Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Dallas area ranks No. 3 among all metros for the most new jobs

For the second straight month, the Dallas-Fort Worth area ranked No. 3 among all U.S. metropolitan areas for the most new jobs as of June.  

The D-FW area added 117,800 seasonally unadjusted jobs through the last 12 months ended June 30, according to data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. More than three-quarters of those jobs, or 91,400, were added in the East metro — in the Dallas-Plano-Irving area.   

The New York area added the most jobs (168,900) followed by the Los Angeles area (152,000). By percent, the Provo, Utah area saw the largest gain of 6.9 percent.
The New Orleans area saw the largest employment drop of 3,400 jobs. By percent, the biggest decline was in Pine Bluff, Ark. (-7.6 percent), but it also ranked No. 2 for losing 2,600 jobs.
Overall, 317 metro areas saw employment increase in June from a year earlier, 60 metros saw decreases and nine saw no change at all.
None of the local statistics have been adjusted for seasonal variations.   
Sheryl Jean/ Dallas Morning News 

Verizon is in talks to build new office campus in Irving

Dallas’ busiest real estate developers is close to lining up another big deal.   
KDC – which is developing office campuses for Toyota, State Farm Insurance, Liberty Mutual Insurance and others – is negotiating to build a large office project in Irving for Verizon.
The office development would be constructed at Verizon’s existing campus on Hidden Ridge Drive in Las Colinas, real estate brokers who have been tracking the deal say.
Verizon is negotiating to make this move in Irving after scouting North Texas for a new office location.
The big office deal has been negotiating under the code name “pioneer,” real estate brokers say. And it could be as large as several hundred thousand square feet of construction.
Officials with KDC would not comment on any pending transaction.
And Verizon is mum on plans to expand in Irving.
“Verizon does not have any insights to share,” a spokeswoman for the telecommunications firm said when asked about the possibility of office expansion in Irving.
Verizon already has several thousand workers at 112-acre campus on Hidden Ridge west of State Highway 114 in Las Colinas.
Built in the early 1990s, the buildings contain more than 1 million square feet.
They were originally built for GTE Telephone, which was consolidated into Verizon.
Two large buildings now occupy the site with most parking underground.
The buildings straddle a lake and are connected by walkways.
Verizon just sold its 4-building office campus in Richardson to an Austin investor, Q Real Estate Holdings.
The telecom firm has to move several hundred employees now located in the complex near North Central Expressway by early next year.
The company also has workers in other locations around Dallas-Fort Worth that could be consolidated into a new Las Colinas building.
If KDC gets the Verizon project, it would be another win for the developer that already has done more large corporate projects here than any other commercial property firm.
KDC’s State Farm campus in Richardson has about 2 million square feet of offices in four buildings.
And the Toyota North American headquarters it’s just starting in West Plano will contain more than 2 million square feet in seven office buildings.
KDC is also about to start construction on Liberty Mutual Insurance’s new regional campus on the Dallas North Tollway in Plano. That development will have about 1 million square feet of offices in two towers.
The developer has also done large projects in the area for FedEx Office, Raytheon, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas and Citigroup.
 Steve Brown/ Dallas Morning News

Texas Instruments is selling its Spring Creek campus in Plano

Texas Instruments Inc. is shrinking its North Texas footprint to fit the company’s smaller size.  
It just doesn’t need the same amount of space anymore and it wants a more collaborative work environment, officials said.
The Dallas-based semiconductor company is selling its 84-acre Spring Creek campus in Plano and plans to relocate the roughly 780 employees who work there to other sites in Dallas and Richardson, spokeswoman Nicole Bernard said.
TI would not disclose the asking price for the property or other details of the real estate listing. But public documents show the property, including a vacant lot, is assessed at a tax value of $35.5 million this year.  
“We are pleased with the significant amount of interest in the property since it was placed on the market” earlier this year, Bernard said.
TI chief financial officer Kevin March said in a recent interview that the sale is part of the company’s adjustment to changes in the last few years as it wound down two wireless divisions and restructured other operations.
“Wireless … was a pretty large division within TI and took up a lot of space,” he said. “We have more real estate in North Texas than we need. It’s as simple as that – resizing.”
Since 2012, TI has laid off about 1,700 people in its wireless restructuring and 1,000 or so people when it closed two older factories in Houston and Hiji, Japan. Last year, TI sold a factory in Nice, France, as part of its exit last year from the wireless mobile market.
TI today employs about 31,000 people worldwide, down from 35,000 in 2005 and about 60,000 in 1995.
TI’s Spring Creek campus includes four buildings and a fitness center, totaling 936,311 square feet, plus several parking lots along Chase Oaks Boulevard. It also includes 16 acres of undeveloped land.
In addition to the $35.5 million assessed value of the property, equipment, machinery, furniture and inventory on site carries an assessed value of roughly $9.6 million this year, according to the Collin County Central Appraisal District.
TI originally built the Spring Creek campus in 1984 for its information technology, defense and software businesses. Today, it mainly houses IT and projection technology businesses.
TI has not used all of the Spring Creek campus for many years. It began renting two buildings in Plano to defense contractor Raytheon Co. in 1998, a year after TI sold its defense business to that company for $2.95 billion. The last lease ended in 2013.
Even with the Plano campus for sale, TI still has plenty of growth space in its North campus, March said.   
Sheryl Jean/ Dallas Morning News 

