will continue to hire in Houston to meet the needs of other clients."

Lightfoot confirmed separation packages will be provided to those who qualify and employees will be able to apply for other open positions in the company.

Xerox has about 850 employees in the Houston area. The number of Houston employees is down from about 1,000 in 2013 and down from the nearly 2,220 it employed in 2012.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal and Your Houston News.

CBRE: Houston multifamily 2Q 2014 MarketView 

(8/13/2014 6:42:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Multifamily construction activity remained strong in second quarter 2014 delivering 3,722 apartment units to the market. This was down slightly from 1Q 2014 when 4,143 units delivered.

At the end of 2Q 2014, 23,722 units remained under construction across the Houston metro area.

Average rental rates increased to $1.03 per sf during 2Q 2014 from $1.00 per sf in 1Q 2014. Rental rates in Houston are at an all time high after a couple of years of rapid growth. Rental rates increased 7.6 percent year-over-year in 2Q 2014.

The highest overall 2Q 2014 rents include:

- Montrose/Museum District submarkets at $1.80 per sf;

- Inner Loop West/ Greenway Plaza submarkets at $1.75 per sf;

- Heights submarket at $1.71 per sf. The highest rents in suburban markets were found in Fort Bend and the Woodlands/Far North areas, at an average of $1.21 per sf.

The number of units under construction increased from 22,246 in 1Q 2014 to 23,722 in 2Q 2014.

The West Memorial/Briar Forest submarket remains one of the market’s hottest areas for new development. Units under construction increased by 8 percent in 2Q 2014 from 1Q 2014. The booming office development in the area is driving apartment demand.

Houston Top Five Multihousing
Submarkets 2Q 2014*
Submarket Unit
Count
Occ. Under
Constr.
Units
West Memorial / Briar Forest 25,255 87.9% 3,374
Montrose / Museum District 13,231 87.0% 3,214
Inner Loop West / Greenway Plaza 14,950 81.9% 2,847
Katy / Far West 17,192 79.1% 2,820
Galleria 22,870 92.1% 1,994

*ranked by Under Construction Units

For the full report, see Houston Multifamily MarketView 2Q 2014 (PDF) under Multifamily in Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Market Data Sources.

TAMU Galveston's $45M Maritime Cadet Residence underway 

(8/12/2014 1:15:00 PM)

GALVESTON - Construction is underway for the 612-bed Maritime Cadet Residence Hall at Texas A&M University at Galveston. Hunt Cos. is designing, redeveloping and constructing the $45 million project in conjunction with Florida-based Moss & Associates.

Completion is targeted for fall 2015.

The new hall is slated to include two residential wings that connect to a central commons area. That commons area will be comprised of a mix of classrooms, study lounges, flexible social spaces, staff and cadet offices, a reception area, common laundry area, a convenience shop and storage spaces.

“The priority is to deliver a comfortable and amenity-driven living environment to the future cadets, instructors and staff of the residence hall at Texas A&M at Galveston,” says Sinclair Cooper, president of Hunt’s Public Infrastructure Division.

“This new Cadet Residence Hall will make the growth of our maritime academy possible and therefore provide the officers needed as America’s merchant fleet expands to meet national interests,” says Rear Admiral Robert Smith III, CEO of Texas A&M at Galveston and Superintendent of the Texas A&M Maritime Academy.

Read more at Multi-Housing News.

My kingdom for a welder: solving lack of energy talent 

(8/12/2014 10:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - There are more new partnerships between education and the energy sector than ever before. The Houston region needs to fill almost 300,000 jobs in the next three years in what is known as the middle-skills market — people who need additional training, but not necessarily university degrees.

These are area jobs — many paying close to $100,000 within a few years — and the demand to fill them represents arguably the biggest challenge facing the energy and petrochemical booms.

There is a need for drilling operators, electricians, mechanics, welders, pipefitters, instrumentation workers and more. There are also plenty of less obvious needs like human resources, truck drivers and supply chain logistics.

Houston serves as North America’s energy hub. Petrochemical growth companies have committed $100.2 billion to new expansion projects in the U.S. by 2023. The vast majority of these projects are in the Houston and Gulf Coast areas.

"We cannot produce enough machinists and welders,” Lone Star College System Chancellor Steve Head said. A new welder in the Houston area can have a starting salary close to $75,000 a year.

Lone Star's University Park campus now features its new $20 million Energy and Manufacturing Institute.

Houston Community College is growing its Energy Institute.

Brazosport College is building a new Crafts Academy Welding Lab and partnering with the Dow Chemical Co. and San Jacinto College is expanding its maritime training program.

Baker Hughes Inc. recently invested $56 million in its 305,000-sf Western Hemisphere Education Center in Tomball that opened in May. The center filled to capacity almost immediately and is training about 500 people daily.

The U.S. shale oil and gas industry directly and indirectly employs 1.7 million people. By 2015, it is expected to rise by almost 50 percent to 2.5 million jobs before reaching 3 million jobs by 2020.

In the utilities subsector, it is projected 100,000 new jobs will be created by 2020 when a substantial number of utility employees reach retirement age. Currently, 50 percent of the workforce is over 40, and 60 percent of the workforce will retire in ten years.

