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Houston: 383,000-SF Class B office sold 

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at O'Connor and Associates.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Greater Houston Partnership

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

Goya sells Houston 140,000-SF plant 

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

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

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

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

Read more at CoStar Group.

Houston: 155,000-SF Schlumberger building sold 

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

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

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

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

Read more at CoStar Group.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Chestnut Hill's 460 units trade hands in Houston 

(9/29/2014)

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

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

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

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

Read more at O'Connor and Associates.

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

(9/29/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Retail: 112 acres on Camp Strake site sold in Conroe 

(9/29/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Hines fires up new Laurel Park North near Exxon Mobil campus 

(9/29/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

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

(9/26/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: $25M basketball facility to dazzle UH recruits 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the University of Houston.

Galveston: $11M upgrades Cruise Terminal No. 2 

(9/25/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dual Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites add 330 rooms to Houston 

(9/25/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

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

(9/24/2014)

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

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

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

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

Read more at Realty News Report.

Houston: 328-room JW Marriott Downtown includes Main Kitchen 

(9/24/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Baytown's Lee College District receives $1M grant 

(9/23/2014)

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

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

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

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

Read more at Your Houston News.

Big Brothers Big Sisters — big deal site in Houston 

(9/23/2014)

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

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

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

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

Source: The Weitzman Group and Cencor Realty Services

Conroe: 170 homes to The Meadows at Imperial Oaks 

(9/23/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston: nine-building 290 Gateway Park underway 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

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

(9/22/2014)

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

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

(9/22/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

193,000-SF Rice Village Arcade sold in Houston 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Cypress: preparations begin for two multi-school sites 

(9/19/2014)

CYPRESS - Preparations are underway for two multi-school sites in the western portion of Cy-Fair ISD, an area poised to see thousands of new rooftops and residents in the next decade.

Demographic firm Population Survey Analysts projected 21,000 new housing units will be constructed in the far western portion of the district by 2022, prompting the district to focus on meeting future student demand in the area near the recently opened Grand Pkwy.

Located at FM 529 and Westgreen Blvd., the 179-acre Hegar site will house an elementary, middle and high school campus, allowing students and staff to share resources and facilities.

High School 11 is expected to open at the site for the 2016-17 school year, while the elementary and middle school facilities could open by 2019 and 2020. However, the timeline could change based on future growth in the district.

Initial design plans are underway on a second multischool site in the master-planned community of Bridgeland. The 125-acre site will be located on the east side of the Grand Pkwy. and west of Mason Rd. after it is expanded through the community.

The district is in negotiations with Bridgeland to purchase the site, said Roy Sprague, CFISD associate superintendent for facilities, construction and support services.

District administrators expect High School 12 to open at the site in time for the 2017-18 school year along with Elementary School 56, Sprague said.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Shoppers prepare for 400,000-SF outlet mall in Rosenberg 

(9/19/2014)

ROSENBERG - A new 400,000-sf outlet mall will be built just outside of Sugar Land. The project will break ground spring 2015.

The developer, Baltimore-based Paragon Outlet Partners, reached an agreement with the City of Rosenberg and the Rosenberg Development Corp. to build the mall at I-69 and Spacek Rd.

The project is estimated to create 400 construction jobs and eventually 1,000 permanent jobs once it is open, according to a statement by the City of Rosenberg.

“The Paragon Outlets Houston development will be the only outlet mall in the southwest Houston region and as such, will be a regional draw, infusing outside dollars into our local economy and increasing our community’s exposure in the region,” said Randall Malik, Rosenberg's economic development director.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston sale: 184,000-SF Westchase Corporate brings $53M 

(9/18/2014 6:40:00 AM)

HOUSTON - The Westchase Corporate Center, a 184,259-sf, Class A office building in west Houston, has been purchased by Clarion Partners for approximately $53 million.

The six-story office building is located on Richmond Ave., just west of the Sam Houston Tollway. It was built in 1999.

With the building acquisition, Clarion is also gaining the opportunity to build another office building on land now used as a parking lot for the center.

“It was designed to allow for a 93,000-sf, four-level Phase II office building on an existing surface parking lot,” said JLL’s Managing Director Rudy Hubbard.

The building is 98 percent occupied, but leases on 82 percent of the space are slated to expire within five years. This gives Clarion the opportunity to raise rental rates, which now run about $23.50 per sf in the Westchase area, Real Estate Alert reported.

JLL said the Westchase area has 13.9 million sf (excluding Class C properties) of office space and over 55,000 jobs. Westchase includes 1.8 million sf of retail space, more than 50 multifamily properties totaling in excess of 15,000 units and 18 hotels with more than 2,600 rooms.

Read more at Realty News Report.

Houston's Westchase attracting extended stay hotels 

(9/18/2014)

HOUSTON - Home2 Suites is planning a second Houston location on Wilcrest Dr. between Richmond and Westheimer with completion planned in fall 2015.

Desai Hotel Group of Jackson, Miss., is developing the hotel, which will be just north of the Robinson Westchase Library.

Two other new hotel chains are also targeting business travelers and extended stay guests in the Westchase District, a region in west Houston spanning both sides of the Sam Houston Tollway south of I-10.

•  Country Inn & Suites, a four-story hotel with 71 rooms, is being developed next to the Candlewood Suites on Westheimer between Wilcrest and Hayes. Completion is planned in fall 2015.
•  TownePlace Suites by Marriott, a 120-room hotel at 10610 Westpark Dr., recently opened. The brand offers studio accommodations and one- and two-bedroom suites with kitchens.

The Westchase District is home to 22 hotels with nearly 2,900 rooms. Among major employers in the region are Schlumberger, Jacobs Engineering and Phillips 66.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston housing market softening a bit? 

(9/18/2014)

HOUSTON - During spring and summertime, buyers eagerly waited in their cars or on sidewalks for open houses to start, and sellers collected stacks of offers well above asking price. However, data from the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR) show this frenzy may be starting to ease.

"The market has definitely softened somewhat, especially the low end," said Dr. James Gaines, research economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

In August, sales were up just 1.1 percent over a year earlier, according to HAR. Still, Gaines said, it is important to remember the comparisons are being made against 2013, a record year for the local housing market.

