Friday, April 24, 2015

Downtown building redo will bring dramatic changes


The new owners of an empty downtown Dallas office tower are giving the building a dramatic design reboot.
The 400 S. Record building — formerly the Belo Building — is being gutted for new office space.
And the redo of the 1980s high-rise by architect Gensler will bring big changes to the lower levels of the tower.
“We love the design of the building and the shape,” said Thomas Hartland-Mackie, whose family business bought the 17-story granite and glass tower located near the Dallas Omni Hotel. “We want the building to be engaged more with the street.
“We are taking some of the walls out [on the lower levels] and adding some glass,” Hartland-Mackie said. “We are going to build a canopy that extends from street to street.”
On top of the high-rise, a glass atrium will be removed to create a rooftop garden.
Hartland-Mackie, whose grandfather founded the worldwide firm City Electric Supply, plans to occupy about half of the tower with some of his family’s businesses. The rest of the building will be rented to other tenants.
He said it hasn’t been decided how much of the Mackie business, which has major operations in Florida and England, will be moving to downtown Dallas.
“We are still working on that,” Hartland-Mackie said. “It isn’t all of our business.
“I’ve been living in Dallas now for the past 10 years — Dallas is home,” he said. “We’ve been officing in Uptown for six or seven years.”
Hartland-Mackie said the revitalization underway downtown and the location of the 30-year-old tower between Union Station and the Omni Hotel prompted him to do the deal.
“You have parks on either side of the building,” he said. “You have these dramatic sweeping views of downtown Dallas.”
Work crews are already gutting the insides of the 235,000-square-foot building, which previously housed operations for media company Belo Corp. Belo was the parent company of The Dallas Morning News until Belo was split into two companies. The building was sold after Belo was purchased by Virginia-based Gannett Co., which vacated the property.
The most visible change to the building will be construction of a restaurant, which will stretch along the Young Street side of the tower.
“It will sort of float in the second-story height of the lobby,” Hartland-Mackie said.
Dallas restaurateur Sharon Hage is working with the owners on a concept and operator for the restaurant, he said.
The metal grid canopy will extend to the sidewalk on all sides of the building. It will be similar to the one surrounding the Winspear Opera House in the downtown Arts District.
Along with the lower-level improvements, renovations will add a conference facility and fitness center.
Commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield has been hired to market the office space to prospective tenants.
“It’s going to be a jewel box of a building,” said Cushman & Wakefield’s J.J. Leonard. “They are making it into a showplace for their offices and other businesses.
“We are already getting interest in it,” Leonard said. “Boutique law firms, small accounting firms and even entrepreneurial high-tech firms will want it.”
Construction should be finished by mid-2016.
“This building has been under the radar downtown for a long time — I think it’s going to surprise people,” said Cushman & Wakefield’s Rena Chappell.
Steve Brown/Dallas Morning News

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Foreign Investment in Dallas

It’s not for a lack of trying on our part. We routinely market offerings internationally and have had some success. For example, we arranged the sale of 1700 Pacific, a 1.3 million square foot building in downtown Dallas, to Canada-based Olymbec last year. But besides that transaction, and compared to other markets like Houston, foreign investment in Dallas has been tepid at best. Given the size of our office market, foreign investment is shamefully underrepresented—but why?
Foreign investors prefer large investments with a typical minimum threshold of $100 million. With the exception of a few suburban projects, the only properties capable of meeting foreign investors’ minimum investment threshold criteria are in the central business district. Our inventory of properties valued at $100 million or more is very limited.
Foreign investors like office buildings with few, large tenants that have international brand appeal. They prefer few tenants because it makes for easier management. They like tenants with international brands because they know and understand those businesses and credit is easy to underwrite. In Houston and other core markets, it is not uncommon for buildings to have tenants that are 400,000 square feet and larger. In Dallas, those tenants are for the most part entrenched in suburban campus facilities that they own.
There are several other reasons why foreign investment in Dallas has lagged. But before I lose your interest altogether (I know I have maybe two more minutes of your time), let me tell you why I think that is likely to change soon.
1. The relocation of Toyota’s headquarters to DFW is a blockbuster endorsement. Not only does it place North Texas on the international stage, we are also likely to see vendors from international companies relocate here to be in proximity to Toyota.
2. Investment activity in Houston has cooled off for now. Dollars allocated for acquisitions in Houston are transitioning to Dallas.
3. Overall, there are more international investors seeking real estate investments in the United States. They are crowding each other and driving down yields in the traditional core office markets.
4. Advisors are contacting us to alert us about Dallas coming onto the radar screen of more of their international investors. This is always a precursor to increased activity.
I’m hopeful that this trend finally materializes in Dallas, and I’m getting ready. I already speak Spanish and my favorite sushi chef teaches me Japanese. I also have scripted my Dallas story and tour: It includes trips to BBQ venues, Western wear outlets, NorthPark, and the Apple store. Sold!
John Alvarado reporting for D Real Estate Daily

