Drop In Retail Construction Helps San Antonio Shopping Centers Stay Full

A dramatic drop in retail construction over the last decade is helping keep San Antonio’s big shopping centers full, driving companies to expand in existing storefronts and take over empty space left behind by brands such as Sears and Toys R Us. The metro area added about 6.8 million square feet of retail space between 2010 and 2019, down nearly 11 million square feet from the previous ten years, according to an annual report by Weitzman, a Dallas-based commercial real estate firm. The decline helped push the occupancy rate — for 302 shopping centers with at least 25,000 square feet each — up from 89.9 percent in 2009 to 94.5 percent in 2019. “There typically are not a lot of holes,” said Marcus Shaffer, a senior vice president at Weitzman’s local office. When slots do open, multiple retailers usually make offers, he added. On ExpressNews.com: What’s keeping Wonderland alive? Quirky events, businesses, discount stores, and art films The drop in new construction reflects seismic changes in the retail industry. Click to read more at www.expressway.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.

Montrose’s ‘Cool’ Attracts National Real Estate Attention

When the commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield looked across the United States and Canada for the “coolest” neighborhoods, Montrose made the top 20. That, says Cushman & Wakefield, makes it prime property. For Houstonians, the announcement may feel obvious. Certainly it’s not news that Montrose is cool? Bob Marley and the Wailers took over a floor of the Plaza Hotel (later Tradition Bank Plaza) in the ’70s, cooking Rasta gumbo as the magazine Texas Monthly got its start in the same building. It was, and still is, Houston’s haven and political center for the LGBTQ community. Beyoncé went to high school there. But for Cushman & Wakefield, the neighborhood’s culture and walkability is of special appeal as retail fights e-commerce to bring customers into stores. “Ignore cool at your own peril,” wrote Cushman & Wakefield when it first started scouting cool neighborhoods in 2016. Click to read more at www.mysanantonio.com.

New State Law Prevents Cities From Regulating Construction Materials

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.

San Angelo offers Ford Ranch for $52M, Keeps Water Rights

SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) — A West Texas city that in 2017 bought a nearly 33,000 acre (13,355 hectares) ranch to ensure its municipal water supply has offered to sell the property for nearly $52.5 million. The San Angelo Standard-Times reports the for-sale sign is up at the Ford Ranch, located in parts of Concho, McCulloch, and Menard (muh-NARD’) counties. San Angelo purchased the Ford Ranch for about $44 million. Listing agent King Land and Water says the ranch was acquired to preserve access to the Hickory Aquifer. The city of about 100,000 relies on lakes and reservoirs for water. San Angelo in the 1970s purchased rights to own and manage the Hickory Aquifer as a hedge against drought-related shortfalls. San Angelo, in any ranch sale, would require deed restrictions to preserve its aquifer access. Click to read more at www.fortworthbusiness.com.