Monday, November 26, 2012

Dallas Real Estate ~ Partners Collect 28 Henderson Avenue Properties

DALLAS (Dallas Morning News) – A 28-building purchase has been made in one of the region’s most popular restaurant and entertainment districts.
Los Angeles-based CIM Group and Dallas’ Open Realty Advisors acquired the buildings totaling 130,000 sf along East Dallas’ Henderson Ave., between US 75 and Ross Ave. The acquisition also includes some vacant lots.
While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, area brokers estimate the partners paid over $50 million for the group of properties.
Real Estate Center Online News (RECON) 

Real Estate Players Race to Close Deals Before Year's End

The final weeks of the year are always a busy time for real estate folks. Investors are busy trying to close out deals and wind down business before 2012 is no more.
But this year the rush is even more intense, thanks to the high-stakes monkey business going on in our nation’s capital.
With most federal tax rates scheduled to change with the start of the new year, some real estate players are in a hurry to get their deals wrapped up before the ball drops in Times Square. Regardless of whether the gang in Washington can avoid the fiscal cliff, these investors are saying that it’s better to get their business done at current tax rates.
“The likelihood of an increase in capital gains taxes has people flying,” said Dallas property broker Jeff Swaney. “There is a real sense of urgency, and the title companies are going to be full of year-end deals.”
Title company execs confirm that their in-baskets are full of business that has to be done in the next five weeks.
“Yes, we are seeing an increase in year-end closings,” said Ted Darby, senior vice president in Chicago Title Insurance’s Dallas office. “With the uncertainly of what is going to happen Jan. 1, many have pushed up their closing dates to ensure they close this year. 
“This is across the board in all product types,” Darby said. “We are seeing similar activity in many other states as well as Texas.”
Of course, it’s great if you can fast-track a real estate closing to be done by the end of December. But these days getting any real estate transaction closed takes a lot of time, even with the fiscal cliff overshadowing the market.
It’s easier for corporations; some are moving up their dividend payments to the final hours of 2012 so that shareholders won’t have to fret about paying higher taxes on their gains.
Commercial broker Pat Patman doesn’t doubt that a few deals will be hurried to completion before the current tax rates expire. But he thinks the notion of a rush is overstated. “People are just using that to get sellers moving,” Patman said. “I wish someone would buy some of the property I have, so I wouldn’t be paying higher long-term capital gains taxes.”

Steve Brown 
Real Estate Editor 
Dallas Morning News 

Time Running Out for Downtown's Thomas Building

I’m sorry to report that demolition crews are about to make quick work of downtown’s once-grand Thomas Building. Sometime within the next week or so the eight-story Dallas landmark will be imploded. After 88 years, the brick and carved stone building near the corner of Wood and Akard streets will be a pile of debris to be carted off to the landfill.
Next door in the old Cotton Exchange Building — torn down a few years ago — traders would bid on cotton shipments and examine samples of the crop. The Thomas Building’s fate shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s been sitting empty for years.Years of paying property taxes on an empty building and the city of Dallas’ official edict requiring owners to maintain or tear down vacant properties no doubt pushed the owner over the edge.
Local preservationists are saying what they always say, that they dropped the ball on this one and will try to do better next time. Such comments are no doubt sincere but provide little solace when one more local landmark bites the dust.
It’s even more frustrating that the Thomas Building will probably be replaced by a parking lot. That’s what happened next door where the Cotton Exchange used to be. And it was the same story for Oak Lawn’s colorful Esquire Theater and the fine old YWCA Building on Haskell Avenue. Parking lots now occupy both sites. When grand old buildings are demolished to make way for new ones, well, at least there’s that.
But what’s sadder than knocking down something like the Thomas Building or the Esquire Theater to make more room to park Hondas and SUVs? I’ve said before that the last thing Dallas needs is more surface parking lots. If you don’t believe me, just walk down Field Street between Ross and Pacific avenues downtown where you are surrounded by a desert of cracked concrete and parked cars. So much for an urban experience.
The buildings that once occupied those downtown blocks have been gone for decades. The keep-the-dirt-flying fans always say that it’s better to tear the old stuff down to make way for grand new construction. Indeed, sometimes that’s true. But when all we get out of the deal is a few dozen more places to park cars, is that really a fair trade?
I also understand that it doesn’t make sense to try and hang onto every old pile of bricks and tumble-down chicken coop just because it’s “old.”
Still, it should be up to city leaders to come up with a workable list of buildings that deserve to be saved — even if they are empty. Then help keep them standing with property tax abatements and exterior preservation incentives.
Of course, it’s too late for the Thomas Building. Maybe we’ll do better next time.

Steve Brown 
Real Estate Editor 
Dallas Morning News 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cypress Waters Second Phase Announced

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Located at the northeast corner of Belt Line Road and I-635, in the heart of DFW, lies Cypress Waters. Consisting of approximately 1000 acres of mixed use development and situated along the shores of the scenic and pristine North Lake, Cypress Waters will infuse water front living with the design principles of new urbanism and sustainable design.

 Emphasizing the benefits of a live/work community, the development will interconnect over 4.5 million square feet of commercial/retail space and 10,000 residences with schools, parks, trails and a lakeside town center. Servicing Coppell, Valley Ranch and North Irving, Cypress Waters will have 25,000 employees within a one-mile radius.
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Billingsley Co. is planning to add over one million sf of office and industrial space to The Office at Cypress Waters, part of the 1,000-acre mixed-use development north of LBJ Freeway at Belt Line Rd.

Also part of the second phase is a shopping center and additional residential units. Billingsley is currently constructing 686 apartments in the first phase of the community, which will open in April 2013.