Why 13,000 insurance industry jobs are headed to North Texas

Any way you slice it, 13,000 jobs is substantial. That’s how many combined insurance industry positions are being created in Plano and Richardson by Boston-based Liberty Mutual and Illinois-based State Farm. Both companies are in the process of moving major operations into North Texas.
In this week’s cover story, I focused on Liberty Mutual’s plan to bring 5,000 jobs to Plano, and on the company’s existing presence in the Lone Star state.
So, why are big companies like State Farm and Liberty Mutual choosing North Texas?
Because that’s where the workforce is, said Roger Meiners, chairman of the Department of Economics in the College of Business at the University of Texas at Arlington.
“For a large employer they want a big city,” Meiners said. “They could go to Amarillo — it would be cheaper — but it’s too small, and nobody wants to live there. You don’t have enough people to draw on. A company that’s going to be hiring a lot of people wants to be in a big labor pool.”
It’s a good thing, it seems, to be in a big pond.  
 Dallas Business Journal

Stonelake will build $250M urban residential district in West Dallas

The $250 million project will bring apartments and single-family homes to West Dallas.
Stonelake Capital Partners announced Thursday that it plans to develop a $250 million urban residential district in West Dallas called Trinity Green.
The Dallas-based private equity firm closed on the purchase of 25 acres at 1000 Singleton Blvd. in December. It is at the intersection of Singleton Boulevard and Sylvan Avenue.
According to Stonelake, Trinity Green will include a mixture of for-sale and for-rent residential properties. It will feature streets that will be lined with street trees and street lamps all built around a 1-acre urban green.
“Trinity Green is located at the intersection of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and the new Sylvan Avenue Bridge, offering its residents unmatched accessibility to all of Dallas’s major job and entertainment centers," said Coleman Brown, Stonelake vice president. "Trinity Green is minutes from Uptown, Downtown, the Medical and Design Districts and the Bishop Arts District, and within walking distance to restaurants in Trinity Groves.”
The Dallas Business Journal recently named 1000 Singleton as the winner of the best land transaction in the Best Real Estate Deals 2015.
Stonelake said it is developing a four-story, 371-unit, Class-A multifamily project in partnership with Streetlights Residential on six-acres and plans to break ground this summer.
Stonelake also recently closed on the sale of five acres to David Weekley Homes on which it will develop three-story single-family residences.
Stonelake plans to improve area's roadways and will build a one-acre linear park, the company said in a release. It said it plans to develop the remaining 14 acres in future phases.
The first units at Trinity Green will be delivered in the fall of 2016.
Dallas Business Journal

New Life for Old Downtown Dallas Highrises

DALLAS (Dallas Morning News) – The nearly 60-year-old, 22-story Mercantile Commerce office tower — vacant for 25 years — is about to begin a new life as a hotel.

So is its 18-story neighbor at 1700 Commerce, which opened in 1923 as the Allen Building.

Lewisville-based NewcrestImage is redeveloping the buildings into three downtown hotels with more than 400 rooms.

Work has already begun on the smaller building, which will become a 176-room Hampton Inn & Suites hotel, part of the Hilton brand. It is scheduled to open in first quarter 2016.

Construction will start in about 60 days at Mercantile Commerce, once the home of Mercantile National Bank.

