NewsTalk Texas

Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown

More retail, commercial planned for Sugar Land's Riverstone 

(5/6/2015)

SUGAR LAND - Johnson Development Corp. sold 9.6 acres of land to Riverstone Commercial Development LLC to develop into a mixed-use neighborhood center in the master-planned community Riverstone, which ranked as the top-seller in Texas in 2014.

The center, which will have a mix of retail, restaurants and offices, will be located on the southeast corner of LJ Pkwy. and University Dr., near Hwy. 6.

Riverstone Commercial Development plans to subdivide the land into six or seven retail pad sites intended for stores, restaurants, medical offices, a bank and a day care center with a play area. The land will be developed and delivered to buyers in about eight to 12 months.

Johnson Development has plans for more commercial development at the intersection of LJ Pkwy. and University Dr.

On the northeast corner, across the boulevard from the mixed-use neighborhood center, Johnson is planning a larger commercial and retail development on 42 acres, which may host Riverstone’s first grocery store.

Another nine-acre site on the southwest corner, near the CVS pharmacy, is also planned for more commercial and retail.

Riverstone is attracting commercial interest because of its location in Sugar Land and its high-end demographics. The average household income in the area is between $123,000 and $173,000, and the average home price in Riverstone is $542,600.

Last year, Riverstone opened its first luxury apartments and a neighborhood amenity center, which features a playground with a 100-foot-long zip line.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Toll Brothers plan: 850 homes, 600-acre Magnolia community 

(5/6/2015)

MAGNOLIA - NorthGrove at Spring Creek, a 600-acre master-planned community, is planned for southwest of The Woodlands near FM 2978 and Conroe Huffsmith Rd.

The community’s design includes more than 200 acres of open space and preserved nature areas adjacent to Spring Creek, a trail system, a community lake and event lawn, playgrounds and a community garden.

The developer — national home builder Toll Brothers — said inspiration for a planned 5,700-sf clubhouse was Montgomery County’s abundant ranch and farm buildings. The facility will include a 24-hour access fitness room, indoor and outdoor entertainment areas and a pool.

Once completed, the community will include some 850 single-family homes on sites with widths averaging 60 feet, 70 feet and 85 feet. Toll Brothers and other builders the company has not yet announced will develop the homes there.

NorthGrove is one of several large land purchases the national home builder has made in this area since entering the Houston market six years ago.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Spring: 71,000-SF Pines of Louetta North sold 

(5/5/2015)

SPRING - Pines of Louetta North, a 71,090-sf retail strip center, has been sold. The property is just west of I-45, located at 1600-1620 Louetta Rd. The property is 26 miles north of downtown.

Built in stages from 2009 to 2014, Pines of Louetta North is comprised of three buildings that are 92 percent leased to national and regional tenants including Spec’s Wine, Spirits & Finer Foods, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Schlotzsky’s and Salata.

The seller was Pines of Louetta North.

Source: GlobeSt.com

2015: Houston's ten largest employers plus more 

(5/5/2015)

HOUSTON - The Greater Houston Partnership has released its Top Employers in the Houston Region report. Below are the top ten employers, ranked by number of local employees.

Top Houston Region Employers
Company* Local Area
Employees
Memorial Hermann Health System 19,500
The University of Texas MD Anderson
Cancer Center
19,290
United Airlines 17,000
Exxon Mobil Corporation    13,191
Houston Methodist 13,000
Shell Oil Company 13,000
Kroger Company 12,000
National Oilwell Varco 10,000
Schlumberger 10,000
BP America Inc. 9,537


*Ranked by number of employees. The list does not include casual dining establishments, municipalities, school districts, community colleges, public universities (except UTMB and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center), and governmental agencies.

Click for Top 25 Employers in the Houston Region April 2015.

Houston Market Research for more on employment and other sectors.

Meridiana to Rise on 2,700 acres in Brazoria County 

(5/5/2015)

MANVEL and IOWA COLONY, BRAZORIA COUNTY - Meridiana, a 2,700-acre master-planned community has broken ground. The community will be near the interchange of SH 288 and Hwy. 6 in Manvel and Iowa Colony.

Meridiana will include 5,500 single-family homes, and model homes are expected to open in the fall.

With its Texas 288 location, Meridiana is expected to attract workers from the Texas Medical Center as well as those at large, nearby employers in Freeport including Dow Chemical, BASF and others.

Meridiana also will include a new on-site elementary school, which is expected to open for the 2016-2017 school year and will be part of the Alvin Independent School District.

Rise Communities LLC is the developer of the community. “With Meridiana, we are making a bold commitment to education with learning and discovery experiences for all stages in life, from young children to active adults," said Rise President Dan Naef.

Rise plans to announce home builders in June. However, California-based Shea Homes has identified Meridiana as one of the communities in which it will build.

Shea Homes, which has just entered the Houston market, also will build homes in Cane Island, another one of Rise’s master-planned communities. See previous story Katy Raising Cane Island with 2,000 homes.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal and RealtyNewsReport.com.

Houston: NAI Partners Data InSight whitepaper series 

(5/5/2015)

HOUSTON - Houston’s annual job growth explained 51 percent of the variation in annual net absorption of office space from 1999-2014 according to a report from NAI Partners.

The April 2015 Data InSight report from NAI attempts to forecast how commercial real estate in Houston will perform in 2015 given this historical relationship and recent shocks in oil prices.

Can job growth still predict demand for commercial real estate given the recent decline in oil prices? Could the backdrop of positive economic growth offset the negative impact of oil prices?

Analyses reveal a positive relationship between job growth and bet office absorption, but not industrial space.

For the most likely forecast of 52,600 new jobs in Houston in 2015, NAI predicts office absorption to be about 3,617,000 sf.

Thus, while growth in jobs and office absorption will likely slow in 2015 compared to 2014, it is unlikely that they will turn negative in the face of lower oil prices.

Click here to see the full April 2015 Data InSight report from NAI Partners.

See updated office, industrial, multifamily at Houston Market Research.

See office Houston NewsTalk.

Two condos left to sell: Astoria, Belfiore Houston Galleria 

(5/4/2015 11:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - The 75-unit Astoria and 46-unit Belfiore under construction in the Galleria area each have just one unit left until they are sold-out, despite being months away from completion.

Astoria is a 28-story condo tower being developed by Houston-based Randall Davis Co. at 1405 Post Oak Blvd., between San Felipe St. and the 610 West Loop.

The art-deco-style tower features two- and three-bedroom units, ranging in size from 1,459 to 5,016 sf and in price from $600,000 to $3 million.

Notable amenities include a starlight infinity-edge pool, private movie theater and 24/7 concierge service. Astoria is expected to be delivered in February, according to Houston real estate developer Randall Davis.

Belfiore is a 26-story condo tower being developed by Houston-based Interfin Cos. at the corner of Post Oak Lane and Wynden Dr.

The high-end tower reportedly boasts the largest floor plans of any high-rise in Houston at 4,650 sf plus 700 sf of terrace. Prices start from $650 per sf and up.

Notable amenities include a heated swimming pool and whirlpool, a party room with catering kitchen and 24/7 concierge service. Belfiore is expected to be delivered also in February, according to Houston real estate developer Giorgio Borlenghi.

Houston’s condominium market is hot as the recent energy boom attracted out-of-town and foreign investors to purchase local property. The trend of wealthy empty-nesters downsizing from the suburbs also fueled demand for high-end, high-rise residences closer in town.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Slow Dough' quick rise in 40,000-SF kitchen in Houston 

(5/4/2015 10:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Slow Dough Bread Co. has completed a year-long negotiation with organic grocer Whole Foods Market to purchase the company's 40,000-sf production kitchen and bakery.

Located at the intersection of the Sam Houston Tollroad and US 59, the facility is almost three times the size of Slow Dough's current, 15,000-sf facility on Westpark.

"We’re taking over their entire commissary and all their existing equipment," Slow Dough owner and fifth-generation baker Heath Wendell said. "They built it in 2007. They equipped it very nicely."

Acquiring the Whole Foods facility immediately increases Slow Dough's retail presence, which will grow to 38 grocery stores spread across Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. The increased capacity will also allow it to increase distribution in Austin and move into San Antonio.

Wendell explains that one of the new facility's big advantages is the ability to control the temperature in each separate area of the building: dough room, ovens, packaging areas, etc.

Slow Dough's existing employees will move to the new facility. Wendell says he'll retain some of the existing Whole Foods employees to help grow the business, but he isn't ready to commit to a number.

Whole Foods provided its employees with the required 60-day notice on May 1. Slow Dough assumes control on July 1.

Read more at CultureMap.

Houston: 6671 Southwest Freeway office sold 

(5/4/2015)

HOUSTON - Fugro has sold 6671 Southwest Fwy. — the 153,158-sf office building on Southwest Fwy. near Hillcroft Ave.

The eight-story office building has been upgraded substantially and is one of the finest building in southwest that submarket with upgrades including Class A finish-out in the lobbys.

The sale of the building was negotiated in an off-market transaction to the 6671 SW Fwy. LP partnership.

Read more at Realty News Report.

Big wind? No power? No problem in Houston II data center 

(5/1/2015 7:22:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Austin-based Data Foundry Inc.'s 120,000-sf data center has opened. Located in Greenspoint, the space is built on 18 acres and has the ability to expand to 350,000 sf if need be.

Named Houston II, the center features a variety of different security features including biometric hand scanners, military-grade exterior gates and 24-hour security.

The building has walls capable of withstanding up to 185-mile-per-hour winds, as well as backup generators, power supplies and cooling systems, so if anything had to be shut down, the facility is able to continue to operate.

It also features 60,000 sf of office space, showers, ready-to-eat meals and other measures to allow IT professionals to operate around the clock.

All this may seem a little excessive, but CTO Ed Henigin points out that if Data Foundry were to lose customer trust one time, it could mean the end of the company entirely.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Hollywood glam condo tower with Houston's Marlowe 

(5/1/2015 6:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Houston real estate developer Randall Davis plans to break ground this summer on the Marlowe, a 20-story, 100-unit condominium tower on about 0.3 acres at 1311 Polk St. The Marlowe will offer aggressive pricing and a glamorous Hollywood theme.

The gray and white glass building will resemble a pinstripe suit, and the floor plans are named after great movie legends like Brando, Newman and Redford. The one- and two-bedroom units, which average 1,200 sf, are priced between $400,000 and $1.4 million.

The Marlowe has seven penthouse units with larger terraces, an enclosed two-car private garage, 12-foot ceilings, solar shades, a wine cooler, a Bertazzoni kitchen appliance package and an air jet tub.

In the two weeks since its sales office opened, the Marlowe has sold ten units. “Houston is building 25,000 apartments but I think there’s room for a couple hundred condominiums,” Davis said. “There’s demand for people who want to live in a high-rise condominium but not much product.”

The Marlowe is the only condominium project approved by the Downtown Living Initiative, a City of Houston program that awards $15,000 in tax breaks per multifamily unit built downtown.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Alleluia! Texas City ISD purchases 34,000-SF church 

(4/30/2015)

TEXAS CITY - First Baptist Church-Texas City’s decision to sell its property on Ninth Ave. “will be a good thing for everybody,” church leaders said.

The Texas City Independent School District has been looking at creating an industrial trades education center. 

The school district has about $14 million set aside in its earmarked facilities reserve fund to pay for the construction of the center.“If everything goes well, we’ll probably close sometime in June,” Rev. Robert Miller said. “That’s when they’ll start taking our building down.”

The Industrial Trades Center would have about 200 students but would double in size the following year.

The 34,000-sf center across the street from the high school eases potential transportation hassles.

Texas City would offer courses in construction, welding and pipe fitting, automotive technology, machinist training and instrumentation and electrical trades.