The Greater Houston Partnership and the Department of Labor released stats for the 296,000 middle-skills jobs expected in the area through 2017:

-  34.6 percent blue collar energy, construction, etc.
-  23.8 percent sales and office support
-  13.3 percent managerial and professional office
-  12 percent health care
-  9.1 percent food and personal services
-  1.7 percent education
-  3 percent STEM
-  2.5 percent community services and arts

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Howard Hughes buying 2,000 acres near The Woodlands 

(8/11/2014)

THE WOODLANDS - The developer of The Woodlands is buying 2,000 acres for a sequel to Houston’s largest master-planned community. The site is 13 miles north of The Woodlands on the west side of I-45 near League Line Rd. and Conroe.

Dallas-based Howard Hughes Corp. — the owner of The Woodlands — has already spent $67.3 million to buy 1,343 acres in a deal with the Hendricks brothers that closed in May.

The developer says it is under contract to buy an additional 652 acres next to it, in a transaction expected to close next month, giving Howard Hughes Corp. a 2,000-acre canvas for their next creation.

Hughes is planning to use 1,834 acres for residential and 161 acres for commercial. The company said the land will yield more than 4,600 homesites and the first lots will be finished and sold in 2016.

Read more at Realty News Report.

Class A, 96,000-SF office slated for Spring 

(8/11/2014)

SPRING - The Woodlands-based Halberdier Holdings LLC has purchased 2.5 acres at the southeast corner of Hardy Toll Rd. and Northgate Crossing to build a 96,000-sf, four-story, Class A speculative office building.

The company plans to break ground on the project in December, with completion slated for the end of 2015. Plans call for the building to be LEED Silver certified and include an option to build up to six stories. Houston-based Powers Brown Architecture is the architect.

The company also recently closed on 7.3 acres at the northeast corner of Pruitt Rd. and Budde Rd. It is considering various options for the property including a possible multifamily project or a 180,000-sf office building.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

East Texas to Houston: Blueknight's $300M, 160-mile link 

(8/11/2014)

TEXAS - An Oklahoma City midstream company plans to build a $300 million, 160-mile pipeline linking East Texas oil plays to the Houston Ship Channel.

Blueknight Energy Partners LP will construct a 16-inch diameter pipeline to run south from Madison County to Oiltanking Houston, a crude oil terminal on the Houston Ship Channel.

The pipeline looks to take advantage of the Eaglebine and Woodbine crude oil plays. Capacity will begin at 100,000 barrels a day with the potential to reach 200,000 barrels daily.

The project already has business commitments from a joint venture between Switzerland-based Vitol Inc. and Tennessee-based SEI Energy LLC, a natural gas and crude oil services company.

The pipeline will be named Knight Warrior Pipeline to honor U.S. veterans and is expected to be complete by March 2016.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston: $21M takes Spring Cypress Village 

(8/11/2014)

HOUSTON - Spring Cypress Village, a 101,371-sf, grocery-anchored retail center in northwest Houston, has been sold for $21.4 million. The center is situated on 15.7 acres at the intersection of SH 249 and Spring Cypress Rd. It was renovated in 2007.

Spring Cypress Village (with 97,550 rentable sf) was 79 percent leased to 11 tenants at the time of sale.

The center includes a 28,001-sf Sprouts Farmers Market, Spec’s Liquor, YES Kids Fitness, Wolfies Bar & Grill, State Farm Insurance, Earthwise Pets and a freestanding Burger King.

Phillips Edison and Company purchased the center from Delaware Life Insurance Company.

Read more at GlobeSt and Securities and Exchange Commission.

Houston: Queensbury Theatre underway for $6.5M 

(8/11/2014)

HOUSTON - The Queensbury Theatre, formerly the Country Playhouse, has begun construction on its new 21,000-sf theater on Queensbury Lane near Town and Country Blvd. The project will cost about $6.5 million.

The old theater was recently demolished to make room for the new construction. Funding for the project was raised when the group sold 1.78 acres of its land to Moody Rambin.

The project will include a 250-seat, two-story main theater with balcony seating, a rehearsal room, dressing rooms, a green room, office and conference space as well as a black box theater.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston Hobby Airport $52M garage underway 

(8/10/2014)

HOUSTON - Construction is underway on Hobby Airport's 3,000-space, four-level parking garage. The City of Houston is funding the $52 million, 1 million-sf garage, which is slated to open in 2015 to coincide with the new international terminal.

The garage will be three times the size of the new terminal to anticipate growing traffic by 2030. To read more about the terminal, see Hobby fuels $156M, 280,000-SF international terminal.

The garage will include the following features:

• A more direct entry than the existing garage, a climate-controlled elevator lobby and a 250-foot sky bridge so drivers can avoid the weather when crossing to the terminal.
• A parking guidance system that will show open spaces using single-stall overhead LED indicators.
• Vehicular bridges between the new and existing garage on every level designed to minimize the time required to find an available space.
• Ten charging spaces for electric vehicles.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Maravilla Court's 28 lux homes near Spring Branch in Houston 

(8/10/2014)

HOUSTON - Butler Brothers Construction Corp. is building Maravilla Court, an exclusive gated community at 1717 Pine Chase Dr. near the intersection of Long Point Rd. and Wirt Rd. The community will have 28 gated patio homes.

