Real Estate Center Online News

April 24, 2012

Texas State's Construction Boom

SAN MARCOS (San Marcos Mercury) – It's a wonder that students at Texas State University can hear themselves think these days, what with all the construction happening around campus.

The university has undertaken a construction program totaling more than $600 million. At least 25 construction projects are at some stage of development, according to the school's Office of Facilities Planning, Design and Construction Project Status Report.

Almost $300 million worth of projects are currently under construction, including the $83.2 million Performing Arts Complex, $46.1 million North Campus Housing Complex and $33 million Bobcat Stadium.

Unemployment Falls Across Texas

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Texas unemployment remains lower than the national rate, with some cities faring especially well.

The Austin Business Journal reported a slight drop in Austin’s unemployment rate to 6 percent, down one-tenth of a percent from February. Despite losing jobs in the construction sector, the region added 1,800 jobs overall.

Adding 1,500 jobs, Corpus Christi’s unemployment dropped from 6.8 percent in February to 6.5 percent in March, according to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Improvements in leisure and hospitality are credited for the boost in job growth there.

After cresting into double-digit unemployment territory in late 2009, Midland now boasts the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 3.7 percent, based on reports from the Midland Reporter-Telegram. Odessa’s 4.4 percent unemployment rate is the second lowest.

The San Antonio Business Journal reported the addition of 9,100 jobs in March, bringing San Antonio’s unemployment rate down to 6.6 percent from 6.8 percent in February. The financial sector added the most jobs in the region.

Waco’s jobless rate fell 0.2 percent over last month, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald. Adding 1,400 jobs, the city’s unemployment rate now sits at 6.7 percent.

Texas unemployment stood at 7 percent in March; nationally, the rate is 8.2 percent.

$1.7 Billion Freeport Steam Cracker Planned

FREEPORT (Platts) – Dow Chemical's plans to build a world-scale steam cracker in Brazoria County are part of a Gulf Coast expansion strategy estimated to represent $4 billion in investment, the company recently said after announcing the site of the new ethylene plant.

Dow's plans call for the construction of a $1.7 billion, 1.5 million metric ton per year cracker at its Texas complex some 60 miles south of Houston, a company spokesman said.

Dow said it expects the new cracker to begin operations in 2017.

The Dow's olefins expansion plans, first unveiled in April 2011, also include the construction of up to two propylene plants — the first one slated for startup in 2015, also in Freeport.

According to BASF's website, a "steam cracker" is a petrochemical plant that turns naphtha and light hydrocarbons into ethylene, propylene and other chemical raw materials.

Cooper Street Shopping Center Sold

ARLINGTON ( – Hartman Short Term Properties XX Inc. has purchased Cooper Street Shopping Center from Regency Centers LP.

The 127,696-sf, three-building retail center with a single tenant pad site is at Cooper St. and I-20. Tenants include Home Depot and Office Max.

CB Richard Ellis represented the seller, while CCIM represented the buyer.

Philly Buyer Picks Up Houston Bristol

HOUSTON (Philadelphia Business Journal) – Philadelphia-based Resource Real Estate Opportunity Inc. has purchased the 856-unit Bristol apartment complex for $11.4 million.

The 703,862-sf property at 1221 Redford St. was 52 percent occupied at the time of sale.

The seller was Tritex Real Estate Advisors Inc.

New Use for Old Valley View

DALLAS (Dallas Business Journal) – The 39-year-old Valley View Center in north Dallas is about to be replaced by a new mixed-use project, reports the Dallas Morning News.

Beck Ventures is purchasing the property at Preston Rd. and LBJ Frwy. and plans to add retail, residences, office towers and a high-rise hotel.

The property, which was listed on the May 1 foreclosure auction, was previously owned by LNR Partners of Miami.

Down in the Valley, Occupancy Up

McALLEN (The Monitor) – Changes in ownership and management have caused occupancy rates to turn around in two Valley office buildings.

Cielo Realty Partners purchased the 60,000-sf Wells Fargo building at 2800 W. Trenton Rd in Edinburg. The Austin-based firm has since signed two major tenants, boosting the building’s occupancy from 34 percent to 80 percent.

Meanwhile, NAI Rio Grande Valley took over management of the 215,000-sf Neuhaus Tower at 200 S. 10th St in McAllen. Since then, occupancy in the 17-story tower has increased from 40 percent to 68 percent.

Who's on First Colony? Fidelis

SUGAR LAND (Holliday Fenoglio Fowler) – Fidelis Realty Partners Ltd. has purchased the First Colony Marketplace.

The 111,675-sf shopping center is at 4610 SH 6 South at the Austin Pkwy. intersection, about 24 miles southwest of downtown Houston.

The property is fully leased. Tenants include Fitness Connection, 99 Cents Only, Sears Hardware and Smoothie King.

Holliday Fenoglio Fowler represented the seller, CAP First Colony LLC.

News at Five

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – If you'd like more Texas real estate news, NewsTalk Texas has got you covered.

NewsTalk Texas is our online news database. It's updated each weekday, throughout the day. Here are a few of the latest stories you'll find there:

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