There also would be maritime-specific courses offered.

All are trades that industrial facilities will need in their workforces during the next decade or more.

Read more at the Galveston Daily News.

Houston: 801 Travis sold in downtown 

(4/29/2015)

HOUSTON - The 21-story 801 Travis office building has traded hands in downtown.

The 220,380-sf boutique office building also has an 11-story, 445-space podium parking garage. The building, which was completed in 1981 and most recently renovated in 2014, is 82.8 percent occupied.

The biggest downtown deal since the oil slump — and one of the biggest in Houston's history — was the sale of 1000 Main for $440 million, or about $525 per sf. That deal closed earlier this month.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Lake Jackson: 140,000-SF Woodshore Marketplace underway 

(4/29/2015)

LAKE JACKSON - Cencor Realty Services has broken ground on Woodshore Marketplace, a 140,000-sf shopping center to be anchored by a 123,000-sf Kroger Marketplace.

The center will be within the master-planned Woodshore community at the southeast corner of Oyster Creek Dr. and Dixie Dr. Homes in Woodshore sell in the $180,000 to $1 million range.

Kroger will open in December. In addition to groceries, the store will sell apparel and shoes, furnishings, home goods, small appliances and jewelry, and will have a fuel center and pharmacy.

Woodshore Marketplace will offer 16,450 sf of space for lease to other retailers in the first phase, as well as three land sites designated for freestanding concepts.

The retail center will serve a growing area about an hour’s drive south of Houston where billions of dollars are being invested in petrochemical and industrial projects. Dow Chemical, Freeport LNG and Phillips 66 have major expansion projects in the region.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Colliers 1Q 2015: Houston office indicates little oil slip 

(4/28/2015 7:55:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Houston’s office market indicators have begun to reflect the dramatic drop in oil prices that occurred in the fourth quarter of last year, according to Colliers International's 1Q 2015 report.

Over 3.5 million sf of new inventory delivered during 1Q and about 68 percent of the new inventory is preleased including 1.5 million sf of ExxonMobil’s North Houston campus.

Houston’s office construction pipeline is still over 14 million sf of which 65 percent is preleased. The majority of the space is located in suburban submarkets and is scheduled to deliver in 2015.

There was 1.2 million sf of positive absorption in 1Q, about one-half of what was recorded in the previous quarter.

The citywide average rental rate increased slightly by 0.9 percent between quarters from $27.12 to $27.35 per sf. The average CBD Class A rental rate increased over the quarter, however, the average Class A suburban rental rate decreased.

Houston Office Market Indicators
  4Q 2014 1Q 2015
Citywide net
absorption (SF)
2.2 million 1.2 million
Citywide avg.
vacancy
11.5% 12.5%
Citywide avg.
rental rate
$26.79 $27.35
Citywide delivered
inventory (SF)
2.1 million 3.5 million
Class A Rental Rate    
CBD $42.01 $41.96
Suburban $31.61 $32.88
Class A Vacancy    
CBD 8.6% 9.5%
Suburban 9.9% 12.2%


See Colliers' Houston Office Market Report 1Q 2015 with submarkets. Also see Houston Market Research and Houston NewsTalk.

Porter pouring 1.8M SF into Valley Ranch Town Center 

(4/28/2015 7:00:00 AM)

PORTER - Valley Ranch Town Center, one of the largest mixed-use centers northeast of Houston, is underway. It will include approximately 1.8 million sf of shops, restaurants and entertainment venues.

Valley Ranch Town Center will be located on 240 acres in the north part of Valley Ranch, a 1,400-acre master-planned community in unincorporated Montgomery County, north of Kingwood.

The center will be anchored by a Kroger grocery store, a Sam’s Club and other big box stores, said Danny Signorelli, the founder and principal of Signorelli Co. — the developer of the project.

The company is in negotiations with other tenants for Valley Ranch Town Center, which is estimated to have more than 120 stores when it is completed by second quarter 2016.

In addition to the big box stores, the shopping plaza will feature a high-end movie theater, a bowling alley, arcades, a fitness center and several high-class restaurants, like a steak house, he said.

“This isn’t a neighborhood retail center with a grocery store and 200,000 to 300,000 sf of retail,” Signorelli said. “This is a regional destination for shopping, dining and entertainment.”

Offices, apartments and hotels are also planned for Valley Ranch Town Center, which will sit adjacent to a 100-acre community park with trails and an outdoor 10,000-seat amphitheater that is under construction.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Galveston anchors Texas A&M Maritime $45M Cadet Residence 

(4/28/2015)

GALVESTON - A flag-raising ceremony took place to celebrate a construction milestone in the building of the new $45 million Texas A&M Maritime Academy Residence Hall.

The project highlights a design dedicated to the Academy and the University’s need to offer midshipmen direct access to residential, leadership and centralized gathering locations.

El Paso-based Hunt Companies and Texas A&M University at Galveston (TAMUG) began construction of the 612-bed residence hall on June 30, 2014 and the project is scheduled for completion in fall 2015.

The facility includes two residential wings connected by a central commons, with contiguous features such as an illuminated formation court and modern amenities and facilities.

The common area includes classrooms, study lounges, flexible social spaces, staff and cadet offices, a reception area, common laundry facilities, a convenience shop and storage areas.

The TAMUG campus has grown from 551 students in 1987 to more than 2,300 students in 2015 so the project will address the need for more housing.

The Texas A&M Maritime Academy is one of six maritime academies in the U.S. training graduates for licensing as officers in the U.S. Merchant Marine and for commissioning in the U.S. Navy.

Read more at Multi-Housing News.

Mitsubishi powers up 180,000-SF Pearland Works 

(4/27/2015 10:00:00 AM)

PEARLAND - Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Compressor International Corporation (MCO-I) has begun operation in the U.S. at its facility located at at 14888 Kirby Dr.

The complex, also known as Pearland Works, currently handles packaging, shipping, storage, service and maintenance of compressors and mechanical drive steam turbines.

To date, MCO-I has invested more than $75 million into the Pearland Works facility. It features 180,000 sf, housing a variety of capabilities including packaging and assembly, vertical and horizontal rotor storage, repair and maintenance services, administrative offices, and a training center.

Additionally, $26 million of new manufacturing equipment has been purchased along with a 300-ton overhead crane, allowing for accommodation of various-sized machines.

The newly constructed facility is the first U.S.-based manufacturing and service location for the Japanese-owned company, which currently houses all manufacturing capabilities in Hiroshima, Japan.

“With the increase in demand we have seen from the expansion in shale gas and oil developments, bringing a manufacturing and service facility close to the Houston area was an obvious choice,” said Gampa Bhat, president of MCO-I.

During the second phase, the company will expand its facility to offer testing and full manufacturing capabilities. Once both stages are complete, MCO-I estimates that Pearland Works will employ more than 200 people, with a focus on engineering and machining positions.

Read more at PRWeb.

Planned 327-unit Kings Landing headed to Kingwood 

(4/27/2015)

KINGWOOD - A new 327-unit multifamily community named Kings Landing will be developed at 331 Forest Center Dr.

The project will consist of 12 two- and three-story garden-style buildings. The units will average 989 sf and feature attached garage parking.

The developer of the project is Mark-Dana Corp. Construction on Kings Landing is slated to wrap up in 2016.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Houston: Texas Children's with $50M expansion at West Campus 

(4/27/2015)

HOUSTON - Texas Children's Hospital plans to invest $50 million into several projects at its west Houston campus to meet demand of the rapidly growing west Houston neighborhoods and suburbs.

The hospital's West Campus is located at I-10 and and Barker Cypress Rd. near the Energy Corridor. The projects include:

•  increasing its operating room count from four to eight,
•  adding a new in-patient unit with 24 beds,
•  building a dedicated interventional radiology suite,
•  adding 18 beds on the fifth floor, which will also contain the specialized isolation unit Texas Children's Hospital is building for highly conntagious infectious diseases, including Ebola and pandemic influenza; and
•  converting current office space into clinical space.

The projects will happen in phases over the next several years, said Chanda Cashen Chacón, president of Texas Children's Hospital West Campus. She expects to have the first phase of the project — building out the shelled fifth floor — to open by October 1.

The system is also in the process of building out its Woodlands campus as well as approaching the beginning of a major expansion of its Texas Medical Center campus.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Fertitta underway on 650,000-SF tower in Houston 

(4/27/2015)

HOUSTON - The Post Oak, a 35-story, 650,000-sf mixed-use tower, is underway near the Galleria. The ten-acre project will include 240 luxury hotel rooms, more than 120,000 sf of boutique office space and 22 residential apartment units.

Other notable amenities include a two-story spa and salon. There will be more than 1,000 parking spaces. Billionaire Tilman Fertitta — Chairman, President and CEO of Houston-based Landry's — is the developer of the project.

The hotel rooms and suites will range from 500 to 2,000 sf. There will also be a presidential suite and a 4,000-sf, two-bedroom chairman suite with private elevator access, a media room, an exercise room and a private terrace.

The residential units will range from 1,000 to 2,000 sf. The low-density, Class A office space will feature a separate secure entrance.

In addition to the eateries in the tower, two restaurants will be featured with their own locations on the property. Mastro’s Steakhouse will open its first Texas location in a 10,000-sf space on the property. Willie G’s Seafood & Steaks, located in the Uptown-Galleria area, will relocate to a 10,000-sf space in the development.

Elsewhere on the property, a ballroom and conference center will be adjacent to the tower.

It will include a main ballroom of more than 16,000 sf, the largest in the area.

The development will feature an open plaza, with outdoor dining patios, and landscaped pedestrian areas. Fertitta will preserve existing oak trees on the property and spend more than $1 million to transplant additional large oak trees.

The development will be along West Loop South with access from Loop 610, Holly Hurst St. and Hallmark Dr.

Landry’s Inc. headquarters building is already at 1510 W. Loop S. Landry's owns and operates more than 450 dining, entertainment, gaming and hospitality properties. It is the second-largest private employer in the Houston area.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

BMW drives $11M distribution center to Port of Galveston 

(4/27/2015)

GALVESTON - BMW Group will build an $11 million distribution center at the Port of Galveston. The facility will include more than 44,000 sf of processing space in two buildings on about 20 acres.

When completed early next year, the center is projected to begin handling about 32,500 fresh-from-the-factory vehicles annually for distribution to 45 BMW and Mini dealerships in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas.

Once the cars are offloaded, workers will fix flats and tend to other mishaps that may have occurred on the trip from Germany and the United Kingdom before steering the cars toward their ultimate destinations.

The facility will be owned and operated by WWL Vehicle Services Americas, and BMW Group will have managers on site to oversee the process. WWL is a global provider of auto processing and outbound vehicle logistics services.

"It represents a significant commitment on the part of BMW in bringing cars through the port and creating jobs in the local economy," deputy port director Peter Simons said.

The company said it expects to employ about 40 people, though Simons said the new center will support other jobs unloading cargo.

Craig Westbrook, a BMW of North America vice president, said the company chose Galveston because it wanted to be the first vehicle distribution center in the city's port.

Logistically, he added, it's better to keep vehicles on the ships longer. They receive less road rash — which can happen when transported long distances on trucks — and get to customers faster.

BMWs are currently trucked to Houston from a vehicle distribution center in Brunswick, Ga., one of four in the U.S.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: deep dive into searchable neighborhood home prices 

(4/24/2015 11:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Take a deep dive into the Houston area's neighborhoods with the Home Price Survey provided by HAR's searchable database. Search by county, region, market area or value and get a detailed view of the Bayou City and its suburbs.

The searchable database include home data, interactive maps of the real estate landscape and more.

The chart below shows the results from searching "Northeast Harris County" and then clicking on the details for the "Atascocita North" market area.

