Texas is Open for Business. Now What?

Over the final two weeks in May, Texas Governor Greg Abbott instituted a graduated opening of the state’s economy. But what does this look like on the ground? What are the prospects moving forward for the larger economic engine in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic? “Mixed in with the controversy that surrounds the reopening plans and whether it’s the right thing to do or not is that nobody really knows what’s next,” said Ryan Walsh, executive director, NRG Park. “All we can do is plan against the worst-case scenario.” Walsh was part of a panel discussion that REDnews recently hosted to explore what the next steps are for Texas businesses and properties now that stay-at-home orders are lifting. NRG Park—the four-stadium, 350-acre property that hosts Texans games, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and other live events—has joined a task force with other
Houston arenas regarding the best practices for opening up their venues.
Following guidelines from the CDC and the White House about strict social distancing requirements would mean that NRG Stadium, for example, would only be able to fill 17 to 18 percent of the 72,000 seats for a Texans home game. NRG Park has been in constant contact with their vendors and the NFL as to how they can safely reopen the stadium, but at the moment there are no set-in-stone plans. Walsh said that one frustration is the mercurial communication coming from various government agencies as to how to proceed. Click to read more at www.rednews.com.

Can one of the fastest-growing office markets also see the quickest turnaround?

Over the past twenty years, Austin’s population has exploded, growing more than 78 percent, with the MSA adding the equivalent of two Omahas in that time span. Concurrently, office development and investment just barely kept pace with staggering demand—a two-decade-long trend that skidded to a halt in March of this year. At the opening of 2020, Austin’s office market picked up right where 2019 left off, with strong leasing activity and an incredible development pipeline. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has hit pause on much of this—leaving many to wonder how long until the city can get back to where it was. “Austin has traditionally been such as a very strong, robust real estate market. We’re confident it is going to find its way back, just as it did before with ’08 – ‘09,” said Ross Anders, general manager of Project Management Advisors (PMA) in Austin. PMA recently expanded its footprint to Austin with the acquisition of American Realty Project Management. With a technology-heavy corporate base, the good news is that Austin will likely start to recover quicker than the more energy-dependent Houston and Dallas markets, for example, as the price of oil falls. According to Andrew Alizzi, associate in the capital markets group, investment sales in the Austin office of Avison Young, many of the landlords he has been in contact with are surveying tenants in their buildings to determine not only their immediate needs but if they anticipate any retrenchment of their future office us. Click to read more at www.rednews.com. Click to read more at www.rednews.com.

Houston’s industrial sector girds for a post-pandemic resurgence

The Houston industrial market had some strong fundamentals during the first quarter, and others that were cause for concern. Since then, of course, there has really only been one concern—COVID-19. Will the pandemic drag down what had been a well-performing sector in One major issue facing Houston’s economy—equally as important as COVID-19 itself—is the effect that the pandemic is having on oil prices. Stay-at-home orders around the country have decimated the need for oil, which will surely affect the energy-dependent Houston economy. Texas’ year-over-year crude oil production dropped in March, according to data from the Railroad Commission of Texas, from 128 million barrels in 2019 to 107 million barrels this year. However, early resistance from Saudi Arabia and Russia to cut production softened demand. Russia has also indicated that it will ramp up production in June. New data from Colliers International suggests
that global land-based storage will top off in June and oil prices likely won’t rebound for at least 18 to 24 months. Energy firms, as well as the companies
that support them, will look to cut costs in the next year with many filing for bankruptcy protection in the near term. Click to read more at www.rednews.com.

If You Can’t Build It, They Won’t Come: What the Future Holds for the Construction Industry

Corbin Van Arsdale remembers early March vividly. A phone on each ear, important conference calls happening on each, the mayor of Austin suburb Cedar Park summarizes that time as “a little bit insane.” “When [the COVID-19 pandemic] hit, it thrust the mayor, county judge and governor into these almost militaristic chain-of-command-type situations,” he told those logged in to the May 21 REDnews webinar If You Can’t Build It, They Won’t Come. Also president and general counsel for the Associated General Contractors – Texas Building Branch (AGCTBB), Van Arsdale was able to offer unique insight from the perspective of a decisionmaker, as well as genuine interest in the wellbeing of the construction industry. “It really just turned life upside down,” he said of the pandemic’s impact. While the first few weeks were “chaos,” according to Will Hodges, president of Cadence McShane Construction, the industry is finding its footing. “We’ve settled into a bit of a rhythm and a bit of a routine, finding a new way of managing things,” said Hodges. “We were very blessed that construction was deemed an essential business. While a lot of the country suffered being out of work and dealing with those issues, we didn’t. We kept moving.” Click here to read more at www.rednews.com.

Reach new heights in Cedar Hill: The greenest city in North Texas is prime for development

Towering over the DFW Metroplex, Cedar Hill delivers the kind of live-work environment that is found nowhere else in North Texas. A place full of natural beauty and breathtaking views where business opportunities are as ready for discovery as new walking trails. Cedar Hill is a perfect community for corporate headquarters, burgeoning entrepreneurs, small business owners, and a talented workforce to call home. The city deliberately fosters a careful balance between industry and nature. As it grew from a population of 6,850 in 1980 to nearly 50,000 today, it is proud to have maintained the highest percentage of preserved open space of any Metroplex city. Tree-lined rolling hills and wide-open green space earn Cedar Hill the nickname ‘The Hill Country of the Metroplex.’ This community offers miles of hiking, biking, and running trails, some around the 2,000-acre Cedar Hill State Park. The park, which features more than 100 miles of shoreline around Joe Pool Lake, is one of the most visited state parks in Texas. Home to a variety of rare plants and animals, Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center is another popular destination, bringing visitors from the four counties surrounding Cedar Hill. Click to read more at www.rednews.com.

Navigating current business insurance claim loss strategies

Nearly every business has incurred some kind of economic loss associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, which in some cases has proven to be as detrimental as damage caused by severe weather or a natural disaster. “The ensuing result has been an extremely large economic loss to policyholders who have, in turn, looked to their insurance companies and said, ‘Hey, this should be covered, right?’” said Scott Friedson, CEO of Insurance Claim Recovery Support. This is Friedson’s forte. As a public insurance adjuster, he’s authorized and licensed to negotiate insurance claims on behalf of policyholders, including business interruption loss claims. “There have been a lot of disputes and interpretations going on as it surrounds this completely uncharted territory that we’ve entered into around COVID-19 insurance claims,” he said, kicking off REjournals’ May 14 webinar: Navigating Current Business Insurance Claim Loss Strategies. Friedson, joined by attorney Shannon Loyd of The Loyd Law Firm and forensic accountant Bruce Smith of BDS Forensic Accounting, shared how policyholders can best navigate the uncharted territory in which businesses find themselves today. “Nobody knows exactly what’s going to happen or how this is all going to shake out,” said Friedson. The most common question he said he’s received is whether a policyholder should file a business interruption claim. Click to read more at www.rejournals.com.