Friday, July 25, 2014

NAR Identifies Best Purchase Markets for Aspiring Millennial Homebuyers

WASHINGTON, D.C. ( – Austin and Dallas are among the ten U.S. cities best positioned to have increases in homebuying from Millennials in upcoming years, according to new research by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

In fact, Austin, along with Salt Lake City, was identified as a "top standout" for Millennials because of its young adult population, solid job growth rates (for more good news, check out what Forbes magazine had to say this week about Texas job growth) and relatively affordable home prices.

Those were some of the key factors the association looked at when it analyzed 100 metro areas that have a large Millennial presence. Also making the top ten were Denver, Des Moines, Grand Rapids, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Ogden (Utah), and Seattle.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said the homeownership rate for young adults under the age of 35 peaked in 2005 (43 percent) and fell to 36 percent in first quarter 2014.

Will a judge box out that controversial Sam’s Club in the shadow of Cityplace? We should find out today

At some point today we will likely find out if Trammell Crow Co. can begin planting that Sam’s Club in the shadow of Cityplace.

Attorneys representing Trammell Crow Company and the East Village Association will square off at 9:30 a.m. in Judge Phyllis Lister Brown’s courtroom over the 150,000-square-foot development, which a former City Hall reporter-turned-editorial writer underscores as one sign among many that 1500 Marilla is broken.

Trammell Crow and city officials say the development’s a done deal, having been twice approved by the City Plan Commission — in 2013, when the commission OK’d the zoning for the project, and earlier this month, when it signed off on the development plan after some delays.
But the attorney representing the newly former neighborhood group insists Trammell Crow and the city only got the deal done by burying — no, hiding — the truth from the people living closest to the site.

The East Village Association wants just one thing today: an injunction prohibiting the city from issuing a construction permit until there can be a full-blown trial. Anthony Ricciardelli, the attorney representing the EVA, says he wants the judge to “simply preserve the status quo and prevent there being anything built until we resolve whether the notice was defective or not.”

The notice he is referring to is the heads-up sent by the city in May 2013 to inform surrounding property owners of a zoning change for the parcel at North Central Expressway and Carroll Avenue. The notice, a copy of which can be seen at the bottom of this post, refers to “a retail development with design standards” but says nothing about a big-box store.

A potential 100,000 square-foot development was mentioned in documents reviewed and OK’d by the plan commission and the city council, but it was buried deep in the zoning-change notice — way behind the part that said the proposed development fit snugly within the intimate confines of the forwardDallas! comprehensive development plan. Everyone missed that part until the Sam’s Club renderings became public.

Expect to see a lot of these in the courtroom today.

In court documents filed Thursday, Trammell Crow’s attorneys refer to EVA’s “single avenue of attack,” those “purported faulty notices issued by the City.”

One of the filings, also included below, says: “Inherent in that approach is the concession that notices required by statute were indeed given, thus reducing Plaintiffs inquiry to a question of ‘how much information is enough’ to satisfy the requirements. While ‘insufficient notice’ cases are few in number, the one that stands out and is of greatest interest to this Court (and from which Plaintiff quotes a stray statement out of context) actually supports TC Central’s and the City’s position in this case that the notices given were more than adequate.”

Long story short: This goes one of two ways. Either the judge declines to grant the injunction, or she kicks the case to a trial. If it’s the latter, then the East Village Association will be on the hook for a bond pending trial. Ricciardelli said he hopes it’s something “nominal,” not more than $500. But he fears Trammell Crow will ask for something enormous, along the lines of, oh, $100 million, claiming that a delay until a trial, which might be a year from now, would be very bad for business.

“The effect of a temporary injunction would be to shut down the next steps in the Development process: preparing infrastructure required in order to carry out asbestos abatement in existing buildings and a demolition thereof; opening the door to the invocation of ‘insecurity’ or other default provisions in existing agreements; and creating ‘domino effect’ on the many steps involved for completion of the Development, as each step in the process is dependent upon prior actions,” says a document filed Thursday.

“In short order, TC Central would find itself unable to deliver a building site to Sam’s Club, which would in turn open the door for substantial delay damages. Meanwhile, Plaintiff blithely ignores the fact that the cost meter would continue unabated, with the reality of carrying charges and the prospects of delay penalties looming. The equities overwhelmingly favor TC Central in this case and weigh strongly against injunctive relief.”

And if the judge sides with Trammell Crow on that front and sets the bond high, a newly formed neighborhood association would never be able to foot the bill — even if it only has to put up 1 percent as a surety bond.

“Residents should have the right to make their government behave in accordance with the law and not have to put up $100 million,” Ricciardelli said.

It’s sure to be a jam-packed hearing filled with residents in red shirts and their “No MEGA STORE” buttons. We will update this item throughout the day. But as far as Ricciardelli’s concerned, “ultimate victory in this case is to reopen the process so that the voices of these residents who will have to live with the havoc this development will wreak in their neighborhood can be heard.”

Robert Wilonsky- Dallas News

CityLine Whole Foods Market will open in Richardson in early 2016

Grocer Whole Foods Market has finally confirmed its new Richardson store.

The 40,000-square-foot specialty grocer will open in the Spring of 2016 in the big CityLine development at Plano and Renner roads.

The supermarket will anchor a 66,000-square-foot retail strip located on 8.5 acres in developer KDC’s project.

It’s the first retail tenant announced for the $1.5 billion CityLine project, which includes State Farm Insurance’s big regional office campus and an office complex for Raytheon Co.

CityLine will also include hundreds of new apartments plus an Aloft hotel, all constructed next door to a DART commuter rail station. The first of the buildings starts opening at the end of this year.

Steve Brown- Dallas News

PSW Homes thinks small and urban with its new Dallas communities

An Austin-based homebuilder that’s expanding to the Dallas area is kicking off construction on its first five projects.

But don’t expect PSW Homes’ new communities to be anything like what you’ll find in typical suburban subdivisions.

While other builders are focused on high-end houses with up-sized prices, PSW is building smaller, more affordable homes in older Dallas neighborhoods.

“We are a true urban developer and builder,” said Adam Stetson, who heads the company’s Dallas operations. “All of our projects are designed for the urban market.”

PSW is building two neighborhoods in North Oak Cliff and two more near White Rock Lake.

The company has another building site in North Dallas and is looking at land near Fort Worth Avenue in West Dallas.

PSW has projects in the works for more than 150 houses.

The single-family homes will range in size from 1,700 to 2,700 square feet and have three and four bedrooms. Prices start near $350,000 and rise to over $500,000.

