Ray Talks With Dennis Murphree

By Ray Hankamer

RN: Dennis, you come from a prominent commercial construction family and you served on the Board of your father’s company at a young age. How did this educate you as a young man and get you started in developing real estate?

DM: I am a Houston native. I went to work during the summer at age 12 doing construction labor for my dad’s company and it taught me the value of hard work and how buildings actually come together. Ten summers in the hot sun taught me about manual labor and trying to use my brain, rather than my back, to earn money in the future. I got into commercial real estate at age 24 and went on Dad’s company board two years later. That was a real learning experience. All the other directors were at least 30 years older than I was, so all I had to do was shut up, listen and learn.

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Roundabouts: Why we don’t see them yet in Houston and Texas?

(The case for more traffic roundabouts)

From Priceonomics: “The roughly 3,700 circular traffic intersections in the U.S. are feared, avoided, and even loathed…Australia has more than 10,000. France features 32,000. The U.K. boasts 25,000, the most in the world as a proportion of total road space.

In every single metric, roundabouts outperformed intersections in terms of efficiency. Average delays were cut by 65%; no more than one-third of vehicles were not in motion at any given time, and the circle never went over 22% of its full capacity.”

From Discover: “The roundabout is the single most important device ever created to help control traffic safely and smoothly.”

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O’Connor Land Forecast Luncheon: Simmi Jaggi – Jones Lang LaSalle


Takeaway: Demand for retail and industrial sites remains strong, and multi-family is having some activity, but no demand exists for office sites. There is a healthy demand for
residential both in infill and in the far suburbs. There are some transactions for land for medical development, but now that the large 20 acre satellite hospitals are mostly in place
around the far suburbs, future development should be on smaller sites.


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CCIM LUNCHEON: Bob Ethington-Director of Research and Economic Development, Uptown Houston Association


Takeaway: Uptown Houston, otherwise loosely known as “The Galleria Area”, is equal to Houston’s Central Business District (CBD) in total developed square footage, including retail, office, hotel, and residential [!]. It is equal to the downtowns of Denver, Portland, Cleveland, or Baltimore. Mobility to and within the Uptown area has not yet caught up with the rapid growth. The project currently underway is set to correct these deficiencies. Uptown Houston’s designated area has been expanded to include Memorial Park, which is almost twice the size of Central Park in New York City. Exciting new enhancements are well underway in our park.

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CCIM Luncheon – Major Texas Market Broker Panel

Jane Nodskov, ICO Commercial-Moderator; Phil Crane, Providence Commercial Real Estate Services, Inc (San Antonio).; Saadia Sheikh, ESRP (Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex); Travis Waldrop, Carr Development, Inc. (Austin)

Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex:

  • This megamarket is 7 million people and growing; its economy is very diverse; commercial real estate segments enjoying 2.5% annual rent growth
  • Huge corporate inbound relocation to North Dallas-1.7 mm SF Toyota; 2 mm SF State Farm; 1.4 mm SF JP Morgan; 1.1 mm SF Liberty Mutual, and many many smaller moves
  • Frisco and Plano – two northern suburbs – have more office SF than all of Austin
  • There is some new office development in CBD although there is an overhang of old space as tenants vacate and move to the northern suburbs
  • Industrial market is huge and getting bigger
  • The commercial center of gravity in Dallas is moving to the north, where a new CBD of sorts is forming

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A Shady Business: Houston Developers and Operators-AND our City Fathers- Discover the Sycamore Tree


For years the oak tree, so prevalent around Rice University and the Museum District, has been the signature tree of Houston.

But the beautiful ‘tree tunnels’ in the Montrose, West University, and Museum District don’t come without problems, as voraciously thirsty iron-hard oak roots heave up sidewalks all over town.

The sycamore, a native Houston tree, is much faster-growing than the oak, providing shade in the summer, and letting the warming sun penetrate its bare branches in winter time.

The first cousin of the sycamore, the plane tree, lines many of the grand boulevards of Europe, and other streets as well. Plane trees line country roads all over France and have for centuries.

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