During August, 7,505 single-family homes changed hands across the Houston area. Inventory remained at a three-month supply, but it's up from a record low of 2.6 months earlier this year.

Year-over-year sales have been flat because of the lack of inventory, said Robert Gilmer, director of the Bauer Institute for Regional Forecasting at the University of Houston.

With strong job and population growth, "I don't see much immediate relief on the demand side as the economy continues to expand rapidly," Gilmer said.

More single-family construction should help ease the market's tightness, though it will take time.

Builders developed 34,000 houses last year and through July are on track for only a few more this year, Gilmer said.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Texas oil, gas production jobs over the top 

(9/18/2014)

TEXAS - Oil and gas production and services jobs in Texas exceeded 300,000 workers this summer for the first time since such data have been compiled, according to the Texas Petro Index.

The index counted 302,700 workers in the energy services and exploration and production fields in Texas at the end of July. That amount is the largest since the index began tracking jobs in 1995.

The index is a service of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, the nation’s largest state association of independent oil and gas producers. The index does not count energy jobs in areas such as downstream refineries or the petrochemical sector.

Many of those oil and gas jobs are in the Houston region, but some also come from exploration and production surges in West Texas in the Permian Basin.

The Houston region now counts 115,400 energy jobs, which includes 63,000 in oil and gas and 52,400 in energy support services, according to U.S. Department of Labor data at the end of July.

In comparison, in 2005 at the end of July, there were 65,400 total energy jobs in the region.

The Houston area added about 5,000 energy jobs in June and July, making the period the most active two consecutive months of hiring since the shale boom began.

The Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown region has now added about 8,700 energy jobs in 2014 through July, more than the 7,700 in 2012 and the 4,700 in 2013, according to federal statistics.

Texas’ oil production totaled 93.65 million barrels in July — a more than 20 percent rise from July 2013.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Prologis adds 57,000 SF to NW Houston industrial portfolio 

(9/18/2014)

HOUSTON - A 57,550-sf tilt wall, crane-served warehouse and distribution center, 15151 Sommermeyer, has been sold. The property sits on 3.4 acres at US 290 and Sam Houston Pkwy.

The building is fully leased by Proserv Operations, a global oilfield services firm.

Prologis, a San Francisco-based real estate investment trust, purchased the center in the Prologis Park West by Northwest industrial complex from Foundation Properties.

“Prologis was the logical buyer since they developed most of the park and now own 20 of the 26 buildings comprising the park,” real estate broker Rusty Tamlyn of HFF said in an announcement.

Prologis recently purchased three properties totaling 219,452 sf in Prologis Park NorthPark at 433, 533 and 600 NorthPark Central Dr. The portfolio, developed by J.A. Billipp Co., is 100 percent leased to five tenants.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

CBRE: Houston Land Market Flash 

(9/17/2014 10:51:00 AM)

HOUSTON - CBRE has released a Houston Market Flash for the Houston land market. Multifamily, master-planned single-family communities, and industrial developments lead Houston land sales.

Average Land Prices Per SF*
Market Area 2Q 2014 1Q 2014 4Q 2013 3Q 2013 2Q 2013
CBD $101 $103 $102 $90 $102
Greenway Plaza $81 $81 $81 $78 $81
Gulf Freeway / Pasadena $5 $5 $6 $6 $6
NASA / Clear Lake $5 $5 $5 $5 $5
Northwest Far $5 $5 $5 $5 $5
S. Main / Medical Center $32 $31 $45 $38 $45
Southwest / Beltway 8 $7 $7 $6 $6 $6
Uptown / Galleria $110 $113 $112 $115 $112
Westchase $12 $17 $16 $18 $16
The Woodlands $5 $4 $4 $4 $4

*based on asking prices for sites currently on the market

Click here to see the full Houston Land Flash.

Houston Frost Bank housewarming as HQ opens 

(9/17/2014 10:15:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Frost Bank has opened its new 57,712-sf Houston region headquarters at BLVD Place, a mixed-use development along Post Oak Blvd. near the Galleria.

Frost’ new headquarters at 1700 Post Oak Blvd. will house a retail operation on the ground floor and corporate offices on three floors above it. Frost’s regional headquarters has been downtown at 1200 Smith St.

Some 150 people will work in the space, which will be next to the soon-to-open Whole Foods Market.

The first floor space will include the “Frost Room” with an online banking center and a “Community Room,” an event space for local organizations to use.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: Almeda Crossing Power Center sold for $30M 

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

HOUSTON - The 223,223-sf Almeda Crossing Power Center located on Almeda Genoa Rd. west of the Almeda Mall has been sold for over $30 million. The center was 99 percent leased at the time of the sale.

Tenants include Conn’s, Ross, Marshall’s, Staples, PetSmart, Party City, Shoe Carnival, Dollar Tree, Anna’s Linens and Aaron’s, and it is “shadow-anchored” by a Walmart Supercenter.

The property is situated in the southeast quadrant of the city in an area that is expected to grow over 9 percent in the next five years.

The buyer was an undisclosed national REIT. The seller was a Texas-based developer.

Read more at GlobeSt.

Houston: 125,000-SF Yale St. Market underway, fully leased 

(9/17/2014)

HOUSTON - Yale Street Market is under construction south of I-10 near Yale St. and Koehler St., and the retail center is already fully leased. Tenants within the 125,000-sf center should start opening for business early next year.

Tenants include health club LA Fitness, home décor retailer Cost Plus World Market, bedding store Mattress Firm and organic food retailer Sprouts Farmers Market.

Ponderosa Land Development Co., Yale Street Market's developer, designed the center on the former stone yard for San Jacinto Stone Co.

The developer is making as much use of the eight-acre site as possible by building up rather than out. Approximately 200 parking spots will be accessible on the strip center's roof.

Retailer Walmart recently constructed a store to the shopping center's south. Additional retailers established near Yale Street Market include Chase bank, Visionworks, Taco Cabana, SmashBurger, Chipotle, GNC and SportsClips.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston's 106,000-SF Hunters Creek first look 

(9/16/2014)

HOUSTON - Belmont Village Senior Living will open its second Houston location, Hunters Creek, a 106,000-sf, six-floor midrise, to meet increasing demand for senior care. Hunters Creek is located off San Felipe on Woodway Dr.

