NewsTalk Texas

Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown

Houston Community College's $24M and $18M projects 

(11/25/2014 8:30:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Houston Community College will break ground on projects at its Northline and West Loop campuses under the college's $425 million Groundbreaker Bond Program in December.

Construction on the $23.5 million Northline campus project will add 40,373 sf of space including a three-story parking garage with 476 parking spots and an instructional building.

The new instructional building will add classrooms, labs, an art studio and a fitness-training center, among other things, to the campus.

The $18 million West Loop campus project will add a 768-space parking garage, which will be designed to accommodate two additional levels of parking in the future.

HCC's Groundbreaker Bond Program involves 14 projects across all six colleges in the system, including updates to existing structures, new instructional buildings and additional parking garages.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Katy: 82-unit senior living Legacy at Falcon Point complete 


KATY - Legacy at Falcon Point, an 82-unit assisted living and memory care facility, is complete.

Occupying a prominent, seven-acre site at 1520 Katy Gap Rd., the two-story, 64,281-sf facility is a luxury development within a mile of the Katy Mills Mall, as well as Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital.

Legacy offers 60 assisted-living residences and 22 units designated for memory care residents. The residential wings each represent different “neighborhoods” and offer their own distinctive themes.

They are arrayed around a central “Main Street” where residents can avail themselves of an assortment of amenities, including a movie theater, spa, restaurant, fitness center and sports bar. Together, these features comprise a pioneering “Main Street and Neighborhood” site layout and design concept.

Features and finishes of the center include wireless RFID door-entry systems, identity lighting and advanced camera systems that monitor all areas outside resident apartments to help ensure instant assistance when needed.

The facility was constructed on behalf of PinPoint Commercial LP.

Read more at Multi-Housing News.

Houston: Marcus & Millichap 4Q 2014 apartment report 

(11/24/2014 10:30:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Houston ranks atop most U.S. metros for job creation, household formation and net migration, which supports expectations for the local apartment market to finish the year strong, according to Marcus & Millichap's Fourth Quarter 2014 ApartmentResearch Market Report.

Multifamily permit activity jumped 74 percent to nearly 24,600 units during the past 12 months. During 2014, Houston’s prime renter-age cohort will grow by 1.9 percent, or 26,100 residents, and developers will complete 13,100 apartments, a sizable increase from 2013, when 9,600 units were delivered.

Completions will pick up in the fast-growing communities to the far north, including The Woodlands and Spring/Tomball areas, where a collective 2,220 apartments are already on tap for 2015.

Here are the top five submarkets ranked by vacancy rate:

Submarket Vacancy Ranking
Submarket Vacancy
Katy 3.2% $1,135 6.5%
Sugar Land/Stafford 3.4% $1,146 6.9%
Gulfton/Westbury 3.5% $854 1.3%
Cypress/Waller 3.5% $1,055 3.3%
Greenway Plaza/Upper Kirby 3.6% $1,562 1.3%

Source: Marcus & Millichap

Click here to see the full ApartmentResearch Market Report for 4Q 2014 from Marcus & Millichap. Also, see Multifamily under Houston Market Data Sources for more apartment info!

Detailing Central Houston's new ten residential projects 

(11/24/2014 10:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Surge Homes Development LLC, a new Houston real estate developer and builder, is launching ten residential projects, mostly inside the I-610 loop.

Surge plans to build single-family homes, townhomes and Class A condominiums in prime neighborhoods. Prices will range from $125,000 for a condo unit in Midtown to $1.5 million for a single-family home in The Heights.

The company was recently founded by Louis Conrad and Ben Lemieux, who each have nearly 25 years of experience in the real estate industry, developing single-family homes and condominiums in Canada and Houston.

Here are the details of the new projects:

•  Downtown (103 N. Jackson St.): Condos from $125,000 to $755,000

•  Greater Heights (1800 W. 15th St.): Single-family homes from $535,000 to $954,000

•  Houston Heights (150 Frasier St.): Single-family homes from $631,000 to $1,465,000

•  Midtown (4001 Main St.): Condos from $125,000 to $757,000 and townhomes from $360,000 to $659,000

•  Midtown (2401 Crawford St.): Condos from $144,000 to $288,000, townhomes at $342,000, sky townhomes from $219,000 to $432,000 and single-family homes from $425,000 to $728,000

•  Museum District (1820 Binz St.): Townhomes from $391,000 to $521,000 and single-family homes from $520,000 to $929,000

•  Museum District (4819 Caroline St.): Condos from $125,000 to $883,000 and single-family homes from $550,000 to $984,000

•  Spring Branch East (7500 Westview Drive): Single-family homes from $401,000 to $964,000

•  Upper Kirby (3410 Morningside Dr.): Townhomes from $391,000 to $521,000 and single-family homes from $430,000 to $1,087,000

•  Woodland Heights (2810 Beauchamp St.): Townhomes from $319,000 to $637,000 and single-family homes from $565,000 to $1,007,000

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Katy Raising Cane Island wiith 2,000 homes 

(11/24/2014 8:00:00 AM)

KATY - Cane Island, Katy’s first master-planned community, designed for a 1,000 tree-lined site, will add 2,000 new homes to the area. The homes will be priced from the $200,000′s to more than $1 million.

Developer Rise Communities said the community was named after the 1872 settlement that later became Katy. The new development will be four miles west of the Grand Pkwy. and off I-10 at the Cane Island Pkwy., which is expected to open around the same time. The community is slated to open mid-2015.

The Cane Island development team will complete the community’s first phase with 13 model homes, including traditional family and luxury patio homes, in seven neighborhoods. Homebuilders include Coventry Homes, David Weekley Homes, Perry Homes, Ryland Homes, Shea Homes, Toll Brothers and Trendmaker Homes.

The first phase of development will include an amenity center with an outdoor amphitheater, a family pool with an adjacent splash pad, an adult pool and a two-story fitness center including a health spa and yoga studio.

Future phases will include installing a trail system and a new waterway. The company also hopes to bring a new Cane Island Elementary School.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Lennar's 69,000-SF Houston HQ underway 


HOUSTON - A new two-story, 68,950-sf office building at 681 Greens Pkwy. is underway. It will be the new Houston headquarters to Lennar Homes of Texas Land and Construction Ltd.

Lennar, whose parent company is based in Miami, is the largest home builder in Houston, based on its 2013 gross local revenue of $575 million, according to Houston Business Journal research.

The new office building will be across the street from its current offices and will house 225 associates from Lennar, Village Builders, Friendswood Development Co., Universal American Mortgage Co. and North American Title Co.

Dallas-based commercial real estate development and investment firm KDC and Dallas-based Sarofim Realty Advisors are developing the project.

The built-to-suit project will include a 5,000-sf design center to showcase Village Builders' in-home product offerings, plus an open, two-story lobby. It will be adjacent to a five-acre detention pond, which will feature a walking trail and extensive landscaping.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston: Remington Square's 201,000-SF Phase II underway 


HOUSTON - Remington Square phase II, an eight-story office building with 201,293 sf at 10713 W. Sam Houston Pkwy. N., is underway.

The project is owned by Sun Life Financial and is being developed and leased by Stream Realty Partners. Completion is planned in November 2015.

Remington Square consists of two buildings with more than 190,000 sf of office space which is 96 percent leased. The project also offers a landscaped park area with benches, water features and community gathering places.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

The Woodlands: 36% of employers are energy-related 


THE WOODLANDS - The Woodlands has become a sought-after area for energy companies, especially since Exxon Mobil Corp. announced in 2011 it would build its corporate campus just south of The Woodlands.

The campus, which is 20 percent complete, will eventually house at least 10,000 employees. In addition, Exxon leased 478,000 sf at Hughes Landing and expects to move in during the first half of 2016.

The are 8,210 businesses that call The Woodlands area home. Houston Business Journal's List of the 25 Largest Employers in The Woodlands shows that 36 percent are energy-related.

The Woodlands largest employers list breakdown by sector:

•  Energy: 36%
•  Government: 20%
•  Hospitality and retail: 16%
•  Health care: 12%
•  Banking and finance: 12%
•  Media: 4%

Source: HBJ research

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston wired for nation's 1st Energy Institute High School 


HOUSTON - The Energy Institute High School, the nation's first energy high school, finally has a permanent location to call home.

The plan is to build a $37 million, 110,000-sf magnet school campus at Southmore Blvd. at Tierwester St., which is south of downtown and Texas Southern University, at the 12-acre site of the former Lockhart Elementary School, according to the Houston Independent School District (HISD).

HISD said the high school, which is in its second year and second temporary location, will house 800 students, which is twice its current enrollment. The goal is to start construction in the second half of 2015 and open in 2017 with construction lasting 18 to 24 months.

The high school initially opened last year in the Heights at I-610 and North Durham Dr. in converted HISD office space, but the location was too small for the long term.

It relocated temporarily this summer to its current site at the controversially closed Dodson Elementary southeast of downtown off I-45.

The school has an energy and STEM focus — science, technology, engineering and math — but not exclusively centered on oil and gas. The school prides itself on treating its students like project managers with less reliance on the classic classroom experience.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

NRG Energy's Bacliff peaking plant to power 70,000 homes 


BACLIFF, GALVESTON COUNTY - NRG Energy Inc. has begun work on a 360-megawatt, natural gas-fired peaking plant on a 230-acre site. Upon completion, the plant is expected to power more than 70,000 homes during peak time.

The site of the new facility is part of the former PH Robinson power plant, which was decommissioned in 2009 and demolished in 2012. Upon build out, natural gas will power six GE 7E economical, fast-start combustion turbines.

In addition, consistent with Texas’ water constraints, the units will not require water for cooling purposes and will have the potential to help integrate wind and solar power into the ERCOT grid.

The facility is being built by a partnership between BTEC Turbines and Rockland Capital for $400 per kilowatt. The price is significantly lower than that of a new peaking plant because the gas turbines will be relocated from a site in New Albany.

Furthermore, NRG has two other 850-megawatt facilities planned for the Houston region. The company received a green light from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for one of them and is expecting approval for the second one in early 2015.

Read more at Commercial Property Executive.

Houston: $69 million buy for 450,000-SF 600 Jefferson Tower 

(11/20/2014 6:40:00 AM)

HOUSTON - A partnership of Stream Realty Partners and DRA Advisors has purchased the 20-story 600 Jefferson office tower downtown. Brookfield Property Partners closed the sale for $69 million, generating $56 million of net proceeds at BPY’s share.

