Stream Realty Partners Tackling Leasing and Marketing of 54,000-Square-Foot Office Development in Fort Worth

Stream Realty Partners has been engaged to represent Willow Springs Diamond Club Building, LLC, in the leasing and marketing of The Plaza at Willow Springs, a three-story, 54,000-square-foot Class-A office development at 12600 Willow Springs Road in Fort Worth, Texas. Stream office brokers Cullen Donohue and Vic Meyer are spearheading the effort on behalf of the landlord. The property is located on the western front of the Alliance submarket, offering 18,000-square-foot floor plates with customizable office suites and on-site executive offices. Building signage is available, offering qualified tenants exceptional brand exposure to heavily-trafficked Willow Springs Road. In addition, the asset boasts a private pond with walking trails, daily catered lunches and a 10,000-square-foot event venue. With abundant surface parking and immediate access to U.S. Highway 287, The Plaza at Willow Springs provides accessibility to a large educated workforce. The Fort Worth Alliance Airport is just 15 minutes away, serving as a cornerstone for one of the nation’s fastest-growing transportation hubs. The immediate area is surrounded with affluent residential neighborhoods, the highly-esteemed V.R. Eaton High School, as well as global companies such as Coca-Cola, Kraft, FedEx and Facebook. The high-end, trophy office asset is slated to deliver in 2022, and will offer space ranging from 1,200 to 44,000 square feet for lease.

Texas Commercial Landlord Responds to Winter Storm with Relief Efforts for Tenants and Employees

February 24, 2021 (Texas)—Texas-based commercial real estate firm, Hartman Income REIT Management, Inc. (Hartman), and its dedicated property management staff provided unofficial warming centers for displaced tenants, damage relief funds, maintenance house calls, and offered temporary housing for employees who lost power or suffered severe property damages due to the winter storms that raged throughout the state last week. The storm knocked out power for over 4 million Texas residents and more than 14 million were left without access to clean water, according to ABC News. The cost of the storm is estimated to be $20 billion, making it the costliest in state history, according to the Insurance Council of Texas. Property owners across the state experienced severe property damage due to frozen pipes, fires, and flooding. With over $750 million assets under management and more than 8.2 million square feet of commercial space situated across Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, Hartman has teams of on-site engineers, property managers, and construction crews situated strategically across its entire portfolio. Thanks to meticulous planning, quick thinking, and stalwart field teams, the majority of Hartman properties were spared any major damages. Taking assessment after the storms passed, Shane Cawood, Hartman’s Director of Operations – Asset Services commented “Our teams rapidly developed a freeze SOP, outlining what we needed to do to prepare for this event, how to prevent widespread damage, and protect both the building and our tenant’s property. I am incredibly proud of how our teams responded to this unprecedented event, many of them even left situations at their own homes to care for others.” At the height of the storm, Hartman’s CARES committee (an employee-led disaster response team), worked with its property management, engineering, and executive team to find solutions to help its tenants, employees, and their families through the storm. Hartman opened the doors of five office properties across Texas to provide temporary warming stations for those in need. The warming stations were staffed by Hartman’s property management and engineering teams. Hartman stated last week that the company’s Benevolence Fund would consider requests for financial assistance for employees experiencing damaged pipes, flooding, broken water heaters, or in need of food, water or shelter. The fund, which was established in 2016 through a seed grant from Al & Lisa Hartman, extends aid during times of financial crisis and supports charitable organizations that align with the company’s core values. The fund has paid out more than $380,000 in approved needs since inception. Speaking proudly of the company’s response to the winter storm and its relief efforts, CEO & President Al Hartman shared his appreciation, “Just as our Hartman team came together to support each other during Hurricane Harvey, we have done the same through this winter storm. It is a blessing and testament to the faith and the care each employee has for each other and most importantly, our tenants.” Hartman’s construction, engineering, and property management teams were also responding to tenant and employee needs by performing maintenance calls to the homes of Hartman employees and building tenants to offer help with plumbing issues, organizing temporary housing, and relocating tenants who needed a safer short-term space to work from. One beneficiary of Hartman’s disaster relief fund was a Hartman employee’s mother, whose home flooded due to a broken pipe. The employee shared, “The Hartman CARES Committee reached out to see what needs I had, as soon as they found out that I was dealing with plumbing problems for myself and my 81-year-old mother they immediately offered temporary housing arrangements to us both at no cost. The Hartman way never ceases to amaze me, they truly treat tenants, employees, and our families as their own.” As storm damages continue to be remediated by the Hartman team, tenants can continue to expect regular communications and information to be shared on additional relief efforts from the company.