The property can house 149 residents, including independent adults and those who need additional care. The apartment-style building mirrors some of the demands seniors want when they look to downsize, but with some added care features.

An assisted-living center typically has a nurse on staff 24 hours a day and special programs and activities to help stimulate the brain and body.

The grounds also include a fitness area and dining hall. Rooms range from studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom options.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Is Houston experiencing a moving deficit? 

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

HOUSTON - United Van Lines just wrapped up its busiest time of the year for long-distance moves, and according to its data, Texas — particularly Houston and Dallas — is among the states that experienced the biggest moving deficit this year.

The 2014 study revealed that Houston is now No. 11 on the list of places people move to, but No. 4 on the list of places people are moving from to another location.

The results are in stark contrast to last year when the same survey revealed that Houston ranked No. 3 of the top places where people were moving to and ranked No. 13 of the cities people were leaving.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston: Buckingham senior community to add $56M tower 

(9/15/2014)

HOUSTON - The Buckingham, a full-service 323-unit community for seniors in the Memorial area, has announced plans to build a $56 million, ten-story residential tower just west of its 17-acre campus at 8580 Woodway.

The expansion will add 104 independent living apartments, 33 assisted-living suites, 18 memory care residences and 32 private skilled-nursing rooms.

The independent living units will include one-, two- and three-bedroom plans.

The community is acquiring a portion of the Creekside Apartments on six acres from CRVI Westpoint in early October. The apartments will be torn down to make way for the expansion, planned to open in 2017.

The Buckingham currently consists of a four-story property along Buffalo Bayou. The independent living portion of The Buckingham has been operating at capacity since 2007, and the health care center has been full since 2008.

The Buckingham will break ground once 60 percent of the independent living units have been presold, likely in third quarter 2015.

A monthly fee averaging $4,300 for a two-bedroom independent living apartment covers meals, transportation, housekeeping, utilities, lifestyle programs and wellness activities.

Around Houston, developers are adding communities to meet the needs of an aging population. In 15 years, one in five people will be at least age 65, according to a recent study by Harvard University and AARP.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Hilton Garden Inn sold for $36M in Houston Energy Corridor 

(9/12/2014 6:47:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Summit Hotel Properties bought the 190-room Hilton Garden Inn located in the Energy Corridor at 12245 Katy Fwy. The purchase price was $36 million.

The property was built in 2008 and Summit anticipates spending $3.2 million in capital improvements over the next twelve months. Summit expects the hotel to generate $1.1 million of adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in 2014.

The acquisition marks the second Hilton Garden Inn owned by Summit in the Houston area.

The Houston Energy Corridor has nearly 19 million sf of existing office space and an estimated 10.7 million additional sf to be added by 2030.

Read more at Realty News Report.

Houston home sales rise in August (HAR) 

(9/12/2014)

HOUSTON - The housing market saw growth in all categories in August, with total property sales, total dollar volume and average and median pricing all up when compared to August of 2013, according to the latest monthly report prepared by the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR).

Months of inventory remained significantly below the current national supply of 5.5 months of inventory.

Home prices reached record high levels for an August, and the number of days a home took to sell was 46. In July, it reached a record low of 45 days.

Rentals of single-family homes rose 8.8 percent year-over-year and the cost of renting those homes increased 4.8 percent to $1,830. Townhouse/condominium rentals edged up 1.7 percent, with rents rising 5.2 percent to $1,584.

Housing Market Summary: Aug. 2014 vs. Aug. 2013
  Aug. 2013 Aug. 2014 Chg.
Total sales 8,806 8,953 1.7%
Total dollar volume $2,183,032,391 $2,332,065,189 6.8%
Total active listings 32,834 29,574 -9.9%
Total pending sales 4,363 4,360 -0.1%
Single-family sales 7,422 7,505 1.1%
Avg. price single-family home $258,733 $275,369 6.4%
Median price single-family home $186,510 $206,000 10.4%
Single-family inventory* 3.3 3.0 -9.4%

* 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.

Houston 'boom is not over': 112,000 jobs created 

(9/11/2014 6:59:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Houston leads the nation in job growth with 112,200 new jobs created for the 12 months ending in July, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

"I am no economist. But take my word for it: The Boom Is Not Over," says Ralph Bivins, editor of Realty News Report.

That represented a 4 percent gain for Houston’s job market to top the nation’s major metropolitan areas, followed by Dallas-Fort Worth at 3.9 percent and Miami at 3.3 percent.

The energy industry has been supercharging the Houston economy for several years. Many experts, especially the local ones, predicted the economic surge would peter out in 2014.

However, researchers at Marcus & Millichap predicted Houston would gain 111,700 new jobs in 2014. That forecast has turned out exceptionally accurate right now — only 500 jobs off.

Two Houston-based economists did not fare as well with their forecasts. Bill Gilmer, director of the Institute for Regional Forecasting at the University of Houston, predicted 65,000 new jobs would be created.

Patrick Jankowski, the Greater Houston Partnership’s vice president of research, predicted 69,800 new jobs would be created.

Read more at Realty News Report.

For the full report, see Texas Workforce Commission.

Click on Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Market Data Sources for office, multifamily, housing, industrial data.

HAR: Houston area cities' home sales Aug. 2014 

(9/11/2014 6:56:00 AM)

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

•  The median price of existing single-family homes increased to $207,500 up 1.3 percent from July 2014.
•  Existing single-family home sales decreased 4.4 percent from July 2014 for an August 2014 total of 7,227 units sold.
•  Condos decreased in price to $155,000 down 7.4 percent from July 2014.
•  Existing condo sales decreased 5.6 percent in August 2014 over July 2014 for a total of 713 units sold.