United Airlines is the anchor tenant in the 450,000-sf building, which is 91.4 percent leased.

Covering an entire city block, the 600 Jefferson tower is bordered by Jefferson St. on the north, St. Joseph Pkwy. on the south, Smith St. on the west, and Louisiana St. on the east.

“We will be investing a significant amount of capital into the building during the first nine months of ownership,” said Paul Coonrod, managing director and partner with Stream Realty.

The upgrades will include renovating the exterior façade and lobby, upgrading finishes to Class A consistency and changing the building’s address.

The overall vacancy rate in downtown is less than 10 percent — one of the best rates in the country — and rents have been rising sharply. Some Class A buildings are quoting rents in excess of $40 per sf, a record high.

The building was purchased from Brookfield Office Properties. The Harris County Appraisal District appraised the building at $55.2 million, but the actual sales price in today’s market would be higher.

Read more at Realty News Report and Securities and Exchange Commission.

Two Houston Marriott hotels part of $107 million deal 


HOUSTON - Chatham Lodging Trust, a hotel real estate investment trust, has acquired four hotels, including two Marriott-related properties in Houston’s Inner Loop, for $107 million.

The two hotels in Houston are the 120-room Residence Inn by Marriott West University, at 2939 Westpark, near Kirby Dr. and the 100-room Courtyard by Marriott West University, 2929 Westpark, near Kirby Dr.

The other two hotels are the 179-room Hilton Garden Inn in Burlington, Mass. and the 176-room Courtyard by Marriott Dallas in Addison, Texas.

The purchase was connected with Chatham’s previously announced acquisition of a 52-hotel, 6,976-room portfolio from Inland American, a $1.1 billion deal.

Read more at Realty News Report.

Houston: 320-unit, Class A Tiburon sold to Philly buyer 


HOUSTON - The Tiburon, a 320-unit Class A apartment complex, has been sold. Tiburon was constructed in 2008 and is located at 8989 West Rd. just off Beltway 8.

The property is in Houston's Brookhollow Inwood Multifamily submarket.

Tiburon residents have access to community amenities such as a clubhouse, business center, fitness center and swimming pool.

Lubert-Adler Partners, a Philadelphia, Penn.-based property investment firm, sold the property to an individual investor.

Read more at CoStar Group and Texas Real Estate Business.

MRC Global leases 81,000 SF in Houston 


HOUSTON - MRC Global, formerly known as McJunkin Red Man Corp., signed a deal to fully lease 4545 Eastpark Dr.

The 81,295-sf building was constructed in 1977. It has a 20’ clearing height with 20 loading docks and three drive-in bays.

The property owner is Cadeco Industries.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Katy Geico adding 300 new positions in 2015 


KATY - Geico's claims operation center near the Grand Pkwy. will add 300 new positions in 2015. Geico's Katy location, which already employs more than 500 associates, opened in 2014.

The company will continue to add entry-level claims representatives, degreed candidates for liability claims representatives and college graduates for Geico's fast-track management development program with a focus on claims operations.

The company is also looking to add more auto damage adjusters in the Houston area.

In December 2013, Geico first revealed its plans to move into 135,000 sf at Mason Creek with plans to hire up to 1,000 workers over the next three years.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

That's the Spirit! Ten destinations added to Houston IAH 


HOUSTON - Low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines Inc. announced ten new destinations from Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). The Florida-based airline first launched service from Houston in 2012 and currently offers nonstop flights to 12 cities from Houston.

Here are Spirit's new U.S. destinations:

•  Tampa (TPA) — daily flights begin March 26, 2015
•  Baltimore-Washington, D.C. (BWI) — daily flights begin March 27
•  Oakland-San Francisco Bay (OAK) — daily flights begin April 16

Here are Spirit's new destinations to Mexico:

•  Cancun (CUN) — three flights per week begin May 7, increasing to daily on June 11
•  Los Cabos (SJD) — two flights per week begin May 7, increasing to four per week on June 11
•  Toluca-Mexico City (TLC) — two flights per week begin May 7, increasing to three per week on June 11

Spirit also will launch flights to the following Central American destinations on May 28:

•  Managua, Nicaragua (MGA) — three flights per week
•  San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO) — four flights per week
•  San Pedro Sula, Honduras (SAP) — three flights per week
•  San Salvador, El Salvador (SAL) — four flights per week

The Oakland, Los Cabos and Toluca routes are for the summer season only, and the Mexican and Central American routes are subject to foreign governmental approval.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

LUC Urethanes' first U.S. plant coming to Conroe 


CONROE - The Conroe City Council approved a performance-based agreement for $197,235 over seven years with Belgium-based LUC Urethanes, according to Danielle Scheiner with the CIDC.

The company, Scheiner said, has purchased 5.33 acres at Conroe Park North, a 1,045-acre industrial park just northeast of downtown.

“This will be their first manufacturing plant in the United States,” Scheiner said of the company’s $5.17 million facility.

The company plans to hire about 20 people over its first two years and have an inventory of about $1.4 million in seven years.

Read more at Your Houston News.

Okla. Sooner Container adding 45,000 SF in Conroe  


CONROE - Two years after building a 65,000-sf facility, Sooner Container is expanding its local footprint at Conroe Park North, a 1,045-acre industrial park, by 45,000 sf.

Conroe City Council approved a request from General Manager Allan Locke to amend his original incentive agreement for the expansion. The amended $107,098 over seven years agreement is effective in 2016.

Sooner Container, located at 3375 Pollok Dr., was built in 2011. The $2.5 million expansion would add warehouse space and four new employees.

“My anticipation was that it would last five years; it lasted two,” Locke said, adding the company grew 49 percent last year.

Founded in 1992, the company, according to its official website, distributes industrial shipping containers.

Locke said while the expansion is needed, he expects that in the next three to four years he probably would have to build out the company’s remaining four acres to keep up with demand.

Read more at Your Houston News.

Houston: 143,000-SF office building sold in Greenspoint area 


HOUSTON - Fuller Realty Partners has purchased a seven-story building in the Greenspoint area. The property is located at 13401 North Fwy. and contains 143,410 sf.

The building, now occupied by Exxon Mobil Corp., will soon be vacated as the energy giant moves into its new campus near The Woodlands.

“We knew Exxon was vacating when we purchased it. We liked the asset because we felt like it was probably the most quality small asset — small being 100,000 to 200,000 sf — in that submarket,” said Fuller Principal Stephen Darnall.

The company also acquired some adjacent land from a separate owner that will allow it to add parking for future tenants. A large tenant could have signage rights to the building.

The building is located along I-45, just 1.5 miles north of Beltway 8 and 15 miles south of The Woodlands. Its previous owner was EM Houston Funding Co. LP according to Harris County property records.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Halliburton paying $34.6 billion for Baker Hughes 

(11/17/2014 9:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Halliburton Co. has acquired Baker Hughes Inc. for $34.6 billion. The Houston-based companies reached a definitive agreement on Nov. 17, under which Halliburton will acquire all the outstanding shares of Baker Hughes in a stock and cash transaction.

"The transaction will combine the companies' product and service capabilities to deliver an unsurpassed depth and breadth of solutions to our customers, creating a Houston-based global oilfield services champion, manufacturing and exporting technologies, and creating jobs and serving customers around the globe," Dave Lesar, chairman and CEO of Halliburton, said in a statement.

Once the transaction is complete, Baker Hughes stockholders will own approximately 36 percent of the combined company. The agreement was approved unanimously by both companies' boards of directors.

The transaction is still subject to the approval of each company's stockholders, regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

The two companies have a combined revenue of $51.8 billion and more than 136,000 employees worldwide, and operate in more than 80 countries. The new company will have 15 board members, including three from Baker Hughes. Dave Lesar will continue as CEO of Halliburton.

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2015.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston home sales Oct. 2014 (HAR) 

(11/17/2014 7:30:00 AM)

HOUSTON - According to the latest monthly report prepared by the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR), October delivered across-the-board gains with total property sales, total dollar volume and average and median pricing all up when compared to October 2013.

Home prices climbed to record highs for an October, and the number of days it took a home took to sell was 51 versus 57 last October. In July 2014, it reached a record low of 45 days.

Sales of townhouses and condominiums jumped 12.4 percent with a total of 634 units sold in October 2014 compared to 564 properties in October 2013. The average price increased 3.1 percent to $193,635 and the median price shot up 9.9 percent to $147,750.

Single-family home rentals climbed 13.1 percent compared to October 2013, while year-over-year townhouse/condominium rentals were unchanged.

The average rent for a single-family home was up 4.0 percent to $1,711 and the average rent for a townhouse/condominium was up 8.5 percent at $1,592.

Housing Market Summary: Oct. 2014 vs. Oct. 2013
  Oct. 2013 Oct. 2014 Chg.
Total sales 7,182 8,106 12.9%
Total dollar volume $1,650,628,141 $2,016,260,648 22.2%
Total active listings 31,638 28,333 -10.4%
Total pending sales 3,995 4,355 9.0%
Single-family sales 5,912 6,639 12.3%
Avg. price single-family home $238,525 $262,013 9.8%
Median price single-family home $177,330 $192,000 8.3%
Single-family inventory* 3.1 2.8 -10.1%

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

Source: Houston Association of Realtors

Also see 'Housing' under Houston Market Data Sources.

Spring: 385,000-SF retail center to Springwoods Village 


SPRING - A 385,000-sf grocery-anchored retail center will be located at the southeast corner of the Grand Pkwy. and Holzwarth Rd. in the Springwoods Village community.

Regency Centers is developing the project. “With everything that’s happening in that community, it will give us a leg up on what we want to bring to market,” said Abe Pacetti, vice president, investments for Regency Centers in Houston.

The Regency project will include a grocer, entertainment and fitness components, and a higher tiered discount retailer, Pacetti said.

Springwoods Village, a 2,000-acre master-planned community just south of The Woodlands, is home to new campuses for Exxon Mobil and Southwestern Energy.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Young Ranch 388-acre master-planned community to Katy 


KATY - The Young Ranch Planned Development District, a master-planned community approved by the Katy City Council in October, will cover 388 acres south of I-10 between Anserra and Willow Creek Farms on Pederson Rd.

