Monday, August 31, 2015

Investors buy 2-building office complex in Dallas with plans for massive redo

A joint venture between Houston-based Triten Real Estate Partners and Chicago-based Convexity Properties has bought two North Central Expressway office buildings from a Dallas-based real estate investment firm.

Terms of the acquisition of the two-building office portfolio — 6060 and 6080 North Central Expressway — was undisclosed.

"The property is well-positioned to be a mixed-use, Class A lifestyle destination, and we're excited to be part of the investment," said Scott Arnoldy, managing partner of Triten Real Estate Partners.

The office buildings' central location to desirable neighborhoods, the Katy Trail extension to the property and proximity to public transportation near the DART rail line were all important characteristics for a long-term investment, he said.

6060 North Central Expressway is an eight-story, 224,682-square-foot boutique office building. It was constructed in 1972 and renovated seven years ago. The second building, 6080 North Central Expressway, includes four-story building with three levels of parking and a floor totaling 45,817 square feet of office space.

The new partnership plans to immediately begin a multimillion dollar renovation to the buildings to bring them up to Class AA standards. In the future, the two firms plan to build a mixed-use lifestyle center surrounding the properties to focus on offering a work-play-live environment to the neighborhood.

JLL's Jack Crews, Evan Stone and Lauren Zimmer sold the property to the new ownership venture on behalf of the seller, Dallas-based Prescott Realty Group. Wells Fargo provided the financing for the acquisition.

Over the past eight months, North Central Expressway has seen new tenants like Dallas-based TopGolf and the Shackelford law firm and there's an opportunity for redevelopment and investment in the corridor, said Crews, a managing director at JLL.

In the north Central Expressway corridor, tenants can pay an average of $23.74 per square foot plus utilities, which is $10 per square foot lower when compared with Uptown's average asking rates of $33.53 per square foot, according to JLL research.

At the time of the deal, the eight-story office building was 88 percent leased and 6080 North Central Expressway was 100 percent leased to Zenith Education Group.

CBRE's Ben Davis plans to lease the two-building complex.

Candace Carlisle/Dallas Business Journal

Rising Consumer Confidence Buoys Demand for Commercial Real Estate, Says Cushman & Wakefield

The U.S. consumer has “underspent” in the current economic expansion, according to a new research report released by Cushman & Wakefield. However, consumer confidence continues to trend upward, pointing to faster growth in household spending and solid demand for retail, industrial, and hospitality real estate.

In the 72 months since June 2009, when the economic expansion officially began, inflation-adjusted consumer spending has increased 14 percent, or 2.2 percent per year. In the four previous economic expansions (beginning in 1975, 1982, 1991 and 2001), consumer spending increased an average of 3.5 percent per year over the same 72-month period.

The consumer is a critical aspect of U.S. economic growth, accounting for approximately 68 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). According to Cushman & Wakefield, if growth in consumer spending in the current cycle matched the average of the preceding four expansions, U.S. GDP growth during the expansion would have averaged a respectable 3 percent per year instead of the weaker 2.1 percent per-year growth the economy has actually recorded.

Among the report’s findings:

• Consumer spending has accelerated over the past 18 months after three years of tepid growth.

• An important driver has been an improvement in confidence. The overall level of confidence in the economy has remained high throughout 2015, suggesting that households will increase spending this year.

• Consumers’ views of the current situation are especially healthy, suggesting that most of their hesitancy is a result of uncertainty about the future.

• Demand is growing at a healthy pace. Retail sales, adjusted for inflation, were up 4.8 percent from a year ago in July and sales at GAFO (general, apparel, furniture and other) stores have increased at an annual rate of 8.3 percent from February through June. February was a particularly harsh month weather-wise in the Northeast and much of the Midwest. As sales increase, retail tenants will increase demand for space to meet the growing need from consumers.

• More of the growth in retail sales is being met via the Internet. At the end of the second quarter, e-commerce sales represented 21.1 percent of total GAFO, a record high. This trend is expected to continue and it will inevitably lead to more growth in demand for warehouse and distribution space.

Recently, consumer spending has begun to pick up the pace. After growing at an average rate of 1.9 percent for three years, real consumer spending has expanded by 2.8 percent per year during the past year-and-a-half.

The acceleration in spending has correlated with heightened consumer confidence. In the first four years of the expansion, there was little improvement in consumer confidence as measured by the University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment. Consumer confidence rose and fell with economic and political changes over that time.