New office tower will replace Uptown’s landmark Old Warsaw restaurant

A 14-story office tower will replace Dallas' landmark Old Warsaw restaurant on Maple Avenue next to the Crescent.
A new Uptown office tower is going up on the site of one of Dallas’ oldest restaurants.
The 14-story building will replace the decades-old Old Warsaw restaurant and two other buildings on Maple Avenue next to the Crescent.
Construction of the sleek, metal and glass tower will start in early 2016, according to M. Terry Enterprises and Holt Lunsford Holdings, the two firms building the high-rise.
“We decided this is where we wanted to be,” said Mike Terry, who heads the family-owned investment firm. “We looked at locations in Preston Center and all over Uptown and Oak Lawn.
“All of a sudden we found out this property was available and we decided this is where we want to be,” Terry said. “We felt like this was a special, unique location.”
The Old Warsaw restaurant has been in business since 1948. It originally was located on Cedar Springs Road near Oak Lawn Avenue and moved to the current location in the early 1970s.
The restaurant specializes in French Continental cuisine and has been a Dallas favorite for generations.
Terry and developer Holt Lunsford bought the building from Old Warsaw owner Al Heidari. As part of the purchase agreement, the restaurant may stay in the building until the end of this year.
The developers also purchased two small adjoining properties and have just over an acre for the new high-rise.
Architect Gensler designed the 125,000-square-foot building which steps back on the upper levels and will have landscaping and retail on the street level. Parking for the project will be in an underground garage.
The developers held an architectural competition before picking the Gensler design.
“We didn’t want to steal any of the Crescent’s thunder or be a copy cat,” Terry said. “”We think we have landed on something that will complement the Crescent and the area.”
The office tower is being planned to cater to small, exclusive businesses and will have outdoor terraces on the upper levels. The building will be priced to rent at costs comparable to other top-tier Uptown buildings and the Old Parkland campus in Oak Lawn, Lunsford said.
“We think this site is the Tenderloin of Uptown,” Lunsford said. “We want to be very particular about who is in this building.
“The reason we kept it to this size is to attract the people we want and not to have to play to the entire lease market.”
The office tower will have a private lounge area for the tenants and their guests, he said.
“We want a real collegial feel,” Lunsford said. “We are having what we call the library with a fireplace and wet bar.
“The purpose is to create an environment where our tenants can invite their friends and have social events.”
A small separate building will house a 7,500-square-foot restaurant. The developers have hired JLL and Stablemade Retail Group to find an operator for the space.
“This project is going to change the Uptown skyline,” Lunsford said.
With development sites in short supply north of downtown, builders have been looking at every square inch of property for new projects.
Real estate broker Newt Walker said he approached the owner of Old Warsaw about selling late last year.
“Most people saw the Old Warsaw but I saw the dirt under it,” Walker said. “It is an institution, and it wasn’t on the market.
“We got there at the right time and they decided to sell.”
Walker said Old Warsaw’s owner has other properties on Maple Avenue and may relocate the storied eatery.
“I have watched Uptown undergo major transformations,” Old Warsaw Heidari said in a statement. “This was an opportune time to sell.”
The new tower will take 18 to 24 months to build.
It’s one of a handful of new office projects on the way in Uptown.

Developer Rosewood Property ready to start Plano mixed-use project

More than 300 apartments are planned in the first phase of the Heritage Creekside development. (Rosewood)
More than 300 apartments are planned in the first phase of the Heritage Creekside development. (Rosewood)
Developer Rosewood Property Co. is breaking ground before the end of the month on the first phase of its new mixed-use development in Plano.
Rosewood is building its Heritage Creekside development on 156-acres of vacant land on Bush Turnpike between Alma and Custer roads.
Construction will start on April 28 on more than 300 apartments in the first phase of the project.
The rental community on Pittman Creek will also include restaurant space. Developer Carbon Thompson Realty will build the apartments.
Other parts of the development are planned for more apartments, homes, retail, a hotel and office towers.
Steve Brown, The Dallas Morning News