The land for the project will extend the city’s boundaries westward and was annexed by the city in May.

The community will feature about 1,000 homes and is expected to include trails, parks, ponds and other amenities. Ryland Homes and Beazer Homes will split development costs for the community’s residential sections.

The community will be split almost evenly between Katy and Lamar Consolidated Independent School Districts (ISDs), city officials said.

Fifteen acres have been set aside inside the community for the construction of an elementary school by Katy ISD, City of Katy planning technician Anas Garfaoui said.

The neighborhood will also feature some light commercial districts, Garfaoui said, including businesses such as daycares and dry cleaners and other amenities for the neighborhood.

A timeline has not been set for when construction will begin on the development.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Houston: 576-unit Madison Park sold 


HOUSTON - Delta Alliance Capital Management LCC (DACM) has acquired Madison Park Apartments, a 576-unit apartment community situated on 23.5 acres near the intersection of Westheimer Rd. and Sam Houston Tollway/Beltway 8.

Built in 1978, the community consists of a variety of floor plans, with an average unit size of 895 sf.

DACM plans to invest significant capital to enhance the grounds, interiors, leasing office and fitness center. The business plan also includes updating the landscape and installing new signage.

Read more at GlobeSt.

Texas City: 26,000-SF Three Palms retail center sale 


TEXAS CITY - Three Palms Center, a 26,318-square-foot retail property, has been sold. Three Palms is located at 8030 FM 1765 at the corner of FM 1765 and South Amburn Rd.

The three-building development was completed in 2013. Tenants include A Brighter Day Childcare, Chicken Plus, KLM Food Mart, K&G 5 Star Barber College and Cricket Wireless.

The buyer was a private international investor, and the seller was a Houston-based developer.

Read more at Texas Real Estate Business.

Houston: 70,000-SF Nau Center underway in downtown 


HOUSTON - The Nau Center for Texas Cultural Heritage is underway. The 70,000-sf center will be built at 1801 Capitol St., between the George R. Brown Convention Center and Minute Maid Park and is expected to be complete by fall 2016.

The center is a public-private partnership, in which the city donated the land and Houston First Corp. is the main partner on the project and will operate the facility once it is complete.

The center will include a retail shop and following six major areas:

•  the visitor center, which will showcase events and activities throughout the 29 counties of southeast Texas;

•  the historic Cohn House, which will be restored;

•  Texas Theatre, which will "offer a preview of the Nau Center experience";

•  education center;

•  the "Seize Opportunity" gallery, in which guests will "experience a chronological journey" through southeast Texas history;

•  the "Get Big Things Done" exhibit, which will highlight three of the region's greatest achievements by using immersive 
presentations, titled "Johnson Space Center Mission Control," "Where 17 Railroads Meet the Sea" and "A Port that Welcomes the World";

The center currently has $33 million toward its $80 million overall project budget. Future revenue will come from visitor admissions, field trips, venue rentals for private events, sponsorship of galleries and kiosks, the retail shop, hotel occupancy taxes and private funding.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Katy: 112,000-SF Villagio at Cinco Ranch sold 


KATY - The Villagio at Cinco Ranch, an 111,963-sf lifestyle shopping center on almost eight acres, has been sold. The center is located at 22764 Westheimer Pkwy. and was 89 percent occupied at the time sale.

Tenants include Italian restaurant 3 Olives, The Public House, Charter Title Company, Steeplechase Pediatric Center, Keller Williams and De Vero Salon & Day Spa.

An international buyer purchased the property from The Marcel Group. The center had a list price of $31,290,000.

Other major retail destinations in the immediate area include the recently constructed La Centerra at Cinco Ranch, a 34-acre Main Street-style mixed-use development.

Read more at Marcus & Millichap.

HAR: Houston area cities' home sales Oct. 2014 


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

•  The median price of existing single-family homes decreased to $194,500 — down 2.7 percent from September 2014.
•  Existing single-family home sales decreased 1.6 percent from September 2014 for an October 2014 total of 6,291 units sold.
•  Condos decreased in price to $160,000 — down 3.0 percent from September 2014.
•  Existing condo sales decreased 2.4 percent in October 2014 over September 2014 for a total of 680 units sold.

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

HAR Sept. 2014 Regional Sales and Price Activity
MLS Wide Median Price
  Oct. 2014
Price Chg.
vs. Oct. 2013
Units Sold
  Oct. 2014
Sales Chg.
vs. Oct. 2013
$194,500 8.7% 6,291 7.2%
HAR (condo) $160,000 8.1% 680 6.3%
Region Cities*        
Houston $183,641 14.8% 1,950 6.3%
Katy $242,000 19.5% 488 14.6%
Spring $184,900 3.9% 467 -0.4%
Cypress $223,500 14.7% 248 1.2%
Humble $163,000 8.1% 199 -2.5%
Richmond $230,000 15.0% 197 3.1%
Pearland $217,000 5.9% 196 10.1%
Conroe $185,325 12.4% 151 15.3%

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

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

Avanti at Towne Lake brings senior living to Cypress 


CYPRESS - Avanti Senior Living is developing an assisted-living and memory care community in the Towne Lake master-planned community near US 290 and Barker Cypress Rd. Avanti will provide 90 one- and two-bedroom suites.

The company is opening a welcome center in November to provide a glimpse of the community.

The project will consist of 50 suites for assisted-living and 40 dedicated to memory care. The suites will feature large windows, both wood and carpet flooring, walk-in closets, oversized showers, stone countertops and upgraded plumbing finishes.

Model units are under construction and will open early winter at 17808 Lakecrest View Dr. The development will open summer 2015. This is the first community to be developed by Avanti Senior Living

Avanti at Towne Lake will have amenities such as a wellness center, theater, full-service salon and spa offering relaxation therapy, aromatherapy, therapeutic massages, hair styling and manicures/pedicures, and an art studio.

“An ‘experience coordinator’ will be available to customize personal preferences in regard to meals, activities, wellness, entertainment and more. Residents can pick and choose when they want to participate in activities, when and where they prefer to dine and how they wish to plan their day,” Tim Hekker, CEO of Avanti Senior Living, said.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Also see Avanti Senior Living goes to Towne with $15M.

Blank Rome expands to 27,000 SF in downtown Houston 


HOUSTON - Blank Rome LLP will relocate to 717 Texas in downtown after agreeing to a long-term deal with building owner Hines for 27,144 sf on the 14th floor.

Blank Rome is scheduled to vacate its current offices on the 40th and 41st floor of the 1.3 million-sf Bank of America Center and move into its new location in February 2015, a move that also denotes a 6,000-sf expansion for the law firm.

The 28-story office tower measures nearly 700,000 sf at 717 Texas Ave. Completed in 2003, the LEED Platinum high-rise incorporates a 900-car enclosed parking garage and two-story lobby with 24 floors of office space currently leased to tenants such as Calpine Corp., Rosetta Resources and Jones Day.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Angleton: 10.4 acres to become industrial park 


ANGLETON - Teal Development has purchased 10.4 acres at Hwy. 288 Business and CR 220.

The site will be developed into an eight-building industrial park.

The seller was Second Baptist Church of Angleton.

Read more at Texas Real Estate Business.

Montgomery County: 2,000 acres sold for $95M 


MONTGOMERY COUNTY - Howard Hughes Corp. completed the acquisition of two parcels of land north of Houston where it is planning a new master-planned community.

The company paid $67.2 million for the first 1,343-acre tract and $27.8 million for an additional 653 acres.

The nearly 2,000-acre parcel is planned to have about 4,600 new homes. The property is about 40 miles from downtown, west of I-45 in the Willis area. Commercial development is slated for 161 acres.

The first lots are expected to be finished and sold in 2016. The Woodlands Development Co., a Howard Hughes company, will manage and operate the new community.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Galveston big beach dune at 120,000 cubic yards 

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

GALVESTON - Sand will be dredged from the Galveston Ship Channel for a $4.8 million beach restoration project that begins December 1.
Crews plan to restore about 120,000 cubic yards of sand between the west end of the Galveston seawall and Dellanera RV Park.

The project aims to construct a large dune and replenish nearly 300 feet of beachfront.

Officials say the dune is necessary due to rapidly eroding nature of the area and its relative closeness to Farm-to-Market 3005, which is a hurricane evacuation route.

See more at the San Antonio Express-News and The Galveston County Daily News.

Also see Megadune's 16 feet sweep Galveston's West End.

Katy: 97,000-SF Mason Village Shopping Center sold 


KATY - The Mason Village Shopping Center, a 97,405-sf center anchored by 99 Cents Only Stores, has been sold. It is located on 9.5 acres near the southwest corner of the Katy Fwy. and Mason Rd.

The center is 94 percent leased to 17 tenants, including Harbor Freight Tools, Jason’s Deli, Freebirds, Huntington Learning Center, Just for Feet and Jiffy Lube.

DNA Partners purchased the center. DNA Partners acquires and manages commercial properties in select markets with strong demographics and economic drivers.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Bellaire's 83,000-SF Condit Elementary underway 


BELLAIRE - Condit Elementary has broken ground. The 83,000-sf facility will be built next to the current facility at 7000 S. Third St.

The school is expected to house 750 students upon completion, which is expected first quarter 2016. The current building will be demolished to allow for additional parking and 60,000 sf of green space.

VLK Architects designed the school. Voters approved the $1.89 billion bond package in 2012. It will include building or renovating 40 schools.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Porter: 1,400-acre Valley Ranch plenty of dressing 


PORTER, MONTGOMERY COUNTY - More than ten years ago, Danny Signorelli saw the forested acreage along the west side of US 59 north of Kingwood as a place to build homes, thousands of them, in this once rural region of eastern Montgomery County.

He gobbled up tracts of land — 1,400 acres in total — and started building houses in anticipation of population growth and economic opportunity.

Knowing Kingwood and The Woodlands had little land left on which to build homes, Signorelli decided to create a master plan for the acreage in the Porter area along the same lines as those nearby communities.

"The vision started mostly as residential," Signorelli, president and CEO of Signorelli Co. said recently during a tour of the master-planned community Valley Ranch. Now, he said, "we wish we had more land."

Valley Ranch is designed to include 2,500 homes, 1,000 multifamily units and a 240-acre "town center" with 1.5 million sf of retail space. A business and a medical district also are part of the master plan.

