Metro NEXT Plan Earns Houston Realty Business Coalition Stamp Of Approval Houston Other October 15, 2019, Kyle Hagerty, Bisnow Houston Want to get a jump-start on upcoming deals? Meet the major Houston players at one of our upcoming events! At the ballot this November, Houston Metro will ask voters for a $3.5B bond, more than ever before, in hopes of funding 75 miles of rapid bus service and 16 miles of light rail while putting $600M into the local bus system. The plan, not without its critics, could be a game-changer for Houston’s Inner Loop, constrained by traffic and ever-widening highways. The plan was officially endorsed by the Houston Realty Business Coalition, with a two-thirds majority vote from trustees. But with a concerning lack of specifics, Metro NEXT’s vision may be more of a dream.  Courtesy of Metro Houston Metro Light-Rail “We are pleased to support this forward-looking bond measure,” Houston Realty Business Coalition Chair Alan Hassenflu said in a statement. President and CEO of Fidelis Realty, Hassenflu is behind several high-profile developments across the Houston area, like the redevelopment of the 1.1M SF San Jacinto Mall and Yale Marketplace, a chic Whole Foods-anchored retail center. “To secure our region’s continued economic prosperity as its population grows to 10 million by 2040, and to keep congestion from crippling our region, we must expand our mobility options in a fiscally prudent manner,” Hassenflu said. “We believe the METRO Proposition does that.” The plan, which can be viewed here, contains dozens of projects aiming to be completed over the course of a 20-year timeline. Metro has said it will apply for matching federal dollars that could raise the investments to $7.5B. The plan lists start and endpoints of routes, but not where the buses or rails will run in between those points. Critics say the lack of transparency about what will be built, when it will be built and where exactly it will be built is setting up voters for a false bill of sale, just like the last Metro bond vote.  Courtesy of Metro Houston Metro Buses The last time Houston voters went to the ballot for a Metro bond, a $640M proposal voted on in 2003, things didn’t work out as originally planned. Routes were decided after the vote, changing massive portions of the plan. Critics say the same thing can happen with this bond.  “I think the plan is as specific as the process allows,” Metro Chairwoman Carrin Patman said, the Houston Chronicle reported. “No one has to worry they are not going to have a chance to weigh in on a given connection.”

Southern Downtown Park, bounded by Fannin, San Jacinto, Leeland, and Bell, will add green space to downtown Houston.

HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) –Plans for a new downtown park are taking shape with the selection of a restaurant operator and groundbreaking set for March 2020, according to the Downtown Redevelopment Authority.

The park, set to open on March 2021, will be on three-fourths of a block bounded by Fannin, Leeland, Bell, and San Jacinto. The new park site is within a block or two of several high-rise residential towers including Houston House and Skyhouse Houston.

The downtown authority has selected La Vie de St Concepts to operate the restaurant at the Southern Downtown Park. Called Tout Suite, the fast-casual cafe will serve an all-day menu featuring simple, fine foods, baked goods and great coffee ranging from $3 to $18.

“After a thorough RFP process, we are overjoyed to announce the selection of Tout Suite as the café operator for the new Southern Downtown Park,” said Bob Eury, DRA president. “It  was important for us to find a team adept at creating spaces that appeal to a wide range of customers, from students to professionals, from locals to out-of-towners.”

Southern Downtown Park—which will feature dog runs, tranquil seating areas, and a flexible event lawn—was designed by Lauren Griffith Associates based on a site programming report from Project for Public Spaces. Gensler is providing architectural services for the site’s fast-casual restaurant and other structures.

The 2,400-SF cafe will feature indoor seating for 56 guests and outdoor seating for 40 guests.

Metro Houston added nearly 1.3 million residents between ’08 and ’18, a 22.3 percent increase. A little more than half the growth came from migration, a bit less than half from natural increase. Metro Houston created 81,900 jobs, a 2.7 percent increase, in the 12 months ending August ’19, according to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). Nonfarm payroll employment was 3,166,900 in August, flat from July, and down from 3,185,200 in June. The drop reflects the temporary loss of jobs associated with education.

Sectors adding the most jobs over the past 12 months were professional, scientific, and technical services (21,100); manufacturing (11,500); other services (9,700); transportation, warehousing, and utilities (8,600); and health care and social assistance (8,200). Employment in oil field services peaked in May and has declined steadily since. This is not surprising given the loss of more than 200 working rigs since the first of the year.

The jobs gained in manufacturing are likely an overestimate given that three-fourths of the gains have been in equipment manufacturing and fabricated metals, sectors closely tied to upstream energy. Houston’s unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in August, down from 4.0 percent in July and 4.4 percent in August of last year. The Texas rate in August was 3.6 percent; the U.S. rate, 3.8 percent. The rates are not seasonally adjusted.

City of Houston building permits totaled $7.2 billion for the 12 months ending August ’19, up 16.3 percent from $6.2 billion for the same period a year earlier. Commercial permit values rose 31.8 percent to $4.4 billion, while residential permit values decreased 1.8 percent to $2.8 billion. The closing spot price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the U.S. benchmark for light, sweet crude, averaged $56.67 per barrel in September, down 18.7 percent from $70.15 for September last year.


According to reports, the We Company does not have enough operating capital to make it through November, and its lenders are scurrying to put together a bailout.

JPMorgan Chase, who has invested in WeWork for several years, is leading the group and is likely to put up the most capital.

When the We Company was still gearing for an initial public offering, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs were set to be its financial backers. The two banks had promised to lend $6 billion to WeWork contingent upon the firm raising $3 billion during its IPO.

Since the IPO failed and co-founder Adam Neumann was ousted as CEO, Bloomberg reported that the company had just enough capital to last through the winter.One factor that is potentially pushing WeWork closer to the brink of bankruptcy is a previous bond offering where it promised to keep $500 million in cash on its books. Those bonds have been downgraded to junk status by several credit agencies

The 48-story tower is expected to fetch about $700 million or $650 per SF, according to Real Estate Alert. That sales price would make the building one of the richest deals in Houston’s real estate history..

The building, which opened in 2017, is 94 percent occupied with Unired Airlines, Kirkland & Ellis and Goldman Sachs as tenants. Colvill Office Properties leases the 601 Main at Travis, which is catty-cornered from the historic Rice Hotel building which is now residential lofts.