Blame it on Austin. Texas’ capital city has knocked Dallas off its perch as the country’s best real estate market. Big D was the top dog for real estate in a property industry beauty contest last year. But the best Dallas-Fort Worth gets is a sixth-place consolation prize in the just-released Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2020 forecast. In its 41st year, the closely watched annual property market report by the Urban Land Institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers asks real estate pros from across the country to rate the top market for the year ahead. After Austin’s winning performance, Raleigh-Durham, Nashville, Charlotte, and Boston placed ahead of D-FW in the forecast for 2020. Click to read more at www.dallasnews.com.
SAN ANTONIO – The aesthetics of communities across Texas could be changing after a new law went into effect this month. HB 2439 New state law prevents cities from regulating construction materials 2439, signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, limits certain regulations adopted by cities that required the specific use of materials used during construction or renovations. Cities no longer have a say, and any approved material by the national code can be allowed. Brandon Melland Leon Valley’s Planning and Zoning Director says communities were blindsided by the passage of the bill. The city sent a letter to the governor asking that he not sign the bill into law. “I think the question that needs to be asked is ‘where did this bill come from?” he said. “Because it certainly didn’t come from the citizens of Leon Valley.” Communities like Leon Valley worry that now that developers have a choice, they will choose to build with cheaper, less durable materials. He says a construction company has already informed the city they will be changing their material plans following the passage of the law. Click to read more at www.ksat.com.
Steve Medina, the president of Savvy Commercial Inspections, grew up in a low-income El Paso neighborhood, quickly learning he wanted a better life for himself and future family. At 19, he enlisted in the Navy in 1989 and was deployed to an F-18 fighter squadron launching, recovering and maintaining fighter aircraft on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Independence. The dangerous duty of a 19-year-charged with the responsibility of a $50 million aircraft and the safety of its pilot aboard a moving ship with launching and landing aircraft around him was a big part of what he is today. He was discharged at 21 years old, then went to work or an electrical utility company and made a name for himself as a fast learner and hardworking leader. Medina decided to leave El Paso because of cheap labor wages, relocating to Austin in 1996, where his work ethic stood out among crews during the tech boom. Click to read more at www.rednews.com.
This week, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation descended unannounced on the home and business of Nate Paul, a young Texas real estate investor who became known for buying up prominent real estate assets in the state capital of Austin. The FBI confirmed the raids to Forbes but declined to specify the nature of its search at Paul’s sprawling 9,175-square-foot Austin home or the downtown Austin offices of his World Class Holdings. Local media reported FBI agents were spotted leaving World Class’ offices with documents. Paul, 32, and World-Class Holdings, were the subject of a complimentary Forbes article in 2017, which described how Paul had snapped up commercial real estate in Austin, including valuable downtown locations and 3M’s 158-acre campus, and built a large self-storage company with 60 or so sites across the nation. Click to read more at www.forbes.com.
Friday, Aug. 9, 2:03 a.m.: This story has been updated to include City Council action and discussion. Thursday, Aug, 8, 11:50a: This story has been updated to include discussion between city and county leaders. With an additional annual revenue stream estimated at $21 million in its sights, Austin City Council voted Aug. 9 to increase the city tax on all hotel stays within city limits from 7% to 9%. Now approved, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said the city will immediately begin banking 70% of that revenue stream—roughly $14.7 million annually—to help pay off a potential $1.3 billion expansion of the Neal K. Kocurek Austin Convention Center. The expansion was supported unanimously by City Council but remains in the air due to a citizen petition aimed at blocking it. The remaining 30% would fund cultural arts and historic preservation budgets. Hotel occupancy taxes, known as HOT, or hotel taxes, are taxes levied on hotel guests. Click to read more at www.communityimpact.com.
AUSTIN, Texas — The tidy Broadmoor office campus occupied by IBM near the Texas capital’s northern edge could hardly be less like the ramshackle patchwork of parking lots and aged buildings that sprawl beside 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. But the two sites are where Philadelphia-based Brandywine Realty Trust is mapping out similarly ambitious development schemes that could transform their respective cities — and the Philadelphia-based company itself. Brandywine is already a dominant office landlord in both cities, with holdings in Philadelphia that include University City’s Cira Centre and FMC Tower buildings, and the One, Two and Three Logan Square towers in Center City. Its 14-acre Schuylkill Yards development is under construction to the west of the 30th Street train station. Click to read more at www.inquirer.com.