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

HAR Aug. 2014 Regional Sales and Price Activity
MLS Wide Median Price
  Aug. 2014
Price Chg.
vs. Aug. 2013
Units Sold
  Aug. 2014
Sales Chg.
vs. Aug. 2013
HAR
(single-family)
$207,500 10.6% 7,227 -2.2%
HAR (condo) $155,000 -4.6% 713 -3.3%
Region Cities*        
Houston $191,000 9.2% 2,035 -4.2%
Katy $246,000 11.7% 592 -4.1%
Spring $209,000 13.0% 545 -0.5%
Cypress $248,000 18.9% 333 -3.5%
Humble $171,159 6.1% 266 4.7%
Richmond $235,000 14.6% 233 3.6%
Pearland $218,000 11.8% 225 -3.8%
Sugar Land $313,000 11.4% 215 -11.5%

*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.

For more housing data, check out NAR Houston Regional Real Estate Market 2Q 2014 PDF.

New Caney completes $20M stadium with 1,400-SF video board 

(9/11/2014)

NEW CANEY - New Caney Independent School District’s (NCISD) new 8,500-seat, $20 million Texan Drive Stadium is complete.

The new stadium features two identical double-decked bleacher flights on the east and west sides of the turf field. A multi-story press box with luxury suites rises above the west set of bleachers.

The crown jewel of the stadium is Texas’ largest video board in high school football, located behind the south end zone: a 1,400-sf freestanding video board that will be operated by the D.R.E.A.M. team — a group of specially trained NCISD students.

The stadium also features a community room overlooking the field with capacity for 500 in lecture style seating and 350 banquet style, identical locker rooms and a fully functional commercial kitchen.

The stadium was built with funds approved in the 2012 bond election that also built facilities like the Agricultural Sciences building, Woodridge Forest Middle School, the New Caney JROTC and dance hall building and the soon-to-be-completed Tavola Elementary.

The stadium’s official grand opening celebration is September 12 at 7 p.m.

Read more at Your Houston News.

The Plantation at The Woodlands 432 units sold 

(9/11/2014)

THE WOODLANDS - The Plantation at The Woodlands, a 432-unit Class A garden-style apartment community, has been sold. It is located at 3720 College Park Dr. about 25 miles north of the Central Business District.

Completed in 2009, the property consists of one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans averaging slightly more than 1,000 sf.

A CBRE Global Investors-sponsored fund acquired the community, which is nearby numerous entertainment and retail amenities, key employers and a major transportation corridor.

“The Woodlands is a high-barrier-to-entry submarket with some of the most favorable demographics in greater Houston and is expected to outperform the MSA in terms of both rent growth and vacancy,” said Steve Gullo, managing director of CBRE Global Investors Multi-Housing Group.

Read more at GlobeSt.

Houston: 320,000-SF facility underway for DCT Phase II 

(9/11/2014)

HOUSTON - DCT Industrial Trust has broken ground on the second phase of its DCT Northwest Crossroads industrial park. The single-story, 320,430-sf facility is located at 11747 Windfern Rd.

The facility will have a 30-foot clearing height, skylights and 50-foot x 52-foot column spacing. The property is scheduled to deliver March 2015.

Phase 1 of the development, a single-story, 362,180-sf facility, is currently under construction and scheduled to deliver in November. To read more on Phase 1, see previous story Lennox preleases 190,000 SF in Houston's DCT Northwest.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Weitzman mid-year 2014: Houston retail adding 1.6M SF 

(9/11/2014)

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 Weitzman Group and Cencor Realty Services annually review a Houston-area retail market inventory of 148,280,000 sf in multi-tenant retail centers with 25,000 sf or more.

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.

Click here to view TEXAS SNAPSHOT: A Real Estate Review from Weitzman/Cencor.

Read more at Realty News Report and the Houston Chronicle.

Humble: The Groves starts 189 homes; treehouse later 

(9/10/2014 6:59:00 AM)

HUMBLE - Builders are starting construction on the first homes in The Groves, a new master-planned community on 993 acres off West Lake Houston Pkwy. south of Kingwood.

Crescent Communities LLC is developing the project and has partnered with six home builders to develop the first phase of the project — 189 of an estimated 2,200 homes. The home builders and home/lot sizes are:

•  2,000-sf to 3,300-sf homes on 55-by-130-foot lots, built by David Weekley and Village Builders;
•  2,400-sf to 3,700-sf homes on 60-by-130-foot lots, built by Darling and Highland; and
•  3,000-plus-sf homes on 70-by-130-foot lots, built by Taylor Morrison and Trendmaker.

Each builder will offer several floor plans. The first models are expected to be finished in October. Presales have already begun, and Highland has sold its first two homes.

There will be a welcome center with a multipurpose room, lounger, outdoor plaza, fire pit, splash pad and play area.

Around the community, Crescent is constructing landscaping, an entry wall and the first section of about five miles of wooded trails during phase one of construction. A grand opening is planned for February or March.

Phase two of construction will consist of 187 lots, probably with the same six builders. Crescent plans to deliver a stocked fishing pond with a cabin and dock by next September.

For phase three, Crescent will offer four or five different lot sizes and deliver up to 300 homes a year. Also included are plans to construct The Groves’ primary amenity center, which will have a lifestyle coordinator and pools, and build out its trail system, which will have a treehouse and suspension bridge.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Rosenberg: 232-unit Victoria Garden apartments sold 

(9/10/2014)

ROSENBERG - The 232-unit Victoria Garden, a 182,322-sf apartment community, has been sold. The community, located at 911 Lane Dr., was built in 1978.

Ham Investment & Development sold the community to a private investor.

Read more at CoStar Group.

The Woodlands: 80,000-SF Creekside Village Green Park update 

(9/10/2014)

THE WOODLANDS - Creekside Village Green Park, situated off Kuykendahl Rd. in the Village of Creekside Park, is well underway. It will be flanked by more than 80,000 sf of retail and office space, as well as a new H-E-B Grocery and Walgreen's drug store.

The Woodlands Township and The Woodlands Development Co. broke ground on the tree-lined park earlier this summer. Exteriors for most of the retail spaces are being completed, and tenants will begin building out the interiors soon.

Other signed tenants include Creekside Village Dry Cleaners, Crust Pizzeria, Dentistry of Creekside Park, Realty Executives, Studio A Pilates, Subway, Primrose School and Woodlands Family Dental.