But in October 2013, the index stood at 73.1, not much higher than the 70.1 reading recorded four years earlier in October 2009. Since October 2013, confidence has jumped rapidly. Today’s reading of 92.9 is 26.9 percent above the level seen in October 2013.

Overall, consumers are much more optimistic today about the current situation than the future.

“Basically the attitude can be summed up as ‘I am a little worried about where things are going, but I am doing fine,’” the report states.

Today, the conditions index is hovering near its highest level since 2007, and consumer spending is rising at the healthiest sustained rate since 2006.

According to the report, the persistence of high levels of optimism about current conditions points to continuing solid growth in consumer spending in 2015 and 2016. Consumers’ personal financial situation is healthy and improving. Strong spending is expected to follow.

Continuing growth in consumer spending will contribute to a stronger economy in the second half of the year. This trend is great news for the economy and for retail and industrial real estate.

Haisten Willis/Texas Real Estate Business

Monday, August 24, 2015

FedEx Office headquarters move to Plano aims to consolidate

When FedEx Office begins the move into its 300,000-square-foot headquarters in Plano next month, it’s moving into a powerful neighborhood.

Toyota North America’s headquarters is under construction across the street. Frito-Lay’s headquarters is caddy-corner. J.C. Penney is right next door.

“These are world-class brands, and FedEx Office fits in that category,” FedEx Office CEO and President Brian Philips told me in an interview at his current office at Three Galleria Tower at 13155 Noel Road.

FedEx Office doesn’t plan to add or cut jobs with the move. FedEx Office has nine noncontiguous floors in the Galleria in Dallas and two floors in a facility on Custer Road in Plano now, and the move to the new campus will consolidate those.

“It’s all about bringing our team members together under the same roof,” Philips said. ”There’s lots of opportunity to consolidate and lots of opportunity to create an environment that is conducive to what we do to support our team members and customers.”

FedEx Office, a business unit within FedEx, has more than 1,800 stores in the United States and Canada. Its main business lines are printing and business services, as well as handling hundreds of thousands of FedEx packages over their counters every day.

“We are the retail point of access for small business and consumers within FedEx,” Philips said.

Roughly 1,200 employees work in the FedEx Office headquarters, and about 5,000 work for FedEx Office within Dallas-Fort Worth, counting retail locations. FedEx ( NYSE: FDX) as a whole is larger still, with a FedEx Express hub in the Alliance area in Tarrant County and FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight, FedEx Tech Connect and FedEx Express operations in facilities all around Dallas-Fort Worth.

The new headquarters building in Plano is designed to help the headquarters employees support customers and employees in the field. It has a mock store, lab space to test equipment used in production and the field, as well as a cafeteria, gym, huddle centers, a call center and national dispatch center and training spaces designed specifically for FedEx Office’s needs, Philips said.

Bill Hethcock/Dallas Business Journal

Lincoln Property, T5 bring new data center to downtown Dallas

Lincoln Rackhouse, an affiliate of Dallas-based Lincoln Property Co., and Atlanta-based T5 Data Centers are teaming up to bring a new data center — a telecommunications hotel-focused property — to downtown Dallas, bringing much-needed capacity to the region.

"Nobody has built anything like this since the original tel-co hotels have been developed, such as the Infomart or 2323 Bryan Street," Curt Holcomb, a senior vice president of JLL's data center group in Dallas, told the Dallas Business Journal.

"Part of it is because telecommunications and fiber have become more important over the last five years and, until now, the only capacity and space in the hotels are full."

The partnership plans to build a multistory data center with roughly 300,000 square feet of space at 899 N. Stemmons Freeway, which is currently owned by Dallas County. The existing 53-year-old government building was last valued at $12.3 million, according to county records.

Even though the new purpose-built data center — the first of its kind — likely won't take existing tenants from the Dallas Infomart of 2323 Bryan St. in downtown Dallas, Holcomb and others expect new telecommunications tenants to consider the new property, which is expected to be completed in 2017.

"This gives companies an alternative to the data centers in the northern suburbs and is another place where they can develop a telecommunications-heavy presence," he added.

North Texas has seen a flood of new data centers from Facebook landing in north Fort Worth to Equinix Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX) landing in Plano. That trend isn't likely to change, said Bryan Loewen, the lead of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank's global data center practice.

"There's quite a bit of fiber and power in these surburban markets, but Dallas proper hasn't seen so much data centers development," Loewen told me. "The sites that are most accommodating for data centers are already developed."