Homes range in size from 2,900 sf to 4,300 sf. Prices will start in the $700,000s. Children living in this new community will be zoned to Spring Branch Independent School District.

The homes feature stucco exteriors, gas fireplaces, granite countertops, Thermador kitchen appliances and custom millwork. They also offer lots of green and outdoor living space, as well as open floor plans and customizable options inside.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Kirkwood's 80,000-SF center brings $17M in Houston 

(8/9/2014)

HOUSTON - Kirkwood Shopping Center, an 80,483-sf neighborhood center located at 11980 Westheimer Rd., has been purchased for over $17.1 million. The 35-year-old center is 91.6 percent occupied. Built in 1979, the center is situated on 7.8 acres.

The space available for lease is 6,729 sf and the contiguous space available is 2,300 sf.

Kirkwood Market Place Station LLC, an entity of Phillips Edison & Company, purchased the center from SW Kirkwood Key LP, an entity of Revesco Properties.

Read more at O'Connor and Associates and Securities and Exchange Commission.

Houston: 312-unit Montelago trades hands 

(8/8/2014)

HOUSTON - The Montelago, a 312-unit multifamily community, has been sold. The community is located at 11881 Gulf Pointe Dr.

The community totals 309,530 sf, and it was constructed in 2005.

Duck Pond Realty Management purchased the community from Covington Realty Partners.

This is Duck Pond's second purchase in the area within weeks. See Lodge at Kingwood to Duck Pond; Cardinal takes wing,

Read more at CoStar Group.

Memorial Hermann $19M care center opening 2015 in Katy 

(8/8/2014)

KATY - Memorial Hermann will open a new convenient care center at Grand Pkwy. and FM 1093. The center will measure 30,000 sf and cost $19.1 million. Completion is planned for spring 2015.

When complete, the center will combine urgent and emergency care with primary, preventive and rehabilitative care.

Services include pediatric and adult primary care, sports and rehabilitation medicine, mammography screenings, on-site lab and imaging, walk-in urgent care with extended night and weekend hours and a 24-hour emergency room.

Patients who need additional emergency care can be transported to one of the area Memorial Hermann hospitals.

The Katy location will be Memorial Hermann’s third convenient care center and the only one in west Houston. Memorial Hermann has convenient care centers open in Pearland and Summer Creek, near Humble.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Mercedes drives 60,000-SF dealership to The Woodlands 

(8/8/2014)

THE WOODLANDS - Construction is underway on a 60,000-sf luxury car dealership, Mercedes-Benz of The Woodlands. The dealership is located on the east side of the I-45 frontage road, just north of Hwy. 242.

Owner Joe Agresti said some of the notable features planned for the dealership include a car in a glass display 52 feet in the air and a large water feature.

There will also be a focus on technology. In addition to plug-in terminals to charge electronic devices, Agresti also plans to have a coffee bar with a barista who can help customers with questions about technology — such as smartphone apps and connecting phones wirelessly to cars.

The 8.9-acre tract was purchased from The Woodlands Development Co. Wier Enterprises is building the project. The dealership is scheduled to open in February.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Pasadena: 111,000-SF Teadit HQ complete 

(8/8/2014)

PASADENA - Stream Realty Partners has completed the 111,000-sf manufacturing and headquarters building for Teadit North America in the Bayport South Business Park.

The cross-dock building at 10545 Red Bluff contains a 92,000-sf production and manufacturing warehouse with a 28-foot clear height, and a 20,000-sf office with second-story mezzanine.

Teadit develops and manufactures gaskets and other fluid sealing products used in various industrial markets including refining, chemical process and power generation.

“We are dedicated to providing high quality products and services to assist our industrial partners in lowering emissions generated from their facilities and will meet all expectations in being a good neighbor,” Chris Day, president of Teadit North America, said.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

The Belvedere's 342 units blossom in Spring 

(8/7/2014)

SPRING - The Belvedere, the first luxury apartment complex in Springwoods Village, is underway. The 342-unit complex will be completed in December.

When completed, the apartments will range from 539-sf, one-bedroom apartments to 1,312-sf “tower suite” overlooking a pool. Rents will range from $1,000 a month to $2,380 a month.

Apartments will feature ten-to-16-foot ceilings, private patios or balconies and electric stainless-steel kitchen appliances.

Common-area amenities include a clubhouse with coffee bar, pool tables, a 24-hour fitness center and a pool with a sundeck, cabanas, grills and hot tub.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Cypress: 288 units slated for Bridgeland 

(8/6/2014)

CYPRESS - Judwin Properties Inc. is building a garden-style, luxury apartment complex in the southeast corner of Bridgeland, a master-planned community being developed by Dallas-based The Howard Hughes Corp.

The 288-unit project will sit on 16.6 acres nestled between Lake Bridgeland and the intersection of Bridgeland Lake Pkwy. and Fry Rd. The project is expected to open first quarter 2016.

Judwin has yet to finalize the project’s name, but plat records filed with the City of Houston show the complex could be called the Reserve at Bridgeland Crossing. The project is expected to break ground by January 2015, and construction will take 12 to 14 months.

