Ray’s Buzz: O’Connor & Associates Land Forecast Luncheon-Speaker: Davis Adams, Managing Director, JLL

• As infill development continues in multi-family and retail, land prices continue to rise
• Increasing density equals increasing traffic on our streets-we are all noticing that
• Houston area population has grown from 6 to 7 million in last ten years, and is projected to grow by 3 million more in the next 10-15 years…the equivalent of moving the combined populations of Austin and San Antonio into Greater Houston-how will all the cars fit?
• In spite of our hearty growth rate, the DFW Metroplex is growing just a little bit faster
• Oil industry technology continues to lower the cost of producing oil & gas, which has mixed results for the Houston economy
• Infill land prices are ranging from $80-120 in The Heights and from $20-35 in nearby Garden Oaks

Click to read more at www.rednews.com.

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.

The Howard Hughes Corporation® Acquires Approximately 1.4M SF Of Premium Office Space & Additional Land For Commercial Development In The Woodlands® From Occidental

THE WOODLANDS, Texas, Dec. 30, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The Howard Hughes Corporation® (NYSE: HHC) announced today the acquisition of two Class AAA office towers, warehouse space and developable land in The Woodlands®, Texas, from Occidental (NYSE: OXY), providing The Howard Hughes Corporation with highly sought-after, premium office space that will enable The Howard Hughes Corporation to meet ongoing demand in the market. The acquisition increases The Howard Hughes Corporation’s office portfolio within the award-winning master planned community (MPC) by approximately 50%, and reinforces The Howard Hughes Corporation’s standing as the community’s steward and largest stakeholder. The $565 million transaction also includes the acquisition of Occidental’s Century Park campus in the West Houston Energy Corridor—a 63-acre, 1.3-million-square-foot campus with 17 office buildings—which The Howard Hughes Corporation will immediately remarket, in line with its recently announced commitment to sell non-core properties and to focus resources into the growth of its core business of MPCs. In The Woodlands, The Howard Hughes Corporation’s acquisition includes the two Class AAA towers rebranded as The Woodlands Towers at The Waterway, which total approximately 1.4 million square feet of office space, and a 125,000-square-foot warehouse. The acquisition also includes 9.3 acres of prime, developable land located in The Woodlands Town Center® bordering The Woodlands Waterway® and fronting Interstate 45 North, providing the opportunity for meaningful future commercial development in the heart of The Woodlands. Click to read more at www.prnewswire.com.

Women In Real Estate, Panel #2: Current Workplace Issues Faced by Women

Edna Meyer-Nelson, founder/president/CEO of The Richland Companies, helped guide the discussion with panelists: Cortney Cole, managing director at JLL; Taucha Hogue, director of capital markets for NKF; Leann Karim, shareholder at Wilson Cribbs + Goren; and Tina Phillips, human capital management director at ADP. The first topic of conversation was flexibility in the workplace, which has increased in popularity as employees fight for a work/life balance. Phillips has a unique perspective as someone who’s led human resources teams in multiple industries, ranging from healthcare to nonprofits. She pointed out early on that remote work and flexible work don’t mean the same thing, but they are inherently tied to one another. Throughout her seven years at ADP, she’s worked remotely from her home office, just as her 11 employees do. Click to read more at ww.rednews.com.

Houston Office Monthly Market Snapshot November 2019

Some market indicators positive, though future uncertainty persists. Halfway through the fourth quarter of 2019, overall vacancy is at 21.0% and availability is at 25.9%, both down 10 basis points from this time last year. Net absorption was back in positive territory at 898,000 sq. ft. Leasing activity is outpacing this time last year by 9.8%, totaling 13.9 million sq. ft. year-to-date. Developments under construction and delivered projects have also outpaced November 2018 year-to-date numbers. The Houston average asking full-service rent has increased to $29.68 per sq. ft., while the Central Business District is averaging $41.35 per sq. ft. Marathon Oil’s new tower in CityCentre. 990 Town & Country Blvd., a 15-story, 440,000-sq.-ft. Class A office tower in CityCentre will be the new headquarters for Marathon Oil. Construction is set to start soon on the project as the energy company relocates a little less than 6 miles west of its current location at 5555 San Felipe St. in the Galleria/West Loop area. Marathon has been in their current location for more than three decades and plans to relocate when its current lease expires in late 2021. Click to read more at www.naipartners.com.

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.