The size is smaller and the price point lower than what most custom builders are doing in close-in neighborhoods in East and North Dallas.

Open floor plans

Stetson said PSW’s houses are targeted at young professionals and owners of older homes who want to upgrade.

“A lot of people who live in Oak Cliff are tired of their old-house problems and choppy floor plans,” Stetson said. “We have open floor plan concepts that focus on the livability of the house.”

PSW’s Oak Cliff projects are on the edge of Kidd Springs Park and on Kings Highway near Stevens Park Golf Course. The two-story houses will be designed in Craftsman architecture.

The two neighborhoods planned near White Rock Lake — one on Lovers Lane and the other just off Garland Road — will have more contemporary styles, Stetson said. “They will be a little more modern and clean-lined,” he said.

The houses use low-maintenance exterior materials and energy-efficient operating systems. All of them come with solar panels on the roof to generate electricity.

PSW’s single-family homes come with small front and back yards — a big selling point with most of the buyers, Stetson said.

He said the small outdoor spaces are “enough to enjoy your dogs and a barbecue but not so much that you are maintaining the lawn every weekend.”

“We think there is an underserved niche out there at price points we can offer,” Stetson said. “A lot of builders are building large custom homes that are going for $650,000 and above.”

‘Cutting edge’

Dallas housing analyst Ted Wilson said PSW’s houses should appeal to buyers who want new housing without heading to the suburbs.

“I’m thrilled to see builders coming back to town with product like this,” said Wilson, a principal with Residential Strategies Inc. “We are seeing a lot of other builders taking a look at higher-density products.

“That’s what the buyer wants down there — something new that doesn’t have the hassles and maintenance of an older house,” he said. “They are going into some trendy neighborhoods that are on the cutting edge.”

PSW sales exec Meridith Brewer said her firm so far has been marketing its planned houses by networking with real estate agents and through word of mouth with potential buyers.

“We have a diverse consumer — everything from young professionals to empty nesters who may have lived in the suburbs and want to come back in to the city,” Brewer said. “A lot of folks that have lived in condos are looking for something with a yard.”

PSW began building houses in Austin in 2006. The firm has done about a dozen Austin-area projects and has 10 more in the works there.

The builder is also shopping opportunities in San Antonio, Houston and the Pacific Northwest.

“We are looking to get to 200 to 250-plus closings a year in Dallas,” Stetson said.

Steve Brown- Dallas News

D-FW home foreclosure filings down more than 50 percent for August

Dallas-Fort Worth home foreclosure filings for August are the highest in three months.

But the number of North Texas homes facing forced sale by lenders is still down more than 50 percent from a year ago, according to numbers from Foreclosure Listing Service.

Lenders have scheduled 1,480 D-FW homes for next month’s foreclosure auctions. That’s down 52 percent from August 2013 totals.

The biggest declines are in Denton County, down 58 percent from last year, and Tarrant County, down 54 percent.

Collin and Dallas County foreclosure postings are 50 percent less than in August 2013, according to the Addison-based foreclosure tracking firm.

The average house posted for next month’s foreclosure auction had an original loan amount of almost $138,000 that was made in 2005.

Analysts credit the sharp drop in foreclosure filings this year to the rise in home values in many neighborhoods, which has enabled borrowers with troubled loans to sell or refinance properties.
Also, more lenders are opting to sell houses with troubled loans in a short sale rather than going through a foreclosure process.

“Residential borrowers that were underwater on their mortgages a couple of years ago have been bailed out by the rising tide,” said Ted Wilson with Dallas housing consulting firm Residential Strategies. “And there is plenty of demand to move a distressed sale on a timely basis.”
So far this year, foreclosure filings in the four-county area are almost 40 percent less than in the first eight months of 2013.

And it’s substantially less than in 2010, when almost 64,000 North Texas homes were posted for foreclosure.

Not all homes posted for foreclosure each month sell. Many times the lender and borrower work out a new debt agreement or the foreclosure is postponed.

Steve Brown

Steve Brown: More teardowns coming in Dallas’ booming Uptown market

This week on McKinney Avenue, a ceremony kicked off construction on Uptown’s next big development — a 20-story apartment tower with retail.

The One Dallas project is on the site of a historic church building that for years housed the Dallas Hard Rock Café.

The century-old church was knocked down just as the recession hit to make way for future construction. It was one of the oldest buildings in Dallas’ Uptown district.

Don’t be surprised if other old, low-density buildings in the booming neighborhoods north of downtown Dallas wind up in front of a wrecking ball.

Land prices for high-profile development sites have reached the point in Uptown that just about every piece of real estate not already built as a high-rise is fair game for new construction. Property prices in some cases have zoomed past $300 per square foot.

“We have never seen prices this high,” said Dallas property broker Newt Walker, who’s handled sales in downtown and Uptown for decades. “These prices are comparable to the biggest boom we have seen in 30 years.”

Walker said at the height of the 1980s building craze, downtown development site prices got to just under $300 per square foot before the market crashed.

“The market has come roaring back,” Walker said.Changing horizonAnd bulldozers won’t be far behind.

For instance, owners of a one-story retail building at Cedar Springs and Olive Street are marketing the property for a high-rise.

“With land trading at above $300 per square foot in the Uptown area, we've decided to explore all vertical options,” said David Pemberton, who heads the partnership that has owned the property for more than 20 years.

“We’re in discussions with office tenants, boutique hotels and residential and restaurant uses,” Pemberton said.

The urban texture of Uptown will change dramatically in the next few years as developments become taller and more expensive. And some of the area’s familiar buildings could wind up in a landfill.

“For those properties that are not already designated city of Dallas landmarks, it will be almost impossible to maintain the historic context of Uptown unless there is a concerted effort from concerned neighbors, property owners and the community at large to identify those structures or areas that have a visual and historic connection to the neighborhood,” said Mark Doty, Dallas’ historic preservation officer.

“The challenge will be not only demolition but also inappropriate alterations or additions that adversely affect the current structures,” Doty said.Buyers circlingOne cherished Uptown landmark that’s attracting attention from developers is the 90-year-old Maple Terrace apartment building. 

The high-rise was one of Dallas’ first luxury residential buildings and was designed by noted British architect Alfred Bossom. But it does not have a historic designation.

Since 2010 the 80-unit rental building has been owned by a local investor. But real estate brokers say builders are looking at the choice property at Maple and Wolf Street with an eye toward building hundreds of apartment units.

Current owners confirm they’ve been contacted by interested buyers but say Maple Terrace hasn’t been sold.