Houston 2015 Home Price Survey
Region Northeast
Harris County
Market Area Atascocita North
Transactions 2014 257
Median sales price 2014 $170,000
Price change 2010-2014 30.77%
Price change 2013-2014 19.30%
Median price per sf $67.03
Price per sf change 2010-2014 12.45%
Price per sf change 2013-2014 6.77%
Sales change 2010-2014 44.38%
Sales change 2013-2014 2.39%


Here's your interactive map and no advertising at Houston Chronicle.

NAI Partners: Houston office outlook 1Q 2015 

(4/24/2015 9:12:00 AM)

HOUSTON - NAI Partners has released its first quarter 2015 Houston office market outlook report. The performance of Houston’s economy is strongly tied to the national economy and Texas rig counts, the latter a key indicator of our regional oil industry.

The national economy continues to show strength and growth in key areas, including jobs, ending of the government’s fiscal inputs, housing market picking up, bank credit flowing more freely, and yes, less expensive oil.

On the other hand, while reductions in Texas rig counts are slowing, they are nonetheless down from 877 a year ago to 456 in April.

Overall, the positive national economic outlook — combined with Houston’s boom in downstream refining, petrochemical business and construction — will counterbalance pullbacks in oil.

Demand for office space softened in first quarter 2015 to 1.6 million sf of total net absorption, down 35.5 percent year-over-year.

Office supply, as measured by availability and vacancy, increased in 1Q 2015.

Office 1Q 2015 Key Market Indicators
  1Q 2015 Y-O-Y
Change
Asking rent: Class A $34.88 1.2%
Asking rent: Class B $21.48 3.3%
Net absorption (sf) 1,597,616 -35.5%
Leasing activity (sf) 2,666,025 -49.9%
Vacancy (%) 11.98 4.2%
Deliveries (sf) 4,240,504 61.9%
Construction (sf) 15,429,374 -7.1%
Inventory (sf) 257,240,982 4.3%
Inventory (# of bldgs.) 3,670 3.1%


Source: NAI Partners

No advertising, no wait time! Click 1Q 2015 Houston Office Market Outlook.

Lots of free research at Houston Research.

Don't forget free Houston NewsTalk.

Chemical industry, housing still strong amid oil layoffs 

(4/24/2015 9:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Gas prices keep edging up while layoffs continue in the oil services industry. No word how many jobs have been cut in the Houston area, but industry analyst Daniel Flynn say it may take a few months to right the ship.

“With the layoffs, we're not going to see the jobs come back as fast as we lost them, unfortunately,” says Flynn.

A rebound depends on numerous factors around the world.

Not all is lost, according to Bob Mitchell with the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership.

“The specialty chemicals industry is really booming down here,” says Mitchell. “Its unfortunate the west side is sort of struggling, but the east side of town is really doing quite well.”

Mitchell believes that will help weather the storm.

“The energy corridor is suffering, but the specialty chemicals industry downstream is booming because of the cost of natural gas,” he says.

Houston's medical district, shipping port and other industries have helped fill the gap of years past. That diversity has kept the local housing market strong.

“At $208,000, the single family home median price achieved a record high for March,” says Nancy Furst, chair of the board at the Houston Association of Realtors.

“Our total property sales in March were up 3.6 percent year-over-year.”

Source:  iHeartMedia KTRH

The Woodlands' Amazing Spaces 103,000 SF and 98,000 SF  

(4/23/2015 3:00:00 PM)

THE WOODLANDS - Amazing Spaces Storage Centers, a self-storage operator with four existing facilities in Texas, is building a 103,000-sf storage facility at FM 2978 and Research Forest Dr. as well as a 98,000-sf facility just south of the city, about a mile from the new Exxon Mobile corporate campus.

The larger property is slated to open March 2016 and will be built in accordance with green-friendly building standards, according to the company press release.

It will also serve as a GREENspot DROPoff for the recycling of electronics including computers, monitors, DVD players, laptops and televisions.

Amenities will include climate control, conference rooms with free Wi-Fi, drive-through loading/unloading zones, individually monitored unit alarms, video cameras, wine storage, and a retail center that offers packing and moving supplies.

The smaller facility is scheduled to open fall 2016.

Open since 1998, Amazing Spaces has two locations in Houston as well as facilities in Spring and The Woodlands, Texas. In addition to traditional self-storage units, the facilities offer boat/RV storage, wine storage and more.

Read more at Inside Self Storage.

Houston NewsTalk Texas, Houston Market Research

Houston: Neighborhoods by the Numbers 2015 

(4/23/2015 8:55:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Houstonia Magazine has released a comprehensive chart with everything you need to know about 150 of Houston’s neighborhoods. The Houston Association of Realtors (HAR) provided the list of 150 neighborhoods.

The real estate data — including median home prices, percentage growth, and average days on the market — also came from HAR.

Percentage of owner-occupied homes and percentage of home mortgages that are fully paid off comes from the 2010 United States Census.

Other data includes neighborhood population, median income, and lifestyle data like percentage of residents with bachelor’s degrees. The chart below shows a few neighborhoods included in the chart.

Neighborhoods by the Numbers 2015
Market Area Zip Code 2014 Median
Home Price
% Growth
2010-2014
Population Median
Age
Mean Travel to
Work
Bachelor's
Degree
1960/Cypress 77065 $150,000 21.95% 37,344 33.4 27.07 27.28%
Heights/Greater Heights 77008 $435,000 40.37% 30,807 35.9 21.73 54.92%
The Woodlands 77380 $355,000 24.56% 24,771 36.3 25.76 41.02%


No ads, no waiting, just click to see Neighborhoods by the Numbers 2015 with all 150 neighborhoods.

To see more — such as percentage of residents below the poverty line, grades for schools, walkability scores and parks per ZIP code — see the full Houstonia Magazine article.

Ahoy! Bayside at Waterman's heading to Galveston's West End 

(4/23/2015)

GALVESTON - Bayside at Waterman’s, a 21-acre, 162-lot development between the Galveston Country Club and Galveston Island State Park, is underway.

The master-planned development will include high-end houses and the restoration of the old Stewart Mansion on the island’s West End by developers Todd and Lori Edwards.

Stewart Mansion will be restored as a community center. Other amenities at the development will include a resort-style pool, lazy river and boardwalk along Lake Como.

The $9 million in privately funded amenities will be built in parallel to the public infrastructure.

The development’s first phase includes 11 waterfront townhouses, a second-level private deck and swimming pool, and 67 covered boat slips.

Existing amenities include Waterman’s Restaurant, a marina, elevated viewing decks and a boat launch.

When development is complete, the property will have taxable value of $160 million, according to estimates.

Read more at the Galveston Daily News.

Air New Zealand to launch nonstop service from Houston's IAH 

(4/23/2015)

HOUSTON - George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) will add another international carrier to its roster this year — Air New Zealand — who will launch nonstop service from IAH in mid-December.

Tickets are expected to go on sale in May. The carrier will operate the Houston-Auckland route up to five times per week. Houston will be Air New Zealand’s fifth North American gateway, joining Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

“This expands our reach into a thriving part of the country and also acts as a great feed to the East Coast, meaning a gateway to New Zealand is now less than three hours away from numerous U.S. cities," Chris Myers, Air New Zealand's vice president of the Americas, said.

Several new international carriers either launched or announced Houston service at IAH over the past couple years.

IAH saw a 9.2 percent increase in international travelers to more than 9.8 million in 2014, and its combined passenger total, including international and domestic travelers, was up 3.6 percent to 41.2 million last year. Both figures are record highs for the airport's 46-year history.

William P. Hobby Airport, which also saw record-high passenger traffic in 2014, will soon add international flights as well. Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co. is nearing completion on its international terminal at Hobby, and other airlines are already expressing interest in the terminal.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Lake Jackson 80,000-SF Four Corners Center sold on This Way 

(4/23/2015)

LAKE JACKSON - Stream Realty Partners has purchased the 80,000-sf Four Corners Shopping Center at SH 288 and This Way St. near Dow Chemical’s new research and development center.

The center, anchored by Aaron’s, Goodwill and Dollar General, is undergoing a renovation with completion planned in May.

Lake Jackson, a town of 30,000 about an hour south of Houston, has been experiencing growth in petrochemical projects, residential developments and population. Companies are investing billions of dollars in industrial projects in the Brazosport area.

Lake Jackson serves as a retail hub for smaller markets in the area, according to Stream. Also, the City of Lake Jackson is planning a $26 million downtown revitalization to attract new shops, restaurants and bars.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle and Citybizlist.

Northwest Corners' 466 units purchased by Omninet 

(4/22/2015)

HOUSTON - Omninet Capital has purchased Northwest Corners, a 466-unit complex in the Spring Branch area.

The property, along Hempstead Hwy., has a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with an average size of 765 sf.

The Beverly Hills, Calif.-based company purchased the complex from Salt Lake City-based Cottonwood Capital Property Management.

Omninet Capital has been expanding its holdings in Houston since it purchased the Southwest Corporate Center, a 525,580-sf office complex at 9700 Bissonnet last year.

Most recently, it made its first local apartment purchase with the acquisition of the Hartford Park Apartments near the Westpark Tollway and Synott Rd.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Baytown: 129-unit Remington Park sold 

(4/22/2015)

BAYTOWN - Remington Park at Baytown, a 129-unit, independent and assisted-living community located at 901 West Baker Rd., has been sold.

Expanded in 2008, the facility is across the street from Houston Methodist San Jacinto Hospital and offers nearby access to I-10 and SH Spur 330. The 95 percent occupied property has a mix of nine independent living cottages and 120 assisted-living units.

The property was acquired by Capital Senior Living.

Read more at Multi-Housing News.

New industrial park to spark in north Houston 

(4/21/2015)

HOUSTON - The Dallas office of New York-based KTR Capital Partners is gearing up to break ground on the first phase of an industrial development on I-45 and Airtex Blvd.

The initial building, an 86,608-sf rear-load light industrial facility, will front I-45. The first building is expected to be complete by fourth quarter 2015. From there, development on a second phase will begin.

No tenants have yet been signed, according to Mace McClatchy, a vice president at KTR in the Dallas office.

"We've got just shy of 28 acres that will allow us to put three buildings on the site," McClatchy said. Plans for the two other buildings entail a 226,460-sf cross-dock facility and a 116,550-sf front-load building.

KTR, which deals exclusively in industrial real estate, currently has 1.3 million sf of industrial space in Houston.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston's Galleria-area site's unrestricted height, density 

(4/20/2015 9:30:00 AM)

HOUSTON - An affiliate of Dallas-based multifamily developer Trammell Crow Residential has purchased a prime site next to the Galleria mall.

The site Trammell Crow Residential purchased is unrestricted in terms of zoning, use, height and density, according to HFF.

A Trammell Crow representative confirmed it will be the Alexan 5151 project listed on the company's website.

The four-story project is expected to break ground in June, deliver its first units in December 2016 and be complete in September 2017. Plans call for 397 units averaging nearly 962 sf.

The 3.86-acre site, within the Lakes on Post Oak office and residential complex, is directly across Hidalgo St. from the Nordstrom at the Galleria.

HFF marketed the property for the sellers, a joint venture between an affiliate of Connecticut-based Five Mile Capital Partners LLC and Florida-based Crocker Partners.

They acquired the 1.2 million-sf Lakes on Post Oak complex in 2011, and last year they sold three of the office buildings in the complex.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston NewsTalk

CBRE: Houston 2014 industrial market exceptionally strong  

(4/20/2015 9:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Eighty-five industrial buildings, totaling 8.9 million sf, are under construction in the Greater Houston industrial market, according to CBRE.

Last year was exceptionally strong for construction of warehouses and industrial buildings. Some 12 million sf of new space was completed in 2014, the highest annual total since 2008, CBRE reported.

