NAI Partners recently arranged a 2,710-square-foot retail lease for Wells Fargo Bank at Shoppes at Kingsgate in Houston, Texas. NAI Partners’ Laura Diggs and Shaffer Braun represented the landlord in the transaction. Rod Scarborough of Rod Scarborough Properties represented the tenant.
Rounding the corner into 2020, things were looking good for the Houston-area land market. “Retail was strong, multifamily was acquiring sites for new development, listings were moving and buyers were very active,” said Kristen McDade, who leads Berkadia’s land services team. As soon as the pandemic took hold, though, the market came to a grinding halt. “Everyone stomped on the brakes as nobody has ever been through a pandemic in the U.S. before,” said Kirk Laguarta, broker at Land Advisors. He said that one thing did accelerate: the home-buying process. Laguarta suggested the increase was due to low interest rates and many people wanting to get out of apartments into new homes. “Bottom feeders” also emerged in the spring, looking to capitalize on what they viewed as a wounded market.
“In April, I had a group make a $25,000 offer on a site listed around $3 million,” McDade said. “When we all finished laughing, they made another similar offer on another tract. I finally told the guy, ‘Even in the worst of times, this is ridiculous.’” She said a couple of her deals dropped, but most buyers paused to evaluate whether to close deals they had under contract. McDade said the majority worked out extensions that allowed them to get a better handle on the market moving forward. Click to read more at www.rednews.com.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought many activities to a unsettling halt. But it has failed to blunt Houston’s apartment construction boom. New data from Yardi Matrix, a supplier of commercial real estate data and research, shows that Houston comes in at No. 7 for most apartments completed during the first six months of 2020, with 2,085 apartments built. Houston also comes in third place for projected apartment completions in 2020 is the Houston metro area. Yardi Matrix foresees the Bayou City region welcoming 10,404 new apartments this year, up 2 percent from 2019. Little surprise to those paying attention to Texas real estate: More apartments were completed in Austin during the first six months of 2020 than in any other U.S. city. In the first half of the year, construction of 3,827 apartments was finished within the city of Austin, according to Yardi Matrix. Right behind Austin on that list is San Antonio, where 2,871 new apartments hit the market in the first half of this year. Dallas follows Houston at No. 8 with 1,869 units; behind Big D is Farmers Branch, No. 18 with 1,161 units. “Around the U.S., we have seen a variety of states, counties, and cities choose to close nonessential businesses for ‘stay at home’ or ‘shelter in place’ orders. For the most part, construction activity has been included as an essential activity that can continue with business as usual during these orders,” Doug Ressler, manager of business intelligence at Yardi Matrix, says in a release. Click to read more at www.houston.culturemap.com.
If there were a list of words to describe 2020, “uncertainty” would be near the top. In every sector and in every community, people are wondering what tomorrow holds. Real estate is no different. And in every community, the questions are similar. Has housing peaked? Will interest rates stay low? Should I buy, sell, or hold? Will the elections affect the market? Is there opportunity amid the turmoil? Eli Tene is a real estate entrepreneur with over thirty years of experience in the industry. Tene and his business partner, Gil Priel, own Peak Corporate Network along with several other real estate businesses. With offices in Los Angeles and New York City, they provide a range of services; residential and commercial brokerage, 1031 exchanges, conventional and bridge financing, escrow, trustee services, short sale negotiation, distressed real estate acquisitions, and hotel and restaurant renovation. During uncertain times, learning from people like Tene—those with depth and breadth—is always a strong bet. The following are highlights from my recent conversation with Tene in which he shares insight on the questions everyone is asking. Click to read more at www.forbes.com.
Commercial real estate investors are raising funds to acquire distressed assets, but they face uncertainty about how Covid-19 will affect the retail, office and hospitality sectors, said Doug Greenspan, a managing director at A&G Real Estate Partners, during a recent Turnaround Management Association webinar. “If you look at office, it does appear that we may see major shifts in how the labor force works,” he said. “One scenario is that many people will go into the office for just a couple of days a week. Even if that’s just 10 or 15 percent of workers, you’re talking about far-reaching effects on the demand for space and, in turn, the value of office assets.” The webinar, which was sponsored by TMA’s Central Texas chapter, focused on the effects of Covid-19 on real estate. Greenspan, whose firm is providing real estate services and advice to the likes of DSW, Ruth’s Chris, IT’S SUGAR, and Cinépolis, talked at length about retail. “Underlying issues that were visible in retail pre-Covid really came to a head with the onset of the pandemic,” he told the audience. “Retailers that were on everyone’s watchlist have since filed for bankruptcy. Our own Chapter 11 client list now includes, among others, GNC, Pier 1, Ascena Retail Group, Tailored Brands, Tuesday Morning, Modell’s, Stage Stores and Nieman Marcus.” Before the pandemic, the growth of Internet shopping and declining foot traffic at malls and stores had already affected sales-per-square-foot productivity, even in historically strong retail markets, Greenspan said. “In the fall of 2019, we were seeing retail rents decline in just about every submarket in New York City.” Click to read more at www.abladvisor.com.
The past couple of months haven’t exactly been business as usual for Texas businesses as they dealt with the initial news of the COVID-19 pandemic, the subsequent closure of anything billed non-essential and now the reopening process. It’s been challenge after challenge: how to respond, what to do when shut down, how to operate in this new normal. “No doubt, this pandemic has not been a friend to many businesses and the effects will remain long after this first wave of infection is gone,” said EDC Executive Director Alex Getty. “However, the eternal optimist in me, while sometimes hard to see, looks for silver linings.” Lucky for those in La Marque, the city’s Economic Development Corporation is an example of that, stepping up and working at lightning speed to help its business owners stay afloat. It was only back on March 18 that the City of La Marque ordered the closure of
bars, restaurants and entertainment venues. Then came Governor Abbott’s executive order on March 19, followed by a stay-at-home order from Galveston County Judge Mark Henry. “We acted quickly to infuse desperately needed cash into small businesses that have been negatively affected by policies put in place to flatten the curve,” Getty said. “Those efforts will save some businesses.” Knowing the threat posed to the livelihoods of so many in La Marque, the EDC got to work on a plan. Just two weeks after that March 18 order, it had a plan: the Emergency Business Retention Program, which would provide grants to qualified La Marque business owners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The EDC’s board of directors approved it on April 2 during a special meeting and by April 8, the Grant Application Review Committee met to decide who would receive the grants. Click to read more at www.rednews.com.