A previous plan to remodel the building into condos and build an additional 170 units in a new 16-story tower was killed during the recession.

Look for a lot of pushback from preservationists if buyers propose to knock down Maple Terrace.

Steve Brown- Dallas News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

LegacyTexas Bank shopping vacant Plano tower for major operation

An empty Plano office tower is attracting attention from a major business tenant.

LegacyTexas Bank is in talks to rent several floors of the former Encana Oil & Gas Tower in West Plano, real estate brokers say.

The Plano-based banking firm would take more than 75,000 square feet of office space in the 12-story high-rise in Legacy business park.

LegacyTexas Bank’s potential lease would be the first such deal in the 300,000-square-foot office building which has been offered to tenants since last year.

The newly-built office tower became vacant when Canada-based Encana decided to discontinue its Plano operations.

Commercial real estate firm JLL has been marketing the vacant tower to other potential tenants.
Earlier this year the real estate leasing agents decided to divide up the building, rather than hunting a business that would take the entire project.

JLL representatives said they can not comment on any pending leases in the property.
But word of LegacyTexas Bank’s potential lease in the building is spreading through Plano real estate circles.

Founded in 1963 as Plano National Bank, LegacyTexas Bank is a fast-growing Texas financial firm.

Late last year the company announced that its operations would be merged with another Plano-based banking firm, ViewPoint Bank.

The combined companies will be known as LegacyTexas Bank. The new bank will have more than 50 branches and about $5 billion in assets.

LegacyTexas Bank’s current head offices are located on Preston Road and ViewPoint Bank has offices on 15th Street in Plano.

Steve Brown- Dallas News

Texas tops nation for new home sales

Texas’ new home market is significantly outpacing the rest of the nation, according to a new report by Metrostudy Inc.

During the 12 months ending in June, builders have sold 33,177 new houses in Texas, the most of any state.

Florida was second with 19,416 sales followed by California at 14,280.

Builders are reporting that in some markets sales are slower and are taking longer to closed.

“In June, and so far in July, we are back to a situation where home shoppers are shopping but a relatively small proportion of them are actually buying,” Metrostudy’s Brad Hunter said in a new report. “This is explained in some cases by a long lead time (people taking longer to make a decision), and in other cases by a complete reluctance to buy.”

Hunter said “hot markets are keeping sales up in some states,” including Texas.

Metrostudy reports that Dallas-Fort Worth new home sales were up about 7 percent in the second quarter compared to the same period last year. And for the first six months of 2014, new home sales in the area are up about 10 percent from the previous year.

Steve Brown- Dallas News

D-FW retail space vacancies at 10-year low

North Texas’ retail market has a vacancy of less than 10 percent, the highest in more than a decade.

Weitzman Group said the Dallas-Fort Worth area is on track to see 1.9 million square feet of new retail space added to the market here this year. Most of the shopping space is “opening basically fully leased,” according to the new report.

Grocery stores account for the largest share of the new retail development, the commercial real estate firm says.

“Approximately 40 new traditional and specialty grocery store locations are opening in 2014 and 2015 across the Metroplex,” according to the company’s midyear retail report. “With a few exceptions, these locations represent new construction.”

Because of the strong population and job growth in the area, Weitzman Group said the newest, best located shopping centers have a vacancy of just 5 percent or less.

At the worst of the recession in 2009, shopping center vacancies in the D-FW area rose to 14 percent, according to Wetizman.

Steve Brown- Dallas News

Low-income townhomes arriving in Sunnyvale after decades-long fight

Town Manager Sean Fox is among Sunnyvale’s newest faces, but not for long, as a whole new demographic will soon land on the western shore of Lake Ray Hubbard.

Sunnyvale’s decades-long battle to deny low-income housing ends as 96 townhomes are completed in the coming weeks. But as Fox is quickly learning, the residents’ dedication to retain a unique rural feel is unchanged.

“They know the size of community they want to be,” Fox said. “They don’t want to be the next booming city. They still want to maintain that town feeling.”

The Riverstone Trails townhomes, with 70 units set aside specifically for vouchers, will open in phases starting July 15 or possibly earlier. All will be finished by Sept. 30.

Fair-housing plaintiffs were unsure the homes would ever exist, as Sunnyvale had fought for decades and violated a 2005 court order. The cost of resistance was more than $2 million in legal fees. The town made realistic overtures in 2011, though, when it contracted with VCZ Development, which has done 20 such projects in Texas in the last five years.

“Everybody is on board with it,” Fox said. “A very nice facility.”

In 1988, when Dallas Tenants Association counselor and advocate Mary Dews filed the original suit to force Sunnyvale to provide low-income housing, Fox was fresh out of Navy officer school. He spent 24 years of active duty flying S-3B Viking and E-6B Mercury aircraft. He left the Navy in 2011 to become city manager of Pantego in Tarrant County and accepted the call from Sunnyvale last month.

Fox admits he knows nobody else who’s made the career jump from naval officer to city administration.

“I’m a servant-type leader. To me, public municipal government is where I wanted to be. It coincides,” he said.

Devotion to an ideal

Five days into the job, Fox got a live view of Sunnyvale’s devotion to a specific ideal.

Glazer Estates is a proposed 45-home subdivision on 83 acres. The proposal met every standard the town had on the books for more than two decades. Staff had recommended approval and so had the town’s plan commission. The quality of the homes would easily hold up in a town where values average $281,770.

“We’re here with what you said you want,” developer Christopher Jackson said, standing before the council. Landowners have a right to sell and, in this case, a solid legal position should the proposed sale be blocked.

But neighbors like the horses and the ponds currently on the property. Seventeen wrote letters opposing the project. And they came to Town Hall to testify.

“Most of us moved here for a certain quality of life,” said Evan Howard. “We’re destroying that right now. Are we going to develop every open space here?”

Drawn-out talks

The rural feel/character. Houses or horses. All that traffic. Fox got a front-row earful from Sunnyvale, where 5,000 residents occupy 16 square miles.

The council didn’t challenge the legality of what was proposed but wondered out loud if the vision for the land they’d put on the zoning plan in 1993 was still best. They tabled the item, charging the staff to see if a palatable compromise could be worked out.

In the weeks that followed, Jackson and city officials met daily. The developer came back to the council Monday with a reworked plan, the fifth the staff had seen. After 80 minutes of closed session to talk about the city taking on the pond area as a park and 60 more debating the issue in public, the parties decided they needed another month.