The Stemmons Freeway site has its challenges with an existing building already on the property and Interstate 35E being a route for hazardous material. But the wealth of fiber and power on the property makes it stand out compared with other interior data center sites, he said.

Candace Carlisle/Dallas business Journal

More construction cranes coming for Dallas’ booming Uptown district

Developers are cranking up the heat in what is already Dallas’ hottest office building market.
More than 1.5 million square feet of office space is under construction in Uptown and on the north edge of downtown Dallas.
An additional 2 million square feet is in the works in a half-dozen proposed projects.
“I don’t see all of what’s planned getting built,” said Joel Pustmueller, one of the founders of Dallas’ Peloton Commercial Real Estate. “But in the past, more of these buildings have been built than were at first predicted.
“Recent history shows that there will be demand for all of them,” he said.
Less than 10 percent of the first-class office space in the Uptown area was empty at midyear.
And rents have jumped almost 20 percent in the last two years, brokerage company reports show. Uptown rents in proposed projects are now twice the citywide average.
“The new normal for new buildings in Uptown is $50-per-square-foot rent,” Pustmueller said. “We are at all-time-high rental rates in Uptown and poised for even more.”
The buildings in or near Uptown that are opening this year are substantially rented.
Developer Harwood International is just finishing construction on its 168,000-square-foot Frost Tower on McKinnon Street near the entrance to the Dallas North Tollway.
“Frost Tower is at 94.22 percent leased,” said Harwood vice president Jihane Boury.
Both the law firm Polsinelli and Frost Bank have moved in.
Construction on the 22-story office tower will wrap up in October.
Harwood International just started another office project in Uptown. The seven-story Rolex Building on Moody Street will be fully occupied by the luxury watchmaker.
Developer Hall Financial has started moving tenants into its 18-story KPMG Plaza in the Dallas Arts District.
The high-rise on Ross Avenue is about 70 percent leased to tenants including accounting giant KPMG, law firm Jackson Walker and UMB Bank.
The biggest office project underway in Uptown is Crescent Real Estate’s McKinney & Olive Tower on McKinney Avenue.
“We are 50 percent pre-leased and seeing a lot of good activity,” said Crescent managing director John Zogg. “But I worry about what happens in 2018 and 2019 if all these buildings being talked about start.
“I’ve never heard so many people say they are going to start a building without a lead tenant,” Zogg said.
McKinney & Olive has signed major leases with tenants including law firms Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP and Sidley Austin LLP.
Three more major office towers could kick off in the Uptown area before the end of the year.
RED Development plans to break ground in the next few months on a 16-story office tower in its Union mixed-use project spanning Field and Akard streets at Cedar Springs Road.
And developers Hines and Cousins Properties are finalizing their plans for a 466,000-square-foot office tower in Victory Park.
Developer Trammell Crow Co. and Metropolitan Life Insurance are also set to break ground soon on a 19-story office tower in their Park District project at Pearl Street and Woodall Rodgers Freeway.
Park District’s partners — along with other Uptown developers — are pursuing PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC as a lead tenant in the office tower.
But the Park District office tower and a 250,000-square-foot tower that Lincoln Property Co. plans across the street, next to the Meyerson Symphony Center, are expected to start without significant signed leases.
“Uptown right now … still remains as one of the hottest office submarkets in Dallas-Fort Worth with little supply of class-A office space, and it will continue to be one of the hottest office submarkets for years to come,” said Phil Puckett of CBRE. “Even at $50 a foot, they are still coming.
“There will be some new announcements of new tenants moving to Uptown in the very near future that will continue to take both existing office space off the Uptown and new tenants that will anchor to-be-constructed office buildings.”
Developer Granite Properties has begun construction to convert the former West End Marketplace retail complex on Woodall Rodgers into more than 200,000 square feet of offices.
Granite is talking to prospective tenants for the project, which will open in September 2016.
“The market is very active, and if demand continues at this pace, the new buildings should be absorbed,” said Greg Fuller, Granite chief operating officer. “Construction costs continue to rise, which will help mitigate supply.”
Steve Brown/Dallas Morning News

Luxury hotel tower headed to $1.6B Wade Park project in Frisco

Developer Stan Thomas has snagged another luxury hotel for his firm's $1.6 billion, 175-acre Wade Park project, an upscale mixed-use development that's part of Frisco's much-touted "$5 Billion Mile."

Wade Park will become home to the first Langham Hotels & Resorts hotel in the Lone Star state. The international luxury hotel brand is slated to open up in 25 floors of a 35-story tower near the Dallas North Tollway and Lebanon Road in Frisco in early 2018.