Apartments near SMU switching to condos

The Shelby on SMU Boulevard has 55 units. (Marquis Group)
The Shelby on SMU Boulevard has 55 units. (Marquis Group)
Developers plan to convert a high-density apartment project just east of Southern Methodist University to condo ownership.
The 55-unit Shelby apartments on SMU Boulevard near North Central Expressway will be sold starting at $185,000. The 5-story apartment project opened in 2008.
The rental community has been popular with SMU students.
Owner Marquis Group is opening models to sell the apartments this weekend.
“With just 55 homes available, the development represents an amazing opportunity to own in one of the hottest markets in the country,” Brent Halvorson, vice president of Marquis Group, said in a statement.
The urban-style apartment project – which includes groundfloor retail space – was built on the site of a garage once used by automotive designer and racer Carroll Shelby.
While homes are in short supply in the Dallas area, this is one of the few cases where apartments are being converted to ownership.
“I am honestly not aware of anything in this cycle that has converted to condo,” said Greg Willett with Carrollton-based apartment analyst MPF Research. “We’ve seen it in some other markets but this is the first time I’ve seen it here in a long, long time.
“Most of the new apartments that have been built are not for that exit strategy.”
Steve Brown, The Dallas Morning News

Huge I-20 warehouse deal would fill a large new building

Trammell Crow Co. just finished the 823,379-square-foot Crow Penn Distribution Center on I-20. (Steve Brown)
Trammell Crow Co. just finished the 823,379-square-foot Crow Penn Distribution Center on I-20. (Steve Brown)
One of the largest speculative warehouses in the Interstate 20 corridor in southern Dallas County is close to landing a major tenant. Chicago-based publishing, logistics and information firm R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co. is close to a deal to rent the 823,379-square-foot building under construction on Beckleymeade Avenue at I-20, real estate brokers who are tracking the deal say. The building developed by Trammell Crow Co. and Prudential Real Estate Investors is one of the biggest warehouse projects in that area. Called Trammell Crow Penn Distribution Center, the warehouse was just completed. Crow just landed another major tenant – retailer – for its other large warehouse project under construction on I-20. Amazon plans to lease 500,000 square feet in Crow’s 2-building project at I-20 and J.J. Lemmon Road. The Amazon facility will employ about 500 workers. Crow, Clarion Partners and Rosewood Property Co. are building the JJ Lemmon Distribution Center. Another large speculative warehouse along I-20 in Lancaster was just leased to logistics firm NFI. That building is in the ProLogis 20/35 business park.
Steve Brown, The Dallas Morning News

David Weekley will build homes in West Dallas near Trinity Groves

Along with David Weekley's single-family homes, construction will also start this summer of 371 apartments in the Trinity Green project. (Stonelake Capital)
Along with David Weekley’s single-family homes, construction will also start this summer of 371 apartments in the Trinity Green project. (Stonelake Capital)
David Weekley Homes will build a single-family home community in West Dallas near the Trinity Groves restaurant complex.
Houston-based Weekely has purchased five acres from Stonelake Capital Partners in its Trinity Green development on Singleton Boulevard near Sylvan Avenue.
The 25-acre Trinity Green project will include apartments and homes.
Stonelake Capital and Dallas’ StreetLights Residential plan to start construction this summer on a 371-unit apartment community at Trinity Green.
Weekley will build high-density, 3-story homes near a 1-acre park in the project.
Weekley is also building urban home projects just east of downtown Dallas, in Oak Lawn and in the Cedars neighborhood south of Interstate 30.
Stonelake Capital – working with StreetLights Residential – bought the former industrial site on Singleton last year from Austin Industries.
Steve Brown, The Dallas Morning News

Latest plans: Toyota doubles size of Plano headquarters campus

The new Toyota headquarters in Plano has grown to more than 2.1 million square feet. (Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning News)
The new Toyota headquarters in Plano has grown to more than 2.1 million square feet. (Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning News)
Toyota Motor Co. is adding more horsepower to its new office campus in Plano.
After months of speculation, plans filed with the City of Plano show that the automaker’s new North American headquarters will be about twice the size originally proposed.
A revised site plan released by the Plano planning and zoning commission shows that the headquarters complex in West Plano has grown to more than 2.1 million square feet.
That would make it the largest new office project in North Texas and one of the largest in the state. It’s slightly bigger than State Farm Insurance’s new regional operation in Richardson. And Toyota’s planned headquarters
The engineering documents show about a half dozen office and commercial buildings plus parking garages on the 99.8-acre development site Toyota is building on Legacy Drive just south of State Highway 121.
There’s also going to be parking for more than 7,000 cars, which is further proof that early estimates of the employment in the office campus were too low.
Originally Toyota said that just fewer than 4,000 people would be working at the office campus when it opens in 2017. Later than said as many as another 1,000 contract workers would be located at the facility, which will replace the Japanese automaker’s longtime U.S. office in southern California.
“While we are still in the planning stage and no final decisions have been made, our new campus will likely be larger than originally reported to accommodate not only our team members but also some portion of our corporate partners, consultants and contingency staff,” Toyota said in a statement.
The Toyota office site layout also shows an auto test track on the northwest corner of the property along the south side of S.H. 121.
The Toyota headquarters was previously estimated to cost about $350 million and is being designed by Dallas-based architect Corgan.
Construction on the project began earlier this year.
The Toyota campus is part of the 240-acre Legacy West mixed-use development which also includes offices for FedEx Office and Liberty Mutual Insurance.
Toyota's new headquarters campus includes a test track in the northwest corner of the property. (City of Plano).
Toyota’s new headquarters campus includes a test track in the northwest corner of the property. (City of Plano).