The strength in the market is powered by exceptional job growth and a surge in the petrochemical industry.

Despite the addition of new space, the Houston industrial vacancy rate dipped to 4.9 percent in the first quarter of 2015, the lowest vacancy rate in more than a decade, CBRE said.

The submarkets with the largest concentration of development are the Northwest with 28 projects totaling 3.4 million sf, the North with 36 projects totaling 2.3 million sf, and the Southeast with eight projects totaling 1.8 million sf.

The largest project under construction is Fallbrook Pines Business Park, by Trammell Crow Co. and joint venture partner Clarion Partners in northwest Houston. The first phase, scheduled for completion 1Q 2015, will include four concrete, tilt-wall office/warehouse buildings totaling 709,045 sf.

Cresa is developing the Lower Kirby District, scheduled to break ground this summer. The 500,000-sf industrial Class A park planned for 32 acres off SH 288. The initial phase of the project will be an 181,000-sf building fronting Kirby Dr. and Airport Blvd. that is 60 percent preleased.

Read more at Realty News Report. Here's the full Houston CBRE 1Q 2015 Industrial Report.

Costco to Pearland with 150,000-SF store  

(4/20/2015 7:00:00 AM)

PEARLAND - Costco will open a 150,000-sf facility with an attached tire center and also a fueling station at the northwest corner of Hwy. 288 and CR 59 in starting in October.

Pearland City Council approved a pair of agreements with Costco, which include the city refunding 50 percent of the 1 percent of Costco’s sales tax revenue collected for a period no longer than ten years or an amount greater than $750,000 total.

Costco requested the agreements because of Pearland’s trade area size, business density count and the associated cost of construction.

The final stipulation involved the Pearland Economic Development Corporation (PEDC) reimbursing Costco for the needed infrastructure improvements associated with the site on Business Center Dr.

The PEDC agreed to pay Costco $246,827 when the business invests $30 million, receives a certificate of occupancy and creates 153 jobs at the Pearland location. The PEDC has been trying to attract Costco since late 2013, officials said.

The store will create approximately 150 jobs, with an estimated total investment of $33.7 million.

The membership-based warehouse store sells a variety of goods, including appliances, furniture and groceries. Costco is the second largest retailer in the United States — and third biggest in the world — as of 2014, according to Pearland officials.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Harper's Preserve spreading 216 homes in Montgomery County 

(4/20/2015)

MONTGOMERY COUNTY - Home builders are preparing to start construction on a new section of Harper's Preserve, an 884-acre gated community about a mile east of I-45 and south of SH 242.

The new phase, in a part of the project called East Village, will have 216 single-family homes priced from the $290,000s to the $600,000s.

Amenities will align with the community's nature theme, said developer Sam Yager III. They will include a lake designed around fly fishing and walking trails.

In West Village, the first section of Harper's Preserve to be developed, there's a bowling green, horseshoe pits and a bocce court. In that village, 366 homes have been sold out of 378 lots.

Harper's Preserve is expected to have 1,733 homes when completed.

In addition to the new homes, land has been purchased for the development of two apartment complexes. A retail site has been acquired as well.

The Exxon Mobil campus, the expansion of the Grand Pkwy., construction of the Texas Children's and Methodist hospital campuses and The Woodlands Town Center has been driving demand, Yager said.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Burlington to open 60,000-SF store in southwest Houston 

(4/19/2015)

HOUSTON - Burlington will open a 60,000-sf store this fall located at 9751 South Post Oak Rd. in Meyer Park. The shopping center is located near the southwest corner of Loop 610 and is anchored by Kohl’s.

The store will bring 50 to 100 jobs to Houston, the company said. The store will sell ladies apparel, accessories, menswear, family footwear, children’s clothing, furniture and accessories for baby at Baby Depot, home décor and gifts.

It will be one of 55 Burlington stores in Texas and more than 540 companywide. The national chain offers merchandise up to 65 percent off department store prices.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Alert Logic expands office in Houston Galleria area 

(4/17/2015)

HOUSTON - Houston-based Alert Logic Inc. plans to grow its footprint with an almost 20,000-sf expansion in its current office building at 1776 Yorktown near the Galleria. Currently, it occupies roughly 55,000 sf.

The reason for the new space is to facilitate several expanded operation facilities, including security, network and support centers, Gray Hall, CEO of Alert Logic.

The company's revenue for first quarter was $18.2 million, according to an earnings report. On its current trajectory of growth, Alert Logic could hit the $100 million revenue benchmark by year end, Hall said.

In addition to the expansion, Alert Logic expects to hire 50 to 75 employees for a variety of roles in its Houston office.

Over the past couple of years, Alert Logic’s success has been tied to the implementation of the cloud in a wide variety of industries and the consequential need to make sure data is protected.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

220-Unit apartment underway in downtown Houston 

(4/17/2015)

HOUSTON - Leon Capital Group has broken ground on a five-story, 220-unit apartment building on city block 365, which is bounded by Austin, Caroline, Jefferson and Pease Streets.

The unnamed Class A project is expected to be completed in late 2016, according to Central Houston’s quarterly downtown real estate report.

Leon Capital’s project was approved for the City of Houston’s Downtown Living Initiative, which offers developers $15,000 in tax breaks for each unit built in a multifamily complex built downtown.

Since launched, nine apartment projects have broken ground, with nine more planned for downtown Houston. These 18 projects will add 4,408 new multifamily units downtown.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

HAR: Houston area cities' home sales March 2015 

(4/15/2015 9:30:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Houston Association of Realtors (HAR) released home sales data for March 2015. Some quick facts include:

•  The median price of existing single-family homes increased to $210,000 — up 5.0 percent from February 2015.
•  Existing single-family home sales increased 33.0 percent from February 2015 for a March 2015 total of 5,939 units sold.
•  Condos decreased in price to $155,600 — down 0.9 percent from February 2015.
•  Existing condo sales increased 20.1 percent in March 2015 versus February 2015 for a total of 639 units sold.

Select region cities are represented below along with statistics from the HAR MLS area as a whole. Release date was April 10, 2015.

HAR March 2015 Regional Sales and Price Activity
MLS Wide Median Price
  Mar. 2015
Price Chg.
vs. Mar. 2014
Units Sold
  Mar. 2015
Sales Chg.
vs. Mar. 2014
HAR
(single-family)
$210,000 8.9% 5,939 -0.6%
HAR (condo) $155,600 -6.5% 639 4.1%
Region Cities*        
Houston $198,000 10.0% 1,714 -6.9%
Spring $200,000 3.4% 447 -5.3%
Katy $250,000 8.7% 417 -1.9%
Cypress $242,855 13.0% 230 -2.1%
Humble $177,575 7.4% 216 0.0%
Richmond $253,250 11.1% 212 5.5%
Pearland $253,302 12.3% 194 7.2%
Sugar Land $320,000 -2.9% 161 -7.5%


*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 Research or see the full report from Houston Association of Realtors.

Transwestern: Houston multifamily MarketWatch March 2015 

(4/14/2015 8:50:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Transwesten released the March 2015 MarketWatch for Houston multifamily. The report also contains recent sales, sales statistics and submarket overviews. The chart below shows monthly statistics for the Houston MSA.

Monthly Multifamily Statistics Houston
Category Feb. 2015
Occupancy 91.2%
Price ($/Mo) $933
Rental rate ($/SF/Mo) $106.4
Average size (SF) 877
Number of communities 2,557
Number of units 590,879
Under construction (units) 28,212
Units absorbed (past 12 months) 15,912
% Offering concessions 25%
Average concession package 5.3%

Source: Apartment Data Services Inc.

Click to see Transwestern's full report.

For more Multifamily statistics, see Houston Market Research.

Cool! Daikin heats up $417M Waller campus 

(4/14/2015 8:45:00 AM)

WALLER - Construction is underway at Daikin Industries’ campus in Waller, which will consolidate many of the company’s operations for its Daikin, Goodman and Amana heating and cooling products in Texas and Tennessee.

Daikin will employ up to 4,000 people at the campus, which will open mid-2016.

The campus will contain 3 million to 4 million sf of space.

The campus will house engineering, logistics, procurement, manufacturing and marketing operations. It is being built on 90 acres just north of US 290, about three miles west of the Grand Pkwy.

The campus represents a $417 million investment for the Japanese company, which gained a foothold in the U.S. with the purchase of Houston-based Goodman Manufacturing Co. several years ago.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Colliers: Houston significant office sales 1Q 2015 

(4/14/2015)

HOUSTON - According to Colliers International, office investment sales activity included 20 transactions in 1Q 2015, with an average price per sf of $236 and an average cap rate of 7.2 percent.

Listed below are a few significant transactions that closed in 1Q 2015.

Houston: Significant Sales Transactions 1Q 2015
Building Name Submarket RBA* (SF) Year Built Buyer Seller Sale Price $/SF Closed
C&J Energy Services -3990 Rogerdale Westchase 125,000 2014 American Realty Capital Global Trust, Inc. InSite Commercial Real Estate $34.3M $275 3/2015
Honeywell – 1250 W Sam Houston Pky Westchase 155,314 1985 Klein Family Parkway Properties $28M $180 2/2015
Westgate 2 & 3 – 17320 Katy Fwy Katy Freeway 411,500 2014 Griffin Capital Miller Global Properties $135M $328 3/2015

*Rentable Building Area

Click here for the full 1Q 2015 Houston Office Report (PDF) plus historical.

Source: Colliers International

PMRG: Houston office by submarket 1Q 2015 

(4/13/2015)

HOUSTON - PM Realty Group (PMRG) has released its Office Market Report for first quarter 2015. The chart below shows real estate statistics of the top seven submarkets ranked by inventory.

Houston Submarket Statistics
Submarket Total
Inventory SF
Direct
Occupancy
SF Under
Construction
Asking Rent
Class A Class B
Central Business District 37,024,505 89.8% 1,056,658 $41.96 $28.23
Katy Freeway 28,487,173 89.2% 1,104,593 $35.65 $23.41
Galleria / Uptown 22,768,124 90.7% 1,237,021 $35.25 $26.76
Westchase 14,656,498 85.5% 445,000 $38.41 $20.14
Greenspoint/ IAH / N Belt 12,546,974 74.3% 68,950 $30.18 $16.51
Northwest Freeway / N Loop West 12,039,654 81.1% 160,633 $26.61 $19.09
Greenway Plaza 10,247,446 88.9% 833,275 $34.75 $22.47
Total* 211,890,302 86.9% 11,087,900 $34.22 $21.41

*includes submarkets not included in chart

See the entire report PM Realty Group, plus historical.

March madness as Houston home sales rebound 

(4/10/2015 8:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - After February’s decline in sales volume, Houston home sales returned to positive territory in March, with consumers buying newly listed homes before they ever had a chance to replenish the local housing supply, according to the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR).

Sales of single-family homes rose 3.8 percent year-over-year in March, with most activity taking place among homes priced between $250,000 and $500,000. The high end of the market also had a gain after experiencing its first decline in many months in February.

Buyer demand offset a 7.3 percent increase in new listings, keeping inventory levels down. Months of inventory increased only fractionally to a 2.8-months supply. That remains well below the current national supply of 4.6 months of inventory.

Home prices achieved record highs for a March. The average price of a single-family home rose 6.5 percent year-over-year to $276,837. The median price jumped 8.9 percent to $208,000.

“It was great to have sales back in the black in March after February’s decline, but in order to satisfy the long-term needs of the Houston housing market, we need to see substantive growth in inventory levels, which remain at record lows,” said HAR Chair Nancy Furst with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties. “It could take the remainder of this year to begin approaching what we consider a ‘balanced market,’ which is typically a five- to six-month supply of homes."