FedEx Office shows off its new world headquarters in Plano

FedEx Office this morning showed off its new world headquarters in West Plano.   
The office campus has been under construction for more than a year on Legacy Drive just south of State Highway 121.
FedEx plans to start moving workers into the 4-story office complex in October.
A fitness center is still under construction in FedEx Office's new headquarters in Plano. (Steve Brown)
A fitness center is still under construction in FedEx Office’s new headquarters in Plano. (Steve Brown)
“Coming to this campus are going to be 1,200 employees,” said FedEx Office vice president Ari Spitzer. “We are consolidating two campuses into one.”
FedEx Office picked the Legacy West development in Plano after looking at various locations. The company now has workers at the Galleria Dallas and in Plano near Bush Turnpike.
“Most of our employees live north,” Spitzer said. “This is going to be a great place to live and work and we are excited to be here.”
The campus designed by architects HKS and  HOK is being built by Rogers-O’Brien Construction and Balfour Beatty Construction. Work on the 265,000-square-foot office project is scheduled for wrap up in September.
Along with offices the building will include a fitness center for employees, a café and meeting space.
There’s also a mock store on the groundfloor.
“It will be just like our FedEx Office retail stores,” Spitzer said. “This will be a playground to make sure everything works and test things out.”
He said the company doesn’t currently have a mock store at its headquarter in the Galleria office towers on LBJ. FedEx Office has been in that location for more than 12 years.
Dallas-based KDC is the developer of the FedEx Office campus. KDC is also bulding the huge Toyota Motor North American headquarters just across the street in Legacy West.
And KDC developed the new State Farm Insurance campus in Richardson.
The FedEx Office project is finishing up on time and budget, said KDC’s Mike Rosamond.
“We’re getting close to the end of this project but have a lot more underway,” Rosamond said.   
Steve Brown/ Dallas Morning News 

Irving company to invest $250M in new high-tech micro mill, adding 300 jobs

Commercial Metals Company (NYSE: CMC) is bringing a new micro mill to Durant, Oklahoma, that will create an estimated 300 jobs at the mill and through support services that will be needed to support the new facility.

The company announced the new mill Monday in conjunction with Oklahoma leaders, including the city of Durant, the Choctaw Nation, the Durant Industrial Authority and the state. CMC said it will make a $250 million investment in Durant with the plant. That figure includes incentives awarded to CMC by the city and state, though company officials declined to say how much those incentives totaled.

"The incentives cover a broad range, from support for infrastructure to support a mill of this size and scale to various tax incentives," CFO Barbara Smith told the Dallas Business Journal.  

Smith added that CMS spent around $200 million to build its first micro mill in Mesa, Arizona. The facility, which was described at the time as the first in a new generation of steel mills built to serve regional needs, was constructed in 2009. Read more about the Arizona mill here.

The Durant micro mill will include the same improved technology developed from CMC's experience in Arizona, the company said in announcing the plant. Micro mills melt, cast and roll steel from a single strand, producing higher yields and lower energy costs than traditional processes.

"In the steel making process there are a number of components that are very important, energy being one, and yield," Smith said. "In the case of a micro mill, it’s very efficient from an energy perspective and allows us to have higher yield and less scrap."

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin enthusiastically welcomed the investment.

"Our pro-business climate, great quality of life, and skilled workforce make Oklahoma the perfect home for this world class manufacturing operation," she said.

Joe Alvarado, president, CEO and chairman of the CMC board, told the Journal that Durant also offered CMC more space to expand its recycling operations.

"We have recycling and fabrication operations throughout the state of Texas," he added. This is extending our reach a little bit further north."

Pending permit approval, the micro mill is expected to open in fall 2017. CMC said it will fund construction from internally generated capital.

In its most recent fiscal year, CMC reported profit of $102 million on revenue exceeding $7 billion. It employs 9,300 globally. It ranked 16th in the Dallas Business Journal's largest public companies list for 2015.  

Paul O'Donnell and Korri Kezar/ Dallas Business Journal

Galderma looking to expand its U.S. headquarters in Fort Worth, add 342 new jobs

Fort Worth-based Galderma Laboratories LP would like to expand its U.S. headquarters with a new 100,000-square-foot facility in the Interstate 35W corridor in north Fort Worth that could become home to 342 new jobs.

But the deal is contingent on state and local economic incentives, which have yet to be approved.
The international manufacturer of dermatological products could also choose to expand its operations with a new facility in Granbury, New Jersey, Robert Sturns, interim director of the economic development director for Fort Worth, told the Dallas Business Journal.    

"This project is still wide open," Sturns told me. "They've also got an incentive offer from New Jersey and they have another offer on the table. This project is very important to us — not only the number of jobs — but will help us maintain the 300 jobs they already have here."

Last week, Sturns was named interim director of the Fort Worth economic development department after Jay Chapa was named assistant city manager.