Bond election

Sunnyvale will probably call a bond election of about $20 million in November. Much of that may be pointed toward widening Collins Road, the major in-town north-south street. The town is preparing for the arrival of the next extension of State Highway 190, the Bush Turnpike, and has spent much effort debating what route works best.

There’s also talk of using that bond election to finance a link to Dallas Water Utilities, which operates a plant in Sunnyvale. The town is a North Texas Municipal Water District customer, like Garland, Rockwall, Rowlett and every other city on Lake Ray Hubbard — despite the proximity of the Dallas-owned lake.

A switch would be complex, and many questions remain to be answered, Fox said. And in Sunnyvale, there will be many with questions to answer. He promises to be available to talk to anyone concerned about the progress.

“There’s no doubt very slow growth, methodical,” Fox said. “But they do realize the town is growing.”

Dallas' new bike czar is ready to roll; her thoughts on hot-button issues

Biking down Main Street, Ashley Haire experienced the pros and cons of Dallas’ cycling world all rolled into one.

The city’s new bike coordinator wheeled through so-called “sharrows,” lanes marked for sharing by cars and bicycles, as well as a stretch of dedicated bike lanes. But the options changed from one block to the next, confusing both bikers and motorists.

She pointed to two high-density neighborhoods — downtown and Deep Ellum — that are primed for bike culture to take hold. But she also lamented that riders would need to cross a major thoroughfare and go under two highways to get from downtown to Fair Park.

And though Haire noted that Dallas residents are by and large bike-friendly, one driver squeezed past her by veering into a lane mostly filled with parked cars. Another sped past her on the wrong side of the road. (Both cars ended up stopped at the next red light, just like Haire.)

“It makes the job a challenge,” she said, chuckling at the full view of her new gig. “I cannot ever say that I’m not challenged.”

Haire, who started in May, takes control of Dallas’ bike plans at a critical time.

City leaders, including Mayor Mike Rawlings, are eager to boost Big D’s cycling options — and soon. They’re looking at everything from more bike lanes to off-street trails, from bike-sharing programs to raising awareness about how bikes and cars should share the road.

What caused a 36-year-old engineer who’s lived in the bike-loving cities of Austin, Portland, Ore., and Tucson, Ariz. — but who’s also tackled major highway projects for the Texas Department of Transportation — to become the bike czar in car-centric Dallas?

The Dallas Morning News pedaled alongside Haire to find out.

Why here?

Like most non-natives living in Dallas, she was lured here by a job.

Haire had been doing postdoctoral work at Portland State University. Portland was where she “drank the Kool-Aid” on biking, she said. In the 21/2 years she lived there, she put only 6,000 miles on her car.

“It became the lifestyle, in every sense of the word,” she said.

But TxDOT had an opening for a project manager on the massive reconstruction of Interstates 30 and 35E in downtown Dallas. Her education is in civil engineering, with degrees from the University of Arizona and the University of Texas at Austin.

And so, a couple of years ago, she came to Dallas to make the jump from bikes to freeways.
“The ultimate irony,” she said.

A six-pack

On any given day, Haire might be riding one of the six bicycles she owns.

Riding with The News, she was on a pink Schwinn Super Sport from the early ’90s. She raves about her 1950s cruiser with dynamo lights. But her “baby,” her “prize jewel,” is an early ’70s Schwinn Paramount.

“I could talk about bikes for hours,” she said.

She doesn’t, however, own a mountain bike. Off-road treks are not her strong suit.
“I’m kind of a klutz with that stuff.”

Skeptical at first

Biking kept its hold on Haire even when she was at TxDOT.

Still, she admitted that she was skeptical about pursuing the Dallas bike coordinator position. If biking was such a priority for the city, she wondered, then why wasn’t there more to show for it?
“I was kind of stunned at how little bike infrastructure there was,” she said.

She was buoyed, though, that the city made the $85,000-a-year job one to be filled by an engineer.
That means she can not only participate in broader planning, such as updating and fine-tuning the city’s 2011 bike plan, she can also get into the actual design of bike lanes, rather than having to farm that work out to consultants.

“Hopefully, we can speed things up,” she said.

Initiatives aplenty

What are Haire’s thoughts on Dallas’ hot-button biking topics?

The helmet law? Haire wears a helmet whenever she hops on a bike, but she supported the City Council’s decision to repeal the helmet requirement for riders older than 17. Adults can make their own informed decisions, she figures.

Expanding hike-and-bike trails? She’s all for it, even though she notes that hike-and-bike trails come under the park department, not her office. She said the Dallas system is quite good. The key, she said, will be better connecting those off-street trails with on-street infrastructure.

Bike-sharing? She’s a fan of those programs, which feature rental stands at various locations where people can pick up or drop off a bike. But she worries that Dallas doesn’t yet have the biking infrastructure to support a citywide program.

More lanes
The early goal for Haire is simple: Get more bike infrastructure on the ground.

Though there’s a limited budget for such improvements, she’s already deep into plans for bike lanes in a few new areas. She wouldn’t get into specifics, but suggested that Sylvan Avenue in North Oak Cliff has potential.

She’s been impressed that so many people in Dallas remain hopeful about biking’s future. But she knows there are inherent planning challenges to tackle, especially if the city hopes to make biking more than just a fitness option.

One of the biggest problems is that many thoroughfares — think Mockingbird Lane — are difficult to traverse on foot, much less on a bike. Riding along some streets is so tricky that bikers push onto sidewalks. That creates more problems.

At some point, she said, there will have to be tough conversations about turning some car lanes into dedicated bike lanes.

“I don’t even know what people’s fears are, as far as bike lanes go,” she said. “I know there are a lot of people who are opposed to them. And that’s unfortunate.”

Portland we’re not

Haire doesn’t like to compare the biking cultures in different cities. There are just too many factors in play, she said.

“It’s like comparing Earth and Mars,” she said.

But if she could bring one thing from Portland to Dallas, what would it be?
“Open-mindedness,” she said.

She paused and laughed.

“It sounds like an episode of Portlandia to say that,” she said, referring to the droll comedy, on the IFC cable network, that pokes fun at that city’s hipster ethos.

She paused again.

“But there are other ways of living, and it doesn’t have to be car-centric.”

Canadian buyers take downtown Dallas’ 1700 Pacific skyscraper

A Canadian investor has purchased a Dallas skyscraper – the sixth downtown office tower to change hands so far this year.

Montreal-based Olymbec Group acquired the 49-story 1700 Pacific tower at Pacific Avenue and St. Paul Street.

The 1.3million square-foot office tower had been for sale since last year.