When completed, the master-planned community will have 10,000 residential units, four million sf of office space and 400,000 sf of retail.

RECON (Real Estate Online Newsletter) 

Dallas Real Estate ~ More Maple Avenue Apartments Coming

DALLAS (Dallas Morning News) – Big D's Maple Ave. is in the middle of a multifamily boom.

Encore Multi-Family LLC is planning a nearly 300-unit apartment project at the corner of Maple and Bomar Avenues. Encore is expected to close on the land purchase this week.

Next door at 6008 Maple, JLB Partners is building the 300-unit Eon apartment project. Meanwhile, Greystar’s 359-unit Southwestern apartments is going up at 5959 Maple, just across the street.

Other nearby projects are in the works from Trammell Crow Residential, Glenwood Residential and Trinsic Residential.

RECON (Real Estate Center Online News) 

Monday, November 12, 2012

With Elections in Rearview Mirror, Will Companies Decide to Expand?

Now that the election is over, businesses will have to come up with another excuse not to expand. That won’t be a problem. There’s the fiscal cliff looming. And Christmas is coming. Why worry about leasing that new office or warehouse if the end is nigh?

Real estate firms have been complaining all year that corporations are reluctant to grow until they can figure out what the economic future holds.  Asieh Mansour, head of research for commercial property firm CBRE Group, told a Dallas real estate meeting this week that getting the election out of the way may help move businesses off the fence about expanding.

“We are waiting for them to start spending and leasing more space and hiring more people, but they are not doing it,” Mansour said. “Once they at least have clarity [about the election], they are going to decide how they want to spend.”

I don’t think companies will have any choice but to expand to meet slow but steady improvements in the economy. And that’s particularly true in North Texas. “Texas is doing better compared to the rest of the states,” Mansour said. “Texas, in general, and Dallas has done a good job of recovering.”

Demand for warehouse and distribution buildings in the Dallas-Fort Worth area has more than doubled this year, filling vacant buildings and sending developers scrambling to put up more space. And office construction — which was perhaps the hardest hit by the recession — is on the way back with new projects on the drawing boards in Uptown, downtown and along the tollway.

“Texas has a tremendous buzz about it right now,” CBRE Group vice chairman Gary Carr said. “It’s getting as much media attention as I can remember in my career.” He said almost 40 real estate investment deals have been made in the D-FW area this year, totaling more than $1.4 billion.

“If you look at the capital flow, most of that is coming from outside Texas,” he said. Leasing agents say companies that put off expanding their local offices may be surprised to find that the supply of space has dwindled in the Dallas area.

“The large blocks of space are really starting to go away,” CBRE vice chairman Jeff Ellerman said. “I think we are in the late seventh inning of a recovery of the office market. “In the very short term, you are going to see businesses looking for space.”

Of course, that’s good news for developers, who’d like nothing better than to build a bunch of new office towers. But the sticker shock with some of the new buildings may cause expanding businesses to do a double take, brokers warn.

“You have a pretty wide gap from where … rates are today,” Ellerman said. Even so, when it’s time to add workers and business is growing, corporations usually don’t let real estate costs get in the way of higher revenue.

Steve Brown
Real Estate Editor
Dallas Morning News

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Three Industrial Buildings Landing Near DFW Airport

DFW Airport Address

Nearly one million sf of new industrial space is in the works near the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
Trammell Crow Co., along with investors Clarion Partners and Rosewood Property Co., are adding a trio of industrial buildings to the DFW Trade Center complex at Esters Rd. and Corporate Dr. The largest of the new buildings will span 500,000 sf, with the other two at 297,500 and 202,500 sf.
Cadence McShane Construction Co. will build the development, which is expected to be completed in June. GSR Andrade Architects Inc. is the designer. CBRE Group will manage the property.

Despite Recent Gains, Some Pieces are Missing in Downtown Dallas

While everyone is still aglow from the opening success of Dallas’ new center city park, it’s a good time to talk about what’s missing downtown. The last 10 years have been a watershed time for the central business district.

Developers have added thousands of residential units. And billions of dollars in public investments in big-ticket items — including the Arts District, the convention center hotel and three new downtown parks — have gone a long way toward turning the area around.

Companies that in previous decades would have fled to the suburbs are expanding and relocating to the central business district. More development projects are in the works. But there are still some key pieces missing before the efforts in downtown Dallas can truly be considered a success.

First on the to-do list should be a downtown connector shuttle.

The central business district has lots of great attractions and venues. But they are too spread out and hard for visitors — particularly suburbanites — to find and get to. A shuttle bus loop running among the West End, the convention center, Farmers Market, Arts District and Main Street would help connect downtown’s disparate parts and take cars off the streets.

Many of downtown’s streets are a mess for pedestrians. Sidewalks in Dallas are narrower than in other major cities. And they are full of obstacles that make it hard to navigate the urban landscape. A design effort to improve the walkability of downtown would make it easier for the city’s new residents, office workers and tourists.

We also need to get the transit buses off Main Street. For years, this has been a politically loaded issue. Main Street is overcrowded with valet parkers, pedestrians and car traffic. Adding all those big buses just makes the situation worse. The transit bus traffic can serve downtown just fine a block away on Elm or Commerce streets, and the move will make Main Street friendlier for everyone.

Finally, downtown needs additional storefronts.  Instead of big mattress stores and more fast-food locations, downtown needs more mom-and-pop service shops and restaurants catering to the growing residential base and workers in the center city.

Don’t be surprised if downtown Dallas gets as much done in the next 10 years as in the last decade. The momentum is already there.

Steve Brown 
Real Estate Editor 
Dallas Morning News