Galderma has applied for an economic incentive agreement with the City of Fort Worth and asked the state for economic incentives through the Texas Enterprise Fund. The company's representatives did not return requests for interviews on Monday.

If the deal goes through, Galderma could invest nearly $14 million in building the new medical products facility at the northeast corner of Texas Longhorn Way and Heritage Parkway in Fort Worth.

As part of the deal, Galderma would retain its 280 full-time employees, with plans to grow its workforce in phases. The company would plan to create 40 new full-time jobs by Dec. 31, 2016, increasing that number by an additional 302 full-time employees by Dec. 31, 2020.

In all, Galderma would employ 622 full-time employees from Dec. 31, 2020 throughout its economic incentive agreement with the City of Fort Worth.

The average salary for all full-time employees at Galderma will be a minimum of $110,000 annually, according to city documents.

As part of the agreement with Fort Worth, the company must spend a minimum of $500,000 each year on discretionary service and supply expenditures with Fort Worth contractors.

Galderma must spend a minimum of $250,000 on service and supply expenditures with contractors that are Fort Worth certified minority or women-owned business enterprises.

In return, Galderma will receive a tax abatement and economic development agreement valued at about $600,000 throughout the 10-year term.

The agreement, which will be discussed at Tuesday evening's City Council meeting, is subject to approval by city council members.    

Candace Carlisle/ Dallas Business Journal 

Monday, July 27, 2015

More than half of North Texas’ new office space is already leased

More than half of the office space under construction in North Texas is already leased to tenants, according to a new report by commercial real estate firm CBRE.  
The high percentage of preleasing in the office building market is further indication that developers are not overdoing it in the latest round of construction.
CBRE estimates that 7.3 million square feet of offices are being built in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
And about 40 percent of that construction is in the northern suburbs, including West Plano, Richardson and Frisco.
The office leasing in these new buildings is dominated by companies in the life sciences industry, manufacturing, financial services and legal business, CBRE finds.
Along with the large single-tenant buildings under construction for companies including State Farm, Raytheon and FedEx Office, about a fourth of the speculative multi-tenant buildings under construction in Far North Dallas are also already leased.   
Steve Brown/ Dallas Morning News 

Commercial projects adding new retail, office and apartments at McKinney’s Craig Ranch

 McKinney’s Craig Ranch has completed more than $130 million in commercial real estate deals that will add new retail and office projects to the popular Collin County community.
Construction is underway on the Marketplace at Craig Ranch, a 100,000-square-foot shopping center at Custer and Stacy roads that will include a supermarket and additional retailers. Encore Enterprises Inc. has bought 20 acres for the retail center.
Development sites have also been sold for a Moviehouse & Eatery cinema near the northeast corner of Craig Ranch Parkway and State Highway 121. The theater chain is building a 10-screen, 40,000-square-foot facility on the property, which will open late this year.
There is a nearby Holiday Inn Express in the works on S.H. 121.
“We’ll have 20,000 residents in Craig Ranch in the next five years and that is attractive to retailers, multifamily developers and companies wanting to relocate,” said developer David Craig, talking about the new developments underway in the 2,200-acre community located north of S.H. 121 and east of U.S. Highway 75. “Our vision 15 years ago was to create density and increase commercial valuation which brings job growth, employees and more ad valorem taxes.”
Craig said about 10,000 people now live in the community.
We have over 1,400 home lots under construction or about to start,” he said. “The builders are already in place.”
 Craig Ranch and the City of McKinney are building McKinney Corporate Center Craig Ranch, a 137-acre office park. Barclays Bank has located an office in the project.
Our focus now is to attract other marquee companies” Craig said. “We’ve been a finalists in several large corporate deals.”
 Sewell Automotive Cos has also purchased 10.5 acres near the northwest corner of S.H. 121 and Stacy Road to build an Audi dealership in Craig Ranch. The dealership will be about 65,000 square feet and will employ 100 people.
Construction is underway on the second, 333-unit phase of Craig Ranch’s Parkside luxury apartment community at Custer and Collin-McKinney roads. Columbus Realty Partners is developing the project.
“They are buying more land for another phase of construction in September,” Craig said.
Craig bought the first land for the mixed-use community in 2000.
VanTrust Real Estate is a partner in the development.
We are approach $1 billion in value in Craig Ranch,” Craig said. “You would think people would realize we are truly a mixed-use community.
“But often we are just defined as residential.”   
Steve Brown/ Dallas Morning News 

Friday, July 24, 2015


The Bleu Ciel Sales Center is hosting a special Open House this Sunday, July 26 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. to announce exciting news about the development and neighborhood. Guests will receive an exclusive tour of the vignette and explore the luxurious interiors, sweeping terraces, and unparalleled amenities that Bleu Ciel has to offer. Priced from the $800,000s, Bleu Ciel presents two and three bedroom residences, ranging from 1,300 to over 3,500 square feet. Designed by Dallas-based HDF, LLC and Paris-based Jean-Michel Wilmotte, Bleu Ciel will feature 33-stories of splendor that is poised to be the nation’s most coveted development in the nation.
Bleu Ciel will feature a world-class spa, premier fitness center, two junior Olympic-sized pools, private garages, valet and concierge services, private wine tasting room, social room with full-service kitchen and cinema, private dog park, landscaped gardens, and more.
The first floor of the Sky-rise will feature a gourmet grocery market offering resident delivery, juice bar, bike shop, and additional dining options. Its very location at the northern tip of the district of HARWOOD puts the property just outside Katy Trail, and within a 10 minute walk to more than 100 restaurants, retail, and cultural venues.