A new segment of the Grand Parkway will bisect the community. Signorelli recently inked deals for a 123,000-sf Kroger Marketplace and a 136,000-sf Sam's Club.

An amphitheater is planned, and an 8,500-seat New Caney ISD football stadium recently opened, offering a unique civic component to the community, Signorelli said.

So far, nearly 1,000 homes have been built. Prices range from the $180,000s to the $400,000s.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Katy: 3,600-acre Elyson community to rise near Grand Pkwy. 


KATY - Newland Communities submitted plans to the City of Houston for Elyson, a 3,619-acre master-planned community near Beckendorff Rd. and the Grand Pkwy.

The community will consist of single-family homes, townhomes and commercial space. The first homes are expected to be built near Porter Rd. and Beckendorff Rd., according to city plat records.

Elyson residents will be zoned to either Katy Independent School District or Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District. At least three Katy elementary schools and one Cy-Fair elementary school are planned for the community.

Bear Creek runs through Elyson, so plans call for several detention ponds and lakes in the community. Several dozen acres of land along the Grand Pkwy. are planned for commercial place and "future development," according to the plat records.

Elyson will join four other Newland communities in the Houston metropolitan region: Cinco Ranch in Katy, Telfair in Sugar Land, Summerwood in Houston and Eagle Springs in Humble.

Earlier this year, local investors snatched up 621 acres near Elyson for a new development, and Johnson Development announced plans to build a master-planned community on 1,300 acres at the intersection of the Grand Pkwy. and West Airport Blvd.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston combo extended-stay hotel plus apartment concept 

(11/10/2014 11:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - The Wichita, Kansas-based WaterWalk is poised to reinvent the lodging industry by combining the features of an extended-stay hotel and apartment while eliminating the downsides.

The Houston site is expected to begin construction June 2015, according to David Redfern, WaterWalk's president.

It will feature one-, two- and three-bedroom, furnished or unfurnished units.

Like an apartment, WaterWalk will have a fitness center, in-unit washer and dryer and kitchen appliances.

Like a hotel, WaterWalk will boast a 24/7 shuttle service, free in-room breakfast, housekeeping and free cable and Internet.

Billed as the nation's first "all inclusive apartment," WaterWalk charges its guests and residents on a monthly basis, eliminating application fees, security deposits and utility fees that burden typical tenants.

The new concept promises cheaper rents than an upscale extended-stay hotel. Residents can stay for a week or live for a year.

WaterWalk is the fifth and newest concept from Wichita, Kansas, entrepreneur Jack DeBoer, who founded the extended stay lodging industry with flags like Residence Inn, Summerfield Suites, Candlewood Suites and Value Place.

"Apartments are still being built and managed the same way they were more than 50 years ago, without any recognition of today's mobile workforce and changing consumer lifestyles," DeBoer said in a statement. "None of that is consumer friendly, so we did away with it all."

The first WaterWalk opened in Kansas earlier this year, and investors are planning to expand the locations to Atlanta, Charlotte, Houston, Indianapolis, Louisville and St. Louis.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Kenwood Club's 320 units sold in Katy 


KATY - Kenwood Club at the Park, a 320-unit garden-style apartment community located on 19 acres at 2000 Westborough Dr. near the Energy Corridor, has been sold. The property was constructed in 2000.

The 350,000-sf community offers one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans and incorporates an updated clubhouse, swimming pool with sundeck, fitness center with cardio room and a business center.

Olympus Property purchased the property.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Houston warehouse = 213,000-SF Greens Commerce Center 


HOUSTON - Greens Commerce Center, a Class A industrial distribution development, is set to break ground in November. It will be located just west of I-45 and north of Beltway 8 on Greens Rd.

The project is situated on 19 acres and will offer 213,218 sf of cross-dock warehouse space, scheduled for completion summer 2015.

Greens Commerce Center will accommodate tenants from 42,900 sf to 213,218 sf, boasting state-of-the-art amenities such as an ESFR sprinkler system, 32-foot clear height and ample trailer storage.

KTR Capital Partners (KTR) is developing the project.

Read more at GlobeSt.

Sugar Land: performing arts center to kick up ground 


SUGAR LAND - The City of Sugar Land will break ground on its performing arts center in December. The guaranteed maximum price will be $74.3 million. Completion is expected fall 2016.

The facility will be built on a portion of 38.5 acres of city property southeast of US 59 and University Blvd.

It will anchor a mixed-use development, which could include retail, office, commercial and residential facilities "surrounding a public plaza and possibly a full-service hotel and conference center."

The performing arts center will have an indoor seating capacity of approximately 6,430, though it will be flexible enough to accommodate shows as small as 3,300.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston: $13 million takes The Reserve at Jones Road 

(11/7/2014 10:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Starlight U.S. Multi-Family Core Fund has entered into an agreement to acquire The Reserve at Jones Road, a 114-unit, garden-style, Class A apartment complex.

Price for the property is approximately $13.1 million.

It was completed in 2013 and is located at 11925 Jones Rd. The company is scheduled to close on or about November 11.

The Reserve consists of four, three-story walk-up buildings on a 4.2-acre site comprised of one- and two-bedroom units. As of October 27, The Reserve's occupancy was 94.7 percent.

Amenities include a central clubhouse with a 24-hour fitness center and an executive business center. Outdoor amenities include a salt-water lagoon pool, cabana with gas grill, picnic area and dog park.

Source: Starlight U.S. Multi-Family (No. 3) Core Fund

Grow Texas: Houston by the numbers 


HOUSTON - As of 2014, Houston's population is 2,107,449 people. Since 2000, the population has grown by 1 percent.

The median home cost in Houston is $182,700. Homes have appreciated 11.1 percent in the last year.

Compared to the rest of the country, Houston's cost of living is 1.8 percent lower than the U.S. average.

Houston public schools spend $10,596 per student. The U.S. average is $12,435. There are about 15.8 students per teacher in Houston.

The unemployment rate in Houston is 4.7 percent. The U.S. average is 6.3 percent.


Median resident age: 32.3 years
Household Size: 2.6
Est. Household Income: $58,952
Median Home Price: $182,700
Homes Owned: 39.4%
Home Appreciation: 11.1%
Family Households: 61.5%
Married Population: 45.9%
Single Population: 54.0%
College Education: 29.6%
Commute Time: 26 mins.


Read more at the San Antonio Business Journal.

Houston: 14 multifamily projects tap into downtown 


HOUSTON - Five residential projects are under construction and at least nine more are planned in downtown, according to Central Houston's third quarter real estate report.

The City of Houston's Downtown Living Initiative has further sparked downtown development, according to the nonprofit's report. The initiative offers $15,000 per unit in tax breaks to developers building multifamily projects downtown.

SkyHouse Houston was taken off Central Houston's list, because the 24-story, 336-unit building recently opened and was the first beneficiary of the Downtown Living Initiative.

Under construction:

•  500 Crawford, a seven-story, 397-unit project being developed next to Minute Maid Park — slated for completion May 2015;

•  The Old Texaco Building, a conversion project to 323 units located at 1111 Rusk — expected to reopen 4Q 2015;

•  Block 334, a 207-unit complex located one block north of SkyHouse Houston — expected to open 2Q 2015;

•  Market Square Tower, a 40-story, 463-unit tower located next to Market Square Park — expected to be complete 1Q 2017;

•  A 148-unit apartment building bounded by St. Joseph, Chenevert, Pierce and Hamilton.

The list of planned projects is available online. 

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston: 369,000-SF First Northwest Commerce Center complete 


HOUSTON - First Industrial Realty Trust's 369,284-sf First Northwest Commerce Center is complete. The distribution facility is located on nearly 24 acres at 4800 W. Greens Rd.

Designed by Munson Kennedy Partnership, the facility features 91 loading docks and a 32' foot clear height.

Davis Commercial Development developed the project.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Northlake Forest shopping center brings $3.6 million 


CYPRESS - The Northlake Forest shopping center has been sold for $3.65 million, or about $180 per sf.

The 20,340-sf shopping center was constructed in 2004.

Petereit Properties acquired the shopping center from Milestone Properties.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Houston Whole Foods unwraps cart escalator, in-store brewery 


HOUSTON - Whole Foods Market has opened at 1700 Post Oak Blvd. The 48,000-sf Galleria area location will be the first grocery store in the world, according to Whole Foods, to have its own in-store brewery.

It will also feature new prepared food sections and a second-floor seating area. Customers can sample the in-house brews and other beers at bars on both floors and order food from the cheese and charcuterie counters.

“We try to make our stores more of a destination,” spokeswoman Jeannette Webster said. “When you’re thinking about where you want to go for happy hour, we want you to think of us.”

The bakery will use spent grains from the brewery, and the Post Oak location will be the first to offer a Greek food station. It will also have sushi, juice and smoothie, and sandwich and taco bars.

In the below-ground parking garage, Whole Foods has a system for finding parking. Green lights show open spots, and turn red once occupied. And customers can take their carts down to the garage on a cart escalator.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Deer Park: 400,000-SF new joint for Flexitallic Group 

(11/5/2014 7:00:00 AM)

DEER PARK - Flexitallic Group Inc. will lease a 400,000-sf multibuilding manufacturing facility that is currently under construction. The facility is located on 27 acres in Deerwood Glen Business Park on Hwy. 225 near Georgia Ave.

The facility will be leased from the park’s owners, Clay Development and Construction Inc. Flexitallic is currently located at 6915 Hwy. 225 and plans to relocate operations to the new campus by third quarter 2015 once construction is completed.

The new Flexitallic campus will consist of a two-story office building, testing lab and shop space, and other Houston Flexitallic facilities will be merged into the new campus location.

The Deerwood Glen Business Park is a 150-acre business park that now has only 26 acres left for development.

Read more at Your Houston News.

Houston: $23 million sheds light on Lantern Lane sale 

(11/5/2014 6:25:00 AM)

HOUSTON - AmREIT acquired Lantern Lane Shopping Center, an 81,567-sf Fresh Market and CVS/Pharmacy anchored shopping center, for approximately $22.7 million.

Average household incomes within a one-mile radius of Lantern Lane are over $163,000.

There are approximately 62,000 households and over 95,800 daytime employees within a three-mile radius of the property.

