Transwestern Real Estate Managing Director Receives Landlord Broker Award

Transwestern Real Estate Services (TRS) announces the Houston Office Leasing Brokers Association (HOLBA) has recognized Managing Director Doug Little as the Landlord Broker of the Year for his office leasing efforts in 2020. Little was a finalist for the broker of the year award in 2018 and on the team that received the HOLBA Deal of the Year award in 2019 on behalf of Brookfield for Direct Energy’s 105,578-square-foot lease at 2 Houston Center. This honor is voted on by the tenant representation community in Houston and was presented to Little at the HOLBA Awards ceremony on May 13, 2021. In 2020, Little’s team completed approximately 748,200 square feet of lease transactions with an aggregate value exceeding $132 million. Notable leases include TGS-Nopec Geophysical Company at 10451 Clay Rd. (97,295 square feet), Cadence Bank at Park Towers South (82,215 square feet), Ryan LLC at Park Towers North (66,750 square feet) and Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson at Loop Central III (43,113 square feet).

Who’s Next: Amazon Selects La Marque for Delivery Station

During a year that was a struggle for so many Texas communities, La Marque saw the light at the end of the tunnel earlier than most. “We had quite a bit of behind-the-scenes work that happened, as you can imagine before we could finally make the announcement,” says Alex Getty, Executive Director of the La Marque Economic Development Corporation. That announcement? Amazon chose La Marque as the site of a 180,000-square-foot delivery station, which will power the company’s last-mile capabilities to speed up deliveries for people in and around Galveston County. “We know location is a very important factor when sites are selected for projects like this. Since La Marque is the hub of the mainland, I think it helped Amazon ultimately choose us,” Getty says. The facility is expected to directly contribute about 400 jobs, which pay a minimum of $15 per hour — everything from drivers to primary management positions, to team leads. But projects show it will also contribute to 150 more, such as janitorial suppliers or employees in restaurants built to accommodate the expanded workforce. Another 230 construction workers are needed just to get the building off the ground. “We are excited to continue to invest in Texas with a new delivery station in La Marque that will create hundreds of new job opportunities and provide faster and more efficient delivery for customers,” said Daniel Martin, a spokesman for Amazon. “We look forward to continuing our growth in Texas and want to thank local and state leaders for their support in making this project possible.” Click to read more at www.rednews.com.

Ramsey March: The Struggle Between The Leaders And Followers of Industry “Herds”

Herd instinct is the inclination of people or animals to behave or think like the majority in the interest of self-preservation. Herd mentality is hard-wired into human behavior and requires great discipline and conviction to override—if it should be overridden at all. It has also long been embedded into corporate and capital markets behavior. In the year ahead, we may witness the most interesting struggle between the leaders and followers of industry “herds” in memory. Alphabet, the parent company of Google, possesses a market cap of $1.35 trillion and employs 135,000 people across 70 offices globally. Even if it did not also happen to control how information flows on the internet, the company’s standing as one of the world’s most influential real estate occupiers is undeniable. So when Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai had this to say recently as he announced Google’s $7 billion commitment to expanding its real estate footprint in multiple states this year, it captured our attention: “Coming together in-person to collaborate and build community is core to Google’s culture.” Click to read more at www.dmagazine.com.

Houston Office Market Vacancies Still Among Highest in Nation

Like most major metro markets, Houston’s workforce was hit hard by the abrupt business shutdowns and ensuing economic downturn that followed last spring as the pandemic took hold. Sectors such as hospitality, construction and manufacturing took big hits. In total, the Houston metro area saw a loss of 350,000 jobs during the pandemic, a Cushman & Wakefield report shows, however, the city was able to recover just over 200,000 of those losses by the end of 2020. At its worst, office vacancies in Houston last year reached a staggering 25.5%. And ending 2020 with a vacancy rate of 24.1% meant that Houston continued to lead the nation in vacant office space into the new year. And despite the turmoil, the city’s economic outlook remains positive as forecasts see upwards of 70,000 jobs being added to the Houston economy in 2021. But how is the office market faring in 2021? It’s not looking as cheery. New numbers for this February from brokerage NAI Partners show that the needle has barely moved. As of last month, Houston’s total office vacancy rate was 23.9%. During the same period a year prior, the vacancy rate was 21.8%. Some other fast stats show leasing activity down by nearly half year-over-year between February 2020 and February 2021, going from 2 million square feet leased to 1.225 million leased respectively. Absorption is also in the red while over 4.277 million square feet of new office space remains under construction. Click to read more at www.rednews.com.

Hines, Ivanhoé Cambridge Top Out Texas Tower

by Beata Lorincz

Joint venture partners Hines and Ivanhoé Cambridge have topped out Texas Tower, a 47-story, 1.1 million-square-foot Class AA office tower in downtown Houston. Currently the city’s largest office project under construction, the structure reached the milestone several weeks ahead of schedule. The tower is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2021. Construction of the Pelli Clarke Pelli-designed skyscraper commenced in 2018. The following year, the project earned LEED Platinum Pre-certification under the v4 for Core & Shell Rating System. The energy-efficient development also aligns with WiredScore and WELL Building Standards. Once completed, the building will house Hines’ headquarters, slated to take up some 180,000 square feet. The tower is currently 40 percent leased to a variety of tenants, including global law firms Vinson & Elkins LLP and DLA Piper. The latter committed to a 31,000-square-foot, 14-year lease in early 2020. Situated at 845 Texas Ave., the site is well-located between the Central Business District, the Theater District, and the Historic District. Last January, Hines renamed 600 Travis St., the tallest building in Texas spanning 75 stories and 1.7 million square feet, and situated just adjacent to Texas Tower. The supertall structure is now known as JPMorgan Chase Tower after its anchor tenant signed a 250,000-square-foot lease at the location in mid-2020. Click to read more at www.cpexecutive.com.

Elon Musk Tweets Plans to Create Texas City Named ‘Starbase’

If anyone has the ability to surprise the world with his ambitious projects, it is Elon Musk. The billionaire announced that he is building a new city in Texas to be called Starbase, around the rocket launch site of his company SpaceX. Used to causing a stir by typing just a few words, Musk posted on Twitter that he is “creating the city of Starbase, Texas .” The tycoon, who is currently the second richest person in the world, said that his city will occupy an area “much larger” than Boca Chica, a place that houses a launch site for SpaceX and where the company is building its Starship rocket. Elon Musk shared some characteristics that his new city would have, such as that it will be friendly to dogs. He also hinted that it would be directed by “the Doge,” which can be interpreted in two ways. Click to read more at www.chron.com.