NewsTalk Texas

Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown

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
Vacancy
Rate
3Q Net
Absorption
(SF)
YTD Net
Absorption
(SF)
Under
Construction
SF
Avg. Asking
Rate
($/SF/Year)
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.

Pearland: 500,000-SF Shadow Creek High underway 

(10/17/2014 8:00:00 AM)

PEARLAND - The Alvin Independent School District has begun construction on the 500,000-sf Shadow Creek High School. The 72-acre facility will be the third high school in the district.

The school's 2,500 students will be grouped into five learning houses, each with two learning hubs. Each hub will have 240 students and ten teachers. The school will be completed in 2016.

Stantec designed the school. According to Stantec, the school’s design “removes physical barriers, incorporates collaboration space and has an abundance of technology, transparency and natural light.”

Read more at Texas Real Estate Business and ABC13.

Porter: 70-acre Valley Ranch planned for Montgomery County 

(10/17/2014)

PORTER, MONTGOMERY COUNTY - A new 70-acre, master-planned office park — Valley Ranch Commerce District — is planned for the intersection of Hwy. 59 and the Grand Pkwy. section that is scheduled for completion late 2015.

Plans include up to a total of 1.5 million sf of office space, a full-service hotel and conference facilities. The campus-style setting of the Commerce District will offer users elaborate green space with natural water features and jogging trails.

The project, along with planned medical, residential, retail and entertainment, will comprise the 1,400-acre Valley Ranch master-planned community.

Transwestern vice president Greg Tilton will lease the property on behalf of the owner, The Signorelli Co. of The Woodlands.

“We are looking to draw new tenants from outside the Houston market or from other submarkets, such as The Woodlands, since the project is a great alternative to the higher-priced Woodlands office choices,” said Tilton.

Directly across the Grand Pkwy. and within walking distance of the Commerce District will be the Market District, a 240-acre mixed-use development by Signorelli with a grocery-anchored retail center, a movie theater and other retail tenants, including restaurants.

Read more at Realty News Report and Commercial Property Executive.

$240M to unplug terminals on Houston Ship Channel 

(10/16/2014)

PASADENA, GALENA PARK - Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP will invest $240 million to expand its Pasadena and Galena Park terminals.

The project will provide additional infrastructure to help meet growing demand for refined product storage and dock services along the Houston Ship Channel.

The project will include the construction of 2.1 million barrels of storage between the two terminals. The company will also construct a new ship dock capable of handling ocean going vessels and add infrastructure improvements at its Galena Park Terminal.

The project is backstopped by long-term contracts with existing customers. The new ship dock and the existing Galena Park ship docks will be capable of loading vessels at rates up to 15,000 barrels per hour.

“The new tankage will provide refined product producers and traders the ability to send more barrels to the water for international exports or to the network of pipelines for domestic use,” said John Schlosser, president of Kinder Morgan Terminals. “Kinder Morgan will now have nine ship docks on the Houston Ship Channel and will double the load rates on existing docks.”

Kinder Morgan is the largest midstream and the third largest energy company in North America with a combined enterprise value of approximately $120 billion.

Read more at Business Wire.

Nordstrom Racks up 31,000 SF in Clear Lake's Baybrook Square 

(10/16/2014)

CLEAR LAKE - Nordstrom Rack is adding a 31,000-sf shop at Baybrook Square, located at the southwest corner of I-45 and West Bay Area Blvd. across the street from Baybrook Mall, which is currently undergoing a multimillion-dollar expansion.

The store is set to open next spring and will be the fifth location to open in the greater Houston area. The store will move into the space that was occupied by the DSW shoe store.

The 295,000-sf Baybrook Square is almost 100 percent leased and has more than 30 tenants including Old Navy, DSW, Marshalls HomeGoods, Sun & Ski Sports and Office Depot. It is managed by Fidelis Realty Partners.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle. For more information on the Baybrook Mall expansion, see previous story Friendswood Baybrook Mall growing to 1.7M SF.

Spring Valley Village: five-story office, retail underway 

(10/16/2014)

SPRING VALLEY, HARRIS COUNTY - Spring Valley Village, a five-story building encompassing four floors of office space and 14,000 sf on the ground floor for retail and restaurants, is underway.

"It's nice to see something happening there again," Spring Valley City Councilman Marcus Vajdos said referring to the site, which has sat vacant for the past eight years.

The Stoller Group, which develops and sells plant performance products, partnered with real estate development and management firm Ersa Grae Corp. to construct and manage the building, located at the northeast corner of Katy Fwy. and Campbell Rd.

The building will allow Stoller to consolidate such entities as StollerUSA, Stoller International, Stoller Enterprises and its nonprofit the Stoller Foundation and bring the 75 employees under one roof.