The two- and three-story project will feature a variety of apartments, from 677-sf efficiencies to 1,780-sf townhouses featuring three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms. The gated complex will feature remote-control access points and security cameras. In addition, most units will have direct access to a garage.

The apartment project’s common area amenities include a 13,000-sf clubhouse, pool, cabanas with tables and grills, tanning beds, playground and four-lane bowling alley with a private room in the back for children’s birthday parties.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Colliers: Houston retail report 2Q 2014 

(8/6/2014)

HOUSTON - Colliers International has released its second quarter 2014 Houston Retail Market Research and Forecast Report.

Houston’s retail market posted 1.2 million sf of positive net absorption in the 2Q. The average citywide vacancy rate fell between quarters to 6.3 percent from 6.6 percent. Currently, 1.2 million sf are in the retail construction pipeline.

The citywide average quoted rental rate for all property types increased 3.1 percent from $14.73 to $15.19 per sf between quarters and 3.0 percent from $14.75 in 2Q 2013.

Houston Retail Market Summary
Category Rentable
Area (SF)
Total
Vacancy
2Q 2014
Net Absorption
1Q 2014
Net Absorption
Strip Centers (unanchored) 32,630,810 9.1% 236,187 151,434
Neighborhood Centers (one anchor) 68,350,477 9.6% 521,534 94,018
Community Centers (two anchors) 43,407,750 6.8% -16,076 -133,012
Power Centers (3 or more anchors) 22,956,259 3.4% 84,491 40,414
Lifestyle Centers 3,782,009 5.8% -1,029 33,490
Outlet Centers 1,899,333 13.2% -10,215 34,231
Theme/Entertainment 553,786 9.9% 1,028 15,200
Single-Tenant 68,370,776 2.3% 257,105 273,749
Malls 26,219,981 5.5% 144,177 37,219
Greater Houston Total 268,171,181 6.3% 1,217,202 572,609


Source: Colliers International

Click here to see the full 2Q report, including the previous quarter.

Do you need other sources for Houston retail? Save time! Go to Houston Market Data Sources and look under the 'Retail' category.

Conroe: large mixed-use site replaces former Camp Strake 

(8/5/2014)

CONROE - Johnson Development Corp. has revealed information on its plans for the former Camp Strake property purchased in November 2013. Johnson will develop a third of the 2,046-acre property on the southwest corner of I-45 N. and Loop 336. The remaining land will be green space.

The project will include traditional single-family homes, townhomes, apartments — for sale and rent — office and retail space, as well as space for hotels and conference centers. A name for the project has yet to be decided.

Construction will begin on the project’s infrastructure in early 2015. Johnson is working out a contract to sell a portion of the property to Fidelis Realty Partners, which will build a large-scale retail center in the mixed-use development on the 336 Loop.

Johnson purchased the site from Sam Houston Area Council Boy Scouts of America. The Montgomery County Commissioners Court signed off on a tax incentive that will repay Johnson $20 million over ten years as it builds out a large-scale mixed-used development on the site.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston: 322-unit Pearl Washington underway 

(8/5/2014)

HOUSTON - Pearl Washington, a five-story apartment building, is being developed at the corner of Washington Ave. and T.C. Jester, between downtown and Memorial Park.

The building will have 322 one-, two- and three-bedroom units over two levels of parking. Units will range from 652 sf to 1,443 sf and each will have a balcony.

Amenities will include a swimming pool with private cabanas and sun decks, two courtyards, a dog park and a bocce court.

Morgan Group and LCB Holdings are developing the property. They plan to open the complex in spring 2016.

“The city registered the largest population increase of any U.S. metro area in 2013 and has been one of the top job destinations for recent college graduates since 2006. Those demographics are perfect for Pearl Washington,” Morgan president Alan Patton said.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Downtown Houston: $76M office building underway 

(8/5/2014)

HOUSTON - The $76 million, ten-story Greater Houston Partnership Building is underway in downtown. The building will serve as the new headquarters of Houston First, the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP), the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Center for Houston's Future.

Preconstruction work has begun, but major construction will start next spring. The project is expected to be completed in March 2016. The GHP will occupy the top two floors, though other groups will be able to use the 2,000-sf terrace on the top floor.

Houston First owns the property and is developing the office building and an adjacent parking garage with 1,900 spaces. Both the building and parking garage will have street-level retail, likely restaurants.

The building and garage are bounded by Rusk, Capitol, Avenida De Las Americas and US 59. A sky bridge will connect the parking garage to the north end of the convention center. The East End (Green Line) light-rail line will run through the parking garage.

The building and parking garage are part of a much larger project aimed at transforming the area around the convention center into a more pedestrian-friendly destination.

The convention center will get a new facade. Restaurants and sidewalk cafes will be added to the front of the convention center. Avenida De Las Americas will be narrowed from its eight-lane configuration, and some of the space previously used for vehicles will be converted into a pedestrian area.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Hyatt Place adds 157 rooms to Houston Galleria Place 

(8/5/2014)

HOUSTON - A new hotel, a 157-room Hyatt Place, will join a 325-room Hyatt Regency that broke ground earlier this year in the Galleria Place development along Sage Rd. between Westheimer and West Alabama.