Spacious floor plans with sweeping views of the city

Two Junior Olympic Pools with Spa & Fitness Center

Gourmet Grocery Market with resident delivery services

Bleu Ciel is exclusively marketed and sold by Harwood Living. The Sales Center is located at 3008 N. Harwood St., HARWOOD, Dallas, 75201 and is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. For more information, please call+1.214.965.1099 or by email at

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Southwest Airlines sees $500M drop in fuel costs, posts record earnings

Southwest Airlines Co.'s earnings increased more than 30 percent in the second quarter, setting a new record and topping analysts' expectations.

The Dallas-based carrier posted net income of $608 million from April through June, beating its previous best quarter of $465 million set in the same quarter last year.

Southwest (NYSE: LUV) reported revenues of $5.1 billion and adjusted earnings per share of $1.03, compared to revenue of $5.01 billion and EPS of $0.67 in the second quarter of 2014.

Southwest’s fuel costs dropped nearly $500 million to just over $1 billion, while other costs remained relatively flat, said Tammy Romo, chief financial officer.

The cheaper fuel equated to an overall cost savings of of 12 percent compared with April, May and June in 2014.

Demand remains strong for the low-cost carrier’s inexpensive fares, Romo said.    
“We’re seeing a continuation of healthy demand,” she said. “The economy feels pretty good now.”
Southwest's planes flew at a record 85 percent of capacity, despite a 7 percent increase in available seats. Dallas Love Field led the capacity growth, thanks to the lifting of flight restrictions under the Wright Amendment.
“In Dallas, we have lowered fares, we’ve added flights, we’ve stimulated demand and created meaningful competition, which is exactly what we said we were going to do,” Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said.
The load factor at Love was a whopping 94 percent.

“We’re very, very full, and very, very popular,” Kelly said.

Southwest added nine more daily non-stop flights from Love Field in April, bringing the total to 166. By August, the airline expects to have 180 weekday departures to 50 non-stop destinations.

Kelly said the airline’s growth at Love Field shows there are opportunities across the country, including at Houston Hobby Airport.

“Dallas Love Field is the poster child,” Kelly said. “There were a lot of critics that thought there wasn’t much opportunity to grow. They were wrong.”

Southwest will expand, but won’t add capacity recklessly, Kelly said. “We will very carefully manage our growth."

Kelly also said Southwest intends to launch a $500 million accelerated share repurchase program soon.

He said the airline will continue to fight for full control of a gate at Love Field now shared by Southwest and rival Delta.

“It’s not going to be easy,” Kelly said. “Our people are planning as best as they can. They will work really hard to accommodate our customers well, but it’s going to be really crowded.”

Kelly said Southwest is cooperating in a Department of Justice probe into whether airlines are colluding to keep capacity low and fares artificially high.

“We’re doing what they told us to do,” he said. “There has been a lot of talk by some and we don’t want to perpetuate that.”    

Bill Hethcock/ Dallas Business Journal 

Trademark Property Co. Completes WestBend 2 Office Building in Fort Worth

FORT WORTH, TEXAS — Trademark Property Co. has completed a 57,000-square-foot Class A office building, named WestBend 2, at its WestBend mixed-use development in Fort Worth. Located at 1701 River Run Road, the three-story building is situated on top of The Fresh Market grocery store and other retailers and restaurants opening at WestBend.

The adjacent Trinity Trails provides access to walking or biking and allows for Trinity River views from all floors. Additional amenities include outdoor seating and meeting space, bicycle storage, onsite locker rooms with showers and garage parking separate from retail parking. Regus will outfit 15,000 square feet of flexible workspace at WestBend.

The new office building is part of the redevelopment efforts underway at WestBend, which upon completion in fall 2015 will include 278,000 square feet of retail, dining and office space. Current WestBend tenants include Zoë’s Kitchen, East Hampton Sandwich Co. and Silver Fox.   