The Stoller Group will occupy at least two floors, while the rest of the space will be leased. The company move is slated for October 2015.

The Stoller project is the first of four commercial real estate projects approved by City Council for the area. A similar six-story office building will be built across the street from Spring Valley Village, and a third commercial building and a medical building are in the works.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

90,000 Homes sold in Houston strongest 12 months ever 

(10/15/2014 1:00:00 PM)

HOUSTON - Single-family homes are selling at a record pace in Houston. Not only did sales hit the highest total ever for a September, but the yearly totals are record-setting as well.

Over the 12 months ending Sept. 30, a total of 90,124 homes were sold in the Houston area, a 4.4 percent increase over the comparable period of last year.

It was the first time ever that Houston recorded more than 90,000 sales in a 12-month period, according to the Greater Houston Partnership.

The total volume of all properties sold through the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR) totaled $2 billion in September, up about 16 percent from a year ago.

Some observers predicted that the Houston housing market would taper off slightly in 2014, but the negativity failed to materialize. The incredibly tight inventory did not derail the market and job growth took off on an upward sprint.

Mortgage interest rates remain low, not much over 4 percent for 30-year home loans, and that is not expected to change much for the remainder the year.

The Houston economy has been surging as the energy industry has led Houston to be the national leader in job growth. Thousands of people are relocating to the Bayou City every month.

Read more at Realty News Report. To see HAR's Houston home sales stats for September 2014, click here.

Angleton: 155 acres purchased by Trans Global 

(10/15/2014 8:40:00 AM)

ANGLETON, BRAZORIA COUNTY - Trans Global Solutions Inc. purchased 155 acres located on County Rd. 220. Trans Global Solutions is an industrial developer and transportation services provider.

The company operates in several refineries, chemical plants, ports and terminals, and manages rail operations and rail-car storage at Cedar Crossing in Baytown.

The seller was Angleton Family Partnership.

Read more at Texas Real Estate Business.

Houston: 94,000-SF Village Real retail sold 

(10/15/2014 8:30:00 AM)

CLEAR LAKE - Village Real Shopping Center has been sold. The 94,259-sf regional retail center is located at 961 Nasa Pkwy. at the Nasa Pkwy. and El Camino Real intersection.

Renovated in 2008, the center is anchored by a 21,803-sf Office Depot and supports a total of 23 tenants including Half Price Books, Eduardo’s Mexican Restaurant, Subway, Nasa Liquor, Value Furniture, Masa Sushi, J.C. Jewelers and Hollywood Hair.

"The Village Real Shopping Center is well positioned to benefit from the ongoing growth of the Houston metropolitan area, and the property’s vacant 15,309 sf provides the new owner with a revenue enhancement opportunity," noted Jerry Goldstein of Marcus & Millichap.

Ersa Grae Corp. sold the property to Dallas-based Dunhill Partners.

Read more at CoStar Group.

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

(10/14/2014 9:00:00 AM)

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.
vacancy
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.

Cypress H-E-B stocks up 100,000-SF store 

(10/13/2014 7:30:00 AM)

CYPRESS - The 100,000-sf H-E-B at the corner of Spring Cypress Rd. and Grant Rd. has opened. The store will be the first to feature The Cafe at H-E-B, a bistro café where sandwiches and salads are made to order daily.

The store will also feature more than 1,500 organic items, an expansive selection of gluten-free offerings, a specialty cheese shop, floral department, a wine and craft beer section staffed with an expert wine steward as well as a full service seafood section and meat market.

The location was chosen based on feedback from shoppers in the Cypress area asking for a store that was more accessible to suburban residents. H-E-B broke away from its typical location strategy of putting stores at major intersections, Unit Director Rick Copeland said.

“We found that customers were looking for a location that was more centrally within the community, as opposed to another one along busy highways where people have to fight traffic,” he said.

The store is expected to create around 340 jobs once fully staffed, Regional Vice President Richard Castillo said.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Preferred Mini Storage's 407 units sold in Conroe 

(10/13/2014)

CONROE - Preferred Mini Storage, a 407-unit storage facility, has been sold. The Class A property has climate and non-climate controlled units in 42,240 rentable sf.

It was built in 1995 and 1997 on 3.6 acres. It was 95 percent occupied at the time of sale.

Read more at Texas Real Estate Business.

Houston home sales Sept. 2014 (HAR) 

(10/13/2014)

HOUSTON - The housing market experienced across-the-board gains with total property sales, total dollar volume and average and median pricing all up compared to September 2013, according to the latest monthly report prepared by the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR).