This property will now have close to 500 new hotel rooms under the Hyatt brand by the end of next year. Both projects are expected to open fourth quarter 2015.

The new Hyatt Place entrance will face West Alabama St. It will offer fewer amenities than the full-service Hyatt Regency next door.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: 524,000-SF Energy Center Five underway 

(8/4/2014)

HOUSTON - Trammell Crow Co. and Principal Real Estate Investors have begun construction on the 524,397-sf Energy Center Five. The Class A 18-story office tower is slated to be complete in second quarter 2016.

The tower is located on North Eldridge Pkwy. just south of I-10, adjacent to Energy Centers Three and Four. The entire campus sits on 18.9 acres. The spec Energy Center Five will be designed to accommodate either one large tenant or several tenants. It currently has no signed tenants.

The building will feature a curved glass curtain wall façade above a two-story limestone base. The lower three floors will have expanded 18-foot floor heights to accommodate a variety of amenities, such as dining, conferencing rooms and a fitness center.

Houston-based ConocoPhillips signed on to lease Energy Centers Three and Four. It was the largest prelease of 2013. See previous story Houston Energy Center(s) on fourth, fifth building.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Katy: $7M, 39,000-SF classic to City Hall 

(8/4/2014)

KATY - The Katy City Council has approved a new City Hall. Construction will start in January and doors are expected to open in spring 2016.

It will be a three-story, 39,000-sf, classic-looking building with columns. It will cost about $7 million, and the city will pay cash.

Almost all of the current municipal building will be demolished as part of the project, and a park will be put in its place. The new City Hall will go in a field across the street.

Read more at News92FM.

Houston: 220,000-SF Staples warehouse sold 

(8/1/2014)

HOUSTON - A 222,000-sf Staples office/warehouse facility located at 6400 Hollister St. has been sold.

The 17-year-old single-tenant property is fully occupied. It was built in 1997 and is situated on 13.5 acres.

DCT Hollister Rd LLC purchased the facility from Krausz Houston One LLC.

Read more at O'Connor and Associates.

Houston: JGC signs 77,000-SF ten-year lease  

(7/31/2014)

HOUSTON - JGC America, Inc. signed a ten-year lease for 77,625 sf in the office building at 3151 Briarpark Dr.

The 12-story building is known as the Granite Briarpark Green and totals 302,551 sf. Hoar Construction developed the property in 2013 and Granite Properties is the owner.

JGC will occupy the entire third and fourth floor. Other tenants at the location include Noble and TRS Staffing, Inc.

Read more at CoStar Group.

The Woodlands: 138,000-SF Nordstrom to mall 

(7/30/2014)

THE WOODLANDS - Construction crews are starting the final stages of work on the Nordstrom store in The Woodlands Mall. Slated to open September 5, the two-level, 138,000-sf store will be the company's fourth store in the greater Houston area.

Currently, ceiling work is being completed, and crews are installing the tile flooring. Work is also beginning on landscaping around the exterior of the store, using indigenous plants.

The store will be in the space formerly occupied by Sears. There are positions for about 250 local employees.

There will be four to six other new shops opening next to Nordstrom. The mall recently announced that one of the boutiques will be Michael Kors and another will be Arhaus Furniture.

A new escalator will connect both floors in the retail wing surrounding Nordstrom. Additional parking spots have been added nearby.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: 194,000-SF Southway Shopping Center sold! 

(7/30/2014)

HOUSTON - Southway Shopping Center, a 194,000-sf community center located at 8006 Gessner Dr. S., has been sold. The 38-year-old center is fully occupied.

Built in 1976, the center is situated on 16.5 acres. The tenants at the center include Academy Sports + Outdoors, Ross Dress For Less, Shoe Carnival, Best Buy and more.

ARC SWHOUTX001 LLC purchased the property from FP Southway LLC.

Read more at O'Connor and Associates.

Ravella to dazzle Kingwood with 264 units 

(7/30/2014)

KINGWOOD - Ravella at Kingwood Apartment Homes, located at 25710 Loop 494, is underway. It will be a two- and three-story Class A multifamily community.

It will be situated within the 24-acre master-planned Village at Northpark, an upscale retail center that includes the largest Kroger in Texas as well as many other shops and restaurants.

The community will occupy just under 13 acres of land. It will include 264 one-, two- and three-bedroom units (including two-story townhomes with attached garages), ranging in size from 709 to 1,689 sf.

Amenities include a 10,000-sf clubhouse featuring a 24-hour fitness club, a pool with poolside cabanas and fire pits, conference room, business center, latte lounge and game rooms. There will also be an on-site bike repair and storage shop.

Stanmore Partners is developing the project. This is the company's first multifamily development.

Read more at Your Houston News.

Houston multifamily 2Q 2014: Hendricks-Berkadia 

(7/29/2014 7:01:00 AM)

HOUSTON - As hiring accelerated in the last six months, so did leasing activity with 10,650 newly occupied apartments. Rental demand was up from the 10,170 units absorbed during the same time period last year.

The Houston inventory expanded by 4,300 new apartments in the last three months. Deliveries were up 65.6 percent from the first quarter.