Source: SEC Filings

Houston: 143,000-SF Cypress Station Center sells 


HOUSTON - The Cypress Station Shopping Center, a 143,000-sf center located near FM 1960 and I-45 between The Woodlands and downtown Houston, has been sold.

Weingarten Realty Investors sold the property to a private REIT in Canada who plans to enhance the property with a light renovation of the parking lot and facade.

Read more at GlobeSt.

Meritage buys 127 acres in Imperial Sugar Land community 


SUGAR LAND - Meritage Homes has purchased 127 acres in the Imperial Sugar Land development. The home builder plans to develop 335 homes in the master-planned community, which is at Hwy. 6 and Hwy. 90.

The acquisition represents a third of the land to be developed in the community and the new homes represent about half the single-family homes slated for the master-planned community.

Floor plans and prices for the Meritage homes will be announced in early 2015.

Imperial’s first neighborhoods are beginning to take shape with the construction of garden-style, luxury patio homes and two-story townhomes.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: $17 million for 155,000-SF Schlumberger bldg. 

(11/4/2014 7:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - The 155,324-sf office building at 1325 S. Dairy Ashford Rd. was sold for a gross sale price of $17.0 million. Recently released third quarter reports show Parkway recognized a gain on sale of the Schlumberger Building of approximately $6.7 million.

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

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

Read more at PRNewswire and CoStar Group.

Galveston home sales strong, inventory tightening 

(11/4/2014 6:45:00 AM)

GALVESTON - According to Galveston Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service data compiled by Sand ‘N Sea Properties, the island’s hot streak of strong residential real estate sales and rising prices isn’t showing any signs of faltering.

Residential sales in the island’s historic neighborhoods — East End, Lost Bayou, San Jacinto and Silk Stocking — did particularly well, with sales rising 31 percent.

Loft and condominium sales in the island’s downtown also saw a resurgence. West End and waterfront properties continued to do well, also.

Moderately priced homes — those selling for less than $400,000 — especially in canal communities, are selling well.

The data represent all island properties in the multiple listing service. It’s also important to note that the Galveston Association of Realtors does not include all data for all island real estate transactions, which means many more occurred this year.

The number of sales rose to 567 from 510, an 11 percent increase in the first nine months, compared with the same period a year ago.

The dollar volume generated by sales rose to $169.7 million compared with $139.2 million a year ago, a 22 percent spike.

The median selling price for the first nine months of this year was $237,000, a 10 percent increase compared with a year ago.

“People are recognizing that their homes are worth more than they had been in the last couple of years and people are moving on that before prices go up,” said Peter Van Borssum with Sand ‘N Sea.

“We’re struggling with inventory, there aren’t a lot of houses to sell and we all have people who are very eager to buy on the island,” Borssum said.

Read more at the Galveston Daily News.

Conroe Veterans Affairs Clinic moving to 30,000 SF 


CONROE - Three years after announcing the expansion on the Conroe Veterans Affairs Clinic, officials with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs have confirmed the location of the new clinic that will span over 30,000 sf.

The new site is a medical office building at 690 Loop 336 S. The clinic will occupy the third floor for primary care and part of the fourth floor for mental health services.

“Our spacious new Conroe clinic location will allow us to offer area veterans much-needed specialty services like audiology, optometry and radiology,” said Adam C. Walmus, director of the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.

In 2013, the Conroe clinic logged 44,000 outpatient visits. According to the VA’s website, there are 1.7 million veterans in Texas, including 1.5 million men and 177,075 women.

The Conroe clinic saw some relief when the Tomball clinic opened last fall. That clinic, located at 1200 Main St., has served more than 7,000 veterans in the area since opening.

“Some of the veterans, about 1,000, were able to transfer over there, but our need for local quality, health care for our veterans continues to explode,” U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady said.

As for the new location, it is close to the current clinic and highly visible. The site also will include about 220 parking spots, including 20 handicap parking spots. Brady said the build-out of the new space will happen quickly.

Read more at Your Houston News.

Memorial Hermann's $20M urgent care to Spring 


SPRING - Memorial Hermann Health System will build a 30,000-sf emergency and urgent care center at the Grand Pkwy. and Boudreaux Rd. to provide residents with walk-in, after-hours and weekend care.

The total project cost including land and developer building is $20.4 million. The center is expected to open in 2016.

The building will include up to six primary care doctors, an imaging department, a 24-hour emergency room and sports medicine and rehabilitation.

Patients who need higher levels of care will be transferred to Memorial Hermann The Woodlands, Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center or Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital.

In early October, Memorial Hermann officials announced plans to build a $168 million Cypress medical campus, including an 80-bed hospital. See previous story Memorial Hermann to build $168M Cypress campus.

The Spring and Cypress projects are part of the health system's estimated $1.2 billion regional development. That total also accounts for Memorial Hermann's $650 million Medical Center flagship expansion and renovation.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: 3 million-sf Allen Center 95% leased 

(11/3/2014 3:00:00 PM)

HOUSTON - Allen Center, which consists of three buildings totaling 3.1 million sf on the western edge of downtown near Allen Pkwy. and I-45, has logged 370,000 sf of leases so far this year, according to real estate firm Cassidy Turley.

The complex, owned by Brookfield, is comprised of

  • One Allen Center, a 34-story building at 500 Dallas;
  • Two Allen Center, a 36-story structure at 1200 Smith; and
  • Three Allen Center, a 50-story building at 333 Clay.

"We're up to 95 percent leased," said Paul Frazier, senior vice president of the Houston region for Brookfield. "We've brought in some new companies. We're planning on making some improvements to the complex."

With a 125,000-sf lease from Memorial Resource Development at One Allen Center, Brookfield has filled most of the space previously occupied by Hess Corp., which moved a few years ago.

Among other leases signed in 2014 are: Rice Energy, 6,800 sf; Agave Petroleum, 6,900 sf; and Freeport LNG, which expanded by 9,600 sf for a total of about 35,000 sf. Motiva Enterprises recently moved into three floors of subleased space.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: Fry-529 Retail Center's 115,000 SF Fiesta ready 

(11/3/2014 8:45:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Phase One of the 22-acre Fry-529 Retail Center is nearing completion. The first phase consists of 115,000 sf plus additional pad sites. The project is located at southeast corner of North Fry Rd. and FM 529.

The development will be anchored by Fiesta Mart, along with Goodwill Select Store & Donation Center as its junior anchor.

The Fiesta Mart store will occupy about 60,000 sf of the center. The store is slated to open in January.

Additional tenants will include a mix of retail, restaurant, medical, dental and service-oriented businesses.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Hot demand for welders sparks bidding war in Gulf Coast 

(10/31/2014 11:30:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Welders are among a broader group of skilled construction workers who have become a hot commodity on the Gulf Coast, home to much of the $125 billion in chemical plant construction and expansion underway in the U.S.

It's not uncommon for top welders to earn six-figure salaries, factoring in overtime, and entry-level workers can earn $40,000 a year or more after just a few months of training.

"There's no such thing as an unemployed welder," said J.D. Taliaferro, who helps oversee the welding program at San Jacinto College, where demand is so high that the school is looking to add 60 more welding training booths to the 118 it has now. Nighttime classes are full, and the community college recently added a 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. section.

A report earlier this year from Sugar Land-based market intelligence firm Industrial Info Resources forecast that the number of skilled construction workers in the Gulf Coast region will grow from around 62,000 today to more than 103,000 by 2016, driven largely by demand from the petrochemical surge.

"Right now, you're starting to see a bidding war for welders," said Bryan Edwards, assistant business manager at the Pipefitters Local 211 union. In addition to rising hourly wages, contractors are offering welders increasing per diems — tax-free living expenses — that can approach $120 cash per day when previously $50 was common, Edwards said.

There is the question of how long the employment boom for welders will last.

Nobody is certain, especially because many assume some of the projects on the docket today will eventually be scrapped. Even if that happens, companies will need workers to maintain the facilities they build.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Who done it? Houston to ID firearms, drugs in $65M facility 

(10/31/2014 10:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences (HCIFS) has begun construction on $65 million facility to be located in the Texas Medical Center. The nine-story, 200,000-sf facility is expected to be complete in 2017.

The facility will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology as well as integrated clinical, laboratory, administrative, public and teaching/training areas.

The center will feature work space for pathology, investigations, anthropology, neuropathology, entomology, emergency management, toxicology and evidence handling, among a variety of other practices in forensic science.

“The laboratories are designed as open environments that can be reconfigured quickly as equipment and methods evolve over time,” said Roger Kahn, director of the HCIFS crime laboratory.

The HCIFS provides medical examiner and crime laboratory services to the county, which features forensic genetics, drug chemistry, forensic toxicology, trace evidence and firearms identification.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Catalyst Houston's 361-unit high-rise to downtown 


HOUSTON - Catalyst Houston, 1423 Texas Ave., is set to break ground on Nov. 5. The 28-story, 361-unit apartment project is expected to cost $105 million and be complete summer 2016.

Catalyst Houston will be on 1.4 acres at city Block 52, which is bound by Texas Ave., Austin St., Prairie St. and La Branch St.

The one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, which average 950 sf, will feature hardwood flooring, quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances, 7- to 12-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows and a private balcony or terrace overlooking downtown.

The top two floors will feature about 20 penthouses, which overlook Minute Maid Park two blocks to the east. These exclusive residents will have secure access to the floor and their own private garage, as well as a private clubroom with an outdoor grill, fireplace and private bar.

Common amenities include a Wi-Fi lounge and conference center, a fitness center, a "sky club" with a catering kitchen, fireplace and rooftop deck. There also will be an outdoor dog run with a pet wash, 6,000 sf of restaurant space on the ground floor and a "hospitality suite," a one-bedroom unit that can be rented out by the day for visitors.

Rent prices have yet to be determined, but they will be similar to other downtown Class A projects, which currently charge about $2.80 a foot or about $2,660 a month.

The development is a joint venture between Illinois-based Marquette Cos., Texas-based Hunt Cos. and Los Angeles-based Ares Management LLC. This is Marquette's first development in Houston and the second Catalyst project, modeled after one in Chicago's West Loop.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Katy ISD expected to hit 100,000 students by 2024 


KATY - Katy ISD, which added some 2,865 students between October 2013 and October 2014, is expected to hit nearly 100,000 students by 2024, according to the report by College Station-based Population and Survey Analysts.