The remaining 10 floors of the new tower will be devoted to residential homes.

"This hotel will be a centerpiece for Wade Park, surrounded by high-end restaurants, retail, entertainment, offices and residential — built for a new generation, with a luxurious, metropolitan design and amenities for both locals and travelers alike," said Thomas, president and CEO of Atlanta-based Thomas Land & Development, in a statement.

Dallas-based architecture firm 5G Studio Collaborative is designing the modern-looking high-rise at Wade Park, which includes the 250-room hotel that ranges from one- and two-bedroom suites to two 2,906-square-foot presidential suites.

Plans also include more than 25,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, as well as a rooftop pool deck, spa, full-service bar and courtyard lawn for special events.

The new Langham hotel at Wade Park will play a key role in Langham Hospitality Group's expansion throughout the United States, CEO Robert Warman said.

This isn't the first luxury hotel to decide to open a flag at Wade Park. Last year, Hotel ZaZa decided to join the initial phase of the Whole Foods-anchored mixed-use development. Hotel ZaZa is slated to open in spring 2017.

"Tourism and convention business help us meet our long term goal of becoming a sustainable city, which is important as one of the fastest growing cities in the nation," Frisco Mayor Maher Maso said. "This upscale development will provide a high-end hotel experience for our visitors and guests, not to mention luxurious living and job opportunities for our residents."

Candace Carlisle/Dallas business Journal

Jack Matthews buys historic Dallas High School with plans to convert it into downtown destination

Roughly 10 months since putting the historic Dallas High School under contract, Dallas developer Jack Matthews has closed on the deal and is moving ahead with redevelopment plans to transform the aging structure into a downtown destination.

The 108-year-old high school adjacent to the DART Pearl Street station is one of downtown Dallas' most significant redevelopment opportunities. Before Matthews purchased the property, other developers had expressed interest in redeveloping the property.

"We are going through it now and opening the windows," Matthews, President of Dallas-based Matthews Southwest, told the Dallas Business Journal in an exclusive interview. "It's absolutely gorgeous. You don't get a chance to work on history often."

Matthews has a record of working on a number of historic redevelopments, such as converting the former Sears warehouse building into the South Side on Lamar lofts and converting a vacant brick building into the NYLO South Side hotel.

"This will be very similar to the Sears building," he told me. "A lot of people have gone through both before and a lot of people will be able to relate to the high school."

Matthews plans to redevelop the historic high school into an office and "interesting" retail destination that will bring in a lot of people and visitors. The acquisition of the property closed Friday. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

About 30,000 square feet of the just over 100,000-square-foot building is earmarked for retail or restaurant space. The remainder of the building will be converted into office space for undisclosed tenants.

"This building has a great location with DART," he told me. "This is a unique building and once it's filled; it's gone."

Matthews plans to take advantage of historic tax credits for the Dallas High School and keep the architecture of the property intact.

His real estate investment and development firm Matthews Southwest has hired Dallas-based Merriman Architects Associates to help with the design of the redevelopment. The firm also hired another undisclosed architect.

Matthews said it was too early to allot a cost to the redevelopment of the historic Dallas High School. Last year, the Dallas Central Appraisal District valued the historic Dallas High School property at 2214 Bryant St. at $8.3 million.

Candace Carlisle/Dallas business Journal

Apartment builder eyes Uptown condo project for new development

A condo development on Dallas’ Katy Trail has attracted attention from a major apartment builder.
Lennar Multifamily Communities is looking at the almost 4-acre Turtle Creek Terrace condos at Carlisle and Hall streets, real estate brokers say.
The property which lines the Katy Trail has been offered for sale for several months to developers who would tear it down for new construction.
Property owners hired Holliday Fenoglio Fowler to market the 2-story buildings for sale.
It’s one of the largest redevelopment properties up for grab in what is one of Dallas’ hottest neighborhoods.
The condos which are just east of Turtle Creek were built in the 1960s and remodeled several times over the years.
It’s just a block from where the Perot family is building its new corporate offices on Turtle Creek.
The 17-story Taylor apartment high-rise is just across the street.
Lennar Multifamily already has several projects in the works in North Texas.
The developer plans to build a high-rise apartment project in Victory Park on the northwest edge of downtown.
And Lennar Multifamily is building a large rental community in the Park Central development in North Dallas and in Oak Lawn off Lemmon Avenue.
Steve Brown/Dallas Morning News

Dallas looks to expand Oak Cliff TIF district with new $38M apartment project

The city of Dallas could amend a tax increment financing district in Oak Cliff in hopes of gaining momentum with developers looking to bring multimillion-dollar projects to the southwest portion of the city.

