Growth Opportunities in Unusual Times

Coming off a year when business shifted unpredictably, opportunities for growth now abound in ways we’ve never seen before. The COVID pandemic sent shockwaves through developments that previously seemed impenetrable. Office space sat empty, with rental revenues deteriorating, as employees worked from home. Restaurants struggled to stay open with carryout orders. Retail stores remained quiet as online orders grew dramatically. But behind the scenes, other industries could barely meet demand. Rail car storage yards burst to capacity, as railroads sought out places to park unused cars. Manufacturers turned away from their longtime affair with just-in-time models, instead of looking for warehouses to store the goods that would help them ride out business fluctuations and employee downtime. Here at TexAmericas Center, we knew that we didn’t want to change our entire business model for a pandemic that might only last a year or two. But at the same time, we knew our clients needed something more. So, we tweaked our business model to best serve our clientele for 2020 and 2021. That included building warehouse spec space, adding third party logistics services and using existing spaces in unique ways. Click here to read more at

SpaceX to Convert Offshore Oil Platforms into Spaceports

SpaceX has purchased two deep-water oil rigs off the Texas Gulf Coast to someday use as sea-going spaceports for their Starship spacecraft. The commercial space firm, through an entity called Lonestar Mineral Development, bought the platforms from offshore drilling company Valaris in July, according to public filings. Several media reports say Lonestar Mineral Development bought the rigs that were headed to the scrapyard for $3.5 million each, a steal compared to the original production costs between $330 and 515 million in 2008. London-based Valaris has corporate offices in Houston and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August. The new owner has renamed the rigs Deimos and Phobos, presumably after the Martian moons, according to space media outlet Bret Johnsen, SpaceX’s chief financial officer, is listed in public records as Lonestar Mineral Developments’ principal. Click to read more at

Landing the Amazon Facility: Third Time’s a Charm for Pflugerville

When Amy Madison first joined the Pflugerville Community Development Corp. as executive director in 2014, she immediately began looking for opportunities to bring an Amazon facility to Pflugerville. In June 2018, Madison began working alongside an Amazon site selection team to find a plot of land best fit for the job. Three site proposals later, the future facility found its match along Pecan Street, and Project Charm was formally launched. “As in, third time’s the charm,” Madison said. The PCDC hosted a behind-the-scenes panel Jan. 21 into the development process for the upcoming 3.8 million-square-foot facility, set to launch by early fall. The fulfillment center is expected to employ a minimum 1,000 employees once it is online, with plans to seek out local and regional employment in late spring. Key players behind the development who were present at the Jan. 21 panel include Jessica Breaux, economic development manager at Amazon; Jonathan Stites, senior vice president for the Texas region of Seefried Industrial Properties; and Tim Timmerman, a real estate developer and investor behind Timmerman Properties and original property owner of the project site. Click to read more at

Houston’s Healthcare System Takes a Pause, but for How Long?

The Houston healthcare sector, like the overall market itself, witnessed incredible growth over the past decade. That activity came to a skid, however, leaving owners and occupiers attempting to navigate the choppy waters brought about by the pandemic. All market metrics—from absorption to vacancy to investment activity—either remained relatively stable or trended in discouraging directions, according to Q3 research compiled by Transwestern. For example, absorption during the quarter was less than that of a typical dialysis center, totaling just 456 square feet.
Granted, just barely positive absorption is better than negative, but that figure is tempered even further by the 70 bps quarter-over-quarter vacancy rate increase to 13.1 percent. One contributing factor to this rise in vacancy is the approximately 252,000 square feet of new healthcare space that came online, less than half of which was pre-leased. The largest delivery during the third quarter was Bissonnet Medical Plaza, a 53,000-square-foot MOB in the Bellaire submarket. All across Houston, multiple projects are in the pipeline that will add additional healthcare supply. In or near the TMC alone there are three hospital facilities now under construction, totaling more than 733,000 square feet. The largest of these is the 427,000-square-foot O’Quinn Medical Tower going up on the Baylor St. Luke’s McNair campus, scheduled for completion in early 2024. The two-building UTHealth Public Education Mental Health Hospital will comprise 220,000 square feet when it wraps construction this December. Slated to deliver in the fourth quarter of 2023, the MD Anderson Cancer Center Proton Therapy Center will occupy 86,500 square feet. Click to read more at