Using data points such as new housing starts, planned construction projects, unemployment rates and student enrollment, the analysts help districts plan for growth, including where to locate new schools.

"This year has been the most exciting in regard to growth," said Pat Guseman, the group's president. The Katy ISD growth rate has been steadily accelerating since 2012, a trend expected to continue through next year when it will hit 4.5 percent, bringing student enrollment to 73,606, according to the projections.

Much of that growth will be driven by the district's youngest students, according to the report. "You're really leaping forward with elementary students," Guseman told the school board at its October meeting. According to this year's projections, the district's elementary student population could hit 41,982 by 2019, almost half of the total district population projected for that year.

Part of the draw for young families with students in elementary school, said Guseman, is the growing stock of new apartment units, which at 3,252 will comprise more than half of the more than 6,000 new housing units on the horizon in the next year.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Spring: Woodson's Reserve(s) 1,050 homes near Riley Fuzzel 

(10/30/2014 11:00:00 AM)

SPRING - Woodson’s Reserve, a 692-acre community, will be developed between The Woodlands and Kingwood along the future Grand Pkwy., currently Riley Fuzzel Rd.

It is situated east of I-45, six miles from Exxon Mobil’s 385-acre campus.

Designed for 1,050 homes, the development will offer single-family houses with lot widths averaging 60 feet, 70 feet, 80 feet and 90 feet. Patio home sites will average 55 feet and 65 feet wide.

The community is designed to integrate the homesites into the area’s wooded topography.

More than 150 acres has been designated for open areas, nature preserves and trails. Among the planned amenities are a 6,400-sf community center with a clubhouse, 24-hour access fitness room, children’s room, pool, lake and dog park.

Houses will be built by Toll Brothers, Meritage Homes and Perry Homes beginning in early 2015. Model homes are expected to open in January. The community will be part of the Conroe Independent School District.

Toll Brothers is developing the project in partnership with Texas-based Cernus Development.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Missouri City: $5.2 million swarms Market at Bees Creek 

(10/30/2014 8:45:00 AM)

MISSOURI CITY - The Market at Bees Creek, located at 4225 Sienna Pkwy., has been purchased by a local investor for $5.2 million, or about $233 per sf.

The 22,307-sf, Houston-area shopping center was built in 2004 in the Far New Territory Retail submarket. The property was reportedly 73 percent occupied at the time of sale.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Listen to Podcast 233 for this story and more.

WoodLofts, 350 luxury units, coming to Shenandoah 


SHENANDOAH - WoodLofts, a 350-unit, five- and six-story apartment complex, will begin construction in early 2015. The apartments will be located at I-45 and David Vetter Blvd.

The first building, fronting I-45, will offer restaurants and shopping on the first floor with five levels of apartments.

The second building will feature a wraparound parking garage with four stories of apartments. Both apartment complexes will feature underground parking.

The average size of an apartment will be 900 sf and floor plans will range from studio to three bedrooms. 

A high-level lounge offers views of The Woodlands and downtown Houston.

The developers of WoodLofts include Kevin Kirton & Matthew Morgan of Buckhead Investment Partners and Carlos Gonzalez & Zane Segal of NorthGulf ZSP.

The completion date is set for third to fourth quarter 2016.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Spring Valley: 68,000-SF medical plaza underway 


SPRING VALLEY - Developer i3Interests has started construction of Spring Valley Medical Plaza — a six-story, 68,000-sf medical office building and surgery center in the City of Spring Valley.

The building will be located at 9234 Katy Fwy. near Blalock a few miles east of the Energy Corridor.

Completion is planned in fourth quarter 2015. It is 60 percent preleased, and spaces are available ranging from 2,000 to 24,000 sf.

The tenants have not been announced, but the building will house a surgery center, plastic surgeons and emergency medical technicians. The building will consist of two stories of space, three stories of garage parking and a basement garage.

Nearby, Ersa Grae Corp. and The Stoller Group broke ground on a 98,500-sf headquarters building in October for the The Stoller Group at 9090 Katy Fwy.

See previous story Spring Valley Village: five-story office, retail underway for more information.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

305-Unit, The Carter, going up in Houston Museum District 

(10/29/2014 11:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - The Carter, a 20-story, 305-unit apartment tower, is underway in the Museum District. The two-acre site is located on Chelsea Blvd. between Montrose Blvd. and Travis St. It is expected to be complete in 2017.

The building will include one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans ranging from 723 to 3,329 sf. It will also have two-story rental "townhomes" on the first two floors that will range from 1,691 to 2,373 sf.

The units will have ten-foot ceilings, keyless entry systems, built-in speakers and stone countertops.

Amenities include a pool with lounging areas and fire pits, a kitchen, fitness center, outdoor covered dog park and private garages with access to electric car charging stations.

Dallas-based StreetLights Residential is developing the project.

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

2200 West Loop South sold: energy supplier pays $47 million 

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

HOUSTON - Tenaris has purchased 2200 West Loop South from real estate investment firm APF Properties for approximately $47 million, or about $233 per sf. The 200,000-sf, ten-story office building is located along I-610 within the Galleria/Uptown submarket.

Fully integrated real estate investment firm APF Properties realized a 60 percent return on its 2200 West Loop South investment.

The property is in line to potentially see a bump in future value with 75 percent of the building's below-market leases slated to expire by year-end 2017. APF acquired the property in 2013 for $37 million.

Hines developed 2200 West Loop South in 1974. Renovated in 2000, the building is currently 94 percent leased to a tenant roster that includes Morgan Stanley, Parsons Engineering and White and Mackillop & Baham, according to CoStar information.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Houston: 174,000-SF Woodbranch Three completed 


HOUSTON - PM Realty Group completed the construction of the 173,608-sf Woodbranch Three, a seven-story office building located at 12140 Wickchester Lane within the Jacobs Plaza.

PM Realty Group broke ground on the property in 2013 near I-10 in the Energy Corridor. The property is anchored by Jacobs Engineering, which occupies about 81,000 sf.

Kirksey Architect served as project architect. Wade Bowlin and Allie Hubbard of PM Realty Group handle leasing.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Colliers 3Q 2014: Houston office YTD delivers 4.5M SF 


HOUSTON - Houston’s strong economy continues to spur office development with over 17.3 million sf currently under construction, according to Colliers International 3Q 2014 Office Report.

Over 1.2 million sf of new inventory delivered during Q3, bringing 2014 year-to-date delivered inventory to 4.5 million sf. Our forecast projects another 5.3 million sf of new inventory will be completed by year-end 2014, which includes the ExxonMobil north campus.

Houston’s economy is expected to remain strong in 2014 due to healthy job growth and continued expansion in the energy sector.

Houston’s office market posted 420,419 sf of positive net absorption in 3Q 2014, much less than the 1.6 million sf posted in the previous quarter.

Suburban Class A space posted the largest gain, with 631,776 sf of positive net absorption, the majority of which occurred in The Woodlands, Katy Freeway, and West Loop/Galleria submarkets.

Houston Office Market Indicators
  2Q 2014 3Q 2014
Citywide net
absorption (SF)
1.6 million 420,000
Citywide avg.
11.6% 11.9%
Citywide avg.
rental rate
$26.52 $26.94
Citywide delivered
inventory (SF)
1.7 million 1.5 million
Class A Rental Rate    
CBD $40.54 $42.52
Suburban $32.17 $31.80
Class A Vacancy    
CBD 9.9% 9.8%
Suburban 8.9% 9.6%

Click here
to see the full Houston Office Market Report 3Q 2014 with submarkets from Colliers.

See Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Market Data Sources for more office data.

Fortune maps Houston 

(10/28/2014 6:40:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Between 2012 and 2013, Houston gained ten additional Fortune 1000 companies whose HQ’s reside in Houston, according to JLL.

The 58 companies averaged nearly an 8.0 percent jump in revenue from 2012 to 2013 and have an average market value of $16.4 billion as of March 2014.

See JLL and Fortune map here!

Houston: $35M Lone Star Flight Museum on Ellington's radar 


HOUSTON - The Lone Star Flight Museum has unveiled the master plan to build a 130,000-sf museum at Ellington Airport.

The museum has been located in Galveston for 20 years and was renovated after damage from Hurricane Ike.

The new master plan includes a spring 2015 groundbreaking on the project that will reopen in 2016 at Ellington Airport.

Museum officials and patrons have already raised $25 million of the $35 million needed for the project that will include an enriched educational experience.

The new museum will feature examples of historic aircraft and will include a hands-on interactive learning environment for students, focusing on science, technology, engineering and math.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: Sept. 2014 construction permits set new record 

(10/27/2014 8:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - For the seventh consecutive month, the 12-month total for construction permitting in the City of Houston set another record in Sept. — topping $8.6 billion, a 51.3 percent increase from $5.7 billion in permits issued over the 12-months ending Sept. 2013, according to the Greater Houston Partnership.

Permitting activity in Sept. 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 Sept. 2013.

Residential permits increased 119.4 percent from $198.1 million in Sept. 2013 to $434.4 million in Sept. 2014. Multifamily permits nearly quadrupled year-over-year, from $77.4 million (13 buildings) in Sept. 2013 to $294.5 million (94 buildings) in Sept. 2014.

The City approved permits for hotel construction valued at $225.4 million in Sept. 2014, up from $950,000 in Sept. 2013.

Office building permits increased from $47.8 million in Sept. 2013 to $236.9 million in Sept. 2014.

Click here to see the full Building Permits Update from the Greater Houston Partnership for Sept. 2014.

Houston: 112,000 SF and 72,000 SF check in at two hospitals 


HOUSTON - Texas Orthopedic Hospital plans to add two floors totaling 112,500 sf as part of an expansion plan, according to Debra Burbridge, vice president of marketing for HCA Gulf Coast Division.

Construction is expected to begin next year. The expansion allows for the privatization of patient beds as well as the creation of clinical, business office and educational space on the fourth and fifth floors, said Karen Bard, a marketing official from the hospital.

The hospital is owned and operated by Hospital Corp. of America (HCA), Houston's second largest health care system, according to Houston Business Journal research.

HCA also operates the Women's Hospital of Texas, which is in the process of finishing a 72,000-sf expansion that will add a pediatric floor and pediatric support area in its emergency department.