Heightened leasing activity pushed vacancy down 60 basis points to 5.3 percent in the second quarter. Operators advanced rents 1.6 percent in the last three months to $1,037 per month by June. The average asking rent increased 4.1 percent since mid-2013.

Houston Multifamily 2Q 2014 / 2Q 2013
Comparison by Rent $1,000+
Submarkets* Vacancy Average Rent
2Q 2014 2Q 2013 2Q 2014 2Q 2013
Bear Creek/Katy 3.7% 3.9% $1,061 $1,010
Braeswood/Bellaire 5.1% 3.9% $1,309 $1,269
Brazoria County 3.7% 5.4% $1,136 $1,063
Briar Forest/Ashford 4.2% 5.2% $1,000 $939
Briar Grove/Westchase 4.6% 4.6% $1,082 $1,021
Far NW/Montgomery County 5.2% 4.4% $1,093 $1,048
Fort Bend County 4.3% 4.0% $1,113 $1,054
Galveston County 5.4% 5.6% $1,001 $952
Montrose/River Oaks 4.6% 3.9% $1,712 $1,668
North/Northeast Houston 5.5% 5.8% $1,203 $1,138
Total** 5.3% 5.7% $1,037 $996

*Listed submarkets include those which have an average rent over $1,000 in 2Q 2014.
**Total represents all 26 submarkets in the Houston area.

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Galveston: 284-unit Island Bay Resorts sold 

(7/29/2014)

GALVESTON - The Island Bay Resorts, a 284-unit, Class B community located at 7400 Jones Dr., has been purchased.

The 39-year-old community is 69 percent occupied with average rents at $0.97 per sf. The community features one- and two-bedroom floor plans ranging in size from 300 sf to 1,030 sf.

Property amenities include laundry rooms, playground and swimming pools.

Blue Valley Apartments Inc. sold the property to 2014 Galveston Jones Drive LLC.

Read more at O'Connor and Associates.

Katy: King Crossing adding 864 homes 

(7/29/2014)

KATY - King Crossing, a new master-planned community, is underway. The community is located on Stockdick School Rd. near Katy-Hockley Cutoff. The 320-acre site will bring 864 new single-family homes to the area when complete.

King Crossing is a joint venture of Beazer Homes and Pulte Homes. Floor plans range from 1,400 to 4,000 sf. Homes will be priced from the upper $100,000s to $300,000s.

The first homes are expected to be ready for sale in spring 2015.

Planned amenities include a 3.15-acre recreational center with a playground and pool, pocket parks and lakes. Students living in Kings Crossing will be zoned to Katy High School.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Class B, 36,000-SF office building sold in Houston 

(7/29/2014)

HOUSTON - A 36,000-sf, Class B building located at 5990 Airline Dr. has been sold. The property was built in 1989 and is situated on 3.6 acres. The 25-year-old property was fully occupied at the time of sale.

The tenants at the property include Airline Immunization Clinic, Grocery Services, Cypresswood Clinic Associates, R. Glenn Morris DDS Inc. and more.

Airline Partners Ltd. sold the building to 5990 Airline Investments LLC.

Read more at O'Connor and Associates.

Houston: Whole Foods opening 45,000-SF store 

(7/28/2014)

HOUSTON - Whole Foods Market will open a 45,000-sf store in the Westchase Shopping Center on Westheimer Rd. near Wilcrest.

The store will go into the space that has been occupied by Randalls, which said late last year it would not renew its lease.

The Randalls lease is up this month, but Whole Foods will not open until 2016. Whole Foods has an existing store across Wilcrest.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Underway: 100,000-SF Pearland Medical Plaza 2 

(7/28/2014)

PEARLAND - Pearland Medical Plaza 2, a 100,000-sf medical office development located on the campus of Memorial Hermann Pearland Medical Plaza, is underway.

The four-story facility at 10907 Memorial Hermann Dr. is 35 percent preleased to Hermann Memorial Healthcare Systems, which will occupy 35,000 sf for outpatient programs.

The new medical building joins a medical campus that includes a convenient care center, which is 100 percent occupied, and a 64-bed hospital development, scheduled to break ground in July.

Delivery of Pearland Medical Plaza 2 is expected April 2015. The project is owned and being developed by HCP.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Class B Kirkwood Atrium trades in Houston Energy Corridor  

(7/28/2014)

HOUSTON - Kirkwood Atrium Office Park, two Class B, multitenant office buildings, has been acquired by Dornin Investment Group. The four and five story buildings contain 54,319 sf and 68,396 sf respectively for a total of approximately 122,715 rentable sf.

The property is located at 11777 Katy Fwy. on the south side of I-10 in the Energy Corridor. Completed in 1979, the property is situated on 3.73 acres and includes a surface parking lot containing 360 spaces, of which 56 spaces are covered reserved.

The buildings were 83 percent occupied at the time of sale which provides immediate upside potential through the lease-up of vacant space. In addition, average in-place rents for Kirkwood Atrium Office Park are approximately $17.75 per sf while average rental rates for Class B buildings in this submarket are over $25.00 per sf.