Home prices reached record highs for a September. The single-family average price increased 8.2 percent from last year to $269,440 and the median price climbed 7.7 percent year-over-year to $196,000.

Days on Market for single-family homes was 47, slightly above July’s record low of 45 days. Rentals of single-family homes shot up 13.2 percent year-over-year, and the cost of renting those homes increased 2.7 percent to $1,749.

Housing Market Summary: Sept. 2014 vs. Sept. 2013
  Sept. 2013 Sept. 2014 Chg.
Total sales 7,362 7,879 7.0%
Total dollar volume $1,733,076,889 $2,005,556,946 15.7%
Total active listings 32,457 28,946 -10.8%
Total pending sales 3,536 4,143 17.2%
Single-family sales 6,064 6,490 7.0%
Avg. price single-family home $248,948 $269,440 8.2%
Median price single-family home $182,000 $196,000 7.7%
Single-family inventory* 3.2 2.9 -10.0%

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

Source: Houston Association of Realtors

Also see 'Housing' under Houston Market Data Sources.

Houston: Bridgeview Crossing office slated for Montrose 

(10/13/2014)

HOUSTON - The speculative 11-story Bridgeview Crossing office building is headed to Montrose. Plans are to break ground in early 2015. It will include five stories of office space on top of six stories of garage with retail space on the first floor.

The speculative project is scheduled for completion spring 2016.

Griffin Partners Development is developing the project. Kirksey is the architect and E.E. Reed is the general contractor.

The Montrose submarket is currently 90 percent leased and the average office rent is $28 to $30 per sf, according to CoStar.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

CBRE: Houston retail 3Q 2014 review 

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

HOUSTON -  The Houston retail market was characterized by increasingly tight vacancy rates despite an influx of completed retail projects in third quarter 2014, according to the report released by CBRE.

Available retail space is becoming increasingly difficult to find as the local economy continues to perform well and businesses expand. The average vacancy rate across the metro dropped to 6.4 percent in 3Q — the largest quarter-over-quarter decline in vacancy in over two years for Houston.

Occupancy rates are well above 90 percent in centers located within key trade areas in Cypress, The Woodlands, Galleria and Sugar Land. Available big box spaces in prime centers are few and far in between.

Grocery-anchored centers continued to account for a large portion of new retail construction projects. Over 700,000 sf of grocery-anchored retail space delivered in 3Q and 12 grocery stores remain under construction with many more in the pipeline.

Mixed-use developments are becoming more prevalent as demand for a live-work-play lifestyle grows.

Houston Retail Market Statistics 3Q 2014*
Market No. of
Centers
Net Rentable
Area (SF)
Total
Vacant
Avg. Asking
Rate
($/SF/Year)
3Q Total Net
Absorption (SF)
YTD Total Net
Absorption (SF)
Far North 426 30,233,393 2,050,656 $26.00 50,396 448,699
Far Northwest 440 26,808,101 1,833,326 $25.25 -766 314,457
Far Southwest 340 22,224,294 1,495,101 $25.50 110,632 202,911
Far Southeast 295 20,745,330 1,303,434 $20.50 12,749 86,853
Far West 267 17,408,422 1,284,737 $30.50 1,733 126,694
Northeast 236 15,303,211 1,362,152 $15.00 117,271 234,288
Total** 3,264 209,787,905 13,880,947 $22.06 369,169 1,792,703

*Ranked by net rentable area.
**Totals are based on all submarkets. Only top six are shown above.

Click here for the complete report from CBRE.

To see more retail stats, check out Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Market Data Sources.

Katy Marcel Commons adds 40,000 SF and Bean Around the World 

(10/10/2014)

KATY - Marcel Commons, a shopping center located at 25750 Westheimer Pkwy., will add 40,000 sf of retail space during Phase 1 and a 25,000-sf, two-story office building during Phase 2.

Construction on Phase 1 will begin in early December. The Marcel Group is developing the project.

“About 70 percent of the retail space is already preleased,” said Vernon M. Veldekens, CEO of The Marcel Group. There are 12 total preleased tenants ranging from 1,500 sf up to 8,000 sf.

Retail restaurant tenants include Bean Around the World, the Breakfast Place and Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches. “There’s a whole group of small retail businesses,” said Veldekens, “a typical neighborhood retail center.”

A 25,000-sf, two-story office building is planned for Phase 2. Construction will probably begin in late spring, or early summer of 2015.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Montgomery Co.: two multifamily projects in Woodmill Creek 

(10/10/2014)

MONTGOMERY COUNTY - Alliance Residential Co. will develop two new luxury multifamily projects in Woodmill Creek, a 75-acre master-planned community located at 1823 Sawdust Rd. between the new Exxon Mobil campus and The Woodlands Town Center.

