Monthly Archives: February 2020


​​​​​Elite 25sm, the premier membership organization for luxury real estate agents, has announced its expansion in Spring 2020 with the launch of chapters in Houston and Dallas, Texas. Established in 1994 and based in Austin, Texas, Elite 25sm  represents a city’s top luxury residential agents, providing ample opportunities to increase exposure, bolster reputations, network with fellow top luxury agents and stay educated on real estate trends and happenings. Beyond the value for members, Elite 25sm also presents an incomparable asset for buyers and sellers, taking out the guesswork of finding an agent.

“We’re excited to bring this exclusive opportunity to luxury realtors in the largest real estate markets in Texas,” said Tony Trungale, Managing Director of Elite 25sm and a Senior Loan Officer with PNC Bank. “This organization has proven to be an invaluable resource for our members, allowing unmatched time and space for networking and dealmaking.”

Founding Elite 25​ Austin member Cindy Goldrick of Wilson & Goldrick Realtors said of the group: “I’ve been a member of Elite 25sm in Austin since its inception 25 years ago and it has been an essential part of my real estate career and success. Elite 25sm membership provides individual agents recognition as verified leading producers of high-end homes and, equally important, it offers camaraderie with other top agents and the opportunity to network. I’ve been excited and motivated to work to meet the criteria each and every year.”

Members apply on an annual basis and are chosen based solely on production numbers, ensuring a true representation of the city’s top professionals. Criteria for membership varies year to year, but eligibility begins with a minimum of four homes sold each over $1 million. In 2019, each of Austin’s 34 members sold at least eight homes over $1 million – a major marker of Austin’s booming housing market – for a staggering collective sales total exceeding $1 billion.

“In today’s fiercely competitive market, Elite 25sm is the perfect platform to provide a competitive edge for my clients,” said Dara Allen, Broker Associate and Sales Manager for Compass Austin. “All members of Elite 25sm are experts in the luxury market and our monthly luncheons – always in a member’s fabulous new listing – give us the opportunity to share coming soon and pocket listings.”

Elite 25​ Houston and Elite 25​ Dallas will continue under the leadership of Tony Trungale, with Advisory Board members to be announced. Marketing efforts will continue to be managed by Commission.Co, a boutique Austin-based agency specializing in social media, video, and design for luxury and commercial real estate.


Houston’s commercial property values will continue to trend upward in 2020 as demand for development opportunities expands amid the region’s positive job growth, according to Deal Sikes, a leading Houston-based valuation firm.

“Although there are a few exceptions, the real estate market in Houston is headed for another good year,” said Mark Sikes, a principal with Deal Sikes. “The region’s economy is healthy and although the energy industry is in a lackluster period, the overall economic outlook is outstanding.”

Houston’s industrial market is attracting interest from around the nation and research indicates that more than 15 million square feet of warehouse space are under construction in the Greater Houston area.

“Prices for land or urban infill development property has risen significantly in recent years,” Sikes said. “Rising land prices have pushed the wave of industrial development farther away from the center of the city and outer suburban land prices have increased accordingly.”

Property values in the urban core of the city remain strong as developers and builders locate buildings for redevelopment or seek sites that are appropriate for new construction, Sikes said.

“Multifamily construction is strong in Houston and researchers report more than 25,000 units are now under construction, although the pace is expected to be slightly more moderate in 2020 as the new inventory is absorbed,” Sikes said. “Investor demand is good and multifamily valuations have not yet peaked in most submarkets.”

Newer office buildings and Class A towers under construction are leasing briskly, although Houston’s office market is the most sluggish sector.

The Texas Medical Center, where more than 100,000 people are employed, is a source of growth for Houston and several hospitals and research facilities are expanding.

“Houston’s commercial real estate values will be on a solid upswing in 2019,” said Matthew Deal, a principal with Deal Sikes. “With Houston expected to gain population significantly in the next decade, the long-term forecast must include rising property prices that will be very impressive over the long haul.”