The amendment would expand the district to encompass the entirety of a proposed $38 million apartment development, called Oxygen at Trinity River, along the southwest area of Beckley Avenue and Interstate 30.

By amending the TIF district, the entirety of the proposed five-story, 250-unit apartment building by Frisco-based RWI Green Development LLC would be eligible for $4.6 million of city tax incentives.

If the development qualifies for TIF incentives, the developer could bring about 50 apartments earmarked for affordable housing, or about 20 percent of the building. The remaining apartments would be rented at a market rate.

RWI has yet to purchase the tract for the proposed development, likely waiting to see if the incentives are approved by the city's economic development committee on Monday. If approved by the committee, the enlargement of the TIF district would need approval by the Dallas City Council.

A public hearing is scheduled for Aug. 26. If approved, RWI could purchase the acreage in September and begin construction by June 30, 2016. If the developer begins construction in June, the development would be slated for completion in February 2018.

Plans for the Oxygen development include a hike-and-bike trail connection to Coombs Creek Trail from Beckley Avenue, tucked-under parking for residents and bike parking and Solar car ports. The TIF funds will help offset these infrastructure improvements, the Oxygen developers say.

The development group has funding for the $38 million project through $11.1 million of private equity and a $27.5 million construction loan. If this project is developed, city officials expect to see more than $2 million of incremental revenue from the new building through 2027.

The TIF amendment is expected to be pass easily through the economic development committee with Mayor Mike Rawlings being a proponent of development in South Dallas through his GrowSouth initiative.

Candace Carlisle/Dallas business Journal

Luxury Apartments Slated for Hospital District

FORT WORTH--Dallas-based real estate equity firm RCP Properties LLC (RCP) and Ventures Development Group LLC have formed a joint venture to develop a 209-unit luxury apartment community in the Fort Worth's Hospital District.

The project will be located on 2.12 acres of land at 400 S. Jennings Ave. The immediate area is home to five major hospitals.

“The Medical District is becoming an ever-more appealing location not just to work, but also as a place to live,” Blake Lugash, president of RCP, told “We believe there is strong demand for high-end rental housing in this vibrant and growing neighborhood, and we have found ourselves a terrific site where we can offer an outstanding product.”

Ventures Development Group most recently completed the development of the 170-unit Phoenix apartment community which is also located in the Medical District.

“We’re excited to deliver another quality multi-family development to the Near Southside,” said Rob McConnell, principal of Ventures Development Group LLC, in a release. “Views of the downtown skyline will be phenomenal, and access to the hospitals and downtown employment centers is just minutes from our site.”

The yet-to-be named community will feature a resort-style pool, fitness center, multiple lounging areas and an outdoor lounge on the fifth floor with panoramic views of downtown Fort Worth. Residents are scheduled to move in beginning in the fall of 2016.

Anna Caplan/GlobeSt

CBRE Global fund buys luxe apartments, retail near SMU's campus

A fund sponsored by CBRE Global Investors — CBRE Strategic Partners U.S. Value 7 — has acquired BLVD, a five-story, 417-unit apartment meeting with fully leaded ground floor retail space, which includes Torchy's Tacos and the Nodding Donkey.

The three-year-old property at 5600 SMU Boulevard is 88 percent occupied with residents, many of which are students who attend nearby Southern Methodist University.

BLVD also has about 9,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor of the building, which is 100 percent leased. The building's proximity to the popular Greenville Avenue entertainment district and to employers in Dallas' urban core was attractive to the investment fund.

"BLVD has a desirable location with accessibility to retail amenities and major employment nodes as well as a high-end finish level," said Ben Green, director of CBRE Global Investors' multi-housing group.

He added the investment group plans to further lease up the property. Dallas-Fort Worth's average occupancy rate hit a 14-year high at nearly 95 percent, with an average monthly rent of $927.

The CBRE team plans to capitalize on the region's employment and job growth, which has continued to skyrocket.

The new ownership plans to upgrade the building and re-brand the community to appeal to young professional renters with new amenity spaces. And CBRE isn't the only investors in re-branding mode in Dallas.