Sunflower Beach Resort & Residences Breaking Ground on Latest Project in Port Aransas

Sunflower Beach Resort & Residences in Port Aransas, Texas, is holding the ground-breaking of its 21-unt Pool Residences condo building on Feb. 26. Sunflower Beach is the only master-planned community on the Texas coast with modern design built into its design code. The goal is to appeal to the more design-focused second homeowner. The resort’s latest project, The Pool Residences, is designed by Jay Corder, who is originally from Port Aransas. Corder graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1995 and immediately began working at Dick Clark Architecture in Austin, Texas.

“Dallas is a Powerhouse”: Multifamily Experts on Texas’ Hottest Markets

The thing about Texas is people want to live here. Proof is in the numbers. For the past several years, the state has been at or near the top of U-Haul’s annual migration report, a breakdown of the states on the receiving end of the most one-way moves. When they get here, those folks have to find a place to call home, a certainty that has helped the multifamily industry flourish. “Texas is a right-to-work state. It has a lower cost of living compared to states such as California or New York. There’s no state income tax. Someone can have a very high quality of life here at a bargain compared to some other markets,” said Jon Krebbs, managing partner of The Multifamily Group, a commercial real estate brokerage firm based in Dallas. “As long as there are jobs being created, you’re going to see a lot of activity from apartment developers and a lot of demand from apartment buyers.” That demand pushed sales volume for The Multifamily Group to record levels in 2019, the firm’s highest-grossing year ever. Things were looking up in early 2020 as well.

“The uncertainty that hit in March killed several of our deals that were either under contract or under letters of intent,” Krebbs said. “Everybody hit the brakes for a couple months.” Mark Allen, executive managing director, Greystone Investment Sales Group, attributes that pause to investor concern about rent collection. “After rent collections were proven stable, the challenge shifted to buyers finding deals as the demand far outpaced the supply on the market,” Allen said. While sales slowed, they never stopped completely. The new environment created a number of obstacles, but firms like Greystone, The Multifamily Group and Avid Realty Partners pressed forward. “On the operational side, we’ve seen fewer tenants leaving, fewer tenants moving in and less turnover,” said Craig Berger, Avid Realty Partners’ founder and CEO. “We also observed that, due to financial hardships, folks moved back in with family or brought roommates, so the number of people renting consolidated a bit.” The response by many properties, he said, was to offer concessions—such as reduced rent or a rent-free month—to drive occupancy and stay full. Meantime, multifamily pricing went up due to lower interest rates ramping up purchase power. “You’re discounting cash flows at a lower interest rate, so that makes asset prices go up,” Berger said. “We were doing virtual tours while trying to educate our owners about prospects. Buyers still had to go in every unit, and we had to make sure everyone was outfitted with personal protective equipment when they did. It was a logistical challenge to get the due diligence done,” said Krebbs, who added that his firm would consider 2020 a successful year based on its completed transactions in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. “Like all multifamily brokerages, we had to get as creative as possible to help buyers and sellers close out transactions during the stay-in-place orders,” Allen said. “Multifamily owners had to adapt from an operational perspective. Whether they were communicating with residents differently, altering their marketing strategy to fill vacancies or shifting their maintenance work order operating procedures, 2020 wasn’t without its challenges.” Challenges or not, Greystone made the best of the situation. Allen said his team’s sales volume and number of transactions increased from 2019. “I’d likely attribute that to continuing to work hard through stay-in-place orders and continued maturity of our team,” he said. The lessons learned in 2021 are now being carried into 2021 as the market gets closer to normal. “Folks are sort of getting off the sidelines and buying and selling again, which is great,” said Berger. Though Texas as a whole is a promising market for multifamily investors, two cities stand out as offering exceptional opportunities. “In Dallas, we had an influx of new and existing residents from states with much more government control and restrictions, and less affordability,” Allen said. “Texas is a very business-friendly state relative to many others across the country; you can get twice the size of house in Texas for a fraction of the cost, and pay no state income taxes. Also, we have a very diverse economy and very low unemployment metrics relative to other Texas and U.S. cities.” “Dallas is a Fortune 500 and Fortune 5,000 powerhouse,” said Berger. “Because so many companies and people are moving to cities like Dallas or Austin, those are the places where I want to invest my money. I know there will be future growth.” Prices certainly reflect the increased interest in those in-demand markets, but Krebbs and the Multifamily Group have their eye on the San Antonio area. “In Houston, Austin or DFW, you’re looking at $90,000 to $100,000 a unit for a Class-C property,” he said. “But in San Antonio, the rents just aren’t as high, so you can still get a property for about $65,000 a unit.” Krebbs notes that, like other Texas cities, San Antonio is a steadily growing market, drafting off the winds of Austin and its location in the middle of the state. “At The Multifamily Group, we don’t see any headwinds to multifamily investing in Texas,” he said. “There’s just too much job growth.” That’s just one of the fundamentals that remains strong, setting up 2021 as an incredible time to buy multifamily in DFW. Allen also points to the spread between treasuries and cap rates being the widest since the “Great Recession.” “Investors sitting on the sidelines the last three to four years because prices are too high have missed out on an incredible opportunity of growth,” he said. “There was $4 trillion on the sidelines last year, so there’s plenty of pent-up demand still. With the discussions on further fiscal and monetary stimulus, a declining U.S. dollar, and inflation in the short term, I only see the market going one way in 2021 … up!” The issue of inflation is an important one that helps distinguish multifamily from other CRE investments. “In multifamily, you can keep pace with inflation. If the market is hot, it’s a free market. Your leases are typically a year, so you can go out and rent apartments at market rates that could be well in excess of 1.5 percent to 2 percent growth that you’re seeing in net lease properties,” Berger said. “So as inflation heats up, multifamily apartments tend to be a tremendous hedge against that inflation.” Everything is bigger in Texas, including the opportunity for multifamily investment as more and more people make the move to call the Lone Star State home.

