Floodplain Ordinance Revisions

BY: OMAR IZFAR, ATTORNEY WILSON CRIBBS+GOREN
& JAMES JONES, PE, JONES | CARTER

Houston City Council voted just last month to approve revisions to its controversial Floodplain Ordinance. Here are some of the highlights of what the revised Ordinance does:

Regulated Area

Previously, Houston’s code applied to new permits and plats in the 100-year floodplain. The new revisions extend this to the 500-year floodplain. Land in the 100-year floodplain has a 1% chance of flooding in a single year while the 500-year floodplain has a 0.2% chance of flooding. As you know, we managed to experience a series of events that met or exceeded the 100-year rainfall intensities in the past few years. The City intends to regulate new construction to the 500-year floodplain

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Interview with Howard Rambin, Houston Developer

BY RAY HANKAMER
rhankamer@gmail.com

REDNews: Good morning, Howard: To those of us with ‘grey hair’, you are an icon in commercial real estate in Houston. Can you share-for the benefit of newcomers to the CRE game-a summary of your career, including your educational background and how you first got started in real estate?

Howard Rambin: I attended high school at Deerfield in Connecticut and Kinkaid in Houston, and University of North Carolina and SMU. Starting at nine years old I had part time summer jobs ranging from paper boy, golf caddy, grocery clerk, truck mechanic assistant, bank clerk, YMCA coach, and work at a CPA firm.

In my first job out of college my firm was suddenly sold and I found myself out of work, married with a child. I had a friend who developed apartments, so I thought I could do it, too, so I got investors and bought an apartment project. Then I developed a Howard Johnson motel on the Gulf Freeway, and later a Hilton on Dairy Ashford and I-10.

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BoyarMiller (a law firm) Energy Update Breakfast Forum -Speakers: Paul Perea – Tudor, Pickering, Hold & Co.; John Berger – Sunnova Energy; Sanjiv Shah – Simmons & Company International

BY RAY HANKAMER
rhankamer@gmail.com

Takeaway: The oil & gas industry is going through an adjustment phase based on presumed price stabilization engineered by OPEC. Solar energy technology has resulted in a 95% drop in panel prices and stunning technological progress in storage batteries, resulting in huge growth opportunities for this renewable energy source; electricity produced by wind is growing as well, but this energy often has to be transmitted over large distances and it is not as predictable as solar, which can be created and stored on-site and used on-site by residential and commercial customers.

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Connecting the Dotz: Real Estate economist Mark Dotzour offers the big picture

BY BRANDI SMITH

When he retired from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University in August 2015, former chief economist and director of research, Dr. Mark Dotzour, had no intention of leaving that career behind completely. He’d spent nearly two decades researching, writing and speaking about real estate.

“I just got tired and said, ‘You know what? I think I’m going to step down and just do the research and the speaking only,’” says Dotzour. “Since I did, I’ve been out on the road making about 70 presentations a year.”

Dotzour joined the Center in 1997. At the time, it was staffed with experts in land and agricultural and, but not commercial real estate. Seeing an opening, he says he decided to become an expert
in the field. And so he did.

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McAllen: Not just another border town

BY AMY SORTER

McAllen is not just any border town. Now the fifth-largest population center in Texas, the McAllen- Edinburg-Mission Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) has been quietly coming into its own with many service sector jobs in healthcare, leisure/hospitality and retail. Though not experiencing the massive growth of other Texas MSAs such as Dallas-Fort Worth or Austin, this region has been making plenty of waves on the Rio Grande border.

McAllen is home to La Plaza Mall, Simon Property’s 1.2-million-squarefoot regional shopping center that caters to shoppers on both sides of the border. “This is one of the few malls that is actually expanding,” said Rebecca Olaguibel, retail and business development director for the city of McAllen. Simon Property Group recently completed construction of a $71-million, 285,813-squarefoot
addition to the mall. Added Olaguibel: “This is only one in that group expanding its retail footprint.”

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Not-so-simple signs

BY BRANDI SMITH

For most consumers, signs are their first exposure to a brand, be it a restaurant, a store or a service. But often when commercial real estate professionals discuss retail and its trends, that first point-of-contact initially gets forgotten or looked over. That’s not the case at Plano-based American Signs.

“What happens over time in any type of advertising is that the more that someone sees a brand, the more they start to embrace the message that comes with it. Ideally, there’s some trust built into that,” says Bill Young, the company’s general manager. “So when they see that brand while they’re driving by, they recognize it and connect with it.”

Because brands, logos and consumer messages change so often, so too should a company’s signage, according to Young. He estimates the lifespan of a sign to be about 10 years before either the message is obsolete or the weather has taken its toll.

 

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