CBRE Group brokered the building sale by an affiliate of Boston-based Berkeley Investments that had owned the property since 2005. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“We had a nice selection of suitors for the building,” said CBRE senior vice president John Alvarado. “There is a nice opportunity to add value to the property that attracted a lot of national attention from prospective buyers.

“A lot of money has been raised over the last couple of years aimed at these opportunities.”
Built in 1983, 1700 Pacific is across the street from the site of the planned Pacific Plaza park.
“There are lots of great things happening in that part of downtown,” Alvarado said. “Everybody saw the potential.”

Alvarado marketed the building for sale along with CBRE’s Gary Carr, Eric Mackey and Robert Hill.

Major business tenants in the tower include Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Neiman Marcus, Mary Crowley Medical Research Center, and Southcross Energy.

The building is more than 40 percent leased.

Real estate brokers anticipate that Olymbec will make upgrades to the property to attract new tenants – a game plan that’s already working with other recent downtown building buys.

The new owner, Olymbec, is an almost 40-year-old family-owned firm that is a major player in Québec. The company also has properties in the U.S. in Las Vegas, St. Louis, Memphis and West Virginia.

Olymbec officials on Wednesday confirmed the purchase and said they would have details soon about their plans for the Dallas building.

Steve Brown- Dallas News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Construction starts this morning on Uptown apartment tower

Developers broke ground this morning on a 20-story Uptown apartment tower.

The One Dallas building is being constructed at the corner of McKinney Avenue and Routh Street. It’s on the former site of the Hard Rock Café.

Dallas investor and developer Paul Cheng and Stoneleigh Cos. of Illinois are building the project, which will have 198 luxury apartments and 18,000 square feet of retail.

There’s also going to be a rooftop pool and restaurants on the groundfloor.

“Uptown has limited vacant developable land, so when we bought the land in 2013, we conceived One Dallas, a contemporary multi-family residential and retail tower with a unique design, premium retail and public space in the heart of Uptown Dallas,” Rick Cavenaugh, President of Stoneleigh, said in a statement.

Phil Shepard and Humphreys & Partners designed the building. And Hunt Construction Group is the general contractor.

Bank of America provided construction financing and iStar Financial Group Inc. is the institutional equity partner.

Steve Brown- Dallas News

Addison app firm Bottle Rocket expanding HQ with high-profile deal

Mobile software application developer Bottle Rocket is expanding to a high-profile new location in Addison.

Bottle Rocket has leased 49,570 square feet in the Aberdeen building  located at 14841 Dallas Parkway – which formerly housed the head offices of Pizza Hut. The lease will more than double the size of the headquarters space.

“With a desire to remain in the City of Addison, Bottle Rocket chose the Aberdeen because of its room for growth, prominent signage and above average parking, among other amenities,” CBRE Group’s Clay Vaughn said in a statement.

Vaughn negotiated the new lease along with CBRE’s Jeff Eiting and Sarah Catherine Norris, Mark Jordan and Ben Jones with Sooner Management.

The company will move its offices from the nearby Wellington Centre building – where it leased 15,000 square feet starting in 2011 – by the end of this year.

Architect Gensler is designing the new headquarters space for more than 180 workers.
Bottle Rocket has designed popular mobile software applications for clients including National Public Radio, ABC News and National Geographic.

The company has grown dramatically since 2008 when it started in subleased office space with just a few employees.

Calvin Carter, founder and president of the firm, said Bottle Rocket “looked at just about every option you can imagine” before picking the Addison building.

JP Realty Partners and Sooner Management have owned the Aberdeen since 2011.

Steve Brown- Dallas News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sales of existing homes rise to fastest rate since October

Sales of existing homes rose 2.6 percent in June, topping an annual rate of 5 million for the first time since last October.

That’s according to the National Association of Realtors, which counts single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops in this total.

Despite June’s gains, existing home sales are below where they were a year ago. But there are signs that sales should continue to increase in the coming months.

“inventories are at their highest level in over a year, and price gains have slowed to much more welcoming levels in many parts of the country,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “This bodes well for rising home sales in the upcoming months as consumers are provided with more choices.”

But supply shortages in certain areas, particularly the West, means that construction of new homes needs to increase before housing makes a full recovery, he said.

Plus, while the economy is adding jobs at a healthy clip, wage growth is stagnant. This “is leaving a large pool of potential homebuyers on the sidelines who otherwise would be taking advantage of low interest rates,” 
Yun said.

The high cost of Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance also are deterring potential home 
buyers who have good credit scores but not much money for down payments, said NAR President Steve Brown, co-owner of Irongate Inc. Realtors in Dayton, Ohio.

“Access to affordable credit continues to hamper young, prospective first-time buyers,” added Brown. “NAR recommends that FHA reduce high annual mortgage insurance premiums for all qualified homebuyers and eliminate the insurance requirement for the life of the loan.”

The median price for an existing home in June was $223,300, up 4.3 percent from June 2013. Foreclosures and short sales accounted for 11 percent of existing-home sales in June, down from 15 percent a year earlier.

Kent Hoover- Dallas Business Journal

Strong leasing has Trammell Crow looking at second Plano office project

With strong leasing activity in its new Plano office tower, developer Trammell Crow Co. is pushing ahead with plans for a second building, property brokers.

Having completed leases with Murchison Oil & Gas and UBS, Crow has other significant deals for the building in the works, leasing agents say.

That’s why the developer is crafting designs for another building in Legacy business park on the Dallas North Tollway.

When Crow announced it’s Legacy Tower two years ago, the commercial builder and its partner Principal Real Estate said they had enough land for a second office building on the south end of the block.

Original architects’ drawings showed a 7-story building.

But that was before the success of the first-phase 13-story tower, which opens in September.

Both Crow’s Legacy Tower and the nearby Granite Park IV building have see a rush of office leasing in what are two of the newest buildings in West Plano.

The Granite Park IV building is more than 60 percent rented.

And developer Granite Properties is already designing another high-rise office project on an adjoining site.

Steve Brown- Dallas News

Texas tops country in commercial building

Texas is leading the country in the rebound of commercial building activity.

But developers have a long way to go to get back to where construction totals were before the recession, according to a new report by the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks.

The NAIOP study found that hard costs for construction of projects including office, warehouse and retail buildings totaled $61.6 billion nationwide last year – up 25.2 percent from 2012.

But that’s still significantly below the $89.2 billion of commercial building in 2007 before the recession hit.
Texas is the top market for most types of commercial construction, including office, warehouse and retail.
Last year there was almost $5.8 billion in nonresidential building across the state, according to the NAIOP. 