Housing Market Summary: March 2014 vs. March 2015
  March 2014 March 2015 Chg.
Total sales 7,298 7,564 3.6%
Total dollar volume $1,808,957,889 $1,972,184,196 9.0%
Total active listings 28,085 28,507 1.5%
Total pending sales 4,596 6,004 30.6%
Single-family sales 6,005 6,232 3.8%
Single-family home avg. price $260,005 $276,837 6.5%
Single-family home median price $191,000 $208,000 8.9%
Single-family inventory* 2.6 2.8 6.2%


* 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

Check out 'Housing' under Houston Market Research.

Houston rotation 2015: Momentum shifting to burbs 

(4/9/2015 10:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - The Inner Loop and urban parts of Houston have been on a roll for several years. Construction cranes have been prominent on the skyline as new office buildings and high-rise residential towers have been going up.

There are exceptions, of course, but Houston growth patterns are shifting. The new hot zones are going to be in Houston’s suburbs in 2015.

“A shift has occurred and suburban Houston will be the focus of growth this year as the city’s Inner Loop realty markets grapple with less favorable conditions,” says Houston realty veteran Matthew Deal, principal of Deal Sikes & Associates. “Houston’s suburbs will see healthy single-family development and new retail centers.”

Houston’s suburbs will get a lift from the completion of the 38-mile Grand Parkway in north Houston and the construction of the new 3.5 million-sf Daikin Industries HVAC factory (with 4,000 employees) in far northwest Houston near Highway 290.

Houston led the nation in population growth last year. All things point to strength in the suburbs for the next year or two, at least.

Source: Realty News Report

Humble: 993-acre Groves to open mid-April 

(4/9/2015)

HUMBLE - The Groves, a new 993-acre master-planned community in the Lake Houston area, will open in mid-April. Six home builders will construct the first 189 of an estimated 2,200 homes planned for the community.

Crescent Communities is the developer of the community located off West Lake Houston Pkwy., between Atascocita and Summerwood, near Beltway 8 and Lake Houston.

Darling Homes, David Weekley Homes, Highland Homes, Taylor Morrison, Trendmaker Homes and Village Builders will formally unveil model homes later this month.

Homes will range from 2,000 sf to 4,600 sf and in price from the high-$200,000s to $500,000.

Crescent Communities is nearly finished with its welcome center, which features a pavilion overlooking a large outdoor plaza, fire pit, grill and a lawn accentuated by a metal pine cone sculpture.

The welcome center also features a sales center with a large touch-screen TV, multipurpose room and outdoor playground and splash pad featuring a working water pump.

Future plans call for a treehouse and fish camp, featuring a cabin and pond.

A recreation center, with a pool, is expected in mid-2017. Crescent Communities also will hire a full-time lifestyle director, who will plan activities — like movie night on the lawn — for residents in The Groves.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Purchase! 127 acres for Park 8Ninety in Missouri City 

(4/8/2015 9:00:00 AM)

MISSOURI CITY - Trammell Crow Co. and Artis REIT have purchased 127 acres at the southern corner of US 90A and Beltway 8 as the site of a business park that could top 1.7 million sf.

The first phase of Park 8Ninety will consist of three buildings totaling more than 330,000 sf. Construction is expected to begin in the summer with completion targeted next spring.

The development could accommodate more than 1.75 million sf of build-to-suit or speculative office/warehouse, distribution and manufacturing buildings.

The location 20 minutes southwest of downtown along two major highways was a factor in the site selection, as it will offer tenants quick access to different parts of Houston.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston Hardy railcar yard to 350 units 

(4/7/2015 6:45:00 AM)

HOUSTON - A luxury four-story, 350-unit Class A apartment project is planned on a portion of Hardy Yards, a long-vacant railcar maintenance yard in Houston’s Near Northside neighborhood. The $58.5 million project will be called Residences at Hardy Yards.

Lee Zieben is developing the project, which involves a unique public-private partnership between the Zieben Group, the City of Houston, the Houston Housing Finance Corp. and CommunityBank of Texas that aims to redevelop the industrial site and kickstart future development just north of downtown.

Zieben acquired a nearly five-acre parcel in Hardy Yards from Austin-based landowner Cypress Real Estate Advisors on March 2. The site — at North Main and Burnett streets, just north of I-10 near the University of Houston Downtown — closed for approximately $10 million, Zieben said.

Residences at Hardy Yards will be one of the first truly mixed-income apartment projects in the Bayou City, which was made possible by a $14.5 million investment from the City of Houston through federal disaster relief funds after Hurricane Ike in 2008.

About half of the luxury apartment complex — 171 units — will offer market-rate rents as high as $1.90 per sf. The remaining 179 units will be workforce housing, targeting renters with household incomes ranging between $35,000 and $45,000.

Zieben said the project will attract professionals working downtown as well as teachers, police officers and firefighters looking for luxury living on a bargain. Zieben Group plans to break ground on the project spring 2016. Construction is expected to take 36 months.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

CenterPoint buys 3.6M-SF industrial portfolio in Houston 

(4/6/2015 8:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Continuing a Houston buying spree, CenterPoint Properties has acquired a 27 building industrial portfolio with 3.6 million sf of warehouse space.

The properties, most of which are rail-served, are located within nine business parks including:

  • West Loop Business Park,
  • Kempwood Industrial Business Park,
  • Northway Park II,
  • Turning Basin Subset,
  • Market Street Industrial Park,
  • Railwood Industrial Park,
  • 1200 Lathrop Street,
  • Navigation Business Park and
  • 610/288 Business Park.

“The acquisition of the 27-building portfolio, establishes CenterPoint as a prominent industrial real estate owner and landlord in the Houston market,” said Chris Tecu, Vice President, Investments of CenterPoint.

In the last 24 months, CenterPoint has acquired 45 Houston industrial buildings totaling 6.2 million sf, including a number of properties near the Port of Houston.

Read more at Realty News Report.

Spitzer renews 93,000-SF industrial lease in Houston 

(4/6/2015)

HOUSTON - Spitzer Industries renewed its full occupancy lease at 11250 Tanner Rd.

The single-story, 92,632-sf industrial building was constructed in 1976 on 8.75 acres in the West Outer Loop Industrial submarket.

Spitzer specializes in products for oil and gas production, processing transmission, refining and petrochemical, and offshore oil and gas processing and production.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Houston: 46,000-SF Whole Foods opens Voss location 

(4/6/2015)

HOUSTON - The Whole Foods at 1407 South Voss Rd. is open. The 46,532-sf store is twice the size of the location on at 6401 Woodway and will double the store footprint.

The new store will feature a beer and wine bar with 24 taps, a Ramen station, made-to-order taco station, wood-burning pizza oven with pizza by the slice, grab-and-go and made-to-order sushi station, in-store barbecue smokehouse and a full service Allegro coffee, smoothie and juice bar.

This year, the Houston area is expected to add more than 30 new groceries, including H-E-B, Trader Joe’s, Aldi and Walmart.

Kroger has already announced it will invest $409 million in the Houston region with new stores and upgrades. An estimated half of the 2.7 million sf of retail development underway in Houston is said to be grocery.

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

Conroe: 188-acre Stillwater housing swings with porches 

(4/2/2015 8:15:00 AM)

CONROE - Gracepoint Homes has broken ground on the 188-acre community Stillwater, which is near I-45 just south of FM 1488. When completed, the community will offer 381 single-family 55-, 65- and 80-foot properties.

There will also be 100-foot homesites in a gated section. Pricing is expected to start in the mid $400,000′s. Presales will start this summer. The community will have six sections.

“This range of homesites will appeal to the primary market of this area,” said Tom Cox. Jr., president of Gracepoint Homes. “Historically, the best-selling properties in The Woodlands are 65-foot and 80-foot homesites and 100-foot properties are in high demand in this area.”

The developer says the houses will “be reminiscent of South Carolina’s distinctive Lowcountry architecture, with expansive columned porches, some of which will be screened.”

The community itself will have lakes, walking paths, a park, a bridge and hiking and biking nearby in W.G. Jones State Forest.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston's 1000 Main draws record price at $440M 

(4/2/2015 6:30:00 AM)

HOUSTON - The 36-story 1000 Main tower has been sold for $440 million, or about $525 per sf.

The 837,000-sf building sold after the original bidder backed out of a deal to purchase it.

Germany-based Union Investment Real Estate GmbH finalized the purchase from Dallas-based Invesco Real Estate and an Australian entity.

Houston's current record for a building sale is $524 per sf when the Hess Tower sold in 2011. Hess Tower was priced at $442.5 million.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston: 546,000-SF 5 Corners industrial park coming 

(4/1/2015)

HOUSTON - The Levey Group, based in Bellaire, plans to develop 5 Corners Business Center on Beltway 8 between Hwy. 59 and Hwy. 288. Initial plans for the site include a total of 546,275 sf of flex, rear-load and front-load industrial space.

The park will include four Class A tiltwall facilities, and boasts 3,000 feet of frontage on Beltway 8 with five entrances off the beltway.

David Ebro, Levey Group's president, said he plans to model the development after Sam Houston Business Park, a 22.7-acre industrial park that Levey developed in northwest Houston.

Ebro said they are planning to complete the first phase of 5 Corners — named for its location at the junction of Pearland, Missouri City, Stafford, Sugar Land and the City of Houston — this time next year.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Brighton-Best signs 90,000-SF lease in Houston 

(3/31/2015)

HOUSTON - Brighton-Best International, a major U.S. socket screw products supplier, has leased 90,528 sf within the Cole Creek Business Park located at 6911 Fairbanks N. Houston Rd.

The company will join current tenant Viking SupplyNet at Cole Creek #3, a 252,000-sf, single-story warehouse. Brighton-Best has scheduled a June move-in.

Brighton-Best International is a distribution company of fastener products. The company started in New York, NY, and has grown worldwide, with locations in the USA, UK, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Mission Cos. buys Ashford Place II and III in Houston 

(3/30/2015 10:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - The Mission Cos. has acquired the 1970s-era Ashford Place II and III buildings near I-10 and Dairy Ashford from Insite Realty.

The company already owned the neighboring Ashford Atrium and Ashford IV buildings on St. Mary's Lane. All four of the buildings are between 96 and 100 percent leased.

Ashford Place II contains 58,730 sf at 950 Threadneedle, while Ashford Place III consists of 84,775 sf at 14800 St. Mary's Lane. The properties underwent $3.2 million in improvements in 2008.

The Mission Cos. owns about 1 million sf of office and medical buildings in Houston, including the St. Joseph Professional Building downtown and two buildings in Westchase. It recently sold a building at 1111 West Loop South that houses the Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists.

The Mission Cos. is seeing strong demand for its Class B buildings in the Energy Corridor and Westchase, two regions with a concentration of companies in that provide services to oil and gas firms.

The company is also developing a 165,000-sf office building at 1885 St. James. No leases have been announced yet in the building, which will have nine levels of office space and six levels of parking.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

The Woodlands: Sawdust Rd. grinds to Woodmill Creek 

(3/30/2015)

THE WOODLANDS - Woodmill Creek, a new 75-acre mixed-use development located at 1823 Sawdust Rd., is underway and will include multifamily and single-family homes, two office buildings and retail space.

The development, located just north of Exxon Mobil Corp.'s 385-acre campus, is part of the tremendous growth in Montgomery County as business and population in the region booms.

Of the 75 acres of land at Woodmill Creek, 49 acres is available for development. The remaining acreage is streets, detention or green space, said David B. Toone, Principal at PinPoint Commercial, LP, the developer.

PinPoint Commercial has partnered with Alliance Residential, which will build two high-density housing developments in the community — one is a four-story apartment community and the other is a townhome project.