Steve Brown, The Dallas Morning News

Investor buys NBC complex near D/FW Airport

Developer KDC built the NBC complex which opened in 2013. (CBRE)
Developer KDC built the NBC complex which opened in 2013. (CBRE)
An investor has purchased a new broadcast facility south of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
Developer KDC sold the NBC Universal Regional Headquarters in the CenterPort development south of State Highway 183.
KDC built the 75,000-square-foot facility in 2013.
Olympus Ventures bought the building at 4805 Amon Carter Boulevard which is leased to NBC Univeral Media. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
CBRE’s Eric Mackey, Gary Carr, John Alvarado, Robert Hill and Pete Vam Amburgh brokered the sale.
“NBC Universal Regional Headquarters presented investors with an exceptional opportunity to acquire a recently constructed, state-of-the-art office asset with a stable income stream that is backed by the long-term commitment of one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies,” said Mackey.
Steve Brown, The Dallas Morning News

Billingsley lands another tenant for Mercer Business Park

Iron Mountain leased a new facility at Mercer Business Park. (Billingsley)
Iron Mountain leased a new facility at Mercer Business Park. (Billingsley)
Another major tenant has leased warehouse space in Billingsley Co.’s new Mercer Business Park near LBJ Freeway.
Iron Mountain Inc. rented 70,000 square feet of industrial space in the 225-acre business park located near the northwest corner of LBJ and Interstate 35E.
The document storage and management company moves into the facility later this year.
With the latest deal, the 340,00-square-foot project is substantially leased.
“This lease leaves only 80,000 square feet available in the building,” George Billingsley said in a statement. “Leasing activity is also strong in our second building of 260,000 square feet which delivers in the third quarter of 2015.”
Along with the warehouse space, Billingsley is also constructing a 165,000-square-foot corporate campus for Monitronics International in the project.
Steve Brown, The Dallas Morning News

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Apartment towers to rise this summer at Dallas’ Victory Park

Apartments in developer Greystar’s Victory Park project will average 975 square feet and rent for an average of $2,850. The 21-story and 23-story towers will each have a rooftop deck and fitness center with views of Uptown and the Trinity River corridor.
Developers plan to break ground this summer on a two-tower residential project at Dallas’ Victory Park.
The Ascent apartment high-rises will have more than 300 luxury rental units just east of American Airlines Center.
Developer Greystar is building the project. Dallas architect Good Fulton & Farrell designed it with a brick and glass exterior.
“We are trying to do something a little different, with a more traditional Texas feel,” said Greystar managing director Laird Sparks. “We should start construction in August.”
The 21-story and 23-story apartment towers will each have a rooftop deck and fitness center with views of Uptown, downtown and the Trinity River corridor.
“We’ll have a pool like the Joule Hotel downtown where part of it hangs off the building,” Sparks said.
Greystar is one of a handful of apartment developers looking at new projects at Victory Park — the 75-acre development on the northwestern edge of downtown.
“We started looking for the best location for a high-rise and found this tract of land,” Sparks said. “I fell in love with what’s happening at Victory.
“The projection is that the daytime population there is going to double or triple.”
Greystar’s Victory Park project will have about 3,500 square feet of retail space on Houston Street. Apartments will average 975 square feet and rent for an average of $2,850, he said.
Greystar is one of the largest apartment operators and owners in North Texas. The South Carolina-based company is building the Elan City Lights apartments just east of downtown Dallas on Live Oak Street.
“In D-FW since 2010, we’ve developed about 4,000 units,” Sparks said.
Greystar also has apartment towers under construction in Boston, Charlotte, N.C., on the West Coast and in Washington, D.C.
“We manage 385,000 units and have 9,500 employees,” he said.
Along with Greystar’s planned project, Houston-based builder Camden Property Trust is building 423 apartments at Victory Park. Other high-rise buildings are planned nearby by Novare Group and Lennar Multifamily.
Apartment consultant Greg Willett said he’s not surprised by the size of Greystar’s project.
“You want this project to be a statement,” said Willett, vice president of Carrollton-based MPF Research. “You have to go big in that setting.
“The people who are doing these types of project know what they are doing.”
With more than 34,000 apartments under construction, Dallas-Fort Worth is the busiest apartment-building market in the country.
“Our Victory Park project is the kind of investment we are looking at as a long-term hold,” Sparks said. “We are doing several projects like this around the country.”