Candace Carlisle/Dallas Business Journal

Dallas-area office rents are hitting record highs

Dallas business execs who made their last local office leases coming out of the recession had better be prepared for sticker shock when they get ready to rent again.
Office rents in some North Texas business districts are at record high levels.
And prime office digs in new buildings in Uptown and top suburban locations could cost as much as twice what the citywide average rent was back during the economic downturn.
“We are seeing rent escalations that we have never seen in our history; it’s unprecedented,” said Phil Puckett, executive vice president with commercial real estate firm CBRE. “We may actually wind up with a shortage of first-class office space in some areas — something we haven’t seen since the early 1980s.”
Dallas-Fort Worth office rents are up by between 4 percent and 5 percent this year across the board.
But some hot business districts are seeing much larger rent gains.
Office rents are more than 9 percent higher in downtown Dallas, Uptown and along Turtle Creek from a year ago, according to a new study from Cushman & Wakefield Inc.
And rents have increased 7.5 percent on North Central Expressway and about 6 percent in Preston Center, Cushman & Wakefield found when looking at the cost of an average 20,000-square-foot office deal.
The highest office rents in town are in Uptown, where new buildings are quoting annual rental rates of between $45 and $52 per square foot, according to commercial real estate firm JLL.
That’s almost twice the citywide average rent at midyear.
JLL estimates that overall office rents for first-class building space has jumped by about 17 percent in the last two years.
“The newest product going up is very high-priced because it’s brand new and very high quality,” said JLL market research director Walter Bialas. “When you look at U.S. markets overall, North Texas is still very affordable.
“And it’s still affordable compared to the places companies are relocating from,” like California and the East Coast, he said.
The last time Dallas area office rents rose so quickly was in the early 1980s building boom.
Back then, most of the new buildings being constructed around town were almost totally empty without significant upfront leasing.
Today, more than half of the office space under construction in North Texas is already leased to tenants, according to CBRE.
The commercial real estate firm estimates that 7.3 million square feet of offices are being built in the D-FW area.
The office leasing in these new buildings is dominated by companies in the life sciences industry, manufacturing, financial services and legal business, CBRE found.
To offset big rent increases in new offices, businesses are often taking less square footage, CBRE’s Puckett said.
“The firms that have been paying lower rents, most of them are very inefficient in their space,” he said. “Yes, there is sticker shock with the new buildings, but they are efficient.
“When you go from 200,000 square feet in an older building to 110,000 in a new home, you are going to pay more for rent, but you are cutting your square footage to offset that.”
Steve Brown/Dallas Morning News

Texas Instruments to sell its Spring Creek campus in Plano

Texas Instruments reportedly plans to sell its 84-acre Spring Creek campus in East Plano to better fit the company's strategy of providing more collaborative space for its employees.
If this happens, it would relocate about 780 employees to its other three campuses in Dallas and Richardson, according to the Dallas Morning News.
The Dallas-based chip maker owns the 936,311-square-foot office campus at 6550 Chase Oaks Blvd. in Plano, which last was valued at $55 million, according to a spokeswoman.
The 1985-era property could serve as a massive redevelopment opportunity for a developer or company looking to relocate to North Texas.
It would also put a big chunk of office real estate on the market during a hot real estate cycle, in which Plano seems to be winning a lot of business.

In the past two years, Plano has brought in deals ranging from Toyota North America's new headquarters campus to Liberty Mutual Insurance's new regional hub to the new headquarters for FedEx Office.

Candace Carlisle/Dallas Business Journal

Greysteel Arranges Sale of Apartment Complex in Metro Dallas

IRVING, TEXAS — Greysteel, a Washington, D.C.-based real estate investment services firm, has arranged the sale of Hacienda Serena, a 38-unit garden-style apartment community in Irving.

Boyan Radic, Doug Banerjee, Andrew Mueller and John Marshall Doss of Greysteel served as advisor and agent to Hacienda Serena LLC in the disposition of the multifamily community to I & J – DSI LLC. The recently renovated apartment complex is immediately accessible to public transportation and major commuter thoroughfares such as the Downtown Irving/Heritage Crossing Station of TRE and Highway 183.