A 4,500-sf restaurant will stand at the west end of the park and two 40,000-sf buildings will provide office and retail space on the north and south sides of the lawn.

The Village Green project is expected to open in November, with the splash pad opening spring 2015.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Lake Jackson growth to Class A Plantation Park 

(9/10/2014)

LAKE JACKSON, BRAZORIA COUNTY - BHW will break ground by the end of the year on a 28-acre property it closed on in August.

Plans include a 238-unit, Class A apartment complex, Plantation Park, leaving about 12.4 acres for retail, office or more residential development.

In the next ten years, there is expected to be $21 billion of industrial investment in Brazoria County, Robert Worley, CEO of the Economic Development Alliance for Brazoria County, told the Houston Business Journal in March.

More than 24 housing developments are under consideration in Brazoria County, according to the Economic Alliance. One of the largest under construction is a $700 million Hillwood Communities development.

For more information, see previous story Manvel marvel: $700M Pomona starts first of 2,100 homesites.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

LIsten to Podcast 227 for this story.

Houston: Vision brings 112-room Courtyard by Marriott 

(9/10/2014)

HOUSTON - The 112-room Courtyard by Marriott Houston NW/290 Corridor has opened. The four-story hotel boasts over 2,000 sf of meeting space, an indoor swimming pool, fitness and business centers, and an outdoor patio with water feature and fire pit.

Guests will also enjoy the hotel's other amenities, including The Bistro – Eat. Drink Connect, media pods, complimentary Wi-Fi, a variety of seating zones and redefined space for pop-up meetings or social gatherings.

The property is located near Houston's major sporting venues and offers guests convenient access to the Energy Corridor, CityCentre, The Galleria, and the Houston Zoo and Race Park.

This marks Vision Hospitality Group Inc.'s entry into the Houston market and the state of Texas.

Read more at Hospitality Net.

Houston: Wallis State Bank plans 120,000-SF office 

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

HOUSTON - Wallis State Bank is filling up surplus space in its 2929 W. Sam Houston Pkwy. headquarters and plans to add a six-story 120,000-sf Class A building on the adjacent land.

Atmos Energy Holdings has leased 19,168 sf in the recently opened 58,960-sf building. Two spaces are still available on the first floor.

“Wallis State Bank built this building to house its headquarters and made the decision to lease out a portion of it to third party tenants,” Michael Sieger of PM Realty Group said in an announcement. “Due to the demand, they are finalizing their plans to build a building on the adjacent land.”

The bank relocated its Town & Country location to the new headquarters earlier this year. The building is at the southwest corner of Kempwood and Beltway 8.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: No. 2 for Skanska 381,000-SF West Memorial Place II 

(9/9/2014 7:59:00 AM)

HOUSTON - West Memorial Place II, the newest addition to the Skanska USA Commercial Development site in the Energy Corridor on Memorial Dr., will include 381,000 sf in 14 stories. It will be the company’s second office building at the 12-acre site next to Terry Hershey Park.

The first building is now 50 percent leased and scheduled for occupancy in first quarter 2015. See previous story, Going up, 50% leased: 330,000-SF West Memorial Place, for more information.

HOK designed the new structure, which is expected to be complete at the end of 2015. It will include an eight-story parking garage.

Both West Memorial Place I and II projects are targeting LEED Platinum certification and will be the first speculative office buildings in the Houston Energy Corridor to achieve this rating.

Plans include a fitness center equipped with lockers and showers and on-site café with outdoor seating and a host of healthy dining options. West Memorial Place I and II will share a driveway and expansive courtyard that is accessible and convenient for tenants occupying each building.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

597,000-SF Montgomery Summit Business Park heads near Conroe 

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

MONTGOMERY - The Montgomery Summit Business Park, a 96-acre business park located on FM 1097, will include 597,200 sf of retail, office and office/warehouse flex space. Phase I of the project is estimated to cost $11 million.

The development will be anchored by an 87,000-sf Uncle Bob’s Self Storage, which is scheduled to open in spring 2015.

The project will break ground this month and building construction will begin in October. The developer is Summit Universal.

Overall, industrial vacancy in Houston is 6.3 percent, the lowest vacancy on record in recent years, and down from the 7 percent recorded during the same quarter last year, reports Commercial Gateway, the commercial division of the Houston Association of Realtors.

There are currently 45 spec and build-to-suit industrial buildings totaling 5.2 million sf under construction in Houston.

The average rental rate for Houston’s industrial market is $5.44 per sf. That’s a 5 percent jump over last year, reports JLL.

Houston’s industrial market continues to be hot, with warehouse/distribution properties recording the largest share of absorption last quarter.

Continuing a six-year trend of positive absorption in the industrial market, warehouse/distribution properties had the lion’s share of 85 percent of the total absorption in second quarter 2014, which equates to 1.6 million square feet, reports Commercial Gateway.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston IAH: nonstop flights to Monterrey, Mexico and Norway 

(9/9/2014)

HOUSTON - Mexican airline Interjet will begin nonstop flights on October 23 between George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and Monterrey, Mexico. Houston is a new destination for Interjet.

Travelers will have two flight options Monday through Friday, and one flight per day Saturdays and Sundays.

Houston's increasing demand for international travel, especially with Mexico, prompted the addition. According to the Houston Airport System's statement, in the past ten years, the international passenger totals have increased more than 60 percent, rising to a record total of 9 million in 2013.

In August, IAH added another international destination. Scandinavian Airlines began nonstop flights from Houston to Stavanger, Norway.

In May, HAS announced plans to demolish and rebuild IAH's Terminal D, an international terminal. The $1.5 billion makeover will span five years and will cater to travelers increasingly heading to far-flung destinations, such as Asia.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

NAR Houston housing market 2Q 2014 

(9/9/2014)

HOUSTON - Second quarter 2014 housing data have been released for the Houston market by the National Association of Realtors.