Plans include a luxury apartment building on the six-acre parcel and for-lease townhomes on the ten-acre parcel. Construction is expected to start in November and will take two years to complete.

The four-story apartment complex, Broadstone Woodmill Creek Apartments, will feature 380 units wrapped around a structured parking garage.

The one- and two-bedroom units will average 850 sf and feature Class A amenities.

The apartments will target 25- to 35-year-old young professionals who want to live and work near the Exxon Mobil campus, said Cyrus Bahrami, Alliance’s south Texas managing director.

The three-story townhomes, The Townhomes at Woodmill Creek, will feature 171 units and common amenities, including a pool, courtyard, gym, dog park and business center.

The one- to three-bedroom units will average 1,300 sf and feature similar amenities to the apartment project. About 80 percent of the units will feature a fenced-in yard.

The for-rent townhomes will target an older audience: 35- to 50-year-olds who are delaying homeownership after the recession as well as downsizing empty nesters who don’t want the hassle of a bigger home, Bahrami said.

Houston-based Steinberg Design Collaborative is the architect of the two projects. Alliance will serve as the projects' general contractor and developer.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Silver Eagle pops the top on 400,000-SF center in Pasadena 

(10/10/2014)

PASADENA - Silver Eagle Distributors, the nation’s largest distributor of Anheuser-Busch products, has opened their new 400,000-sf distribution center located at 3505 Pasadena Fwy.

Company officials said they expect to distribute between six and eight million cases of product each year from this location.

This location will service more than 2,000 clients using a state-of-the-art warehouse management system. The new facility also features a no drive-through loading dock, a new trend in the industry that allows multiple trucks to be loaded simultaneously.

The LEED certified building also features an insulated tilt-wall design and above-ground fuel storage tanks and will be home to more than 200 employees of the company’s total workforce of roughly 1,300.

This is the Houston-based company’s eighth facility with other locations already in operation in San Antonio, Conroe, Cypress, Rosenberg, Carrizo Springs and Del Rio.

Read more at Your Houston News.

Transwestern Houston Office Market Watch Sept. 2014 

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

HOUSTON - Transwestern has released their Market Watch for Houston Office Sept. 2014. Here's the latest:

Office Market Indicators Sept. 2014*
Submarket Total
Buildings
SF Available
Immediately
Overall
Vacancy
SF Under
Const.
Asking Rental
Rate (FSG)
Class A
Asking Rental
Rate (FSG)
Class B
Katy Fwy./Energy Corridor 193 1,412,594 5.0% 5,355,552 $35.49 $22.81
Woodlands/Conroe 90 520,745 8.2% 4,639,102 $32.48 $25.97
Westchase 85 1,241,229 8.7% 1,923,992 $37.07 $20.85
Downtown 117 4,204,382 8.8% 1,626,638 $41.62 $27.66
Northwest 96 1,429,703 12.5% 1,079,973 $27.10 $20.24
Total** 1,264 20,911,380 9.8% 17,065,293 $34.65 $20.77

*Top five submarkets ranked by SF under construction.
**Total includes all 15 submarkets.

Click here for the full Market Watch report from Transwestern. See Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Market Data Sources for more office reports.

Houston office construction hits highest level since 1980s 

(10/9/2014 7:00:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Office space under construction has increased by about 54 percent over the last 12 months, and more than half of that space is leased or committed. It is the highest level the area has seen since the boom of the 1980s.

There is currently 19 million sf of office space under construction in the Houston area, of which about 36 percent is corporate-owned office space.

Under construction sf includes

  • Exxon Mobil’s 3 million-sf campus in north Houston,
  • Phillips 66’s 1.1 million-sf campus in Westchase, and
  • Southwestern Energy’s 515,000-sf office building in Springwood Village, according to PM Realty.

About 5.4 million sf of new space is expected to deliver by the end of the year, which will bring the yearly delivery total to 10.8 million sf — far exceeding last year’s delivery total of 3.2 million sf.

In response to the construction boom, Houston added more construction jobs to its market than any other major metro in the country from August 2013 to August 2014, according to a survey conducted by The Associated General Contractors of America.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

New DeBakey High School to rise in Houston's medical center 

(10/9/2014)

HOUSTON - The Houston Independent School District will build a new 195,000-sf DeBakey High School for Health Professions to house up to 1,000 students in the Texas Medical Center. It is expected to be completed by fall 2016.

The new five-story school will be built on the Edwin Hornberger Conference Center site, near Pressler St. and Holcombe Blvd., as well as part of the location for the old Shamrock Hotel.