The largest share was office construction at $2.7 billion, followed by retail, $1.6 billion, and warehouse, $1.1 billion.

Nonresidential building across the country is projected to increase through the next three years.

“Going forward, the U.S. economy cannot achieve a sustained expansion in the absence of the construction industry’s full recovery, which currently is projected to be achieved in 2017,” according to the report.

Steve Brown- Dallas News

FedEx Office breaks ground on new West Plano headquarters

Developer KDC broke ground this afternoon on FedEx Office’s new corporate headquarters in West Plano.

The 265,000-square-foot corporate campus is under construction at the northeast corner of Legacy and Headquarters drives, just south of State Highway 121. It’s part of the huge Legacy West development that will include Toyota Motor Co.’s new North American headquarters.

About 1,200 FedEx Office workers will move to the project when it opens late next year.

“We are excited to bring everybody together under one roof in a world class facility,” said FedEx Office CEO Brian Philips. “We’ve been spread across the Metroplex in multiple facilities.”

FedEx Office will move workers from Far North Dallas at the Dallas Galleria complex, from Plano and other locations into the new campus.

The 4-story office complex was designed by Dallas-architect HKS and HOK Interiors.

Rogers O’Brien Construction is the general contractor. And J.P. Morgan Chase is financing the development.

Commercial real estate firm JLL represented FedEx Office in selecting the location after a look at multiple office options.

“It takes a long time to get to a position to have a ceremony like this,” KDC CEO Steve Van Amburgh said at the groundbreaking. “In this case it’s been three and a half to four years.”

Steve Brown- Dallas News

Monday, July 21, 2014

Apartment community planned on Walnut Hill Lane near Presbyterian Hospital

Developers are planning to build a new apartment community in North Dallas next door to Presbyterian Hospital.

CMC Commercial Realty intends to build a 250-unit rental project on Walnut Hill at Rambler Road. The project will be on the site of Swiss Avenue State Bank, according to filings with the City of Dallas.

The 6-story rental project is just north of the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Campus. And it’s near a DART light rail station.

The CMC Commercial development is one of two apartment projects planned in that same area.
Provident Realty Advisors is seeking approvals to build a 350-unit rental community on Meadow Road and Manderville Lane.

The project is on part of the Midtown Park land owned by Missouri-based Kroenke Group.

Kroenke and Provident Realty have also teamed up to build the Preston Hollow Village retail, office and apartment development at the northwest corner of Walnut Hill Lane and North Central Expressway.

Along with the apartments, Provident wants the option to construct a 50,000-square-foot medical building on part of the property on Meadow Road.

Steve Brown- Dallas News

Structural work almost finished for State Farm’s Richardson tower campus

Construction crews are working on the final floor of State Farm Insurance’s huge office campus in Richardson.

After almost a year of construction, work is underway on the 21st floor of the tallest, central building in the complex. Adjoining 13-story and 15-story buildings in the complex at the southwest corner of Plano Road and Bush Turnpike have already been topped out.

The first of almost 8,000 State Farm employees will start moving into the project at the end of this year.

Construction is also planned to start soon on an Aloft Hotel and hundreds of apartments in the surrounding CityLine project.

And a fourth State Farm tower is planned across Plano Road.

Developer KDC is building the 186-acre CityLine project. Austin Commercial is the general contractor on the State Farm buildings.

This morning a formal groundbreaking ceremony will also be held for Raytheon Co.’s new regional office campus at CityLine. The 3-building, almost 500,000-square-oot complex is on the south side of Bush Turnpike

Steve Brown- Dallas News 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Developer buys large tract for 1,100-home Fort Worth community

Habitat for Humanity

Walton Group of Companies, an Arizona-based family-owned real estate and development group, has bought a large tract of land recently opened by the Chisholm Trail Parkway to develop a 1,100-home master-planned community take will include commercial real estate.

The group bought about 268 acres of land for an undisclosed sum, and is currently in discussions with potential builders for the project.

In June, Walton Group purchased 1,775 acres in Fort Worth from the Texas General Land Office in Tarrant County for a massive development project off Chisholm Trail Parkway, a $1.4 billion, 27-mile roadway that has opened land surrounding the thoroughfare for development. The two land purchases are in close proximity and development resources will be shared between the two projects.

"With the newly opened parkway and easy access to downtown Fort Worth, Chisholm Trail Ranch has the potential to become a vibrant master-planned community and Walton's first development project in Texas," said John Vick, a regional president for the group's firm, in a written statement.

Vick said the community, called Chisholm Trail Ranch, would add to the economic vitality of the Chisholm Trail Parkway corridor. Stratford Land and Legacy Capital helped Walton Group acquire the tract.

The group is working with Crowley ISD on a planned elementary school site in the first phase of the community's development.

Walton plans to begin delivering home lots by the end of 2015.

Candace Carlisle- Dallas Business Journal 

Omnitracs moving headquarters, 450 jobs, to downtown Dallas

dallas skyline 0417

Fleet management software company Omnitracs LLC will relocate it headquarters to Dallas from San Diego, creating 450 jobs and $10 million in capital investment, Gov. Rick Perry’s office announced Friday.

Omnitracs is the latest in a wave of California relocations to North Texas announced this spring and summer.

The Texas Enterprise Fund is providing a $3.9 million incentive to attract Omnitracs. The new headquarters will house jobs in a variety of high-paying fields, including engineering, research and development and finance.

Omnitracs provides fleet management solutions for the trucking industry. Its services include software applications, GPS fleet tracking, platforms and information services.

“Our new headquarters in downtown Dallas will situate us much closer to many of our fleet customers and provides convenient access by air to virtually all of our clients,”John Graham, CEO of Omnitracs, said in a statement. “This is an exciting time in the evolution of our growing business and we look forward to the many opportunities associated with this new location.”

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said he was “thrilled” to welcome Omnitracs to a growing list of technology companies moving their headquarters or other significant operations to Dallas.

“Dallas is an ideal location for companies seeking a booming economic climate and a talented workforce," Rawlings said. "We think Omnitracs will fit right in.”

Earlier this month, Active Network LLC announced plans to move 1,000 jobs, with average salaries of $72,000 a year, to downtown Dallas. That move is expected to bring $13 million in capital investment, according to estimates from Perry’s office.

Active Network was bought last year by Vista Equity Partners, a San Francisco-based private equity firm with offices in Austin and Chicago. Vista Equity also owns Omnitracs.