Texas Real Estate Business 

CyrusOne Expands Carrollton Data Center

DALLAS--Solutions provider CyrusOne is expanding its Carrollton data center, already the largest such facility in the state.
The company has added a new data hall of almost 60,000 square feet—and 4.5 megawatts of power capacityto the 670,000-square-foot campus.
“Based on current and projected customer demand, we made the decision to add more colocation square footage to our Carrollton facility,” John Hatem, senior vice president, data center design and construction, CyrusOne, told “We continuously strive to make our data centers the best facilities in the markets that they serve.”
The property houses the infrastructure and 911 dispatch center for Carrollton, Coppell, Farmers Branch and Addison. The communities have consolidated 911 dispatch services to form the North Texas Emergency Communications Center (NTECC).
With 31 carrier-neutral data centers across the U.S., Europe and Asia, CyrusOne's facilities are engineered to include “the power-density infrastructure required to deliver excellent availability, including an architecture with the highest available power redundancy (2N).”
“Staying true to our Massively Modular design philosophy, we want to ensure our facilities can scale rapidly as our customers’ requirements grow,” Hatem says. “Our ability to bring data center space and power on line quickly provides flexibility for our customers and predictable returns for CyrusOne.”   
Anna Kaplan/ Globe St.Com 

Area new-vehicle sales rise 7.1 percent — finally

After three straight months of slight declines, new-vehicle sales in the Dallas-Fort Worth area grew by a health 7.1 percent in June.
The jump in June also pushed sales for the first half of the year into positive territory – now up a modest 1.5 percent, according to the Freeman Metroplex Recap of new-vehicle sales.
Most years, the weather in North Texas facilitates new-car sales, remaining fairly moderate in the winter and mostly dry in the spring.
But the 240 or so dealers in the area struggled with a cold, sometimes icy winter this year, as well as an unusually wet spring.
With the arrival of summer, sales appear to be catching up, though – at least in the urban counties.
The overall increase in June was nearly twice that of the 4 percent sales growth nationally.
Dealers in Tarrant County reported an 18.4 percent increase in sales in June, while new-vehicle transactions in Dallas County rose 9.8 percent, the Freeman Recap said.
Those sales included retail and fleet purchases.
While urban dealers seemed to bounce back in June, business in the suburbs continued to be slow.
New-vehicle sales were down 13 percent in Collin County and 12 percent in Denton County, according to the Freeman Recap.
Dealers say they expect the sales increases that began in some areas in June to continue through at least July.   
Terry Box/ Dallas Morning News 

Ross Avenue skyscraper latest downtown Dallas building for sale

Another downtown skyscraper is up for grabs.  
And this office high-rise is one of Dallas’ big success stories.
When Cousins Properties bought the 2100 Ross office tower out of foreclosure in 2012, the building had declining occupancy and was less than 70 percent leased.
Cousins spent millions of dollars to upgrade the building which was constructed in 1982.
The investment has paid off in big leases in the 33-story tower, with new tenants including Lockton Cos. Netherland, Sewell & Associates and Turner Construction.
Now Cousins Properties has decided it’s time to sell.
The Atlanta-based developer has hired Eastdil Secured to market the 844,000-square-foot building for sale.
The 2100 Ross tower is one of three major properties on the market in downtown Dallas. The 45-story Ross Tower and the 2-building Plaza of the Americas complex are also being hawked to potential buyers.
Cousin’s paid about $60 million for 2100 Ross before it spent millions more on renovations.
Cousins’ potential sale of 2100 Ross won’t mean a Dallas exit for the commercial property firm.
Cousins is a partner in a 23-story office building in the works at the Victory Park development on the northwest edge of downtown.   
Steve Brown/ Dallas Morning News 

Abilene Christian University takes space in Addison for new learning center

Abilene Christian University has rented office space in Addison for a new campus.
The Christian education organization has rented 25,000 square feet in the One Hanover Park office building at 16633 North Dallas Parkway.
“We are excited to be expanding our presence in the Metroplex and so appreciative of the enthusiasm we already are receiving from students in the region,” said ACU president Dr. Phil Schubert. “By offering ACU’s distinctive brand of Christian higher education, we will fill an important need in the marketplace and become a real asset to the community.”
Founded in 1906 in Abilene, ACU has an enrollment of close to 5,000 students.
PM Realty Group’s Kurt Cherry, Brittany Ricketts and Shea Byers negotiated the building lease with Holden Lunsford and James Engels of Holt Lunsford Commercial.
Built in 1998, the 8-story One Hanover Park is 96 percent occupied.   
Steve Brown/ Dallas Morning News 

Dallas ISD trustees discuss $1.6B bond package that could be on November ballot

The Dallas ISD board hasn’t decided if it will call for a $1.6 billion bond election for November or wait until next year.
Trustees at a workshop Wednesday discussed the draft plan of the bond package that includes nine new and replacement schools, 290 additional classrooms, new libraries and science labs and other improvements.
The Future Facilities Task Force, a community-led group formed by DISD, presented details during the workshop.
Trustees asked questions and offered suggestions. Some want to determine if attendance boundaries can be changed to even out enrollment before adding campuses.
“Why would we move forward talking about new schools when we haven’t talked about attendance zones to determine if some of these children could be moved to other schools?” trustee Joyce Foreman asked.
Some trustees have talked of waiting until May to hold the bond election. The board is planning more discussions in coming weeks. Trustees have until Aug. 24 to decide whether to put the bond election on the November ballot.
Some district officials say the improvements cannot wait.
“The administration and the Future Facilities Task Force believe that a bond election should happen in November, and we believe that very strongly,” Mike Koprowski, DISD’s chief of transformation and innovation, told trustees.
Some have asked for an accounting of the 2008 bond election to determine whether all the work has been completed.
There also were questions about increased operating costs with adding new schools.
Another issue raised Wednesday was paying for the new bond package. A poll by the Dallas Regional Chamber found that DISD voters would approve new spending for the district only if it didn’t raise taxes.
Trustees were presented a plan to have three bond sales — in 2016, 2018 and 2020 — that is expected to maintain the district’s tax rate.
“There is no increase,” said trustee Edwin Flores. “Our tax rate is staying the same. And if we pass this, it will stay the same.”   
Tawnell D. Hobbs/ Dallas M0rning News 