NAR Houston Housing Market 2Q 2014
Price Activity Houston U.S. Local Trend
Current Median Home Price (2Q 2014) $204,000 $212,267 Prices are up from a year ago,
but price growth is slowing.
1-year (4-quarter) Appreciation (2Q 2014) 7.9% 4.6%
3-year (12-quarter) Appreciation (2Q 2014) 30.4% 25.8%
3-year (12-quarter) Housing Equity Gain* $47,500 $43,600 Gains in the last 3 years have
extended the trend of positive
price growth after the recession.
7-year (28 quarters) Housing Equity Gain* $49,100 -$11,500
9-year (36 quarters) Housing Equity Gain* $61,500 -$8,000

*Equity gain reflects price appreciation only.

Source: National Association of Realtors, courtesy of Prudential Ada Realtors.

Click to see the full report.

Also see more Housing data under Houston Market Data Sources.

New Texas Emergency Operations Center opens in Houston 

(9/9/2014)

HARRIS COUNTY — one of the fastest growing counties in the nation — has a new state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to help local governments and emergency responders serve and protect residents during disasters and emergencies.

Harris County is the third largest county in the United States and the largest in Texas, with 34 cities and more than 4.4 million residents.

The new EOC, located at the Houston TranStar center, has added 26,000 sf of new floor space, renovated 11,000 sf of existing space, and now has 98 workstations.

The building is structurally designed to withstand winds of up to 150 miles per hour; it has three backup generators and a 30,000-gallon water filtration system.

The facility has gained 3,360 sf of conference space that can be converted to support disaster responders when needed. This space is also available for training, exercises and drills. Other amenities include additional elevators, bathrooms, showers and sleeping quarters.

“The expansion was conceived from lessons learned during Hurricane Rita, but it was Hurricane Ike that proved we did not have enough space to house the hundreds of people that it takes for response and recovery operations during a major disaster,” said TranStar Director Jack Whaley.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Rita, the EOC was activated for nine days, with more than 100 people working there and only 24 available workstations. Hurricane Ike brought more than 500 responders, representing over 100 agencies, to TranStar.

TranStar — a partnership of four government agencies — the Texas Department of Transportation, METRO, Harris County and the City of Houston — provides travel time updates, incident warnings and up-to-the-minute traffic and weather information for the greater Houston/Harris County area.

Read more at Homeland Security Today.

Houston: 21-story apartment headed to Texas Med Center 

(9/8/2014 7:02:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Betting on the continued strong health of the Texas Medical Center, the Dinerstein Cos. is planning a 21-story, 375-unit high-rise apartment building at the corner of Cambridge and Holcombe.

The site was one of the few available tracts in the area not already owned by a medical center institution.

Rents will start at $1,600 per month for a one-bedroom and go up to around $3,500. The average unit size will be just under 950 sf. The building will have mostly one- and two-bedroom units.

"We love its proximity to the 100,000 jobs," Brian Dinerstein, president of Dinerstein Cos. said of the two-acre site. "We love the unobstructed views of the zoo and the park and the access to the freeway. It checks every box of what we look for in a site."

The building's angled design was created to take advantage of views of downtown and Hermann Park.

This is the second recent residential project in the area for Dinerstein Cos. Both projects will be named with the company's "Millennium" multifamily brand.

The second project is a five-story apartment complex at Kirby near South Main. The 378-unit project is under construction and expected to open in early 2016.

Demand for housing in the Medical Center/Bellaire submarket has pushed up occupancy 5.6 percent and rents 12.5 percent over a three-month period, according to an August report from Apartment Data Services.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

16 Acres with 280,000-SF Houston Design Center sold 

(9/8/2014 6:51:00 AM)

HOUSTON - MLB Capital Partners has purchased a 16-acre property at 7026 Old Katy Rd. that includes the Houston Design Center, a sprawling 280,690-sf space with more than 40 showrooms and design offices catering to the luxury residential and commercial market.

The building was developed in the 1980s and is about 95 percent leased. The new owner is building a list of potential tenants that would want to be in the property, but the facility has generally stayed full.

"We've got one space that's coming up that would be 10,000 sf and we have a tenant already identified," Fred Baca of MLB Capital Partners said.

Just north of I-10 inside the 610 Loop, Old Katy Rd. is increasingly becoming home to more upscale developments. Baca notes a high-end single-family housing community slated for the east side of the center and a luxury apartment project that is planned on the west side.

MLB Capital Partners purchased an additional three acres of undeveloped land on the south side of the design center property. MLB will either work with a developer to build something there or sell it.

The center was purchased from RC Partners.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Metrostudy: Houston dominates mid-year housing starts 

(9/8/2014)

HOUSTON - Houston, the most active market for home building in the country, earned seven spots on Metrostudy’s list of the nation’s top 20 master-planned communities.

Housing consulting firm Metrostudy compiled the ranking based on annualized housing starts through the middle of 2014. Ranked No. 11 was Alamo Ranch in San Antonio with 557 starts

Johnson Development Corp, which developed Riverstone, Cross Creek Ranch and Woodforest among other communities, registered three of the top 20 communities, more than any other developer.

The Houston communities and their respective rankings are as follows:

Houston Master-Planned Communities
Community National
Ranking
Annualized
Starts*
Riverstone 4 818
Cinco Ranch 6 602
The Woodlands 8 592
Cross Creek Ranch 13 480
Woodforest 14 476
Aliana 18 451
Canyon Gate West 20 427


*Represents annualized starts through the middle of 2014

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Click here to see the full report from Metrostudy.

Pearland: 130,000 SF for Japanese firm's first U.S. plant 

(9/5/2014 6:30:00 AM)

PEARLAND - Site work continues on the 26-acre site near Beltway 8 and SH 288 that is the future home of MHI Compressor Manufacturing LLC. When completed, the facility will consist of a 40,000-sf office complex and a 90,000-sf packing building.

This will be the first American facility for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Compressor International Corp., a Japanese firm. The company plans to have the plant fully operational in early 2015.

It will add more than 35 jobs and involve an investment of more than $40 million, said Matt Buchanan, president of the Pearland Economic Development Corp.

The plant will provide manufacturing, packaging, repair maintenance and training services for its growing regional and national customer base of petrochemical plants.