In addition, Pelican Builders will close soon on 8.3 acres for a single-family, high-density development. Pelican Builders has developed other housing communities in The Woodlands.

The new community will be gated and offer multistory homes with garages. The housing community will also include a swimming pool.

PinPoint Commercial has designed a 192,000-sf office building. The developer will wait to begin construction until it has signed preleases with tenants. A second office building is expected to be 242,000 sf.

The commercial aspect will include 52,000 sf of retail.

One of the community amenities includes a private, fenced park for the residents and tenants to use exclusively. The development, which is expected to be complete in five to six years, also has a jogging trail.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: Franklin Valve leases 133,000 SF in Prologis Park 

(3/30/2015)

HOUSTON - Franklin Valve has leased 132,600 sf at 500 Northpark Central Dr. The building is a single-story, 174,200-sf industrial complex constructed in 2013 along I-45 in the master-planned Prologis Park Northpark.

Certified LEED Gold in 2014, the property features 37 loading docks, four drive-in bays, 30' clear heights and an ESFR sprinkler system.

Franklin Valve is a manufacturing company that makes Dura Seal Double Block and Bleed Plug valve. The company is privately owned and was established in 2003.

Read more at CoStar Group.

New HAR.com goes live with listings from all over Texas 

(3/27/2015 11:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON and TEXAS - The popular consumer-facing real estate search portal operated by the Houston Association of Realtors, HAR.com, has officially relaunched with listings from throughout the state of Texas.

After nearly a year in beta testing, the association has flipped the switch on the new HAR.com, which has been rebranded as “Homes and Rentals” and includes more than 130,000 active, Realtor-represented for-sale and rental listings in 11 major markets and property tax information for more than 8.2 million homes throughout the state.

“As a prominent provider of real estate listings for the past 18 years, the accuracy and integrity of the content on HAR.com is of utmost importance, and we know that our content is completely broker-authorized and MLS-accurate,” said HAR President and CEO Bob Hale.

The new site’s features include:

•  “Drive Time” from INRIX, which allows users to enter any address, their desired drive time, and other search parameters such as number of bedrooms and bathrooms to produce a map of available property listings that fall within that drive time.

•  Push notifications on GPS-enabled smartphones for new home listings and the ability to search for nearby open houses.

•  “Texas School Finder” which lets potential buyers shop for a home based on schools and districts, school ratings, rankings and test score statistics.

•  “Neighborhood Finder” which lets consumers search for properties based on neighborhoods, subdivisions, cities, counties or ZIP code.

The site receives data from about 21 MLSs throughout Texas, including Dallas-based North Texas Real Estate Information Systems Inc. (NTREIS), as well as franchisors Realogy, Keller Williams and Re/Max of Texas.

The site is not receiving listings from the Austin Board of Realtors because that association no longer uses ListHub as its syndicator.

But the two associations are in discussions to figure out an alternative, Hale said. In the meantime, Hale estimates that more than half of Austin’s listings appear on HAR.com through franchisors.

Click here to check out the new HAR website.

Read more at Inman News.

Houston bayou area to see more million-dollar condos 

(3/27/2015)

HOUSTON - Monroe at Bayou Park, a six-story building with nine condominium units, will be developed just south of the bayou at 1034 Rochow between West Dallas and West Clay.

Floors two through five will each have two 3,400-sf units with balconies.

The building will also offer a 7,000-sf penthouse unit that comes with a year's worth of housekeeping services. Prices are expected to be between $1.3 million to $1.5 million. The penthouse could be priced at $3.8 million.

The building will also have a 2,000-sf rooftop deck with an outdoor kitchen, dining terrace and fitness room.

Al Ross, who for the past couple of years has been developing multimillion-dollar mansions on spec, is the developer of the project. Ross hopes to break ground by fall.

On a nearby site along D'Amico St. near Allen Pkwy., construction will begin this summer on a 29-unit building called Riva at the Park. Units in the ten-story building are sold out, said Chris Sims, president of developer Sims Luxury Builders.

Future developments for this area include Regent Square, which has been designed as a multiblock mix of housing, offices, shops and entertainment venues.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Menil to break ground on 30,000-SF Institute in Houston 

(3/26/2015)

HOUSTON - The Menil Collection will break ground on the 30,150-sf Menil Drawing Institute — its first new art building in almost 20 years.

The drawing institute will be part of a $40 million initial phase of construction on a 2009 master plan for the expansion of the campus.

Also included in the first phase will be a new energy house to power the main art buildings, new green space and the extension of West Main St. around the institute on a block that currently dead-ends.

The drawing institute will include a gallery and space for the study, preservation, research and storage of drawings, making it the first of its kind in the United States solely devoted to the medium.

This will be the first new art building in the Menil Collection since the Byzantine Fresco Chapel, which originally opened in 1997 and recently reopened as a space for site-specific installations after being closed since 2012, when the frescoes were returned to Cyprus.

West Main St. is expected to be complete this year. The Menil Drawing Institute is expected to open mid-2017.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Carbo Ceramics extends 27,000-SF lease in Houston 

(3/25/2015)

HOUSTON - Carbo Ceramics Inc. amended its lease with I-10 EC Corridor #2 LP for the company’s principal executive offices at 575 North Dairy Ashford, Suite 300. Carbo leases 27,259 sf in the building.

The amendment extends the lease term ten years to June 30, 2026, and provides for a revised base rent and improvement allowances for the space.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Houston: Swift Energy relocates HQ to 461,000 SF 

(3/25/2015)

HOUSTON - Swift Energy Co. has signed a lease with its current landlord, Hines, for 120,000 sf at 17001 Northchase Dr. in Five Greenspoint Place, a 461,000-sf, 19-story office high-rise. Swift Energy's lease includes the top six floors.

The LEED Gold-certified Five Greenspoint Place building was constructed in 1992 within Greenspoint Place, a 13.5-acre, mixed-use office and retail development located near the I-45 and Sam Houston Pkwy. interchange.

An oil-and-gas exploration, development and acquisition company, Swift Energy is shifting its corporate offices down the street from Two Greenspoint Place to Five Greenspoint Place to better accommodate future expansion.

Swift Energy will be the first major tenant to occupy Five Greenspoint since ExxonMobil relocated its headquarters in October 2014, according to CoStar information.

Other tenants within Greenspoint include American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), ExxonMobil and HealthHelp, a provider of technology for educative and collaborative healthcare administration that signed a lease last month to relocate its headquarters from 654 N. Sam Houston Pkwy. to 40,000 sf at Four Greenspoint Place.

Read more at CoStar Group.

DHL speeds to 2,500 shipments per hour with expansion 

(3/25/2015)

HOUSTON - Increased demand for international shipping has led DHL to add a 28,000-sf facility to its Houston service center.

It will add 2,500 shipments an hour to the location's capacity, doubling its previous volume.

The new facility should also speed delivery times and allow for later drop-off times, the company said in a statement.

The new $2.5 million DHL Express Service Center is located at 3300 Claymore Park Dr.

The upgraded service center will handle a variety of shipments, including international small parcels as well as palletized and container freight.

Read more at Direct Marketing News.

Houston: 500,000-SF industrial park headed to south side 

(3/24/2015 10:30:00 AM)

HOUSTON - The Houston arm of Boston-based Cresa Partners LLC, a tenant representation firm, has plans underway for a 500,000-sf industrial Class A park on 32 acres off SH 288.

The industrial park, dubbed Lower Kirby District, includes potential plans for an office building as well as a rear-load building, although the company said it is pursuing build-to-suit projects as well.

The project would combine industrial and office spaces using tilt-wall construction and curtain-wall glass for a look that will be a departure from older concrete industrial buildings on the market.

The initial phase of the project will be a 181,000-sf building fronting Kirby Dr. and Airport Blvd. that is 60 percent preleased, although no tenants have yet been named. Phase one is expected to break ground third quarter this year.

"We think there's a real hunger and demand for the tenants that might even be a 60 to 90 percent office user with a little bit of warehouse or a lab. Those guys are frustrated because there's not a lot of that," said Andre Granello, managing principal at Cresa Houston.

In terms of potential tenants, Granello said he has seen interest from the architecture and design community, as well as lighting, flooring and furniture companies.

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

Energy Corridor no brainer for new Arrabella's 232 townhomes 

(3/24/2015 8:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Arrabella, a luxury 232-unit rental townhome community located off of I-10 and Beltway 8, has opened. The community is only a couple of minutes drive to CityCentre in the Energy Corridor.

Asset Plus Cos. developed the project, which features six different one- to three-bedroom floor plans, ranging in size from 1,094 sf to 1,749 sf. Rents are between $1,800 and $3,275 per month.

Each of the three-story townhomes offer one- or two-car private garages and a gated backyard on the first floor.

Michael McGrath, chairman and CEO of Asset Plus Cos., described Arrabella as a one-of-a-kind apartment. "It feels like a home, not like living in a small apartment," McGrath said. "There's nothing new like this in Houston."

Move-ins began earlier this year, and currently, there are 20 residents living in Arrabella, McGrath said. Construction is expected to be complete by mid-2015 and lease-up is anticipated by the end of the year, McGrath said.

Arrabella is currently 15 percent preleased.

Although multifamily developers have flocked to the Energy Corridor, many have been hesitant to enter the submarket north of I-10, which is characterized by vacant lots and more commercial sites.

However, the cheaper price of land and "tremendous location" near two major transportation corridors made the redevelopment project a no-brainer, McGrath said.

"Someone's got to start," McGrath said.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Coastal Welding hot with 7th Texas location in Freeport 

(3/24/2015)

FREEPORT, BRAZORIA COUNTY - Coastal Welding Supply has recently opened its seventh location in the state of Texas, and eighth location overall.

Coastal opened the 23,000-sf filling plant and retail location on March 20. The company is headquartered in Beaumont, Tex,, with other state locations in Groves, Baytown, Silsbee, Liberty, Orange, and Freeport, as well as Sulphur, La.

Coastal Welding Supply serves the petrochemical and metal fabrication industries, as well as residents of greater Brazoria County.

The Coastal Freeport location will also supply local industry with the high purity gases, calibration standards, and specialty gas related products.

Read more at Industrial Distribution.

Visiting colleges? Check out Houston's Lone Star System 

(3/24/2015)

HOUSTON - The Fall 2014 certified enrollment numbers have been released by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB).

Lone Star College System District
  Fall 2013 Fall 2014 Change
Cy-Fair College 18,165 18,488 1.78%
Kingwood College 11,231 11,820 5.24%
Montgomery College 11,362 11,904 4.77%
North Harris College 15,651 15,644 -0.04%
Tomball College 7,547 7,612 0.86%
University Park 6,709 8,091 20.60%


Source: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

See Texas' higher education list of universities, colleges and private universities under Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Market Research.

Check out! 83,000-SF H-E-B underway in Deer Park 

(3/24/2015)

DEER PARK - An 83,000-sf H-E-B is under construction on the northeast corner of East Blvd. and Spencer Hwy.

For comparison sake, the current H-E-B on Center St. is only 20,000 sf and the Fairmont Pkwy. store is 70,000 sf.

Construction is expected to be completed by November 2015. It is not known what will happen to the current store on Center St.

Read more at Your Houston News.

Detering Co. sells 70,000-SF Washington Ave. site 

(3/23/2015 8:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - After 100 years on Washington Ave., the Detering Co. has sold all of its 5.4 acres of land and some 70,000 sf of headquarters space at 3028 Washington just east of Studemont.

The Houston-based building materials supply company recently moved to its new facility — 107,000 sf on a 19-acre site — at 6800 Helmers near Irvington and the North Loop in north Houston.

The acreage on Washington Ave. was divided into three properties and sold to three buyers, according to J. Michael Boyd, principal of Boyd Commercial/CORFAC International, who represented the Detering Co. in the sales.