The "heart of the school" will be an atrium, which will go through the center of the building, and on the first floor will be a cafeteria and gathering center for events. Floors two through five will be dedicated to academics.

The new school will feature teaching labs for dental, rehabilitation and patient care with mannequins similar to what community colleges and universities use, and the sciences labs are designed to feel more like a research lab instead of a high school science classroom.

The current DeBakey School is located on Shenandoah St. near the South Fwy. Its purpose is to prepare students for a career in the health care industry. It recently ranked as one of the best schools in the state for STEM programs.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Memorial Hermann to build $168M Cypress campus 

(10/7/2014)

CYPRESS - Memorial Hermann Health System plans to build a $168 million campus, including an 80-bed hospital, on 32 acres on the northeast side of Hwy. 290, south of Mason Rd. and north of Mueschke Rd. Construction will begin early 2015.

The health system bought the land earlier this year, not far from Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center. Officials said more than 355,000 residents live in the area, with 100,000 more expected during the next decade.

The project's first phase, scheduled for an early 2016 completion, will include an emergency center and medical office building with primary care, ambulatory services and doctors' offices.

The second phase will be construction of a hospital to be completed 2017. The hospital will feature eight operating rooms, a 16-bed intensive care unit and a neonatal intensive care unit.

The Cypress campus master plan also includes capacity to increase inpatient beds to 275 to accommodate future growth, as well as two additional medical office buildings.

Besides the Cypress medical campus, the health system is building a 64-bed Pearland hospital and undergoing multimillion-dollar expansions at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital and Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: Flotek chemistry to 50,000-SF research facility 

(10/7/2014)

HOUSTON - Flotek Industries Inc. will build a 50,000-plus-sf research and office facility — the Research & Innovation Leadership Center. The company signed a 15-year lease with the Levey Group for a build-out effort in the Sam Houston Business Park.

The new facility at 8846 N. Sam Houston Pkwy. W. will be close to Flotek's headquarters at 10603 W. Sam Houston Pkwy N. The project will double the size of Flotek's chemistry research.

The new facility will replace Flotek's laboratory space near The Woodlands, said John Chisholm CEO of Flotek, while also consolidating much of the company's research work.

"We hope to be in there by September of next year," Chisholm said. Flotek will move about 45 existing workers to the new facility and hire about 20 more. Flotek currently has about 120 Houston-area workers and roughly 540 people total.

"It's going to be a client-centric experience," Chisholm said, where clients can visit that research center and meet with scientists developing new oilfield chemicals.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston's $51M research sets engineering on another plane 

(10/7/2014)

HOUSTON - The University of Houston (UH) has broken ground on its $51 million Multidisciplinary Research and Engineering Building (MREB). The 120,000-sf, four-story compound will be built over the next year and is set to open spring 2016.

Officials say the facility will enable UH to increase its annual research spending to $36 million and promote more than $600 million worth of economic activity in Houston alone. It's also a big part of UH's mission to make Houston the "Engineering Capital of the World."

The building will house core facilities that will be shared by researchers from departments around the campus including high-performance computing facilities, a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer lab and imaging facilities.

The building is the latest step in UH's push to become a top-tier research university. Earlier this year, the university announced a $25 million deal aimed at transforming its Energy Research Park into a regional startup hub.

As part of that deal, three private investors came together to form the Texas Collegiate Regional Center and announced they would put up $15 million for a new building at the research park near UH's main campus. That building will house laboratories and startup businesses.

The goal is to create a Gulf Coast version of Silicon Valley, which feeds heavily off Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.

Read more at the University of HoustonHouston Chronicle and the Houston Business Journal.

Houston: Intrepid's last building underway with 86,000 SF 

(10/7/2014)

HOUSTON - The final building at Intrepid Business Park is underway. The 86,250-sf building will feature a 30-foot clear height, sprinkler system, and over an acre that can be used for outside office storage.

There are currently three completed buildings in the business park totaling about 200,000 sf. They are 100 percent leased. The Class A industrial park has frontage on Brittmoore Rd. and access to Beltway 8, I-10 and Hwy. 290.

Triten Real Estate Partners, a subsidiary of Houston-based Triten Corp., is developing the project, which is slated for completion first quarter 2015.

Houston’s industrial market is booming, especially in the northwest submarket where there are 46 buildings with a total of 2.58 million sf under construction.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Pearland: Villas at Shadow Creek sold for $74M 

(10/6/2014 8:45:00 AM)

PEARLAND - Villas at Shadow Creek, a 560-unit multifamily apartment community, has been purchased for $74.0 million.

The community is currently 95 percent occupied. Toronto-based Milestone Apartments REIT purchased the community.

