Ray interviews Leven Rambin

BY RAY HANKAMER
rhankamer@gmail.com

Note: Two months back, Ray’s Buzz interviewed Howard Rambin, who mentioned how he had helped his daughter, Leven, get her start acting by hiring professional show business agents/managers from the very start, and by validating her as a person and young professional. Here is my conversation with her:

Ray: Leven, we heard a couple of months back from your dad about his career. Now let us hear a little bit about yours! How did you get started in acting?

Leven: I started acting in plays at St. Francis Episcopal and my mom and dad were smart enough to enlist the guidance and help of a local acting teacher, Elyse Lester. My dad always encouraged me to work hard. Watching him run Moody Rambin with diligence and passion and relentlessness instilled in me a work ethic and boldness and inspired me to make him and myself proud.

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CCIM LUNCHEON

BY RAY HANKAMER
rhankamer@gmail.com

SPEAKER – Stephen Reiter, Jones | Carter Engineers Management Issues Following Harvey

Takeaway: Mathematical calculations using more pinpointed data, plus on-the-ground observation following Hurricane Harvey, have resulted in modifications to tighten requirements affecting construction in the 100- and 500 year floodplains.

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CCIM Luncheon – Chris Brown, City Of Houston Controller

BY RAY HANKAMER
rhankamer@gmail.com

Chris Brown was quick to explain that he came from a real estate oriented family, and that an MBA, a stint with an investment banking firm, and six years as Deputy City Controller gave him not only experience for his job as Chief Financial Officer  for the City, but experience to speak to a large room full of commercial real estate people. Brown focused on several topics:

Taxes:

  • The revenue cap passed by voters a few years ago leaves the City ‘handcuffed’ when it comes to funding the services needed by our burgeoning growth
  • Additional / alternative taxes under consideration include CBD congestion tax; tax on short term residential rentals, aka VRBO and AirBNB; encouraging greater density of development, concentrating more taxable assets on smaller tracts; commuter tax on those who live outside Houston but who commute in and use City services; and others
  • Taxes for still unfunded City personnel obligations going forward, now that pension reform has been accomplished
  • City policies encourage developers to build ‘up’ and not ‘out’ -high rise instead of low rise – further intensifying taxable base on finite land inside City limits

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Interview With Artist – And Real Estate Talent – David Adickes

BY RAY HANKAMER
rhankamer@gmail.com

RH: Welcome to RED News, David. You have been the Dean of the Houston Art Community for decades now, but most people don’t know that you have had a shrewd eye for real estate deals over the years. Before we get into that, though, can you give our readers a summary of your career in painting and sculpture, including your early studies?

David Adickes: Yes…I studied painting in Paris with Fernand Leger, one of the modern biggies, for two years: 1948-50. I returned to Houston and had shows at several galleries and museums, including the Museum of Fine Art. The first big sculpture I did was for real estate developer Joe Russo at his Lyric Center building, The Cellist.

Joe was unsure if he had done the right thing putting this large sculpture up. (I wired it to ‘play’ classical music for about twelve hours a day.) About the same time, other building owners had put up large expensive sculptures by Miro and Dubuffet, one of which cost $1 million, so Joe commissioned a Houston poll to see where his The Cellist ranked of these three. It topped the list with 85% approval, so he was happy!

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UH Bauer College Institute for Regional Forecasting – Robert W. Gilmer, Ph.D., Speaker

BY RAY HANKAMER
rhankamer@gmail.com

Takeaway: Houston’s economy is on a solid footing moving forward, although there is lingering weakness in office and in multi-family as Harvey occupancy dissipates.

Bullets:

  • Houston has moved into a new growth cycle, although oil prices are subject to international political risk, and improved technology can find and produce more oil with fewer rigs and fewer jobs
  • Oil jobs are returning, but slowly and the industrial sector has still not gotten over the loss of oil fieldrelated shrinkage of manufacturing space; there is no anticipated return of oil & gas employment to the previous peak
  • Global growth is accelerating and with it the growing need for oil & gas
  • Most of the big refining and chemical plants are complete or nearing completion; their feasibility was based on lower-cost oil & gas; jobs in that construction sector are shrinking

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O’Connor & Associates Land Forecast Luncheon

BY RAY HANKAMER
rhankamer@gmail.com

Speaker: Kirk Laguarta / Land Advisors

Bullet Points:

  • Large master-planned communities of the future will be near the Grand Parkway and beyond.
  • Developers who used to access the huge sums needed from banks now access them from equity investors who have a medium- to long-term horizon. These investors are from the money centers and are yield-driven.
  • Some large developers have been acquired by or have very close relationships with their sources of their funding. The developers have in some cases traded potentially higher
    profits for lower risk.
  • The Houston economy has many ‘drivers’ and lot development has continued apace even through the periods when oil prices dropped. This give assurance to investors.

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