Vista has a reputation for moving California businesses to Texas and earlier this year relocated cyber-security software firm Websense to Austin. That move, coupled with Active Network’s move to downtown Dallas, sparked speculation in the business community that Omnitracs would follow Omnitracs to Dallas.

The state will give Active Network $8.6 million in incentives from the Texas Enterprise Fund for its relocation. Toyota, which announced its U.S. headquarters move from Torrance, California, to Plano in April, received a whopping $40 million from the TEF. The city of Plano threw in an additional $6.75 million to woo the Japanese automotive titan to town.

Perry took the Omnitracs announcement as an opportunity to again tout Texas for its “low taxes, smart regulations, fair courts and skilled workforce.”
“Omnitracs is the latest employer to call Dallas home, creating hundreds of jobs in the area and pumping millions in capital into the local economy,” Gov. Perry said in a statement.

Bill Hethcock- Dallas Business Journal

Dallas-area buyers will have to shell out even more this year for homes

With Dallas-area housing still in tight supply this year, buyers have to dig a lot deeper to get the home of their dreams.

Median home sales prices in the area are up 12 percent through the first half of 2014 from the same period last year.

In some neighborhoods, the price hikes have been even larger.

Affordable neighborhoods in southern Dallas County have seen median sales prices jump 20 percent to more than 30 percent this year, according to data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and North Texas Real Estate Information Systems.

Pre-owned house sales prices are 19 percent higher in Southlake, 17 percent in Mesquite and 16 percent in the Park Cities.

Overall home prices in North Texas are now at a record high of just under $200,000.
Local home prices are more than 45 percent above where they were at the worst of the recession in early 2010.

Dallas-area median home list prices in May were about 7 percent higher than those nationwide, according to Realtor .com.

Economists and housing analysts continue to be surprised by the rate of residential appreciation and wonder how long it can last.

“Can you have 10 percent to 15 percent increases in median home prices year after year? The answer is no,” said economist Bernard Weinstein of Southern Methodist University. “This appreciation in home prices is going to slow, if it isn’t already.”

Influx of professionals

Along with the lean inventory of houses for sale in the area, the factor that’s most fueling home prices in North Texas is the large migration of professional workers to the area.

“All these companies relocating to the Dallas-Fort Worth area — that will continue to put pressure on housing prices,” Weinstein said. “As long as we have people moving here who have built up a lot of equity in another state, we will continue to see price inflation.”

Thousands of jobs coming to the Dallas area from the West Coast and Midwest are a significant contributor to the recent home price gains, agents and analysts say. For those buyers, Texas prices are still on the cheap side.

“Look at Toyota — their people are coming here and getting a bargain,” said Randall S. Guttery, director of the University of Texas at Dallas’ real estate programs.

Guttery said affordable interest rates are also allowing homebuyers to dig deeper for a house.
But he agrees the residential market isn’t going to be the new norm.

“It’s crazy to have three to 10 offers on a house,” he said.

Seller’s market

Real estate agents say that both buyers and sellers sometimes fret about the pace of price increases.

Buyers, with the recession still in their minds, are concerned about overpaying.

“The consumer today is saying I understand we are in a seller’s market and I’m even willing to pay a premium price for a quality product, but I’m not willing to be taken advantage of,” said agent Steve Habgood of Hewitt & Habgood Realty Group.

“The homes that are selling the best and fastest are those that are completely done and move-in ready, or those that need extensive remodeling and someone can make it their own,” he said.

“And we are still seeing selective bidding wars, with multiple offers going a good bit above list price for the right homes.”

Sellers who are getting what they want for their properties sometimes are nervous that the buyers won’t be able to get financing.

“I am finding that it’s not the buyers who are so concerned about rising home prices, but it’s the sellers,” said agent Barry Hoffer of Ebby Halliday Realtors.

Can they qualify?

Hoffer said some sellers are requiring potential buyers to guarantee that they will still purchase the house even if it doesn’t appraise for a loan.

“Some of these buyers were willing to give that assurance, but most were not,” Hoffer said. “Obviously, if the sellers do not even feel confident about the market value of their own home, then why should the buyers?”

James Gaines, an economist with the Real Estate Center, said recent consumer surveys show that higher home prices are starting to put a pinch on some markets.

“There has been some push-back,” Gaines said. “It’s still a seller’s market, and buyers don’t have as much choice as they would like.

“Yes, prices are higher than before, but they’re still cheaper than many other areas of the country.”
Rich Thomas, CEO of the MetroTex Association of Realtors, said the current home market isn’t too overheated.

“We are certainly not at real estate bubble stage yet, and I hope we don’t get there over the next year or so,” Thomas said.

“My sense is that we will very gradually return to slower price appreciation and better balance of number of buyers and sellers by the end of this year or early 2015.

Steve Brown- Dallas News

Raytheon’s official groundbreaking is next week in Richardson

Construction has already started, but the formal groundbreaking for Raytheon Co.’s new Richardson office complex will be next week.

Raytheon and developer KDC have set a Monday morning ceremony for the kick off of work on the 3-building campus  on the south side of Bush Turnpike near Plano Road.

The almost 500,000-square-foot office complex was designed by architect HKS and will be opening late next year.

Raytheon’s project is part of the huge CityLine development that includes State Farm Insurance’s new campus.

Raytheon will move 1,700 of its Dallas-area workers to the new office center Most of the workers will come from Raytheon’s current Garland campus.

Steve Brown- Dallas News

Large residential tract sells in SW Fort Worth

A Canadian real estate developer and investor has purchased a second large tract of land in southwest Fort Worth.

Walton Group of Cos purchased 286 acres of single-family housing land along the Chisholm Trail Parkway.

The property is planned for 1,100 homes plus apartments and commercial.

“With the newly opened parkway and easy access to downtown Fort Worth, Chisholm Trail Ranch has the potential to become a vibrant master-planned community and Walton’s first development project in Texas,” John Vick, Regional President, said in a statement.

In June Walton bought 1,755 acres in the same area from the Texas General Land Office.

Walton said it is in talks with homebuilders and plans to have the first lots for houses ready by next year.

Walton made its latest purchase from Stratford Land and Legacy Capital.

The company said it now controls more 25,000 acres of land in Ellis, Hunt and Grayson Counties in North Texas, and Hays and Caldwell Counties in Central Texas.

Steve Brown- Dallas News

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Partnership Acquires Texas MF Portfolio

DALLAS—DPG Investments, LLC and affiliates have structured $70 million in general partner, limited partner, senior debt, and mezzanine capital for a joint venture between Wilkinson Corporation and Capstone Communities Management, LLC for their acquisition of 1,568 apartment units in several multifamily properties located throughout Texas. Wilkinson is headquartered in Washington state, and Capstone is based in Texas.