Read more at Realty News Report.

Houston to Aruba: nonstop flights starting Mar. 2015 

(10/6/2014 7:45:00 AM)

HOUSTON - Southwest Airlines will offer its first international nonstop flight in Texas with a Saturday-only flight between Houston and Aruba to start March 7, 2015, out of Hobby Airport.

Southwest had planned to begin offering international routes out of Hobby to destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America beginning 2016. An international terminal under construction there is slated to be complete by late 2015.

The Aruba route is possible in Houston earlier due to the federal government's "pre-clearance" locations that allow U.S. border agents who live in foreign locations to process travelers before they arrive in the U.S.

Select international locations, including Aruba, have this special designation. For Southwest, the process means passengers "enter the U.S." before they get on the plane and, therefore, they can land in a domestic terminal at Hobby.

The flight will depart Houston weekly at 10:50 a.m. and arrive in Aruba at 5 p.m. The return flight will leave Aruba at 12:30 p.m. and arrive in Houston at 4:30 p.m.

The economy round-trip ticket price at this time for the first service date is $940 for a refundable ticket and $480 for a nonrefundable ticket.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Spring: fire station, EMS underway in Springwoods Village 

(10/6/2014)

SPRING - A fire station within Springwoods Village master-planned community that will house the Spring Fire Department and Cypress Creek EMS is underway.

The nearly 20,000-sf Fire Station No. 79 will be located at 22306 Springwoods Village Pkwy. and house five apparatus bays, living quarters, conference room, work rooms, decontamination room, turn-out gear room and a physical wellness area.

The nearly 5,000-sf CCEMS 513 station, located at 22310 Springwoods Village Pkwy., will feature two double-deep ambulance bays, living quarters, work room and storage areas.

The stations are expected to be completed in September 2015, according to the developer and emergency service providers. Officials said funding for the stations came from Emergency Service Districts 7 and 11.

Located near the intersection of I-45 and the Hardy Toll Rd., the 1,800-acre Springwoods Village will have a population of about 15,000 people and will accommodate as many as 35,000-45,000 employees upon completion in about 15 years.

ExxonMobil purchased 385 acres of the development for their 10,000-employee campus in 2008, and Springwoods Village has been under development since.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Houston: EMAS leases 100,000 SF in CityCentre Five 

(10/6/2014)

HOUSTON - EMAS, an offshore contractor for the oil and gas industry, has leased 100,000 sf in CityCentre Five. The tower is located at CityCenter’s northern gateway at 825 Town & Country Way.

The 15-story, Class A office building broke ground in February and includes a parking garage and 200,000 sf of office space as well as ground floor restaurant and retail space.

The building is slated for completion in third quarter 2015. Houston-based Kirksey Architecture designed the building.

The Singapore-based company EMAS has 16 offices around the world, including one in Houston.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Klein ISD to build 650,000-SF high school 

(10/6/2014)

HOUSTON - The Klein Independent School District has selected Satterfield & Pontikes Construction to build a 650,000-sf high school in northwest Houston.

High School #5 will be built on 83 acres at the corner of Cutten Rd. and Spring Cypress Rd. The school will be able to accommodate up to 3,500 students.

Construction of the first phase, which will include site work, parking and drives, and utilities, is expected to begin in January 2015.

Phase 2, which will include construction of the building and other improvements, is anticipated to begin in June 2015 upon successfully passing a bond referendum. Completion is targeted in May 2017.

The school will include a 1,200-seat dining facility, fine arts areas, numerous career and technical education spaces and gymnasiums and athletic fields.

PBK Architects will provide design and architectural services for the school.

Satterfield & Pontikes Construction were also recently hired to build Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District’s High School #11. See previous story Cy-Fair: 592,000-SF high school to hold 3,000 students.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: CBRE Texas Office Special Report Sept. 2014 

(10/3/2014 8:30:00 AM)

HOUSTON - As home to half of Texas’s 52 Fortune 500 companies, corporate expansion and relocation activity in Houston was the highest in Texas by square feet (sf) since 2010, according to the Texas Office Special Report Sept. 2014 released by CBRE.

Activity totaled 12.6 million sf in deals by 89 companies since 2010. This activity has steadily increased with year-to-date activity in 2014 at 3.4 million sf, nearly equal to the total for all of 2013.

The CBD leads Houston area activity with 37 percent, or 4.6 million sf, of corporate expansions and relocations of which 4.2 million sf was occupied by energy firms. The Energy Corridor was second, accounting for 15 percent of activity, or 1.8 million sf.

The energy industry overall accounted for 80 percent of the activity in Houston.