Texas Real Estate Business

Dallas private equity firm backs Fort Worth loft development

Dallas-based real estate equity firm RCP Properties LLC — an affiliate of Realty Capital Partners— in a joint venture with Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based Ventures Development Group LLC, plans to develop a luxury loft-style apartment building in Fort Worth to cater to medical professionals in the city.
On Tuesday, Fort Worth City Council members approved incentives for the Galderma">possible expansion of Fort Worth's Galderma U.S. headquarters and Smith & Nephew's new U.S. headquarters for its Advanced Wound Management division. If the deals go through, this would bring nearly 400 high-paying jobs to the city.
The 209-unit luxury apartment community will sit on more than two acres of land at 400 S. Jennings Avenue in the Fort Worth Medical District, which includes five major hospitals and thousands of high-paying jobs.
"We believe the timing is right to introduce an up-scale, amenity laden housing option for working professionals in this vibrant and thriving neighborhood," said RCP President Blake Lugash, in a written statement.
Recently, Ventures Development Group has finished a 170-unit apartment community, called the Phoenix, in Fort Worth's Medical District.
The new loft-style development has yet to be named. Upon completion, the community will include a resort style pool, fitness center, a number of lounging areas and an outdoor lounge on the fifth floor of the project with views of downtown Fort Worth.
The project is slated for tenants to begin moving into the building in the fall of 2016.

Candace Carlisle/Dallas Business Journal

Friday, August 21, 2015

Dallas-area home prices grow at almost twice the national average

The Dallas area had one of the highest home price gains in the country in the latest nationwide comparison.
Dallas home prices in May were up 8.4 percent from a year ago in the new Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.
Dallas’ annual increase was almost twice the national average rate of 4.4 percent.
And Dallas was third in the nation behind Denver, 10 percent, and San Francisco, 9.7 percent, according to Case-Shiller.
“As home prices continue rising, they are sending more upbeat signals than other housing market indicators,” S&P’s David Blitzer said in the report. “Over the next two years or so, the rate of home price increases is more likely to slow than to accelerate.
“Prices are increasing about twice as fast as inflation or wages.”
North Texas home prices are now at record levels in the Case-Shiller Index — about 20 percent higher than at the peak of the last housing market in 2007.
Higher homebuying costs are making it tougher for some of the state’s residents to purchase a house.
“If you’re a low-to-medium-income household, you’re probably having difficulty finding a home in the price range you’re looking for,” said economist Dr. James Gaines with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. “Compared with communities around the country, most Texas communities remain a housing bargain in terms of general price levels and availability.
“But compared with where home prices in Texas have been the last 20 or 25 years, yes, things are getting pricey.”
The rate of annual home price increase in North Texas is running two or three times long-term averages.
Gaines said that’s because the D-FW economy is so strong.
“The Dallas-Fort Worth economy is doing great,” he said. “Dallas is getting that benefit from all the non-energy industries that are growing and companies moving to the area.”
Most of the cities with high home price appreciation are also seeing an economic boom.
“Variation in home price appreciation rates reflects varying local economies,” Trulia chief economist Selma Hepp said after reviewing the latest Case-Shiller numbers. “Robust increases in prices persist in markets with the strongest job growth, but also where inventories of homes available for sale have been tight.
“The highest annual increases were again in Denver, San Francisco and Dallas, which all posted a robust gain of around 10 percent year over year.”
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 approaching $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 

Verizon campus in Richardson changes hands

A big Telecom Corridor office campus has changed hands. And the new owners plan to remodel and market the buildings to attract more business to Richardson.
The almost 400,000-square-foot, four-building campus at 2400 N. Glenville Drive is now occupied by Verizon. But the telecom company plans to move operations to other locations at the end of next year.
The new owner, Fort Worth-based Q Real Estate Holdings LLC, has hired commercial real estate firm DTZ to gear up the business campus just east of North Central Expressway.
“We are actively marketing the property and chasing all the big deals,” said DTZ senior managing director Trey Smith. “We think the buildings have great potential to house new corporate tenants.”
DTZ and Q Real Estate will either rent the entire complex to one company or break it up for three or four tenants, Smith said.
Built in 1989 for telecom firm MCI, the office campus was designed by award-winning architect HOK. The four buildings have landscaped courtyards that overlook a creek and greenbelt on the north side of the buildings. Inside, there’s conference facilities, a cafeteria, a fitness center and large lobby areas.
Parts of the complex were remodeled as recently as 2012.
“We’re going to clean up the courtyard areas and make them more usable by workers in the buildings,” DTZ managing director Clint Madison said.
The 35-acre campus has room for additional office construction and more parking. At one time Verizon had almost 2,000 people working in the buildings. Now only about a fourth of that total are housed there.
The campus is within walking distance of DART’s Galatyn Park commuter rail station.
CBRE marketed the buildings for sale and Q Real Estate won the property after it was shopped to several potential buyers.
“This site represents a terrific opportunity for us,” Tommy Ellis, director of Q Real Estate, said in a prepared statement. “2400 North Glenville is the ideal asset to add to our real estate portfolio as we continue to expand our platform.”
Q Real Estate Holdings is the real estate investing affiliate of Q Investments. The company said it has focused its investments in Texas, Arizona, Washington, Boston, Colorado and Nevada.
The Verizon campus is just the latest office property to change hands in Richardson.
Chicago-based GEM Realty Capital and Dallas’ Cawley Partners last month bought the two-building, 812,000-square-foot Lakeside campus on North Central Expressway.
And last fall, the 800,000-square-foot, four-building Galatyn Park office complex in the Telecom Corridor was purchased by California-based Spear Street Capital.
Richardson is one of the most popular office markets in North Texas, with thousands of workers moving to the Telecom Corridor for companies including State Farm Insurance, Raytheon and RealPage.
Geico Insurance just rented a building on Greenville Avenue where it plans to move more than 1,000 workers from Farmers Branch.
And Allen’s Frontier Communications is in talks to rent another large office block in Richardson, real estate brokers say.
Steve Brown/Dallas Morning News 

