Where Have All the Golf Courses Gone?

BY REID WILSON, CHAIRMAN | WILSON CRIBBS + GOREN

America’s love affair with golf is waning. There are too many golf courses and not enough golfers. The average age of the active golfer is increasing…and the cost to maintain the courses is increasing as well.

Few people realize the golf courses periodically require significant capital infusion to upgrade their facilities in order to successfully compete with newer courses. Physical amenities age and must be remodeled. New high quality residential communities use lakes and other passive greenspace, and even urban farms, as amenities instead of the traditional golf course.

Buyers of golf course lots should be wary and conduct careful due diligence before purchase, so they accept the risk of the adjacent golf course terminating operation and changing use.

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Emerging Evolution: How Retail Is Adapting To The Changing Market

BY BRANDI SMITH

It was the merger that made international headlines: Amazon purchasing Whole Foods, a marriage of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar that acknowledged and leveraged the powerof both kinds of retail.

Grocery being the largest category of consumer retail, the move is being viewed by experts as a power play for Amazon, a way for the giant online retailer to tap into a new revenue stream. It was also a public and financial admission by an e-commerce behemoth that it is still worth investing in a physical store to win the war of retail.

“To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of the death of brick-andmortar retail are greatly exaggerated,” says Marshall Mills, President and CEO of Weitzman. “… retail’s alive and well …”

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A Young Texan Goes To Moscow

Christopher Van Riet: A 25 year-old Houstonian who went to Moscow in 1995 in the middle of the chaos resulting from the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and is now owner / developer of a logistics park including the two largest retail distribution centers in Russian history.

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School with an economics degree, Chris Van Riet went straight to Wall Street. After two years, in 1995 he took his two-week summer vacation to Moscow, where he interviewed businessmen seeking opportunity in the chaos, as a communist society began its rocky transition toward a free enterprise system.

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Houston Land And Housing Forecast – 2017

Speakers: Patrick Jankowski- Economist, Greater Houston Partnership; Kirk Laguarta and Duane Heckmann- Land Advisors; Jeff Lindner-Harris County Flood Control

Takeaway: Houston’s economy continues to steadily grow, and Harvey will only be a momentary setback in different sectors. A positive from Harvey that was recognized and recorded worldwide was the community solidarity evident here as everyone helped everyone else during this catastrophe.

Our Economy

  • Rig count fell from 1931 at peak to 1050 now, BUT many rigs are twice as efficient, so drilling rebound is stronger than it looks from this one statistic
  • Oil should continue to adjust to supply and demand but should stay bracketed in the $50-60 range going forward; this will entail some re-hiring in the Oil Patch but reaching nowhere near the last peak

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Houston CRE Market Shows Resilience in Face of Hurricane Harvey

U.S. MARKET FLASH – SEPTEMBER 2017

Hurricanes, tropical storms and floods are familiar occurrences in Houston and the surrounding Texas Gulf region; more than eight severe floods/hurricanes have impacted the Houston MSA since 1998.

But when Hurricane Harvey struck the region near Rockport, TX on August 25, the Category 4 storm was the strongest to hit the region since 1961, dumping more than 50 inches of rain in a matter of days and causing extensive property damage due to flooding.

In addition to its devastation on Greater Houston, Harvey’s impact was national in scope as well. Port Houston-the largest U.S. port in foreign tonnage and home to the nation’s largest petrochemical complex– closed for 4 1/2 days after the hurricane and reopened on September 1. Most refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast, which is the nation’s largest producer of oil and
gasoline, have also restarted operations, while others, such as Valero, have returned to pre-storm fuel-making rates. Nationally, consumers will see an increase in gas prices of about $0.08 – $0.10 for the next several months.

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Reconstruction after Harvey: Flood Development Permits & Grandfathered Structures in Houston

BY OMAR IZFAR, ATTORNEY

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, I’ve been receiving questions about how to reconstruct damaged structures, both those in flood zones and not, especially those that don’t meet current codes. Some development regulations and policies that affect reconstruction are pretty simple and straightforward, while others are complicated, vague, and sometimes not even written down anywhere. While Houston may not have a formal zoning code that covers the entire city, it does have quite a few development regulations, all of which would normally be found in a zoning code. Noncompliance can result in denial of building permits, stop-work orders, even revocation of certificates of occupancy. Fortunately, there is a path forward for most projects. It’s important for property owners to know what to expect and what their options are in different situations.

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