When finished, the Women's Hospital of Texas project will cost around $26.5 million, according to Linda Russell, the hospital's CEO. Part of the build includes shell space on the hospital's fourth floor that will allow for future growth.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Pasadena: $16.7M, 124,000-SF middle school underway 


PASADENA - The 124,294-sf Nelda R. Sullivan Middle School has broken ground. It is located at the corner of Queens Rd. and South Houston Rd. The $16.7 million dollar campus, made possible through School Bond 2011, will accommodate about 850 students.

The school will accommodate students from L.F. Smith, South Shaver and Williams Elementary. It was named after long-time Pasadena ISD board member Nelda Sullivan, a retired businesswoman and volunteer in the community.

“The project is part of a three part process,” Dr. Kirk Lewis, the district’s superintendent of schools said. “Queens Intermediate used to stand in this place. That campus was replaced by a new facility down the street. The old building was torn down. And now construction has begun on the Sullivan Middle School.”

SBWV Architects Inc. is designing the building.

Read more at Your Houston News.

SurePoint Self Storage hauls 123,000 SF to Sugar Land 


SUGAR LAND - SurePoint Self Storage has acquired 2.3 acres near the intersection of the Grand Pkwy. and Hwy. 59 on which it plans to build a four-story, 123,000-sf building.

Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2015. The location will be the company’s second in the Houston area. The owners are Jeff Bailey, Brian Cisarik and Robert Loeb.

The three San Antonio-based developers have several self-storage projects under development in Texas, including one on Spring Cypress Rd. in Cypress. Construction on the three-story, 110,000-sf facility is expected to commence before the end of the year.

Read more at Inside Self-Storage.

Houstonís Clay-Campbell, Kirby Center sold for $13M 

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

HOUSTON - EastGroup Properties sold a three-building industrial portfolio totaling 243,100 sf for $13.4 million to Cabot Properties Inc. The buildings were 100 percent leased at the time of sale.

Clay-Campbell I and II are located at 4300-4320 and 4444-4456 Campbell Rd. Completed in 1982, both buildings have 58,846 sf and are equipped with cross-dock, dock-high loading bays with a building depth of 220 feet.

Kirby Business Center is located at 9350-9370 South Point Dr., which is just south of NRG Stadium and the Texas Medical Center. The building was completed in 1980 and is equipped with dock-high, front-load bays with an approximately building depth of 204 feet.

Read more at GlobeSt. and SEC filings.

Houston raises the bar on new Class A office rents 

(10/24/2014 6:38:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Newly constructed, Class A office space in Greenway Plaza, the West Loop/Galleria area and the Central Business District is commanding comparatively higher rent levels.

In some cases, tenants will pay up to $6 more per sf for these buildings, compared to other Class A offices in these submarkets, according to the Houston office of CBRE. The CBRE data takes into account all Class A buildings.

When comparing rent for existing Class A office buildings to asking prices for projects under construction, Greenway Plaza, West Loop/Galleria area and the Central Business District will see the largest difference.

The majority of the new buildings in these submarkets are considered top of the line, called trophy assets, and typically command high rents, according to Graham Hildebrand, Houston research manager for JLL.

When compared to existing trophy assets, such as BG Group Place, the gap between asking prices is likely to be less, closer to a $3 difference, said Hildebrand.

Office construction in Houston has increased by about 54 percent over the last 12 months. More than half of that space is leased or committed, with large tenants moving or expanding to take the bulk of it. That's the highest level the area has seen since the boom of the 1980s.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Former prison land selling fast in Sugar Land  


SUGAR LAND - More than half of the 90 acres of prime commercial property in Sugar Land that was recently put up for sale at the master-planned community Telfair have sold with medical offices, a mixed-use development and multifamily project in the works.

Approximately 40 acres are left for sale at the southeast quadrant of US Hwy. 59, US Hwy. 69 and University Blvd.

San Diego-based Newland Communities, the developer behind the master-planned community Telfair, put the property up for sale in February.

Vista Equities Group purchased 14 acres of the Newland property to develop a mixed-use project tentatively dubbed University Commons. The $45 million project will be at the intersection of Hwy. 59 and University Dr. and includes 110,000 sf of retail space and 40,000 sf of office space. The approximate opening date will be mid-2016, according to Woody Mann Jr., president of Vista Equities.

"Upon full build-out, the property will add over a billion dollars of new capital investment and will be the home for several thousand employees,” said Charlie Herder, co-chairman & principal of Colliers International, who is marketing the land.

The land was originally owned by the Texas Prison System.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston: EastGroup distribution projects 3Q 2014 

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

HOUSTON - EastGroup began construction of four business distribution projects during third quarter 2014. The two in Houston, West Road III (78,000 sf) and Ten West Crossing 7 (68,000 sf), have projected total investments of $5 million and $4.9 million, respectively.

During the first nine months of 2014, EastGroup began construction of 15 development projects containing 1,236,000 sf with a projected total investment of $88.9 million.

These developments are located in Houston, San Antonio, Charlotte, Phoenix, Orlando and Tampa. The Houston projects are detailed in the table below.

Houston Development Properties Started in 2014
Property Size (SF) Actual or
World Houston 41 104,000 08/2014 $6,900,000
Ten West Crossing 6 64,000 10/2014 $4,800,000
West Road I 63,000 10/2014 $4,900,000
West Road II 100,000 10/2014 $6,800,000
West Road III 78,000 02/2015 $5,000,000
Ten West Crossing 7 68,000 04/2015 $4,900,000
Totals 477,000 - $33,300,000

Source: SEC filings

See San Antonio: EastGroup distribution projects 3Q 2014 SEC for details on the San Antonio projects.

Houston: $533M Memorial Hermann expansion 


HOUSTON - Memorial Hermann Healthcare System is launching a $533 million expansion that will add a major hospital tower and 160 additional hospital beds to its facility in the Texas Medical Center campus.

The master plan project includes construction of the Hermann Pavilion 2, a 17-story hospital that will provide the Texas Medical Center with more than 1 million sf of expanded emergency room, operating room, intensive care and administrative support capacity.

The hospital will include 160 additional new inpatient beds (plus 71 replacement beds), 24 new operating rooms, with six additional shell space floors for future patient bed expansion.

A helipad on the roof of the hospital will provide expanded capacity for the Memorial Hermann Life Flight air ambulance.

The construction of a new six-story parking and infrastructure building will provide additional parking, future space for a new kitchen service and the expansion of hospital heating, cooling and emergency generator systems.

The Texas Medical Center campus operates one of only two Level I trauma centers in the greater Houston area, providing 24/7 emergency and trauma care. The master plan project is scheduled for completion in 2018.

Read more at Realty News Report. This story is an update from the previous story Body of experts' $650M Houston Memorial Hermann expansion.

Grocery shopping service perk of Homewood Suites in Spring 


Spring - Homewood Suites by Hilton Spring, located at 23800 I-45 N, is in the exterior finishing stage of the construction process. The four-story, 123-suite hotel contains more than 88,000 sf.

One of the more unique aspects of the new hotel is its complimentary grocery shopping service. Guests will be able to leave a list and the hotel staff will purchase and deliver the items. The only cost is that of the groceries.

The new facility will be made up of a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom rooms. All suites will offer fully equipped kitchens and separate sleeping and living spaces.

The hotel will feature recreational options to stay active, including an outdoor pool, sports court and fitness center with Precor brand equipment. In addition, the hotel also will offer complimentary Internet and daily full-hot breakfast bar.

The hotel is scheduled to open April 2015.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: 103,000-SF Cypress Business Center sold 


HOUSTON - HFF has closed the sale of Cypress Business Center, a 103,979-sf flex distribution facility in Houston.

Cypress Business Center is located off I-45 and Cypress Creek Parkway (FM 1960) at 301-305 Wells Fargo Dr. in North Houston, approximately 12 miles from George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

The property is 74 percent leased to AutoZone, DKNXT, DynaQual, Charis Bible College, Premiere Safeguard and Speedy Printing & Office Supplies.


Cabela's to open 72,000-SF League City store 


LEAGUE CITY - Cabela's Inc. plans to open a 72,000-sf store, which will anchor a new retail development at the intersection of I-45 and Big League Dreams Pkwy. Construction is expected to begin later in 2014.

The store is expected to open in fall 2015 and create approximately 170 full-time and part-time jobs. Store features will include an indoor archery range, an archery tech room, a "gun library," a "bargain cave," and a deli.

The store will be Cabela's sixth Texas location, in addition to stores in Fort Worth, Buda, Allen, Waco and Lubbock.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston's 120,000-SF Bellevue near River Oaks sold 


HOUSTON - The Bellevue, an extensively renovated 14-story office building near River Oaks, has a new owner. Principal Financial Group purchased the 120,000-sf building at 2323 S. Shepherd.

The sellers, Stream Realty Partners and DRA Advisor, had purchased the building in 2011. They transformed the 1984 building into a boutique property with a more streamlined layout and redesigned lobby.

The improvements include: an extensive building and lobby redesign and upgrades; new high-speed elevator system including cabs; common corridor improvements; restroom upgrades; exterior landscaping improvements; and installation of an EMS system.

The Bellevue’s tenants include law firms and small oil and gas companies.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: Tall buildings, steep prices in River Oaks District 

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

HOUSTON - The River Oaks District is one of the largest real estate developments in Houston's urban core. A number of luxury brands, including Cartier, Dior, Hermès and Tom Ford, have signed agreements to operate stores in the 15-acre complex.

Residential developers are staking their claims on the remaining parcels of land behind the former Westcreek apartments on Westcreek Lane.

Their plans include a cluster of tall buildings to house well-to-do Houstonians who can pay the steep prices that come with living next to one of the city's newest and flashiest mixed-use developments.

"People will be able to walk to restaurants, high-end retail and theaters. It's something that hasn't been offered in Houston," said Robert Bland of Pelican Builders, which is planning a 17-story residential tower on Westcreek Lane.

Bland plans to break ground on the 96-unit building on a 1.5-acre site next summer and have it open two years later. Individual condominiums will average 2,000 sf, and prices will range from $800,000 to $2 million.

Nearby, Randall Davis is in the early stages of planning a condo tower on nearly two acres, developers are building the 25-story SkyHouse River Oaks and Gables Residential is planning to break ground on a 15-story apartment.

An office building, a hotel and two additional high-rise apartment buildings are planned on the remaining Westcreek property.