“Within a week of closing we have already increased the occupancy to 88 percent at rents significantly greater than the average in place rents,” said Chris Dornin, CEO of Dornin Investment Group

The buildings were purchased in an off-market transaction. This is Dornin Group’s third off-market office acquisition in Houston in the last nine months.

Read more at GlobeSt.

The Retreat at Conroe's 210 units change hands 

(7/28/2014)

CONROE - The Retreat at Conroe, a 210-unit Class A multifamily community, has been sold. The luxury community, at 2951 North Loop 336 W., was completed in 2013.

The community features one-, two- and three-bedroom units ranging in size from 593 sf to 1,344 sf. It is 97 percent occupied.

Community amenities include a cyber Starbucks café, sports lounge and multimedia center, health and wellness center, pool with beach entry and aqua sunning deck, and available private garages and storage units.

Each apartment home features granite countertops in the kitchen and baths, a stainless appliance package and Roman soaking tubs.

FSC Realty LLC purchased the property from The Retreat at Country Club Park LLC.

Read more at GlobeSt.

Investors buy 621 acres in Katy 

(7/28/2014)

KATY - John S. Beeson, John Stephen Ford Sr. and Steven A. Webster have purchased 621 acres about six miles north of I-10 and four miles west of the Grand Pkwy. The property is bordered by FM 529, Katy Hockley Rd., Beckendorff Rd. and Pitts Rd.

"It's in the Katy ISD, which is very important," said John Beeson of Beeson Properties. "We'll probably hold it for a year and sell it to somebody to develop for house lots."

Builders in the Houston area sold 25,627 new houses last year, an 18 percent rise over 2012, according to housing consulting firm Metrostudy. Builders are on target to construct 30,000 houses this year.

"We're the strongest housing market in the country," said Scott Davis, Houston regional director of Metrostudy. "We've got demand for 35,000 in the market. It's going to take 18 months to get there. We don't have enough lots at prices people can afford in markets where they want to buy."

The property is next to about 3,600 acres just west of the Grand Pkwy., along FM 529 where Newland Communities is planning its next development.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Lodge at Kingwood to Duck Pond; Cardinal takes wing 

(7/24/2014 10:00:00 AM)

KINGWOOD - The Lodge at Kingwood, a 312-unit multifamily community at 938 Kingwood Dr., has been sold. The garden-style community totals 273,768 sf and was constructed in 1999.

The community is 95 percent leased and offers one- and two-bedroom apartments averaging 877 sf.

New York-based Duck Pond Corp. purchased the community from Cardinal Commercial Development.

Tenants have access to a swimming pool, newly renovated fitness center, barbecue and picnic areas, resident lounge with billiards table, cyber cafe and 32-seat movie theater.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Sold! 520,000-SF Residences at Cinco Ranch in Richmond 

(7/24/2014 8:10:00 AM)

RICHMOND - The 300-unit Residences at Cinco Ranch have been sold. The 519,627-sf apartment community consists of one-, two- and three-bedroom units in 13 buildings. The complex was built in 2008.

Apartment features include a central clubhouse, 24-hour athletic club, remote controlled entry access, business and conference center, coffee bar and pool with cabana.

The Michelson Organization sold the property to Starlight Investments' U.S. Multifamily No. 3 Core Fund (The Fund). The Fund secured a first mortgage loan of $23.9 million.

Alliance Residential Co. will manage the complex.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Skybox Houston One: 90,000-SF data center to Energy Corridor 

(7/24/2014 3:20:00 AM)

KATY - Skybox Houston One, an 86,960-sf center located on a 20-acre campus on Franz Rd., is underway in the Energy Corridor. The center will have four private 10,000-sf data halls with the option to expand to 12 data halls.

Skybox Houston One will include 12.5 megawatts of critical load and is powered by a loop-fed, 300-megawatt electric utility substation immediately adjacent to the site.

All data halls will be column-free with directly adjacent dedicated power and cooling distribution galleries close to the server loads. The truck delivery dock will include security features such as security cameras, man traps, card access and biometrical identification.

The center is being developed by Dallas-based Skybox Datacenters. It is slated for completion in November.

Read more at the Dallas Business Journal.

Sugar Land: TI opens 160,000-SF R&D center 

(7/24/2014)

SUGAR LAND - Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) has opened a new 160,000-sf research and development center. The seven-acre site at the northeast corner of US 59 and University Blvd. will house 375 employees to work in TI’s embedded processing business.

The staff relocated from TI’s 45-year-old silicon wafer factory about five miles away in Stafford that was shut down last year.

The new building includes an Innovation Center showcasing TI’s latest technology, collaboration spaces, an employee courtyard, a fitness center, outdoor basketball and volleyball courts, and a walking path around the building.

In late 2012, the City of Sugar Land approved an incentive package for TI: 50 percent tax abatement for ten years based on the company’s $35 million investment and creation of 375 jobs.

TI makes semiconductor chips used in a variety of electrical and electronic products. Embedded processors and related software are used in a number of innovative applications — from smart thermostats to medical imaging to automotive navigation systems.

Read more at the Dallas Morning News.

Houston Zoo goes bananas for $29M gorilla exhibit 

(7/24/2014)

HOUSTON - Construction of the $29 million “Gorillas of the African Forest” exhibit at the Houston Zoo is more than halfway done. The two acres will soon be home to ten gorillas.