Energy firms have completed 6.8 million sf of transactions set for occupancy in 2015 and 2016, including ExxonMobil’s 3.1 million-sf campus in the North submarket and nearly 500,000 sf of preleased space in the Hughes Landing development in The Woodlands.

Houston has experienced the strongest employment growth over the decade ending July 2014, adding nearly 614,000 jobs for a 26.9 percent growth rate. For context, this job growth rate is nearly five times the national pace.

For the full Texas report, see Texas Office: Special Report Sept. 2014 (PDF).

Also see more office commercial data at Houston Market Data Sources.

Houston's high-rise craze to outer suburbia? 

(10/3/2014 6:30:00 AM)

HOUSTON - More Houstonians are choosing to live in high-rise and mid-rise buildings. Most of the high-rise residential buildings under construction today are located in Houston’s Inner Loop, such as the 40-story 2929 Weslayan at West Alabama St.

However, the trend is about to spread to an unlikely place — outer suburbia. A developer is planning a mid-rise apartment in Pearland, and a high-rise condo is being talked about for The Woodlands.

“In the suburban areas, they are starting to consider plans for development of high-rises in areas where there haven’t been high-rises before,” says Cheri Fama, president of John Daugherty Realtors.

"If people want to travel more or have a second home, they could be attracted to vertical-type living and there’s not a lot of that offered out in the suburban areas.”

Pearland is about get a four-story mid-rise residential building, just west of Hwy. 288, says realty broker Brad LyBrand of NewQuest Properties. “It’s a first for Pearland,” LyBrand says.

The dense urban-like development plan for the Pearland site makes sense because two hospitals are under construction within walking distance, says Houston developer Allen Crosswell, who has owned the acreage for several years.

The bottom line according to Ralph Bivins, editor of Realty News Report: Houston is changing. Houston led the nation in population growth last year. The city is more urban and residential development is more vertical.

Read more at Culture Map Houston.

Megadune's 16 feet sweep Galveston's West End 

(10/2/2014)

GALVESTON - You could once drive off the west end of the seawall and right onto the beach. Such a trip wouldn’t be advisable today — unless your car can handle an 11-foot vertical drop and a rocky landing.

By the end of next month, construction is expected to begin on the massive dune (Megadune) and beach reconstruction project that will dump sand on the beach at the West End. The dune will be 16-feet tall and 70 feet across on the bottom, Park Board Executive Director Kelly de Schaun said.

The beach from the west end of the seawall erodes at a rate of eight-feet per year, the highest rate of erosion on the island, according to a 2012 erosion response plan published by the city.

The West End is home to the Dellanera RV Park managed by the Park Board, the Seascape Condominiums that are home to more than 100 people, and FM 3005.

FM 3005 is the only evacuation route on the West End, so the city has an interest in protecting it from being swamped.

The Megadune is the result of three years of planning and coordinating between the Park Board, the city, the Texas General Land Office and the private property owners.

When work begins, trucks will carry sand, dredged from a marina off Harborside Dr., and deliver it to the beach. Bulldozers will push and scrape the sand along a 2,000-foot stretch of beach from the end of the Seawall all the way to the Dellanera RV Park.

The bulk of Megadune's funding, more than $3 million, is coming from FEMA disaster recovery funds awarded to the city after Hurricane Ike.

The Texas General Land Office is contributing $775,000. The Industrial Development Corporation is contributing $110,000 and the Park Board is contributing $20,000.

The project is also, in a diversion from the norm, receiving more than $40,000 from the owners of the Seascape Condominiums.

Construction of the dune is expected to begin sometime in October. When it does, parts of the beach will be fenced off. Construction will occur seven days a week and will take up to four months to complete.

Read more at the Galveston Daily News.

Listen to Podcast 229 for this story and lots of news.

Houston: CityCentre sketches office, retail, apartments 

(10/2/2014)

HOUSTON - The developer of west Houston's CityCentre has acquired more than six adjacent acres for a major expansion that will bring the northern boundary of the high-end mixed-use complex all the way to Interstate 10 for the first time.

The expansion will include a 13-story apartment building, two 16-story office towers, 22,400 sf of retail space and one acre of open green space.

"This is pretty big in the sense that we'll create a gateway entrance from I-10," said Shon Link, executive vice president of development for Midway, which built CityCentre.

The multifamily building will add as many as 300 luxury apartments to the project. Rents are expected to average $2 to $2.50 per sf.

The office towers, CityCentre 1 and 2, will add 740,000 sf of upscale commercial space, putting Midway in similar ranks with some of the larger office developers active in the nearby Energy Corridor west of Beltway 8.