High-density development will increasingly take the place of low-rise buildings in desirable, close-in areas as more people want to live in the city center and land becomes more expensive.

Additional traffic, Bland said, is the price of progress. However, he also points out that the number of new residential units proposed on the old Westcreek site won't be much higher that what was there originally.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

New 348 units to splash in Conroe Waterfront Center 


CONROE - Buckhead Investment Partners Inc. will soon close on 13.7 acres behind the Market Place Shopping Center at 2932 I-45 North, near the intersection of Teas Nursery Rd. (FM 3083) and Plantation Blvd.

Buckhead plans to build a 348-unit garden-style apartment complex — consisting of ten three-story buildings. Construction is expected to begin in late first quarter 2015 and will last 16 months.

The apartments will be zoned to Conroe Independent School District's Reaves Elementary, Cryer Intermediate, Peet Junior High and Conroe high schools.

The project will offer one- to three-bedroom floor plans with an average of 846 sf.

The project will be situated in the 118-acre Conroe Waterfront Center, which is being developed by Houston-based Newquest Crosswell.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Savills Studley 3Q 2014 Houston Office Report 

(10/21/2014 8:00:00 AM)

Houston - Savills Studley has released exclusive new third quarter 2014 findings on the state of Houston’s office market.

As hiring and leasing slow, the region’s Class A availability rate decreased to 17.5 percent in 3Q. In addition, the Class A availability rate has increased to 18.1 percent in the Katy Fwy. submarket and 30.3 percent in the Northwest/290 Far submarket.

The region’s overall average asking rent rose by 1.0 percent to $28.05 during 3Q and has jumped by 15.1 percent year-over-year.

Class A rent fell by 0.9 percent to $34.87 in 3Q but has increased by 11.0 percent compared to a year ago.

Leasing activity increased, rising by 6.0 percent in 3Q, slightly above the market’s five-year average. Class A deal volume jumped by 23.0 percent, with strong increases in activity in the Katy Fwy. submarket (590,118 sf) and the West Loop/Galleria submarket (320,236 sf).

"Some Houston real estate industry experts have growing concern that the combination of rapidly dropping energy prices and soft energy demand could spell the end of the longest sustained positive office market in the past 30 years," Steve Biegel, executive vice president and co-branch manager at Savills Studley, told

Click here for the Savills Studley entire Houston Office Sector 3Q 2014 Report.

For more office stats, head over to Houston Market Data Sources.

Tomball: Lone Star's 85,000-SF Creekside Center underway 


TOMBALL - Lone Star College System’s (LSCS) new 85,000-sf Creekside Center at the corner of West New Harmony Trail and Kuykendahl Rd. has broken ground.

Offering specialized workforce training, the Creekside Center is expected to span 15 acres with space to accommodate an estimated 3,500 students, said Lee Ann Nutt, acting president of LSC–Tomball.

Under the management of the Tomball campus, the Creekside Center is slated to open its doors to students beginning January 2016.

The new center will offer several certification and associate degree programs, including petroleum data technology, e-commerce programming, accounting and business marketing and management.

LSCS Chancellor Steve Head said the Creekside Center is funded through revenue bonds from the system’s operating budget.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Houston's River Oaks District 300-unit high-rise with Gables 


HOUSTON - A 15-story apartment is planned for a 2.5-acre site along Westcreek Lane between Westheimer and San Felipe. The yet-to-be-named building will have 300 units, averaging 1,400 sf and priced in the range of $2.60 per sf.

Gables Residential is the developer and plans to break ground second quarter 2015. Ziegler Cooper designed the building.

Joshua Landry, area vice president of investments for Gables Residential, said the building will target “a sophisticated renter with a higher disposable income.”

“We are doing a higher level of service, concierge service and amenities we will offer will be different from other projects,” Landry said.

This is the company’s first high-rise in Houston, though it has built tall towers in other markets. The building should open about 20 months after construction starts.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Overseas Import Export renews 66,000-SF lease in Houston 


HOUSTON - Overseas Import Export Inc. renewed its lease of 66,000 sf in the industrial facility at 1800-1802 South St.

The single-tenant building was constructed in 1982 and sits on 2.4 acres. The building has 15 loading docks and a clear height of 26 feet.

Read more at CoStar Group.

HAR: Houston area cities' home sales Sept. 2014 

(10/20/2014 7:45:00 AM)

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

•  The median price of existing single-family homes decreased to $197,900 — down 4.4 percent from August 2014.
•  Existing single-family home sales decreased 15.7 percent from August 2014 for a September 2014 total of 6,227 units sold.
•  Condos increased in price to $164,900 — up 7.1 percent from August 2014.
•  Existing condo sales decreased 5.9 percent in September 2014 over August 2014 for a total of 684 units sold.

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

HAR Sept. 2014 Regional Sales and Price Activity
MLS Wide Median Price
  Sept. 2014
Price Chg.
vs. Sept. 2013
Units Sold
  Sept. 2014
Sales Chg.
vs. Sept. 2013
$197,900 7.4% 6,227 3.0%
HAR (condo) $164,900 9.2% 684 6.0%
Region Cities*        
Houston $180,000 5.9% 1,897 7.8%
Katy $228,250 8.7% 490 -7.7%
Spring $190,000 15.2% 437 3.6%
Cypress $232,000 13.2% 265 -4.3%
Richmond $235,000 15.8% 206 -3.7%
Sugar Land $287,750 0.8% 200 19.0%
Humble $160,100 0.3% 187 -14.2%
Pearland $229,000 16.5% 187 12.7%

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

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

Houston: Ascension rising to 280 units near CityCentre 


HOUSTON - Ascension on the Bayou, a Class A, 280-unit apartment building, is underway. The building is located on 4.2 acres at 150 Sam Houston Pkwy. The property is one mile south of CityCentre and sits across from the east side of Terry Hershey Park.

Ascension features five stories of living over two levels of parking, one underground. The LEED Silver-certified building will be energy efficient and use brick, stone and metal materials in its construction.

Ascension will have one- and two-bedroom units with an average size of 950 sf. Each unit will have a balcony overlooking the bayou or an interior courtyard.

PRD is the developer of the project and expects to deliver the first units in early 2016. Construction began earlier this spring.

Common amenities will include a large clubhouse, multipurpose room, conference room, theater and fitness center. Outside, residents will be able to enjoy a patio with an outdoor grill and fireplace as well as a large courtyard with an infinity-edge pool.

To encourage walkability in this growing urban location, PRD plans to develop a pedestrian and bike path from Ascension under Beltway 8 to Terry Hershey Park.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Pearland's Shadow Creek reserves 40 acres for mixed-use 


PEARLAND - NewQuest Crosswell has broken ground on a 40-acre mixed-use development, The Reserve at Shadow Creek Ranch, along SH 288 in Shadow Creek Ranch.

It will include up to 300,000 sf of office space, a multifamily project and a 110,000-sf medical facility.

NewQuest Crosswell secured the property for Shadow Creek Ranch, which totals 200 acres, eight years ago and has been selling tracts to national retailers like Sam's Club along with medical providers like Memorial Hermann Healthcare System and Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.

This remaining 40-acre property is the last portion of those 200 acres and is planned to be the most dense. It is also the largest contiguous undeveloped property in the area, according to NewQuest.

Memorial Hermann is currently building a 230,000-sf acute care hospital nearby that will include 64 beds. It is slated to open in December 2015.

Last year, Kelsey-Seybold opened its new 180,000-sf corporate campus housing 1,200 employees. It is located about a mile northwest of The Reserve.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

The Woodlands: 205-room Embassy Suites at Hughes Landing 


THE WOODLANDS - The Howard Hughes Corp. has begun construction on a 205-room Embassy Suites Hotel at Hughes Landing. The 172,000-sf hotel is described as an upscale, all-suite, full-service hotel for both business and leisure travelers.

It will include 3,000 sf of meeting and event space, a full-service bar and restaurant, a fitness center and a 4,000-sf rooftop pool deck overlooking Lake Woodlands. It is slated for completion in late 2015.

“The rapid growth at Hughes Landing has created significant demand for a new hotel in the area to effectively serve the needs of our local business and leisure travelers," Paul Layne, executive vice president of master planned communities for The Howard Hughes Corp., said.

The hotel is located within Hughes Landing, a 66-acre mixed-use development, which will include several Class A office buildings, shopping, restaurants, Whole Foods' first Woodlands location and a 390-unit upscale multifamily project called One Lake's Edge.

Two 197,700-sf office buildings — One Hughes Landing and Two Hughes Landing — are already open. Three Hughes Landing, a 12-story, 321,000-sf office building recently broke ground and is expected to be complete the third quarter 2015.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

CBRE: Houston industrial 3Q 2014 review 

(10/17/2014 10:59:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Due to the continued growth in the oil and gas industry, Houston’s industrial market continues to be one of the strongest in the nation, according to the third quarter report from CBRE.

Texas is expected to produce more oil and gas than all but one of the OPEC nations in 2014 due to the booming Eagle Ford Shale and Permian Basin, and Houston’s industrial real estate market will profit from that growing production.

The Port of Houston, thanks to the Houston Ship Channel, generates $178 billion annually, 1 million jobs and is the largest chemical port in the world.

In 2013 Houston led the nation in exports for the second consecutive year, according to data recently released by the U.S. International Trade Administration (ITA). The region shipped almost $115 billion in goods overseas, up 4.2 percent from $110.3 billion in 2012.

Houston Industrial Market Statistics 3Q 2014*
Market Rentable
Area SF
3Q Net
Avg. Asking
Northwest 133,368,897 4.1% 567,638 1,412,017 3,533,164 $0.78
North 76,848,752 7.9% 518,695 1,279,973 2,032,795 $0.71
Southeast 73,994,055 7.0% 725,058 1,119,672 219,841 $0.68
Southwest 60,769,170 5.4% 166,776 329,607 121,000 $0.78
CBD 53,090,186 5.2% 94,523 227,689 0 $0.53
Total** 471,985,610 5.3% 2,615,636 5,834,743 6,069,644 $0.67

*Ranked by market rentable area.
**Totals are based on all submarkets. Only top five are shown of the seven submarkets.

Click here to see the full Industrial 3Q 2014 report from CBRE.

Also, check out Houston Market Data Sources for more Industrial stats.

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