The company's ultimate goal is for the Pearland plant to become a full-scale production and testing center on par with its facilities in Japan.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: 150,000 SF headed to Kenswick LogisticsCentre 

(9/4/2014 6:43:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Trammell Crow Co. and Clarion Partners have broken ground on a 150,000-sf office/warehouse building in the Kenswick AirFreight & LogisticsCentre. DB Schenker, a transportation and logistics firm, has signed a lease for the entire building.

The property sits on 13 acres and includes more than three acres of outside storage. The building will be part of a 51-acre business park on Kenswick Dr. just north of Will Clayton Pkwy.

Kenswick AirFreight & LogisticsCentre currently consists of four buildings totaling approximately 300,000 sf. Tenants include TranspoTrade International, Freight Force, Pilot Freight Services, Pegasus Transportation, Texas Crating & Packing, OHL, Netflix and Empire Roofing.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

League City checks out 99,000-SF H-E-B store 

(9/4/2014)

LEAGUE CITY - A new 99,000-sf H-E-B store is going up at 2755 E. League City Pkwy. The store is expected to provide 350 jobs.

"If you look at the greater Houston area, there are 1,500 new people moving here every day, and League City is enjoying some of that same growth, especially in the (Texas) 96 corridor feeding I-45 and SH 146," said Scott McClelland, president of H-E-B Houston.

When it opens on Nov. 5, this H-E-B will boast a larger produce department and bakery, and offer fresh juicing in-store "with ten different kinds of juice and juice blends," McClelland said.

This store is just one of three new stores that H-E-B is opening in October and November. The others are located in Cypress and The Woodlands.

Next summer, H-E-B will open a new store in Texas City to replace a small pantry store, open a second, larger store in Clear Lake and replace a small pantry store in Deer Park with a new one.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: Weekley Reserves townhomes near Memorial Park 

(9/4/2014)

HOUSTON - David Weekley Homes plans to build luxury homes on 38 lots at the Reserve at Washington, located on Hempstead Rd. near 11th St., just north of Memorial Park. The 3.5-acre gated community will be sandwiched between the Heights and Spring Branch neighborhoods.

The three- and four-story townhomes will range in size from 1,800 sf to 2,600 sf, and will be priced between the $400,000s and $500,000s. Community amenities include a central green with a trellis, landscaping and fountain, and a large dog park with trails and benches.

The home builder plans to begin home construction this winter and hopes to have their first home-ins by late spring or early summer 2015.

The townhomes are designed and built to green standards, and buyers will be issued an energy performance certificate guaranteeing a maximum cooling and heating cost. Any energy cost overruns will be borne by the builder.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

350-Unit Alexan CityCentre slated for Houston 

(9/4/2014)

HOUSTON - Alexan CityCentre, a seven-story, 350-unit luxury rental project, is slated for 2.3 acres next to CityCentre. The apartments will break ground in late October, and completion is expected in spring 2016.

Trammell Crow Residential is developing the project. The land assemblage included an 8,200-sf building at 911 Town & Country Blvd. owned and occupied by longtime Houston photographer Alvin Gee.

When the project is completed, Gee will move into a first floor, 5,000-sf space in the complex.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Katy: Home2Suites debuts 92-suite hotel; Spin2 Cycle 

(9/3/2014)

KATY - Home2Suites by Hilton, the mid-tier, all-suite hotel brand designed for business travelers and extended stay guests, has opened a 92-suite hotel at 20985 Katy Fwy.

One innovative feature of the hotel is a combination laundry and fitness area called Spin2 Cycle. Guests also have access to technology, community spaces and the Home2 MKT for grab-and-go items.

The Katy location represents the chain’s 39th hotel overall. More locations are planned for the brand in the Houston market.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Sugar Land's Applied Optoelectronics $25M expansion 

(9/3/2014)

SUGAR LAND - Applied Optoelectronics Inc. (AAOI) is planning a $25 million, 111,600-sf expansion that will include new office and manufacturing buildings as well as the creation of 530 new jobs with an average salary of $50,000.

Earlier this year, the company revealed it was rapidly amping up its manufacturing capacity in Houston and Taiwan. Growing demand for Applied Optoelectronics’ new data center product line, which it first introduced at the end of 2013, is the main reason for the expansion.

The increased demand for data center products is a result of the growing trends of cloud, mobile and all other types of computing that require data centers to have more bandwidth.

Formed in 1997 while operating out of lab space at the University of Houston, Applied Optoelectronics moved its corporate headquarters to Sugar Land in 2000. Since then, it has grown from 20 to more than 900 employees worldwide. It current has about 200 employees in Sugar Land.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston: The Village School's 15-acre expansion details 

(9/3/2014)

HOUSTON - The Village School, a pre-K through 12th grade private school at 13077 Westella Dr. south of the Energy Corridor, will develop 15 acres of land and expand its campus. The school plans to break ground by the end of 2014.

Here are the highlights of the plan:

• Middle school expansion, including more classrooms and group space to help maintain small classes for personalized attention
• A new science and art center to integrate math and science with technology and fine arts
• A new athletic and student center
• A new residential building to help accommodate students representing more than 50 countries
• Finna Learning Center: An Early Childhood learning center concept to help young children develop skills and knowledge of numeracy, literacy, social connectedness and moral character. The center’s proposed name, Finna, comes from an ancient Nordic Viking word meaning “to discover.”

Houston-based Ziegler Cooper Architects is designing the expansion.

Village is part of the Meritas Family of Schools, which is composed of ten private and boarding schools across the world.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston: Composite CNG leasing 80,000 SF 

(9/2/2014)

HOUSTON - Composite Advanced Technologies CNG leased 80,625 sf in the industrial facility at 7441 Orem Dr.

The single-tenant building was constructed in 2009. It has four drive-in bays with a clear height of 34 feet.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Academy beats a path to Huntsville with 125 jobs 

(9/2/2014)

HUNTSVILLE, WALKER COUNTY - Academy Sports & Outdoors has opened its doors at 281 I-45 South by Target in the rapidly expanding Ravenwood Village shopping area. The store will employ 125 to 150 full- and part-time associates.

