Real Estate Center Online News

April 10, 2012

La Palmera Owners Go Shopping Again

CORPUS CHRISTI (Corpus Christi Caller-Times) – Nearly four years after buying Padre Staples Mall (now La Palmera), Trademark Property Co. has its sights set on another area shopping center.

The Fort Worth-based company is in the process of buying the 27-year-old Staples Center, which is between McArdle Rd. and S. Padre Island Dr.

The center's tenants include Big Lots, Lebowitz Furniture, Freedom Fitness and Peter Piper Pizza.

Trademark plans to spend a "sizable amount" renovating the center, which will likely be renamed and be an extension of La Palmera, according to George B. Clower of The Clower Co.

NT Heavy Construction Loses Weight

FORT WORTH (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) – Although residential construction is up, heavy construction in North Texas has slowed, according to McGraw-Hill Construction.

Nonresidential contracts in the region were down 44 percent in February compared with the same month in 2011, while residential contracts were up 3 percent. About $117.7 million in nonresidential contracts were logged for the month, compared with $210.3 million last February.

The story is similar across Texas, with nonresidential construction down 22 percent year-over-year and residential up 21 percent.

April 2012 Tierra Grande Online

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – The latest issue of Tierra Grande magazine will hit mailboxes later this month, but if you just can't wait, visit our website. All articles are now online.

In this month's edition:

China's Crisis, America's Hope?
Some view the economic slowdown in China as a threat to the U.S. recovery. However, it could be an opportunity for job growth in U.S. manufacturing and expansion of U.S. commercial real estate. (Gerald Klassen)

Home Groan
Recovery in the Texas housing market is occurring slowly. For the remainder of 2012 and into 2013, sales and new construction should expand and prices should stabilize. Major economic indices should show sustained improvement. (Jim Gaines)

Land of the Setting Sun
When Japan's stock market crashed and a real estate bubble collapsed in the early 1980s, the country adopted a policy of "extend and pretend." The results serve as a cautionary tale for the United States, which is in a similar situation now. (Mark Dotzour)

Income Factor
Research shows that Texas homebuyers tend to trade up as their income rises, especially in the lower home price ranges. This trend lessens as family income goes up because, at some point, people decide they don't need a bigger house even if they get a pay raise. (Ali Anari)

AMT: Not Just for the Wealthy Anymore
The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) was created in 1969 to ensure high-income taxpayers (those earning more than $200,000) did not avoid paying taxes by exploiting tax law loopholes. However, because the AMT was not indexed for inflation, people who are not wealthy by today's standards are now subject to the tax. (John Krajicek and Elijah Erickson)

Cropland in Demand: But Large Tract Sales Wither
Texas markets struggled to post a small gain with a continuing dearth of large tract sales. Gains appeared to be concentrated in West Texas, the Panhandle and High Plains. Uncertainty and high commodity prices fueled strong demand for cropland. For the third straight year, fewer acres than historic patterns forecasted changed hands in Texas. (Charles Gilliland, Gerald Klassen and Gabriel Garcia)

Shale of the Century: Small Towns Dazed by Eagle Ford Influx
Increased oil and gas activity in the Eagle Ford Shale has dramatically boosted the economies of many small South Texas towns. However, the influx of oilfield workers has caused severe housing shortages and is straining local infrastructures. (Harold Hunt)

Renovations Coming to Three SA High Schools

SAN ANTONIO (San Antonio Business Journal) – Brackenridge, Burbank and Lanier High Schools in San Antonio are ready for their makeovers, thanks to a May 2011 bond.

San Antonio Independent School District has awarded the $56.7 million contract to a joint venture to complete the renovations at 400 Eagleland, 1002 Edwards St. and 1514 W. Cesar Chavez Blvd.

Tempe, Ariz.-based Sundt Construction Inc. will pair up with locally owned Guido Brothers Construction to upgrade the facilities beginning this October.

Construction is expected to take two years to complete.

Big Boost in H-Town Suburban Office Rents

HOUSTON (Colliers International) – Houston's average citywide office rental rates were up in first quarter 2012, with Class-A suburban office rates leading the way.

According to the latest quarterly report from Colliers International, rates for Class-A suburban office space increased 5.5 percent (from $27.34 to $28.86) in the first quarter. On average, citywide rates were up 1.5 percent ($23.20 to $23.56).

Meanwhile, overall vacancy levels decreased by 90 basis points between quarters, going from 15.5 percent to 14.6 percent, and by 130 basis points from a year ago.

The most significant decrease in vacancy between quarters was the CBD Class-A vacancy rate, which dropped by 300 basis points from 14.3 percent to 11.3 percent.

Colliers reports that "Houston's office market has undergone significant changes in the past 12 months, benefiting from positive absorption, falling vacancy, and rising rental rates. Increased leasing activity has made it harder to find available blocks of quality Class-A office space, leading to new office construction. Demand for both multitenant and single-tenant buildings is spurring this new growth."

U of H Real Estate Program Recognized

HOUSTON ( – Congrats to The University of Houston Graduate Real Estate Program, which was recognized as a winner for its financial analysis and proposal in the 2012 Urban Land Institute (ULI) Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition.

For the competition, students came up with plans for the best use of Houston's downtown post office.

In addition to the urban design and land-use jury, a financial jury team graded the financial dimensions of the student entries. This jury examined the pro formas and other supporting financial material submitted by the teams.

That's where U of H shined. The jury commended the school's entry for superior financials.

The $50,000 top prize went to a joint team representing the University of Colorado and Harvard University.

A total of 695 real estate students from 139 teams representing 64 universities in the United States and Canada participated in the ULI Hines design competition.

News, News and More News

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Need more news? Then check out NewsTalk Texas, our online news database. It's updated each weekday, throughout the day.

This week's stories include:

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