Bob Voelker: Density and Affordable Housing in Dallas—Some Questions to Ask

In the real world, solutions to complex problems can rarely be solved with simple ideas, or by executive fiat.
A proposal being discussed at Dallas City Hall would require multifamily developers requesting up-zoning (higher density, more apartments per acre) to include affordable housing in the project. Having spent 11 years in my legal/real estate career developing affordable housing, and more than 20 years involved in Fair Housing litigation, it is incredibly refreshing to see this type of focus and thought process in Dallas. We have spent literally decades creating concentrations of affordable housing in Dallas, and creating mixed-income (and in a perfect world, mixed-use) communities addresses a host of concerns—economic and racial segregation; cross-migration and traffic congestion; health benefits of walkability; etc.
If we could just wave a wand and make this happen, right the wrongs of the past, create utopia, all would be good.
In my affordable housing development days, we built a 200 unit mixed-income townhome-style rental project in North Fort Worth, previously homeless families (many at 30 percent of median area income) living with those at 50 percent and 60 percent of median income and market rate units. And it worked economically. But … for that project we bought land for 25 cents a square foot, instead of $300 per square foot in Uptown. And we received a lot of low income housing tax credits from the State of Texas (very hard to do on a project that only has 20 percent affordable units). And the nonprofit we worked with contributed $2.5 million to the project.
Proponents of the density-for-affordable-housing proposal point to other places in the country and places like Vancouver where this has worked. But they need to look further behind the magical Oz veil at the entire economics of those projects. Some questions to ask:
• What are the median area income levels in those cities (this determines the rent for the affordable units)?
• What subsidies did the local, state or federal government or non-profits or foundations provide tax abatements, grants, tax credits, tax-exempt bond financing, etc., to make the project economically viable? How are those subsidies structured to encourage mixed-income housing?
• What are the rents for market rate units in those areas? Dallas is just now seeing top-end $3 per square foot rents. Some of these other cities have significantly higher rents, in which case some of the market rent “premium” rents (or in some cases condo sale prices) can help support the affordable housing.
• Are apartment residents, lenders, and equity partners for Dallas projects accepting of the concept of mixed-income high rise projects? What rent reduction will be required on the market-rate units due to the perceived issues (please note I said “perceived”) of having affordable housing as part of the development?
The answer to the density-for-affordable-housing concept is a function of grasping the economic issues outlined above—really understanding the depths of real estate proformas and market rate and affordable housing finance and Fair Housing requirements.
One of the affordable housing developers I worked for years ago used to say, “If it was easy, it would already have been done and everyone would be doing it.” Statements like “doubling the developer’s density doubles their profits, so they can afford to put in affordable housing” are not correct—only the land cost is nonrecurring with more units—and ignores the fact that capped affordable housing rents won’t pay for the incremental cost of building affordable units in a high-rise expensive structure, including added costs and complexities of affordable housing financing and the cost of structured parking.
This question of integrating affordable housing with market rate units in a high rise environment is not easy, and the answers will be even more complex. And we won’t solve it just at the Dallas level; changes in state (and maybe even federal) policies need to be part of the equation.
I hope that the Dallas City Council takes its time to deliberately study what other cities have done, and how it worked, and brings in some experts to explain these intricacies before it acts. Again, the goal is laudable, and the mere fact that Dallas is having this discussion (like the discussion of not building or tearing down highways) says a lot about the boldness of our leaders. It is increasingly becoming clear that we are living in “A New Dallas” in many ways.

Bob Voelker/Real Estate Daily