The exhibit will give the experience of being right in the middle of an African forest. There will be walking paths and a platform overlooking the thick green vegetation. The gorillas will have "bedrooms" that are separate from their social area.

"We will have Western Lowland gorillas. The males will be 500 pounds. The females are smaller. They are about 250 each," said Beth Schaefer, the Curator of Primates and Carnivores at the Houston Zoo.

"You'll be about 15 feet above where the gorillas are. They can't jump that high, so you'll be just looking out at them without any walls. Without anything between you and the gorillas," said Deborah Cannon, the CEO and President of the Houston Zoo.

Guests will get a unique opportunity for special events. "We will have some feeding tubes to feed grapes to the gorillas and be right there with a window in between," said Cannon. The exhibit will open next spring.

Read more at KHOU-TV.

Webster's $160M Bay Area Medical Center opening 

(7/24/2014)

WEBSTER, HARRIS COUNTY - The $160 million Bay Area Regional Medical Center, 200 Blossom St., is set to open July 2014. The 375,000-sf first phase includes 104 patient suites and 22 intensive care unit rooms.

The hospital also has a full-service emergency room with 11 treatment rooms, five operating suites, three cardiac cath suites and one hybrid operating room that functions as a cardiac cath suite and an operating suite.

The second phase will expand the hospital to 202 beds. The designing and planning is scheduled to begin in October. Completion of the second phase is expected in September 2015.

The hospital is expected to employ 520 people full-time with a payroll of about $36 million in fiscal year 2014, and approximately 98 percent of its jobs are filled. When it is fully built out, the hospital will have 275 patient rooms in 11 floors.

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

Nothing 2nd about Second Baptist's 165,000-SF Katy campus 

(7/23/2014 10:00:00 AM)

KATY - Second Baptist Church broke ground on its sixth campus earlier this year at FM 1463 and FM 1093. The new 165,000-sf campus is being built on 45 acres.

The campus will have about 1,100 parking spots and seat more than 3,000 people for weekend church services. The church is on track to complete the building between Easter weekend and the start of summer 2015.

Church officials plan to start with just one service at the new campus, but growth may dictate more worship times.

Once the Fort Bend campus is completed, the church will likely build a new campus in Cypress, which will then negate the need to meet in the Berry Center, where Cypress residents who attend the church currently meet.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Union Crossing to 104-acre expansion in NW Houston 

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

HOUSTON - Union Crossing Development has purchased an additional 104 acres to expand its Union Crossing Industrial Park at Telge Rd. and Northwest Lake Dr. This brings the project to more than 130 acres.

The park, which is served by Union Pacific rail, contains multiple sites for build-to-suit projects. The tract includes all utilities for light- to heavy-industrial projects.

The project is anticipated for completion in summer 2015, but nearly 40 acres are ready for immediate development. American Commercial Contractors is constructing a 45,000-sf tilt-wall building for DTL Technologies and three other sites in the park are under negotiation.

Wyman Gordon Forgings, a maker of forged products used in the aerospace, power plant and oil and gas industry, sold the property. American Commercial Contractors is managing the development for the project.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston Chron! Hear all about it! 440,000-SF office move 

(7/23/2014)

HOUSTON - The Houston Chronicle Media Group will consolidate most of its downtown workforce at 801 Texas into the former Houston Post building at 4747 Southwest Fwy. The location is a four-story structure on 21 acres.

Executives said they anticipate an 18-month timeline for the move, which would include a significant renovation of the 40-year-old property. Ideally, the renovations will be completed in January 2016.

The move will involve employees from the Houston Chronicle, La Voz, Chron.com and HoustonChronicle.com, though a portion of the newsroom will remain downtown to support local coverage of business and government.

The Chronicle's downtown building houses 473 employees. A little more than 500 employees work in the southwest facility. Approximately 100 employees who work outside of the company's two main facilities will not be consolidated into the new campus.

The Southwest Fwy. structure contains more than 440,000 sf in seven buildings, most of which are connected.

The main building most visible from the freeways will undergo the most extensive renovations. That property contains about 126,000 sf in four stories of largely unobstructed space.

The property housed the Houston Post until April 1995, when that newspaper closed and its assets were sold to Hearst, parent company of the Houston Chronicle. Today, it is home of the Chronicle's press operations, distribution, circulation and local sales teams.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

BLVD Place Phase II adds 215,000 SF to Uptown Houston 

(7/22/2014 8:30:00 AM)

HOUSTON - BLVD Place, a mixed-use development under construction on the southwest corner of Post Oak Blvd. and San Felipe, is scheduled to open its 215,000-sf Phase II in early fall 2014.

Phase II is 80 percent leased. Major tenants include a 52,000-sf Whole Foods Market and a 55,000-sf regional headquarters for Frost Bank. Wulfe & Co. is the project’s developer.

Phase I of BLVD Place is a four level 70,000-sf retail/office building and is 100 percent occupied. Tenants include RDG Restaurant+Bar Annie, The Table Restaurant, Hermes, Herman Miller, New Balance and numerous other tenants.

Read more at Realty News Report.

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