Facilities functional equity (roofs, HVAC, plumbing etc.)
$500 million
New schools/replacement schools
$465 million
Educational adequacy improvements (technology, libraries, science labs etc.)
$233 million
Additional classrooms
$193 million
Land acquisition and clearing for new campuses
$112 million
New educational programs
$88 million
Total package cost
$1.6 billion   

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Speed Fab-Crete Breaks Ground on Roger Williams Auto Dealership in Metro Dallas

WEATHERFORD, TEXAS — Fort Worth-based design-build general contractor Speed Fab-Crete has broken ground on a 60,000-square-foot auto dealership for Roger Williams, the only new car dealer in Weatherford. Slated for completion in April 2016, the new Roger Williams Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram dealership will be located at 1102 Washington Drive along I-20 and will replace the existing Roger Williams Auto Mall. The dealership’s exterior will be built using precast concrete walls, cast stone, metal accents and floor-to-ceiling panoramic glass. Interior amenities will include a customer lounge, open office spaces, display areas, 25 service bays, car wash facility and parts sector. The new dealership is the largest project included in the company-wide upgrade of Roger Williams’ auto facilities in Weatherford, all of which are being built by Speed Fab-Crete and designed by Callahan & Freeman Architects. Business operations will remain open during the construction process. In addition to Speed Fab-Crete and Callahan & Freeman Architects, the Roger Williams Collision Center expansion project team includes Fort Worth-based Callahan Structural Engineering Inc. as the structural engineer and Lillian, Texas-based Hulsey Engineering as the mechanical, plumbing and electrical (MEP) engineer.    

Energy Square office complex in North Dallas sold to two investors

Energy Square includes 960,000 square feet of office space in
three buildings. 
A Chicago real estate firm has purchased one North Dallas’ largest office complexes.

GlenStar Properties teamed up with USAA Real Estate to buy the 3-building Energy Square development on North Central Expressway at University Drive.
The office buildings – which are located next to a commuter rail station – contain about 960,000 square feet and have been for sale since last year.
Energy Square was sold by a partnership of Champion Partners, Lincoln Property Co and Long Wharf Partners. The companies had owned the buildings since 2011.
The previous owners starting in 2012 spent more than $9 million upgrading the properties – the oldest of which dates back to the 1970s.
Tenants in the buildings include New York Life, Davaco and Stonegate Mortgage.
Holliday Fenoglio Fowler L.P. brokered the sale. Terms of the transaction have not been released.
But real estate brokers estimate Energy Square sold for close to $150 million.
The purchase includes land that could accommodate additional high-rise development.
Commercial real estate firm JLL has been hired to lease the buildings.
The new owners say they plan additional upgrades to the property that will further integrate the office space with retail and potentially and apartment building.
“Our goal is to further enhance the great campus setting with amenities and upgrades that will benefit the entire project and surrounding area,” GlenStar Properties Principal Matt Omundson said in a statement.
GlenStar is an experienced Chicago commercial real estate company that does investment, development and leasing. One of its best-known buildings is the historic Chicago Board of Trade building, which has recently undergone a $40 million redevelopment.
Steve Brown/Dallas Morning News 