Luxury home builder Sullivan Brothers Builders purchased a small parcel at 2900 Hicks. Dallas-based apartment developer JLB Partners bought almost three acres at 3028 Center. And the remaining site fronting Washington Ave. site is scheduled to close at the end of the month.

The redevelopment of the Washington Ave. site is indicative of the land use changes underway in this part of Houston, where many properties have gone from industrial to retail or residential.

The property had been held by the Detering family since the early 1900s, when Herman Detering ran a grocery store there. His son, Carl, opened the building supply company on the land in 1926.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Morgan Stanley leases 30,000 SF in Houston 

(3/18/2015)

HOUSTON - Morgan Stanley has leased 29,990 sf within the Four Oaks Place business park at 1330 Post Oak Blvd.

The financial firm will occupy the ninth and tenth floors in the 30-story, 647,324-sf, LEED Gold office building constructed in 1983 in the Galleria/Uptown submarket.

Four Oaks Place is comprised of four office buildings totaling 1.75 million sf. Current tenants at 1330 Post Oak include Cushman & Wakefield, Fleming & Associates LLP and CAMAC International Corp. Morgan Stanley's occupancy is scheduled for July 2015.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Houston home sales decline for first time in six months 

(3/16/2015)

HOUSTON - Falling oil prices and related layoffs, limited housing inventory, and rising home prices contributed to the first decline in home sales the Houston market has seen in six months, according to the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR).

Sales of single-family homes dropped 5.8 percent year-over-year in February, led largely by faltering activity among homes priced above $500,000, which, until now, had been one of the market’s strongest and steadiest segments.

Months of inventory edged up slightly to a 2.7-months supply. That is still well below the current national supply of 4.7 months of inventory. Home prices achieved record highs for a February.

“We are witnessing the start of exactly what economists predicted would create a more ‘normalized’ Houston real estate market: declining sales volume, increasing prices, and improvement in housing inventory levels,” said HAR Chair Nancy Furst with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties.

Housing Market Summary: Feb. 2014 vs. Feb. 2015
  Feb. 2014 Feb. 2015 Chg.
Total sales 5,837 5,564 -4.7%
Total dollar volume $1,392,411,753 $1,369,031,345 -1.7%
Total active listings 27,798 27,990 0.7%
Total pending sales 3,777 3,719 -1.5%
Single-family sales 4,798 4,521 -5.8%
Single-family home avg. price $248,109 $259,293 4.5%
Single-family home median price $184,740 $199,400 7.9%
Single-family inventory* 2.6 2.7 4.3%


* 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

Check out 'Housing' under Houston Market Research..

Griffin's $135M grips Houston's Westgate II, III 

(3/14/2015)

HOUSTON - GCEAR II is the new owner of Westgate II, a 186,375-sf, four-story office building located at 17320 Katy Fwy., while GCEAR owns Westgate III, a 225,885-sf, five-story office building located at 17325 Park Row Rd. The Westgate II and III cumulatively are 412,000 sf.

Westgate is a three-building development built on 21 acres on the north side of I-10, east of Barker Cypress Rd. at 17320 Katy Fwy. and 17325 Park Row Rd.

El Segundo, CA-based Griffin Capital Corp., the sponsor of Griffin Capital Essential Asset REIT, Inc. and Griffin Capital Essential Asset REIT II, Inc. (GCEAR and GCEAR II, respectively), acquired Wood Group Mustang's corporate office buildings within the Park 10 Regional Business Center.

Building 1 of the Westgate development, located north of I-10 and East of Barker Cypress Rd. was not included in the deal.

Source: CoStar.com

HAR: Houston area cities' home sales Feb. 2015 

(3/13/2015 9:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Houston Association of Realtors (HAR) released home sales data for February 2015. Some quick facts include:

•  The median price of existing single-family homes increased to $200,000 — up 3.5 percent from January 2015. 
•  Existing single-family home sales increased 7.5 percent from January 2015 for a February 2015 total of 4,356 units sold. 
•  Condos increased in price to $157,000 — up 2.3 percent from January 2015. 
•  Existing condo sales increased 37.5 percent in February 2015 over January 2015 for a total of 524 units sold.

Select region cities are represented below along with statistics from the HAR MLS area as a whole. Release date was March 10, 2015,

HAR Jan. 2015 Regional Sales and Price Activity
MLS Wide Median Price
  Feb. 2015
Price Chg.
vs. Feb. 2014
Units Sold
  Feb. 2015
Sales Chg.
vs. Feb. 2014
HAR
(single-family)
$200,000 8.1% 4,356 -8.9%
HAR (condo) $157,000 -1.2% 524 1.2%
Region Cities*        
Houston $177,000 2.1% 1,272 -15.8%
Katy $228,000 -3.0% 308 -2.2%
Spring $195,200 8.1% 304 -9.3%
Cypress $240,500 16.7% 174 -26.9%
Richmond $243,040 10.5% 154 -12.0%
Humble $170,500 10.0% 141 5.2%
Pearland $227,750 1.4% 130 -8.5%
Conroe $231,950 20.6% 122 5.2%


*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 Research or see the full report from Houston Association of Realtors.

Houston: Cityside Crossing sale produces $10.7M profit 

(3/13/2015)

HOUSTON - Cityside Crossing Apartments, a 360-unit multifamily community, has been sold by Resource Real Estate Opportunity REIT Inc., a non-traded real estate investment trust sponsored by Resource Real Estate Inc.

Opportunity REIT acquired the community in December 2012. The sale of Cityside Crossing produced a cash profit of $10.7 million, and an average annual return of 28.4 percent.

Read more at Texas Real Estate Business.

Harris County to see largest number of new residents by 2050 

(3/12/2015 7:45:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Texas is projected to roughly double in size between now and 2050, and Harris County is expected to add the most new residents of any county, according to county-level data released by the Texas Office of the State Demographer.

When it comes to percentage growth, suburban counties — including some in the Houston area — are projected to grow the fastest.

In terms of absolute growth, Harris County, which encompasses Houston, is set to see the largest number of new residents in the state by 2050, with 3.4 million new residents projected by then. But because the county is already large — it had more than 4 million residents as of 2010 — that's only a growth rate of 83.9 percent.

It's interesting to note that the Texas counties that encompass the state's largest metropolises are projected to grow at a much slower rate than their bordering suburban counties.

In the Houston region, for example, Harris County's growth rate is dwarfed by projected growth in Fort Bend County to the south, which will grow by 367.8 percent with the addition of 2.1 million new residents by 2050.

The chart below shows the five fastest growing counties by 2050 ranked by absolute change.

Texas Fastest Growing Counties by 2050 (Absolute)
County 2010
Population
2050
Population
Change
Harris 4,092,459 7,527,827 3,435,368
Collin 782,341 3,801,840 3,019,499
Denton 662,614 3,031,597 2,368,983
Fort Bend 585,375 2,738,553 2,153,178
Tarrant 1,809,034 3,497,034 1,688,000


Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston's Redford Apartments bring $11.9 million 

(3/9/2015 7:45:00 AM)

HOUSTON - The Redford Apartments, an 856-unit multifamily residential community, has been sold for $11.9 million.

The seller was Resource Real Estate Opportunity REIT, a non-traded real estate investment trust sponsored by Resource Real Estate.

Resource Real Estate Opportunity REIT acquires and operates a portfolio of multifamily real estate throughout the United States.

Opportunity REIT is sponsored by Resource Real Estate, Inc., a firm that specializes in direct real estate investments, commercial real estate lending and global real estate securities.

Read more at MultifamilyBiz.

Gracepoint(s) to brownstones in Imperial Sugar Land 

(3/9/2015)

SUGAR LAND - Gracepoint Homes will break ground in March on 35 brownstone-style homes in Imperial Sugar Land. The homes will be in the community's newest neighborhood, The Point, where Gracepoint Homes is the exclusive builder.

The brownstones will be three stories and range from 3,500 to 4,000 sf. They will be priced from the $630,000s to the $710,000s. Other features include second- and third-floor balconies and three-car garages.

Several other residential developments are underway in Imperial Sugar Land:

•  Meritage Homes has a new 127-acre community, which has yet to be named.
•  Darling Homes and Partners in Building LP are building patio homes in the 30-acre Quiet Cove gated neighborhood.
•  Sitterle Homes is building Mediterranean-style homes and Trendmaker Homes is developing a row of two-story townhomes in the 15-acre Silent Manor neighborhood.
•  Sueba USA Corp. is developing Imperial Lofts, a 257-unit luxury apartment complex next to the Sugar Land Skeeters' Constellation Field.

In addition to the residential components, Imperial Sugar Land has plans for a mixed-used district featuring hotels, office and retail space.

The community is currently home to Constellation Field and a weekly Farmer's Market. It will be the future site of the Fort Bend Children's Discovery Center and the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation Museum.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston: demolition paving way for 312-unit Alexan Ashford 

(3/9/2015)

HOUSTON - Trammell Crow Residential is paving the way for the Class A Alexan Ashford, a five-story, 312-unit apartment complex in the Energy Corridor. It is anticipated to be complete by late 2016.

The Dallas-based multifamily developer has begun demolition work on a 3.1-acre site at 1200 Dairy Ashford Rd., just south of I-10. The land, which was purchased in December, was the former site of a Cornelius Nursery.

When completed, Alexan Ashford will be the second Alexan-branded apartment to be built in the Energy Corridor after the Alexan Enclave, a four-story, 354-unit complex that was finished in January.

"We're looking at a pretty spectacular pool, courtyard and fitness center, typical amenities in a high-end, Class A development," said Scot Davis, Trammell Crow's senior managing director of development. "We're also planning a few surprises."

"In the short term, everybody is pausing in Houston, but we really like Houston long term," Davis said. "We've got a great track record here, a lot of great successes. These developments that we're just now starting to work on are going to open in 2016 and 2017, when we're going to be looking at a different world."

The company also is developing Alexan CityCentre, which is anticipated to finish spring 2016. A fourth Alexan brand is expected to rise near Rice University in 2017.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Emerson's $4M facility doubles space in Houston 

(3/9/2015)

HOUSTON - Ohio-based Emerson Network Power is doubling its space to 35,000 sf and moving to an upgraded $4 million facility at 5980 W. Sam Houston Pkwy. N.

The facility was completed in February as an all-in-one hub of manufacturing, testing, training and office space. Emerson Network Power has signed an 84-month lease of the facility.

The facility has about 10,000 sf of office space and more than 24,000 sf of manufacturing and testing space.

Emerson Network Power employs about 100 people in Houston, but it is part of the larger Missouri-based Emerson Electric Co., which has close to 1,300 total Houston-area workers.

Emerson is seeking to serve the Houston-area oil and gas, petrochemical and refineries sectors both onshore and offshore, said Scott Barbour, business leader of Emerson Network Power.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston: 284-unit Ashley Park to The Edge 

(3/8/2015)

HOUSTON - Ashley Park Apartments, a 284-unit, Class B community, has been purchased by 29th Street Capital. The property is located inside the 610 Loop and is less than two miles from the Texas Medical Center.

The property will be rebranded as The Edge at City Centre. The company plans to invest $2.17 million, or $7,640 per unit, to improve the quality of the units and common areas while enhancing curb appeal.

Amenities will include a new fitness center and upgraded leasing center. New plank siding, landscape improvements and signage will be added to the exteriors.

Read more at Texas Real Estate Business.

NW Houston: Gaia JV secures 1,376-unit residential portfolio 

(3/6/2015 8:15:00 AM)

HOUSTON - A five-property, 1,376-unit residential portfolio in northwest Houston has been sold.