 stevebrown@dallasnews.comReal Estate Editor

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Reflections From My Mom - Former Mayor Betty Turner of Corpus Christi, Texas

CORPUS CHRISTI - Though she was reared 30 minutes outside of New York City, former Corpus Christi Mayor Betty Turner is a true Texan.  Her eyes still shine when talking about her first trip down to Texas as a junior at Vassar College in the 1950s.

"I told my father that I didn't want to spend four years of college at an all-girls school," Turner said in her apartment at the Mirador senior living community. "He said if I went to the school, for my junior year I could go to Europe, Florida, wherever."

Turner  chose to work with her father, who she called her inspiration, in his publishing business in Texas and enrolled for a semester  at Texas A&I University, now Texas A&M-Kingsville, and met the man who would become her husband,  Jack Rice Turner.

"I got here as quick as I could," she said. "He was in the Navy. As soon as he finished his naval term, we came to Texas and never left Texas."

New York's loss of Betty Adams Noble became Corpus Christi's gain of Betty Noble Turner  who would go on to become the first woman elected mayor of the Sparkling City by the Sea.

"I've been very blessed with incredible opportunities to become involved with the people in this community," Turner said. "The dividends in terms of knowledge, friendships have been just overpowering."

In the 1980s, the city was plagued by a recession like most of the country. Oil prices had sunk, and much of the town was out of work.

When Turner was voted into office in 1987, she took a creative approach to the city's issues rather than fix them with a temporary  Band-Aid. She had worked as mayor pro tern from 1981-1985, and had been on city council since 1979. During her years of public service, she helped create the area's Regional Transportation Authority,
pushed for bringing the Lexington Museum on the Bay to the city, rode the top of submarine and threw the first pitch at a Houston Astros game on Corpus Christi Day.  Current Mayor Nelda Martinez said Turner "opened the door for women" and "loves Corpus Christi."

"What's been so great about Betty is that she's stayed engaged and involved in the community," Martinez said. "She engaged with community leaders in making the Texas State Aquarium a reality. That's such a success story. She's promoted  Corpus Christi very well."

"There had never been (a female mayor in Corpus Christi)," she said. "People thought a woman's place was in the house... more like the House of Representatives and the mayor's office." Turner, now 83, also still keeps busy.

In the years since the end of her term in 1991, Turner  has remained a revered public figure in Corpus Christi through the Chamber of Commerce and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She has served as president of the Food Bank of Corpus Christi, Boys and Girls Club and helped run campaigns for local politicians.

These days, Turner splits her time between Mirador and Port Aransas and still operates a real estate business which she has done for more than 40 years. She recently finished a personal book of her husband's life, complete with photos from their marriage of more than 6o years.

She and her husband, Jack, take annual summer trips to Oaxaca and Cancun in Mexico. There are walls of shelves in her home that display a decades-old, and still growing, collection of Mexican folk art.

She has spent her adult life embracing and sharing her love of Tejano and Mexican culture.

"Everything about Mexico I like - the music, the colors, the flowers, the art," she said. Her heart though will always belong to the city she led for so long.
Turner sees Texas now as she did when she first arrived as a young woman, and still believes in the enduring beauty and power of Corpus Christi.

"It's a great place to live in," she said. "Right now, it's exploding."