Big changes coming at Dallas’ landmark Infomart building

The owners of Dallas’ Infomart are making $40 million in upgrades to the building – the first of many improvements to make the landmark property more attractive to data center tenants.  
About 60 percent of the filigree-clad building northwest of downtown is already used for data center space.
“Over the last 10 years every time an office tenant moves out, a data center absorbs that space,” said Infomart Data Centers president John Sheputis. “We are making a whole bunch of investments to make the building more attractive and secure for those tenants.”
Along with adding additional power, cooling and other infrastructure upgrades, Infomart is reworking the atrium area of the building.
“We are going to make it more secure but also more comfortable,” Sheputis said.
Out front construction has already started on additional power generator facilities to serve the data center tenants in the building.
“This building’s new incarnation is as a home for the Internet,” Sheputis said. It’s already one of the largest data centers in the country, he said, with more than two dozen data center providers located in the building.
Infomart has just built it’s own 24,000-square-foot wholesale data center facility that will contract with clients.
About 90 percent of the 1.6 million square-foot building at 1950 N. Stemmons Freeway is rented, Sheputis said.
The owners are working on plans for a 330,000-square-foot expansion building that would be located on the north side of the Infomart.
“”We already have tenants asking about it,” Sheputis said. “We are working on some concepts.”
Over time the owners expect to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to keep the property up to date and expand, he said.
Opened in 1986, the Infomart was modeled after London’s 19th century Crystal Palace, and planned as a state-of-the-art showroom for high-tech firms.
The building has one of the most sophisticated telecommunications and power systems in the country.
The current owners have had the property since 2006.
Along with the data centers, office tenants in the building include Bank of America and AT&T.
“We still have about 2,000 people working in the building,” Sheputis said. “But I’m sure things aren’t as developer Trammell Crow originally envisioned this building.
“Most of the tenants now aren’t people – they are machines.”
North Texas is one of the country’s largest data center hubs.
Several new facilities are under construction, including a $1 billion project for Facebook north of Fort Worth.   
Steve Brown/ Dallas Morning News 
Developers of a planned bullet train between Dallas and Houston have raised $75 million in private funds from Texas investors and named a new CEO, company officials announced this morning.  
Tim Keith, who led a global infrastructure investment firm and is a former Hunt Realty Investments executive, will helm Texas Central Partnersas it tries to build the country’s first high-speed rail line. The company is also planning developments around the line’sstations in Dallas, College Station and Houston.
Keith and other company officials said the $75 million raised for development of the 240-mile line connecting the state’s two largest metro areas shows that businesses see the project’s “transformational opportunity.”
“It’s Texans investing in Texas,” Keith said.
Among investors announced today is Jack Matthews, whose Dallas firm Matthews Southwest developed the downtown Omni Dallas Hotel and South Side on Lamar mixed-used project in the Cedars. Matthews is also a member of Texas Central’s board.
Keith grew up in North Texas and has a long career in both finance and infrastructure. In an interview with, he said he’s long been fascinated by the ways in which transportation projects can transform cities and spur economic growth.
“To do that in my home state is an incredible opportunity that I never dreamed would come along,” he said.
Company officials hope to carry passengers between the two cities, with a stop near College Station, in 90 minutes by 2021. The project has generated buzz among officials. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Houston Mayor Annise Parker released statements this morning heralding the project.
Plans have also garnered attention from Texans who are accustomed to driving about four to five hours between the two metropolitan areas. Government officials say increased congestion on Interstate 45 will make that drive a six-hour trek by 2035.
But Keith and his company have plenty of obstacles to overcome before the project becomes a reality. State and federal authorities are still evaluating the line. And organized opposition from rural Texans who farm and live in the large expanse between Dallas and Houston that nearly derailed the project during this year’s legislative session has not died down.
Many landowners oppose the fact that Texas Central is allowed to use eminent domain for the project. Company officials say they plan to work with residents and will only use eminent domain as a last resort, when a land deal simply can’t be reach.
But Kyle Workman, president of Texans Against High Speed Rail, said that eminent domain will have to be used in most cases.
“Because nobody wants to sell their land,” he said.   
Brandon Formby/ Dallas Morning News 

Texas Still Pumping Out Jobs

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Despite lower oil prices, the Texas economy continues to create more jobs. The state’s economy gained 276,400 nonagricultural jobs from June 2014 to June 2015, an annual growth rate of 2.4 percent compared with 2.1 percent for the United States.

According to the Real Estate Center’s latest Monthly Review of the Texas Economy, the nongovernment sector added 253,900 jobs, an annual growth rate of 2.6 percent compared with 2.4 percent for the nation’s private sector.

Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent last month from 5 percent a year ago. The nation’s rate decreased from 6.1 to 5.3 percent.

All Texas industries except mining and logging and manufacturing had more jobs in June 2015 than in June 2014. The state’s leisure and hospitality industry ranked first in job creation followed by education and health services, professional and business services, and transportation, warehousing and utilities.

All Texas metro areas except Wichita Falls had more jobs. Midland ranked first in job creation, followed by Dallas-Plano-Irving, Odessa, Beaumont-Port Arthur, Austin-Round Rock and San Antonio-New Braunfels.

The state’s actual unemployment rate last month was 4.4 percent. Amarillo had the lowest unemployment rate, followed by Austin-Round Rock, Midland, Lubbock, San Antonio-New Braunfels and College Station-Bryan.    

Real Estate Center 
Farmers Bros. Co. – a 103-year-old coffee company that is moving from California to Texas – said Tuesday that it will break ground next month on its new headquarters in Denton County.  
Farmer Bros. will relocate to a new half-million-square-foot office and distribution center on Interstate-35W near the Texas Motor Speedway in Northlake.
The company will start construction August 11 on the complex that will include office space, a teaching facility and a coffee roasting facility and warehouse.
The project at the corner of E. Sam Lee and Ashmore lanes will employ about 300 people.
Farmer Bros. $40 million headquarters will open in 2016.
The company is moving from Torrance, Calif. – the same place where Toyota Motor’s North American headquarters recently announced its move from to Plano.
Farmer Bros. has annual sales of more than a half billion dollars a year for its products including coffee, tea and culinary products.
It’s clients include more 60,000 food and beverage outlets.
The company has about 1,800 employees.   
Steve Brown/ Dallas Morning News 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Geico Insurance heads to Richardson with more than 1,000 jobs