Link said Midway will go after a much larger office tenant than what is typically found in the existing CityCentre buildings. The ideal tenant would want at least 200,000 sf, which would amount to around eight floors in one of the new buildings.

Midway will start construction in about a year and complete the new phase in fall 2017. The company, however, will not break ground on the office component without a tenant lined up to take some of the space.

Read more at the Culture Map and the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: 383,000-SF Class B office sold 

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at O'Connor and Associates.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Greater Houston Partnership

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

Goya sells Houston 140,000-SF plant 

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

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

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

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

Read more at CoStar Group.

Houston: 155,000-SF Schlumberger building sold 

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

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

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

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

Read more at CoStar Group.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Chestnut Hill's 460 units trade hands in Houston 

(9/29/2014)

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

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

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

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

Read more at O'Connor and Associates.

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

(9/29/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Retail: 112 acres on Camp Strake site sold in Conroe 

(9/29/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Hines fires up new Laurel Park North near Exxon Mobil campus 

(9/29/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

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

(9/26/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: $25M basketball facility to dazzle UH recruits 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the University of Houston.

Galveston: $11M upgrades Cruise Terminal No. 2 

(9/25/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dual Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites add 330 rooms to Houston 

(9/25/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

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

(9/24/2014)

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

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

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

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

Read more at Realty News Report.

Houston: 328-room JW Marriott Downtown includes Main Kitchen 

(9/24/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Baytown's Lee College District receives $1M grant 

(9/23/2014)

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

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

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

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

Read more at Your Houston News.

Big Brothers Big Sisters big deal site in Houston 

(9/23/2014)

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

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

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

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

Source: The Weitzman Group and Cencor Realty Services

Conroe: 170 homes to The Meadows at Imperial Oaks 

(9/23/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston: nine-building 290 Gateway Park underway 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

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

(9/22/2014)

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

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

(9/22/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

193,000-SF Rice Village Arcade sold in Houston 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Cypress: preparations begin for two multi-school sites 

(9/19/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

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

(9/19/2014)

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Realty News Report.

Houston's Westchase attracting extended stay hotels 

(9/18/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston housing market softening a bit? 

(9/18/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Texas oil, gas production jobs over the top 

(9/18/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Prologis adds 57,000 SF to NW Houston industrial portfolio 

(9/18/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

CBRE: Houston Land Market Flash 

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

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

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

*based on asking prices for sites currently on the market

Click here to see the full Houston Land Flash.

Houston Frost Bank housewarming as HQ opens 

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Houston: Almeda Crossing Power Center sold for $30M 

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at GlobeSt.

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

(9/17/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

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

(9/16/2014)

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Is Houston experiencing a moving deficit? 

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston: Buckingham senior community to add $56M tower 

(9/15/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Realty News Report.

Houston home sales rise in August (HAR) 

(9/12/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Houston Association of Realtors

Also see 'Housing' under Houston Market Data Sources.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Realty News Report.

For the full report, see Texas Workforce Commission.

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

HAR: Houston area cities' home sales Aug. 2014 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(9/11/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Your Houston News.

The Plantation at The Woodlands 432 units sold 

(9/11/2014)

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

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

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

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

Read more at GlobeSt.

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

(9/11/2014)

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

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

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

Read more at CoStar Group.

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

(9/11/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Realty News Report and the Houston Chronicle.

Humble: The Groves starts 189 homes; treehouse later 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Rosenberg: 232-unit Victoria Garden apartments sold 

(9/10/2014)

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

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

Read more at CoStar Group.

Lake Jackson growth to Class A Plantation Park 

(9/10/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

LIsten to Podcast 227 for this story.

Houston: Vision brings 112-room Courtyard by Marriott 

(9/10/2014)

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

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

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

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

Read more at Hospitality Net.

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

(9/10/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Houston IAH: nonstop flights to Monterrey, Mexico and Norway 

(9/9/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

NAR Houston housing market 2Q 2014 

(9/9/2014)

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

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

*Equity gain reflects price appreciation only.

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

Click to see the full report.

Also see more Housing data under Houston Market Data Sources.

New Texas Emergency Operations Center opens in Houston 

(9/9/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Homeland Security Today.

Houston: 21-story apartment headed to Texas Med Center 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The center was purchased from RC Partners.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Metrostudy: Houston dominates mid-year housing starts 

(9/8/2014)

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

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

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

The Houston communities and their respective rankings are as follows:

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


*Represents annualized starts through the middle of 2014

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Click here to see the full report from Metrostudy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.

Store RedZone Podcast RSS logo Twitter Facebook YouTube Mays Business School
© 2014. REAL ESTATE CENTER AT TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. TERMS OF USE.