The company’s Katy headquarters is currently undergoing an expansion, which will create a new 200,000-sf building and six-story parking garage on North Mason Rd., adjacent to Academy’s corporate headquarters.

Academy Sports & Outdoors has more than 22,000 employees at its 175 stores in 13 states, primarily in the South and Midwest. Sales in 2014 are projected to reach the $4 billion level for the company.

Read more at the Huntsville Item.

Houston: Lakes on Post Oak sales total $400M 

(9/2/2014)

HOUSTON - MetLife Real Estate Investors has purchased 3040 Post Oak Blvd., a 22-story, 427,000-sf Galleria-area office building. According to Real Estate Alert, MetLife was under contract to pay nearly $130 million for the building.

The building is part of the three-building, 1.2 million-sf Lakes on Post Oak office complex. The sale of 3040 Post Oak Blvd. follows two other major transactions in the complex.

The Class A, 337,000-sf 3050 Post Oak Blvd. sold to Chinese oil and gas company Sinopec in May. The Class A, 441,000-sf 3000 Post Oak Blvd. is pending sale to Korean-based FG Asset Management.

Once closed, the three transactions will total about $400 million, according to Real Estate Alert. Five Mile Capital Partners LLC and Florida-based Crocker Partners originally owned all three properties.

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

Houston: details on city's really tall apartment tower 

(9/1/2014 2:00:00 PM)

HOUSTON - PM Realty Group is developing 2929 Weslayan at the northeast corner of Weslayan and West Alabama. The 40-story tower will have 254 units averaging 1,500 sf. Many will have three bedrooms. The average unit will rent for close to $4,000 a month.

The project will also have about 12,000 sf of retail space on the ground floor. It will be completed this spring with the first residents moving in this fall.

The developer has already been quietly accepting leases. Thirteen units already are spoken for, including three 4,000-sf penthouses that will lease in the $12,000 to $13,000 range.

Each unit will have one of 14 design and color schemes with walk-in closets, granite counters and wood floors. All will have built-in speakers and a smart entertainment system allowing residents to control temperature, lights and other features from a mobile phone.

The eighth floor will house tenant amenities, each with a unique view. The gym will overlook the Galleria area and Greenway Plaza, while a sky lounge and fire pit will have downtown views.

A saltwater swimming pool, however, will be shielded from the city by extensive landscaping and cabanas.

This is PM’s third high-rise multifamily project. The other two are in Dallas. Baltimore-based RTKL designed the structure.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Kemah's former owner buys 436-unit Marina del Sol again 

(9/1/2014)

KEMAH - Marina del Sol, on the southern shore of Clear Lake, has a new owner after a quick transaction as part of a national portfolio sale. The boat storage property contains 253 wet slips and 183 dry storage racks and was the only Texas asset in the portfolio.

The marina spans 19 acres of land and water at 1203 Twin Oaks Blvd. The marina's occupancy rate was 63 percent at the time of sale.

Madison Realty Capital had owned and operated the 436-unit marina since the previous owner defaulted on its loan after Hurricane Ike.

Miland Services, which owned the marina in the early 2000s before the most recent owners, submitted the winning bid and closed 30 days after the online auction.

"It was a value-add opportunity," said Maury Bronstein of the newly formed 1912 Ventures real estate firm. "In the past, it had over 90 percent occupancy. Hurricane Ike eliminated about 20 percent of the wet slip capacity that was never replaced."

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: American Hose leases 56,000 SF  

(9/1/2014)

HOUSTON - American Hose Solution Corp. (AHS), a distributor of firefighting and lay flat hoses, signed a two-year lease for 56,800 sf at 750 Almeda Genoa Rd.

The single-story industrial building totals 232,010 sf on the southwest corner of Almeda Genoa Rd. and Del Papa St. The building delivered in 1983.

Textile Properties acquired and renovated the facility in 2011, according to CoStar information. American Hose Solution joins Fortitude Manufacturing at the location.

AHS is headquartered in China and its products are manufactured by parent company, ZYfire.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Houston: 154-unit Pearl Midtown out of its shell 

(9/1/2014)

HOUSTON - Pearl Midtown, a new 154-unit apartment community, is complete. Located on 1.15 acres at 3101 Smith St., the property offers a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units ranging from 499 sf to 1,439 sf.

The property’s units are arranged in four stories over two podium levels of garage parking featuring eVgo car charging stations. Some of the apartment homes have Bluetooth sound systems, wrap-around balconies and unobstructed downtown views.

Pearl Midtown is the first residential development to incorporate the city’s B-cycle bike sharing program, which has relocated one of its stations to the development.

The property was developed by the Morgan Group.

Read more at Multi-Housing News.

Houston Galleria maps 392-unit Avenue R sale 

(9/1/2014)

HOUSTON - Avenue R, a 392-unit, Class A community located at 5455 Richmond Ave. in the Galleria, has been sold.

The one-year-old property is 94.9 percent occupied with average rents at $1.89 per sf. The community features one- and two-bedroom floor plans ranging in size from 593 sf to 1,293 sf.

Property amenities include attached garages and reserved parking.

An entity of Mesirow Financial purchased the community from an entity of Greystar.

Read more at O'Connor and Associates.

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 near Sugar Land Town Square has been acquired by Noble Investment Group. on 3.7 acres has been sold.

The hotel at 16730 Creek Bend Dr. opened in 2010. It has 6,000 sf of meeting space, round-the-clock food and beverage options and more.

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: 30,000 SF adds two floors to 1885 St. James Place 

(8/29/2014)

HOUSTON - Nelson Murphree Legacy Partners LLC has added 30,000 sf to the company’s 1885 St. James Place project. The building was originally slated to have 13 floors, but now will have 15 floors.

“We redid all of the drawings and made the foundation stronger because we have had so much interest in this building,” said Dennis Murphree, a principal at Nelson Murphree.

The project is now slated to begin construction September 8, with an official groundbreaking of September 15. While no tenants have officially signed on to the spec project, Murphree said he is negotiating with at least four companies.

Current occupancy rates for Class A buildings in the Galleria average 92.4 percent, and current rental rates average $34.97 per sf, according to JLL.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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