Richardson has landed another major insurance company employer.  
Geico Insurance is close to announcing plans about a move of its North Texas regional offices from Farmers Branch to the Telecom Corridor.
Geico is leasing the former Fossil headquarters on Greenville Avenue just east of North Central Expressway, real estate brokers say.
The almost 200,000-square-foot office building was purchased at the end of last year by Orlando-based CNL Commercial Real Estate Inc. The new owner converted an adjoining warehouse building into additional parking for the campus.
Geico is expected to move more than 1,000 workers into the complex at 2280 N. Greenville Ave.
The big insurance company considered multiple sites in West Plano and in the Telecom Corridor before picking the Richardson building, property brokers say.
The former Fossil office building was constructed in 1994 and expanded in 2001.  
The fashion watch and accessories firm in 2011 moved out of the building to a larger location in Richardson.
Peloton Commercial Real Estate has been marketing the building for lease.
NAI Partners and NAI Robert Lynn Co. have been representing Geico in the search for office space in North Texas.
Richardson economic development officials declined to comment on Geico’s pending move.
And Geico representatives have not yet responded in inquiries about the office plans.
Brokers say that Geico plans to sell its current office building on Spring Valley Road west of the Dallas North Tollway after it makes the move.
Maryland-based Geico will join State Farm Insurance, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas and Travelers as major insurance employers in Richardson.
And apartment industry serving firm RealPage Inc. last month said it was moving 1,400 workers from Carrollton to Richardson.
RealPage is taking about 400,000 square feet of office space at 2201 Lakeside Blvd. near North Central Expressway.
Allen-based telecommunications firm Frontier Communications is also looking at another large office lease in the same complex, leasing agents say.   
Steve Brown/ Dallas Morning News 

Prism Hotels & Resorts partnership gets $10.35M loan for upgrades at Dallas Market Center hotel

Dallas-based Prism Hotels & Resorts, in partnership with Tom Corcoran ( chairman of the board of Irving-based FelCor Lodging Trust), have landed a $10.35 million loan for its 200-room, full-service Holiday Inn Dallas Market Center at Dallas Market Center.

The three-year, floating-rate loan with two one-year extensions with Realty Finance Trust was secured on behalf of the partnership group by HFF's regional Dallas office.

Prism Hotels & Resorts, a property investment and management firm, along with Corcoran, plan to use the proceeds from the loan to retire existing financing and free up capital for upgrades to the Dallas Market Center hotel at 4500 Harry Hines Blvd. in Dallas.   
The 110-acre Dallas Market Center district includes more than 5.5 million square feet of wholesale market space. The ownership group plans to make upgrades to the hotel in the near future.

This will build on renovations completed in 2007 and 2008, when the hotel was originally converted to a Holiday Inn flag. The Dallas Market Center hotel includes a health and fitness center, outdoor pool, business center and sports bar and restaurant and more than 1,200 square feet of meeting space.   
Candace Carlisle/ Dallas Business Journal 

McKinney to start massive $34.5M aquatic, fitness center development

The City of McKinney is getting ready to start a massive $34.5 million aquatic and fitness center on Monday that will make the city more marketable to incoming residents to the region.

The three-story, 80,000-square-foot facility will include a gymnasium, fitness areas, sports courts with an elevated track, child care area, classrooms an indoor 25-meter competition pool, indoor leisure pool and outdoor leisure pool. In all, the surface water of the pools will total 10,000 square feet.

The project is slated to begin at Gabe Nesbitt Community Park at 3003 Alma Road in McKinney at 9 a.m. on Monday.  

The new aquatic center gets started after years of planning by city officials. The development is being paid for with funds pooled together by McKinney Community Development Corp. (MCDC) and the City of McKinney.

Cities throughout North Texas are looking for ways to make themselves more marketable to potential residents as the region continues to add jobs with big employers (such as Toyota North America, Liberty Mutual Insurance and State Farm Insurance) bring more employment opportunities to Dallas-Fort Worth.

Officials expect construction to be complete by the end of December 2016.   

Candace Carlisle/ Dallas Business Journal 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Heartis Seniors Housing Community Under Construction in Metro Dallas

Heartis Arlington is scheduled to open in spring 2016.
ARLINGTON, TEXAS — Caddis, a healthcare and real estate firm, is developing a 67,000-square-foot, one-story, 81-unit assisted living and memory care community in Arlington. The new senior community is scheduled to open in spring 2016. Heartis Arlington will feature amenities including a courtyard, outdoor walking paths, game and activity rooms and a beauty/barber shop.

Services range from assistance with personal activities to housekeeping and laundry to daily nursing care and 24-hour emergency response. Frontier Management will manage the community. The company also manages several other Heartis communities in Texas. Austin-based Pi Architects Inc. is the architect for Heartis Arlington, and the Dallas office of Weis Builders is the general contractor.

Construction debt financing is being provided by Kansas City, Mo.-based UMB Bank, NA. Caddis launched its senior living brand, Heartis, in early 2013. In addition to Arlington, the company has communities open or under construction in the Texas cities of Conroe, Cleburne, Fort Worth, Amarillo, Cypress, Clear Lake, San Antonio, Longview and Waco. Caddis will own Heartis Arlington upon completion.

Texas Real Estate Business