Steve Lieberman: Why Retail is the Great Unifier

Friends on the industrial side of the shopping aisle often tell me that industrial is the new retail, but anyone who knows retail knows that retail is constantly changing, and it will always be the new retail. Whether retail is red hot or in a blue state, retailers bring us together, meet the challenges of change, and unite parties for the optimal shopping experiences. Retail stores certainly had a rough year in 2020 and continue to have challenges. The pandemic has been the most disruptive force retail stores have faced in decades, and it accelerated trends that were already in motion—most notably, online shopping. This trend was hugely propelled by a behavioral shift of working from home and doing almost everything there. E-commerce represented about 1 percent of retail sales in 2000; it grew over the next two decades to account for more than 10 percent by the end of 2019. One year and one pandemic later, online now represents nearly 20 percent of all retail sales today. This clearly accelerated the failure of weak businesses and served as a growth catalyst for new ones. The number of chains went bankrupt more than doubled from 23 to over 50, leading to 25,000-plus stores closing nationwide. More than 10,000 restaurants closed in Texas alone, and 4 million square feet of local retail space became available in North Texas. Still, 80 percent of all retail sales are in stores, and shopping centers are not going away—by a long shot. The consumer wants and has the capacity to shop, how, when, and where they want, and many of their purchases—particularly replenishment items—will continue to occur through the internet. However, the store’s role will remain central to the shopping experience, the building of brands, consultation, and social interaction. Provided, of course, that the retailer or shopping center continues to deliver a great experience. Click to read more at www.dmagazine.com.

Redfin Announces Agreement to Acquire RentPath for $608 Million

Acquisition brings together a leading site for homebuying with a leading site for rental listings

SEATTLE and ATLANTA, Feb. 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — (NASDAQ: RDFN) — Redfin (www.redfin.com) has entered into an agreement to acquire RentPath (www.rentpath.com), the Atlanta-based owner of ApartmentGuide.com, Rent.com, and Rentals.com, for $608 million in cash. The acquisition will bring together a leading site for buying a home with a leading site for renting a home, giving anyone trying to move a complete view of her options. “RentPath has more than 20,000 apartment buildings on its rental websites, and grew its traffic more than 25% last year,” said Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman. “We can almost double that audience, as one in five of Redfin.com’s 40+ million monthly visitors also wants to see homes for rent. Together with RentPath, we can create an online destination for every North American to find a home.” “We are energized by the transformational potential of this combination to help more consumers find the right home and help property managers find residents,” said Dhiren Fonseca, RentPath’s CEO. “RentPath’s customers experienced all-time highs in traffic and leads from us last year and our value proposition to multifamily property managers has never been better. By acquiring RentPath, Redfin will be as committed as we are to the rental market. As part of the Redfin family, our platform will be well positioned to lead the market in the quality and value of our products, while giving our current and future customers access to many more high-intent renters through Redfin’s extensive network.” Redfin, the technology-powered real estate brokerage, operates the #1 nationwide brokerage search site. The company uses a combination of local real estate agents and technology to make it easier, faster and less costly to buy or sell a home. Click to read more at www.investors.redfin.com.