RECON for March 17, 2020RECON for March 17, 2020Bryan PopePope

RECON Real Estate Center
Sunset at Big Bend
The Real Estate Center's 30th Annual Outlook for Texas Land Markets conference has been canceled. Click here to read a message from Center Director Gary Maler.
March 17, 2020

Five Texas cities among most recession-resistant nationally

NEW YORK (SmartAsset) – Five Texas cities have landed on SmartAsset's list of the top ten most recession-resistant cities in America. 

"Texas performs particularly well for its state’s rainy-day funds as a percentage of state expenditures—ranking second-highest of all 50 states at almost 19 percent,” SmartAsset analysts said.

No. 1 Frisco was in the top 11 of all three broad categories SmartAsset analyzed: employment, housing, and social assistance. 

Frisco had the lowest housing costs as a percentage of income. It recently ranked 13th on SmartAsset's list of the top boomtowns in America.

Plano took the number three spot, ranking in the top 10 percent in SmartAsset's broad study categories.

No. 4 Denton was recently named the top boomtown in Texas and the second nationally. No. 5 Austin was also a top contender on that list. 

Lubbock ranked seventh, and it was recently named the third most affordable place for veterans. 

Round Rock, Arlington, and Killeen were the only other Texas cities in the top 25, ranking 11th, 19th, and 20th, respectively.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, ranked second overall. 
Graphic featuring houses, commercial buildings, and the COVID-19 virus
COVID-19 (coronavirus) has significantly shocked the economy and financial markets, lowering growth expectations and increasing uncertainty that could derail Texas' continued economic expansion. This document discusses how the state could be impacted.

Texas’ unemployment rate holds steady in January

AUSTIN (Texas Workforce Commission) – Texas unemployment held steady in January at 3.5 percent, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

Employers added 279,000 jobs over the past year and 19,500 jobs in January, an annual employment growth rate of 2.2 percent for that month. This marks 117 consecutive months of annual growth.

The state’s employment growth rate has held above 2 percent since February 2018.

Midland had the lowest non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the state at 2.4 percent. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission had the highest at 7.6 percent.

The construction industry had the most seasonally adjusted growth in employment from January 2019 to January 2020, growing 4.6 percent. The mining and logging industry was the only sector to see a drop in employment, falling 8.5 percent.
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Trammell Crow, High Street developing Block Yard

AUSTIN (Connect Media) – Trammell Crow Co. and its residential subsidiary High Street Development is developing the 280,000-sf Block Yard mixed-use development at 2900 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. 

The project will have 302 rental units, 63,800 sf of office space, and 4,200 sf of ground-floor retail.

The multifamily portion will have a mix of affordable and market-rate units. Amenities will include a fitness and conference center, pet-friendly lounge, and private pool. 

Work will start on Block Yard in June 2020. The office component will open in July 2021 with units ready for occupancy in January 2022. 

CBRE is handling office leasing.
Declining affordability is the new reality for Texas housing markets. Why? The answer is complicated. Read "Building Blockage: Affordability Obstacles Piling Up" online now.

Former Abilene middle/high school getting new life

ABILENE (Abilene Reporter-News) – Work has started on converting the former Lincoln Middle School/Abilene High School building into Abilene Heritage Square, an entertainment and civic center.

The 105,000-sf building at 1699 S. First St. will include a 700-seat auditorium, a centralized location for the Abilene Public Library, and an extension of the Grace Museum.

Renovations are estimated to cost $41.5 million, including furnishings.

The 1920s building, which is listed on the National Registry of Historical Places, closed in 2007. The city transferred ownership of the property to Abilene Heritage Square Inc. in December 2019.
Sun shines off a glass commercial building
Capitalization rates can be a useful tool when making commercial investment decisions. A Real Estate Center study found that cap rates in Texas' major metros have recently trended downward but are generally higher than other key rates. 

VillaSport opens third Houston-area location

KATY (Houston Business Journal) – VillaSport Athletic Club and Spa has opened a two-story location at 9930 Gaston Rd.

The 130,000-sf building features a spa, cafe, 12,000-sf kids' gym, an immersive spin room, locker rooms, four pools, and other sports equipment.

Berkley, Calif.-based ELS Architecture and Urban Design designed the complex.

VillaSport will hire 250 employees at the location, which anchors phase two of the 270,000-sf Stableside lifestyle retail center. 

Houston-based Baker Katz represented San Rafael, Calif.-based VillaSport. The developer of Stableside, Houston-based NewQuest, was self-represented.
Truck gets timber loaded onto the back
When lumber prices dropped after the Great Recession, East Texas' lumber industry overhauled its processes to optimize production and reduce waste. Learn more in "Knock on Wood: East Texas Timberland Production Gets Overhauled."

DFW immigration services building opens

IRVING (Dallas Morning News) – Trammell Crow Co. and ElmTree Funds have completed the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ Texas Service Center.

The 259,947-sf building is at 6064 N. Belt Line Rd. on 27 acres leased from the DFW International Airport.

Gensler was the project architect, and Mycoskie McInnis Associates handled the landscape architecture.

Work started on the one-story, Class A building in October 2018.
Communication Matters video seriesThe Real Estate Center's Texas Home Price Index measures price appreciation changes for residential single-family homes. It provides data for eight different Texas metros across three different price ranges.

Presidium breaks ground on 370-unit San Antonio apartments

SAN ANTONIO (REBusiness Online) – Presidium has started work on Presidium at Chase Hill, a 370-unit apartment project on 17 acres on the northwest side.

Amenities will include pools, outdoor grilling areas, a two-story fitness center, Wi-Fi lounges, and a rooftop terrace.

RES Associates Inc. designed the project. Pape-Dawson is the engineer, and Hitchcock Design Group is the landscape architect.

Completion is slated for early- to mid-2022. 

The property is Presidium's first local project.

Work starts on Mueller district office

AUSTIN (REBusiness Online) – Black Creek Group has sold a 156,024-sf office building to Ascension Seton. 

The property at 1345 Philomena St. in the Mueller district serves as the buyer's headquarters.

SVN | Angelic and the Centurion Foundation represented the buyer. CGA Capital is providing $83.8 million in acquisition financing. 
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Material herein is published according to the fair-use doctrine of U.S. copyright laws related to non-profit, educational institutions. Items attributed to sources other than the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University should not be reprinted without permission of the original source. To send news items for consideration, e-mail Hayley Rieder. The Real Estate Center is part of Mays Business School at Texas A&M University in College Station - the heart of the Research Valley.

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