Most of the units closed on July 8, while the remaining units are scheduled to close in approximately two weeks. These are the first closings in a single portfolio transaction, which is expected to total nearly $100 million in aggregate value and include more than 2,300 units when completed over the next 60 days.

“The Wilkinson Corporation’s expertise and management strength were instrumental in DPG’s ability to provide financing for the acquisition of this portfolio,” said Dan Galvanoni, chairman of DPG. “DPG has now participated as a financier in more than $100 million worth of multifamily properties with the Wilkinson companies. Another $40 million of investment is in the pipeline to close. Russell Wilkinson has built a world-class organization with Lonnie Gienger and George Waymire executing at high levels.”

Joe Joseph, DPG’s new managing director of real estate finance, provided key support in resolving the deal’s complex issues, Galvanoni said.
DPG has financed in excess of $170 million in multifamily assets across 24 properties since focusing on the property type in 2011, and plans to finance more than $250 million by the end of 2014.

David Phillips-

Plans approved for CityLine Market shopping center in Richardson

The shopping center is at the northeast corner of Plano and Renner roads.
Richardson has approved plans for the new shopping center located in the $1.5 billion CityLine development.

Called CityLine Market, the 8.5-acre development is going to be at the northeast corner of Plano and Renner roads, just south of where construction is underway on the huge State Farm Insurance regional campus.

The 3-building, 66,000-square-foot retail strip will be anchored by a 40,000 square foot Whole Foods Market grocery store, real estate brokers say.

There are also building sites along Renner Road in front of the strip that will accommodate smaller retail buildings.

Richardson’s plan commission this week gave approval for the retail project.

It’s in the same area where Raytheon Corp. has broken ground on its almost 500,000-square-foot office complex.

Dallas-based developer KDC is building the entire 186-acre CityLine project.
Real estate brokers say that Whole Foods Market will anchor the project
with a 40,000-square-foot store. 
(City of Richardson)
Steve Brown- Dallas News

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Plano named best city for families. Also: sexy, safe, bikeable and boring

Plano, Land of 1,000 Business Parks, has most recently
been named the No. 1 city for families.
Chalk up another win for suburbia, I suppose. Plano has been ranked the No. 1 city for families by social network site WalletHub.

The Toyota-luring suburb of Big D beat out the likes of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Overland Park, Kansas, and Fremont, California, which were second, third and fourth, respectively.

WalletHub ranked the 150 largest cities based on 31 key factors including availability of quality jobs, school systems, crime rate, housing costs, health care systems and parks. (Apparently tree count was not a category.)

Plano beat out these other Texas family friendly cities that also made the top 25: Amarillo (10), Austin (12), Grand Prairie (15), Fort Worth (16), Irving (23), and Garland (25).

Judging by the rankings, Plano (where I reside and raise my daughters, btw) is boring but safe, bikeable and, yes, sexy. Quite the combination. Planoites, Planoers, Planoidians — whatever we are — eat more fast food per capita than anywhere in the nation, but I guess we burn it off biking because, hey, did I mention we're pretty darn sexy?

See for yourself how Plano fared in other recent national rankings:

Bill Hethcock- Dallas Business Journal

New apartment development coming on Fitzhugh Avenue near U.S. 75

The planned apartment community will have 192 units. (Good Fulton & Farrell)

Developer Trinsic Residential Group has completed its purchase of a key development site near Highland Park.

Trinsic has bought the former Hope Cottage building and parking lot at McKinney and Fitzhugh avenues.

Trinsic plans to build a 192-unit luxury rental community on the 1.7-acre site, which is just west of North Central Expressway.

The 6-story apartment block was designed by Good Fulton & Farrell Architects and will be called Aura on McKinney.

Hope Cottage – Dallas’ oldest, non-profit and non-sectarian child adoption organization – sold the 2-story commercial building and is relocating to a new office and family services building at the corner of Texas and Florence streets, near downtown.

Trinsic Residential was started in 2011 by a group of veteran apartment executives. The company has several projects in the Oak Lawn area and Far North Dallas.
Trinsic Residential's project will replace the former Hope Cottage building. (Good Fulton & Farrell)
Steve Brown- Dallas News                            

Work starts on Arlington hospital

The new hospital will open near I-20 next June.

An Alabama-based medical property developer is building a new hospital in Arlington
Sanders Trust said Wednesday that it’s started work on the $16 million Texas Rehabilitation Hospital just off of Interstate 20 near The Parks at Arlington.

The 48,000-square-foot, 40-bed hospital will serve patients who require rehabilitation following a stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury or similar medical conditions.

The building will open next summer and will be leased to Nashville-based Centerre Healthcare Corp., Texas Health Resources and Methodist Health System. Centerre will operate the new hospital.

Byrne Construction Services of Fort Worth is the general contractor for the project and Nashville-based Earl Swensson Associates is handling design.

Developer Sanders Trust has built or acquired more than 60 medical properties in 18 states.

Steve Brown- Dallas News

Downtown lawfirm Sidley Austin completes new Uptown office lease

The McKinney & Olive tower
will open in 2016. 
(Crescent Real Estate)

Lawfirm Sidley Austin LLP has finally committed to taking a large block of office space in the new McKinney & Olive office tower which is under construction in Dallas’ Uptown district.

Developer Crescent Real Estate Holdings said Wednesday that the downtown lawfirm has rented two and a half floors at the top of the new 20-story office tower.

Sidley Austin has been negotiating the office lease for several months and said it planned to move to the building when it opened.

The firm has rented two and a half floors of temporary space at the nearby Trammell Crow Center on Ross Avenue. The company will relocate 100 people to the McKinney & Olive building when it opens in two years.

Sidley Austin has hired Gensler to design its new space.

“We want our space to meet all our goals and objectives and to look great on day one, but we also must have the ability to adapt and change over time as our business model and/or staffing needs change,” Yvette Ostolaza, managing partner of Sidley’s Dallas office, said in a statement.

Randy Cooper and Craig Wilson of Cassidy Turley negotiated the lease for Sidley Austin with Crescent’s John Zogg.

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects is doing the entire project.

Along with Sidley Austin,  lawfirm Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP has leased four floors in the tower.

The $225 million project includes 480,000 square feet of office space plus about 50,000 square feet of retail on the lower levels.

Steve Brown- Dallas News