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RECON for May 29, 2020RECON for May 29, 20202020-05-29T05:00:00Z2020-05-29T05:00:00Z
RECON Real Estate Center
Strawberry farm at sunset
Texas' specialty crop sector—consisting primarily of fruits and vegetables—has been one of the agricultural sectors hit hardest ​by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Texas A&M AgriLife​​ Extension Service. The pandemic has caused a reduction in produce demand and disruptions in the supply chain. Keep reading today's RECON for more. (Photo from Center files.)
May 29, 2020

Texas initial unemployment claims fall for fifth straight week

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – In the week ending May 13, over 122,400 initial unemployment insurance claims were filed in Texas. That brings the total since March 21 to 2.2 million, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). 

Unemployment claims fell for the fifth straight week after rebounding on April 18. 

"The number of initial claims continue to fall steadily, although the numbers are still worrisome," said Real Estate Center Research Economist Dr. Luis Torres.

Using data from the DOL and the Employment and Training Administration, the Center estimates that from March 21 to May 16 nearly 468,000 seasonally adjusted claims were filed in Dallas-Fort Worth. That is the highest of Texas' major metros. 

In Houston, San Antonio, and Austin, an estimated 457,600, 147,600, and 136,600 claims were filed during that time, respectively. 

Along the border, an estimated 49,600, 49,200, 22,200, and 13,800 claims were filed in McAllen, El Paso, Brownsville, and Laredo, respectively. 

From March 21 to May 16, over 10,300 unemployment claims were filed in College Station-Bryan.

Accommodation and food services, administrative/support/waste management/remediation services, and retail trade represented the sectors with the biggest unemployment claims.

Last month, around 1.05 million Texans left the workforce.

"This has implications for the unemployment rate and future growth potential," said Torres.

Nationwide, 40.7 million unemployment claims have been filed since March 21. ​​
COVID-19 and TexasAccording to a Center report, the Texas weekly leading index signaled modest economic improvement during the first weeks of May. Most importantly, the index possibly reached a trough during the last week of March and the first week of April, indicating either a stagnant position for the short term or perhaps a slight trend upward. This could mean the worst part of the shock from the COVID-19 shutdown is in the past. However, the index still indicates that a recession will continue into the near future. Read COVID-19 Impact Projections on Texas Economy for the details. Click here to get notified every time the economic indicator is updated. 

Texas specialty crop sector hit hard by pandemic

COLLEGE STATION (Texas A&M Today) – ​​The specialty crop sector in Texas—consisting primarily of fruits and vegetables—has been one of the agricultural sectors hit hardest ​by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Texas A&M AgriLife​​ Extension Service economists. 

According to a report from the Agricultural and Food Policy Center (AFPC), if the pandemic persists, Texas fruit and vegetable producers could be left without outlets for their highly perishable products and ultimately lose more than $397 million.

Typically, a large fruit and vegetable producer sells about 40 percent of its product to retail grocers, another 40 percent to restaurants and food-service outlets, and the remaining ​20 percent to other outlets.

“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the closure of most restaurants and schools has caused a major reduction in demand for produce," said AgriLife Economist and AFPC Co-Director Joe Outlaw. “The pandemic has also caused significant disruptions to the supply chain and agricultural systems."

Many grocery stores have significantly reduced the variety of items they stock.​​​

Fruit and vegetable producers in South Texas have experienced anywhere between a 20 percent to 50 percent reduction in sales. Additionally, imports of fruits and vegetables from Mexico went down 18 percent in April, indicating low demand for both domestic and imported produce.

Additionally, South Texas' labor shortage has only worsened due to the pandemic, especially as labor is diverted to cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing. Some producers have experienced up to a 50 percent reduction in harvesting crews.

While growing conditions in the state's Winter Garden area bode well for most crops already in the ground, pandemic factors will likely continue to affect producer profitability for some time to come.
Texas Border Economy March 2020 infographic
Read the March 2020 issue of the Texas Border Economy report for more. Click here to subscribe to email updates. 

1.2M sf of industrial space leased at Logistics Crossing

​​​​​LANCASTER (Dallas Morning News) – Two companies have leased a combined 1.2 million sf in Crow Holding's I-35 Logistics Crossing industrial park. 

Mars Inc. is taking a more than 610,000-sf warehouse that is currently under construction.

Next door, ICU Medical has leased over 600,000 sf in a distribution​​ center that delivered in February.

The new business park is on Houston School Rd. south of I-20.
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FWISD sells properties totaling $22M

FORT WORTH (Fort Worth Business Press) – The Fort Worth Independent School District Board of Education has approved the sale of eight more surplus properties.

The assets include:
  • Central Administration Building, 100 N. University Dr., $5.2 million; 
  • Metro Opportunity School, 2702 Cullen St., $3.6 million;
  • former Adult Education Center/Young Women's Leadership Academy, 1066 W. Magnolia Ave., $2.7 million;
  • Capital​ Improvements Program facility;
  • maintenance buildings;
  • various office facilities; and 
  • accompanying parking areas. 
The 1066 Magnolia property is under contract with Urban Genesis LLC. The others are individual contracts with Keystone Investment Opportunities LLC. 

JLL brokered the sales.​​​
Texas flagThe Texas economy is suffering from COVID-19 pandemic and low oil prices. The state's economy lost 1,110,600 nonagricultural jobs from April 2019 to April 2020, an annual decline of 8.7 percent. The Center's latest Monthly Review of the Texas Economy report has the details. Don't forget to subscribe to email updates.

More businesses allowed to open on May 29

​​AUSTIN (REBusiness Online) – Gov. Greg Abbott has issued a proclamation allowing the state’s water parks, driver education programs, and mall food courts to reopen Friday, May 29. 

Under Phase II of the state’s reopening plan, these establishments may reopen at a limited capacity of 25 percent. 

CIM Group opening renovated Austin office project

​​​AUSTIN (REBusiness Online) – CIM Group is finishing work on Fifth + Tillery, a 182,700-sf office project at 618 Tillery St. 

The developer acquired the property in October 2019 as part of a three-property portfolio. 

Opening is set for July.
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Dallas craves the wave: Ocean Spray plans shipping hub

​​DALLAS (Dallas Morning News) – Ocean Spray is developing a 270,000-sf shipping hub at 9890 Bonnie View Rd.

The distribution facility will be in a warehouse owned by NFI Industries, who already occupies part of the building.

The remainder of the 626,000-sf property is being outfitted for Ocean Spray with warehousing and cold storage space.

CBRE is marketing the vacant building space.

The $2.2 million project is set to open in September 2020.
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Construction to start on $31M Roanoke distribution center

​​​ROANOKE (Community Impact Newspaper) – Construction will start next month on a $31 million dollar privately funded distribution center west of SH 114 and Litsey Rd.

The 568,858-sf asset will include over 20,00​0 sf of office space, a cross-dock configuration, and 36-ft clear heights. 

The owner is John Bunten with BN Roanoke Partners LP.

Completion is set for spring 2021.
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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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