Major Texas Cities Panel: CCIM Houston October Luncheon

Biggest office year yet-up to $36-37 rents; traffic bad in CBD; much of CRE growth is actually north of Austin where development permitting is much faster (1-2 months instead of 10+)
• Cap rate compression; many groups are scouring the market looking for value-add opportunities in the various segments; offerings are picked over; what’s left is at a premium
• “Houston is a better place to find value-adds”
• Austin total has less than 70 million SF industrial total, and much of it is in R & D and specialized manufacturing, such as in wafer chips which cannot have a building with any vibrations; minimal number of distribution centers; not much bulk distribution
• Development west of MoPac is on strong limestone ground, BUT is in the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone and there are strict limits on impervious cover; on the east side of MoPac the ground is ‘gumbo’, clay that expands and contracts with the moisture content in the soil-each area provides unique challenges and costs to developers
• Austin is only large Texas city with no Loop Road around the city
Click to read more at www.rednews.com.

Stream Realty Partners Launches Major Industrial Project in Brookshire

Stream Realty Partners has closed on the purchase of 300 acres along Interstate 10 in Brookshire and plans to develop a massive business park that will initially target e-commerce and consumer goods distributors. The company is to break ground on the first phase of the Empire West Business Park in January. The initial three buildings, totaling more than 1 million square feet, will be developed on a speculative basis, according to Stream. The first phase, including one 750,000-square-foot building and two 150,000-square-foot buildings, will occupy 56 acres. The property, which has nearly a mile of frontage on I-10, was purchased from McMillian Interests. It is in a bustling region for industrial development west of Houston. The site, just west of Woods Road near Amazon’s 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center, is about 9 miles west of the Grand Parkway. The property has 5,000 feet of frontage along both Interstate 10 and U.S. 90. Click to read more at www.chron.com.

Seeing Progress In Seabrook: Massive Highway Project

Look around Seabrook today and the signs of progress are clear. “The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the City of Seabrook have the last buildings going down. All the necessary parcels have been acquired and the remaining buildings have been demolished for the footprint of the project,” says City Manager Gayle Cook. “Visually, it’s really made a change here in the past month or so.” The project, of course, is the long-awaited widening of State Highway 146 from four lanes to up to 12. Discussed for decades, TxDOT just got started on construction in February 2019. “They’re getting close to the end of Phase 1, which includes the widening of the Clear Creek bridge by adding one additional travel lane, plus a 14-foot-wide pedestrian and bicycle lane and utility work,” Cook says. In Phase 2, crews will continue work on the bridge, create a new southbound frontage road and build the bulk of a new express bridge. Phases 3 and 4, expected to be finished in the next five years, will rebuild and raise SH-146’s main lanes, as well as complete the express bridge and add more greenery and landscaping. It’s a massive undertaking in the community that’s about 30 minutes south of Houston. Click to read more at www.rednews.com.

Texas To Provide Microsoft $4.9M Grant As Part of Las Colinas Workforce Expansion

Texas has awarded Microsoft Corporation a nearly $4.9 million grant as part of economic incentive deal that will bring hundreds of new jobs to the company’s Las Colinas office. Microsoft is expanding its operations in Las Colinas with $31 million in investments and the creation of 575 new jobs, according to a news release from the office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. The grant comes from the state’s Texas Enterprise Fund, which is a “deal-closing” grant for companies considering investments in Texas, according to the Governor’s Business and Community Development Division. “We are excited that Microsoft has renewed its commitment to Irving-Las Colinas and believe it’s a testament to our business-friendly climate and high quality of life for companies and their employees,” Irving Mayor Rick Stopfer said in the release. “As a valuable corporate stakeholder in our community, we look forward to working with Microsoft as it builds [its] workforce and creates thousands of valuable technology jobs in Irving.” Click to read more at www.communityimpact.com.

KEYED IN TO HOUSTON

When Steve Hubbs began working at Houston-based Key Maps two decades ago, you could say the map-making industry was a little different than it is today. The company’s books of grid maps were the go-to navigational tool for everyone from emergency responders to pizza delivery drivers. “There was definitely a heyday when we were the only source in town for any kind of maps,” Hubbs laughs. “Then GPS came along.” These days, the grid maps can serve as an excellent backup when you’re in a pinch. “Throw a Key Maps book in your trunk or wedge it between your seats,” suggests Hubbs. “If your phone’s dead and you’re lost, you’ll at least be able to navigate your way through the streets.” When he acquired the company nearly three years ago, Hubbs understood the changing times meant he needed to adapt. The era of map books had faded, but the public’s fascination with cartography had not. Click to read more at www.rednews.com.

Lamar Hunt Family Enters Houston Industrial Real Estate Arena

The Lamar Hunt family, which owns the Kansas City Chiefs football team among other diversified holdings, is making a play for Houston industrial real estate. Dallas-based Hunt Southwest Real Estate Development plans to develop a speculative building that will contain up to 509,600 square feet at 17440 U.S. 59 in Humble near Bush Intercontinental Airport. The site was purchased from JM Texas Land Fund No. 2 LP for an undisclosed sum. “We really looked all over the Houston metro area for the right site for our first development in the Houston area,” said T. Preston Herold, senior vice president of Hunt Southwest. “It’s tough to find a well-priced and well-located industrial site in the Houston area. We think we found one with the 59 Logistics Center site.” Click to read more at www.mysanantonio.com.