The five garden-style communities were constructed in 1983 with the first four communities located within a half-mile of one another in Houston's Bear Creek/Copperfield Multifamily submarket.

The Cottages of Champions Forest is located in the Outlying Harris County Multifamily submarket.

The acquisition consists of:

- Copperfield Apts.: 196 units;
- Coventry Square Apts.: 270 units;
- Easton Village Apts.: 146 units; 
- Peppermill Place Apts.: 464 units; and 
- The Cottages of Champions Forest: 300 units.

New York City-based Gaia Real Estate, in a joint venture with Israeli companies Menora Mivtachim Insurance and Amitim Senior Pension Funds were the buyers.

Source: CoStar Group

Swiss-based ABB adds robotics space, jobs in Houston 

(3/6/2015)

HOUSTON - Switzerland-based ABB Ltd. is expanding in Houston with new facilities and employee growth.

The company opened its new ABB Robotics Support, Training and Demo Center in Houston and will soon open a new Automation and Power Center of Excellence and a new Analytical Systems Integration Factory.

The energy and power technology giant also plans to add about 50 jobs to its more than 600 Houston-area positions, which includes its Ventyx software and Baldor Electric Co. subsidiaries.

ABB's new robotics facility is in northwestern Houston at 7210 Empire Central Dr. ABB has leased a 40,000-sf facility at 6820 Willowbrook Park for its analytical integration factory.

The Automation and Power Center is being built into the first floor of ABB's main Westchase office space to display ABB technology and equipment as an unofficial storefront.

While ABB only had a small U.S. presence until recent years, the company counts 140,000 global employees. ABB has grown from 11,500 North American employees to 26,300 workers in the last four years.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Katy: 41,000-SF Neighborhood Market opens in Cinco Ranch 

(3/5/2015)

KATY - A 41,000-sf Walmart Neighborhood Market has opened at 24919 Westheimer Pkwy. in Cinco Ranch.

Walmart, which employs 35,000 people in the Houston area, will bring 95 jobs with the new location.

With a footprint that is about one-fifth the size of a supercenter, the store is set up for quick trips for produce, meals, frozen foods and groceries to medicine, toys and fuel.

The store is the fourth to open so far in 2015 for the retailer, which now has 12 small-format stores in the Houston market.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston's 1000 Main to sell for $435M 

(3/5/2015)

HOUSTON - After less than a year on the market, 1000 Main, an 837,000-sf, 36-story tower in downtown, has reached an agreement with a buyer for $435 million, according to Real Estate Alert.

The buyer, Seattle-based Metzler Real Estate, was originally the runner-up bidder for the tower.

Chicago-based LaSalle Investment Management was the original winning bidder at $537 per sf, or about $450 million total. In January, it was reported that LaSalle backed out of the preliminary deal due to market fears of falling oil prices.

After LaSalle's exit, the building owners turned to Metzler, which has agreed to pay $520 per sf, according to Real Estate Alert. Houston's current record for a building sale is $524 per sf when the Hess Tower sold in 2011.

The building's current owners, Dallas-based Invesco Real Estate and an unidentified Australian entity, put the tower up for sale in September. At the time, the building was estimated to be worth around $440 million.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston: Cousins signs two lease extensions for 213,000 SF 

(3/4/2015)

HOUSTON - Cousins Properties Inc. has signed two large lease extensions in Houston totaling approximately 216,000 sf. The tenants are Direct Energy and Cox Radio.

Direct Energy, the sixth-largest customer in Cousins' Houston portfolio, currently occupies a total of 228,159 sf at Greenway Plaza. With 173,760 sf set to expire May 2017 and 54,399 sf set to expire January 2019, the extension reduces the company’s total lease to 191,893 sf and extends its maturity to May 2023.

Cox Radio Inc., a customer at Post Oak Central since 2000, currently occupies 23,864 sf of space. The extension maintains the same square footage and extends the maturity from September 2015 to March 2021.

Read more at GlobeSt.

39,000-SF MOB headed to Sugar Land's Telfair 

(3/4/2015)

SUGAR LAND - Construction will begin in March on a 38,600-sf building in the Telfair community.

Construction on the building at 7619 Branford Place near US 59 is expected to be completed in fourth quarter 2015.

Developer Horizon Development has hired Transwestern to find tenants for the two-story medical office building. Potential tenants include surgery centers, imaging centers, medical clinics and physicians.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Shenandoah: art, ballet bar to $15M Avanti Senior Living 

(3/4/2015)

SHENANDOAH - Avanti Senior Living plans to open Avanti at Vision Park in late 2015. The $15 million community will provide 50 assisted-living suites and 40 memory care suites.

The 77,000-sf community will have amenities such as a wellness center with ballet bar and fitness equipment, keyless room entry, a full-service salon and spa, and an art studio with display areas for residents’ artwork.

The medical suite will be equipped with telehealth technology, along with a private exam room where medical personnel can meet with the residents.

“Moving away from the design of traditional senior care communities, we aim to provide a stylish and signature look with plush carpets, wood flooring, walk-in-closets, oversized showers, stone countertops, upgraded finishing and other signature features just like someone would find in a luxury home,” Lori Alford, COO of Avanti Senior Living, said in an announcement.

“Upon entering the community, residents and visitors will have direct access to one of many resident destinations like our Savor Lounge, a hip coffee and wine bar/lounge.”

Based in The Woodlands, Avanti Senior Living was founded by industry veterans Tim Hekker and Lori Alford. Its first community is preparing to open in the Towne Lake master-planned community northwest of Houston.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Shipping containers to apartments in Huntsville 

(3/3/2015)

HUNSTVILLE, WALKER COUNTY - A 24-unit apartment complex, Cube Square, is under construction about 75 miles north of Houston. The 540-sf efficiency units will be part of a complex that will be four stories high in three buildings.

The apartments are just a few blocks away from Sam Houston State University, and they are being built with shipping containers, the steel boxes filled with consumer goods that sail daily into U.S. ports but rarely make a return trip with made-in-the-USA merchandise inside.

"The original thought was — having looked at tiny house projects — wouldn't it be cool if you could build apartments?" said Jack Wagamon, general contractor and part owner of Cube Square, expected to be ready for rental in August.

The complex will use 36 shipping containers in total.

Read more at USA Today.

Welcome to Houston: America's Economic Miracle 

(3/2/2015 11:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - The numbers don’t lie: Since 2000, Texas has created 2.1 million jobs, more than double any other state — that’s 30 percent of all the jobs created in the U.S.

Apple is hiring nearly 4,000 more workers for its Austin facility, brokerage Charles Schwab is leaving California for Austin and El Paso, and Toyota is moving to the Dallas metroplex.

The Houston of 2015 will drive Texas’ economic engine through many more industries than oil and gas. Houston today embraces more than 150 companies involved in aircraft or space vehicle manufacturing, space research and technology and their total output ranks as one of modern Houston’s largest internationally traded commodities.

Breakthrough research and development is taking place in every key biotech cluster: agricultural, biomedical, oncology, environmental, genomics, medical, devices and nanotechnology.

Houston needed only 22 months to recover all the jobs lost once the Great Recession ended, the fastest recovery in the nation among the top 25 major markets. Houston’s job growth has outpaced that of the nation’s major metros for most of the past four and a half years.

The City of Houston permitting activity in September 2014 totaled $1.2 billion, the highest monthly total on record and a 161.9 percent increase from the $469.7 million in permits issued in September 2013.

Houston-area realtors sold 90,124 homes in the 12 months ending September 2014, a 4.4 percent increase over the 86,324 homes sold in the comparable period in 2013, according to data released by the Houston Association of Realtors.

That’s one home sold every 7.2 minutes since January of 2010.

Between 2000 and 2013, metro Houston’s population expanded 35 percent and Dallas-Fort Worth’s by nearly 30 percent. In contrast, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago grew only in the range of 4 and 7 percent.

ACCRA Cost of Living Index from 2012 shows that Houston’s overall after-taxes living costs are 7.8 percent below the nationwide average, largely due to housing costs that are 14.6 percent below the average, not to mention low development regulations.

Personal household income has risen 20 percent since 2005 in Houston compared to 14 percent for New York, 11 percent for Los Angeles and less than 9 percent for Chicago.

"Now that the city knows it can’t rely just on oil, it has put into place strategies for success in a new kind of economy. What Houston has is that can-do spirit. People who live in Houston, believe in Houston," said Rice University Professor Dr. Klineberg.

Read more at Forbes.

Houston: 500 homes to Hines' European-style village  

(3/2/2015)

HOUSTON - Somerset Green, a walled development that will have some 500 homes when completed, is being built on 46 acres inside the northwestern corner of the 610 Loop.

The community will house luxury homes rising three and four stories that will line new streets and small parks. Homes will range from 2,600 to about 4,000 sf and will be priced from $500,000 to $800,000.

The most expensive homes will sit alongside a canal running through a portion of the former industrial property that's being redeveloped into a European-style residential community.

A main building for the residents will have a kitchen for catered events, and there will be a swimming pool next to a reflection pond. The streets will be lined with mature trees, and driveways will be accessible through alleys.

Community fees are estimated to be around $200 per month and cover such amenities as a 24-hour guard stationed at the front gate.

Houston-based Hines is developing the project located just north of I-10 off Old Katy Rd.

Coventry Homes, Pelican Builders and Toll Brothers will build the homes. They are expected to move sales trailers onto the property within the next couple of weeks.

In addition to Somerset Green, an upscale apartment complex is being constructed on Old Katy Rd.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston Galleria's $250M renovation details, new stores 

(3/2/2015)

HOUSTON - Simon, a leading global retail real estate company, announced a $30 million renovation of Houston Galleria's luxury wing to complement the previously announced construction of a new flagship Saks store, the addition of 110,000 sf of new retail space and the creation of a 14,000-sf free standing building.

In total, Simon is investing $250 million to further elevate the shopping experience and ensure that The Galleria remains the destination of choice for shoppers and retailers alike.

The Galleria recently broke ground on a free standing space spanning 14,000 sf along Westheimer Rd. The building will welcome the first of two tenants this November, The Webster, who will open their first store outside of Florida.

Other new luxury tenants to join a list of more than 80 retailers that can only be found at The Galleria include La Perla and Tod's, both opening 2015, and Celine, opening 2016.

Redevelopment at The Galleria is well underway with the construction of the new Saks Fifth Avenue. In spring 2016, Saks Fifth Avenue will relocate to a new, 200,000-sf flagship store adjacent to their current location.

Once the new Saks store is open, Simon will convert the existing Saks store into a multilevel mall extension anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue on one end and Neiman Marcus at the other and featuring approximately 110,000 sf of space to house 35 new and unique retailers and restaurants.

Read more at PRNewswire.

Millennium Six Pines open 314 units in The Woodlands 

(3/2/2015)

THE WOODLANDS - Millennium Six Pines, a five-story, 314-unit luxury apartment complex at the intersection of Woodlands Pkwy. and Six Pines Dr., is open. The community features one- to three-bedroom units, ranging in size from 671 sf to 1,426 sf and in monthly rent from $1,352 to $3,042.

Residents have smart home technology options, including a built-in Apple TV and a smartphone application that allows them to control lighting, thermostat settings and an optional surround sound system.

Common-area amenities include a pool, courtyard with grills, clubhouse, dog park with dog washing stations, a fitness center, demonstration kitchen, rental bicycles and Internet lounge.

The Dinerstein Cos., a Houston-based multifamily and student housing developer, is the developer of the project. Millennium Six Pines is the second apartment project the company has completed in The Woodlands.

The Dinerstein Cos. is one of the largest apartment developers nationally, with more than 52,000 units in 28 states. The company's student housing division — Sterling University Housing — is the largest developer of off-campus student housing in the country, having built over 35,000 beds across 63 properties.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

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