There’s a sophisticated new restaurant in one of downtown’s most prestigious buildings but you wouldn’t know it from the street. That’s because Adair Downtown is at the tunnel level, connected to Wells Fargo Plaza at 1000 Louisiana by the snaking system of underground pathways.

Quietly open for a few weeks, the restaurant is already being discovered by downtown office workers as a new dining destination with a slick menu that covers breakfast, lunch and after-work happy hour with a full bar offering wines and craft cocktails. Tenants of the 71-story tower — one of Houston’s premier Class A office buildings that is home to Wells Fargo Bank, PwC accounting, and top law firms – now have a handsome dining room with bar and patio to entertain clients.

“We are beyond thrilled to have Adair Downtown in the tower, and we are excited to offer this thoughtfully curated addition to our amenity base for our tenants,” said Marilyn Guion, senior vice president for CBRE, the commercial real estate firm that manages the building.

The building’s owners tapped Adair Concepts (Adair KitchenEloise Nichols Grill & Liquors, Skeeter’s Mesquite Grill, Los Tios Mexican Restaurants, Bebidas, and Betsy’s at Evelyn’s Park) to bring their restaurant know-how to the project designed by Gensler Architects and Houston-based McGarr Design & Interiors. The sophisticated, 4,628-square-foot buildout on the southeast corner of the tower may be at tunnel level but it is washed with natural light. The unusual construction takes advantage of an existing patio space that is accessible both from the street level, the tunnel system and the building’s lobby.

LOS TIOS ON TOP: Popular Tex-Mex restaurant opens beautiful new flagship restaurant in Tanglewood

The space includes a coffee bar clad in white subway tiles; a retail area with grab-and-go meals, fresh flowers, and upscale packaged foods; the main dining room with waiter service; a full bar; and a patio. The look is chic: walls of glass, marble and herringbone-patterned hardwood floors, antique mirrors, tufted banquettes, bistro tables, antique mirrors, and globe lighting fixtures. It’s a chic look (perfect for a power lunch) that looks plucked from River Oaks.

“It’s a tunnel restaurant that doesn’t feel like the tunnel,” said Nick Adair, who along with his sister, Katie Adair Barnhart, oversee operations for Adair Concepts. The partners describe the French bistro-looking space as “Eloise Nichols meets Adair Kitchen,” a nod to two of the hospitality company’s brands.

It is those brands that guide Adair Downtown’s food and beverage menus. Breakfast options include avocado toast, breakfast tacos, chicken and waffles, omelets, steel-cut oats with fresh berries, and breakfast bowls filled with rice, kale, sweet potatoes, black beans, avocado, and a poached egg. Lunch includes salads (kale and quinoa salad, Thai chopped salad, citrus Caesar) and bowls (superfoods bowl, tuna poke bowl) as well as lemon artichoke soup and tortilla soup. But there are also entrees such as grilled pesto salmon with cilantro rice; chicken paillard with arugula salad; New York strip steak sandwich on a baguette with peppercorn sauce; turkey club sandwich; and a classic beef burger and a veggie burger. The menu is overseen by executive chef Roberto Ozeata, culinary director for Adair Concepts.

After lunch, the space segues into its bar bites menu to pair with beer, wine, and spirits. The bar menu includes tuna tartare, cheese board, sliders, bruschetta, fried calamari, caramelized Brussels sprouts, fried asparagus with cilantro ranch, beef tenderloin crostini, guacamole and chips, hot chicken with house pickles, and meatballs with garlic bread.

The bar offers cocktails, an extensive collection of bourbon and scotch, wines by the glass ($11-$18) and bottle ($40-$178), and beer including local brews from 8th Wonder, Saint Arnold, and Karbach.

Barnhart said the company has longed to be part of the downtown dining scene. Adair Downtown, she said, offers office workers a place that can be both casual and artisan – “unique to what you’d expect from a downtown dining experience.”

Company founder Gary Adair said that his restaurant businesses were built on “being local and neighborhood-y.” Adair Downtown manages to bring that type of dining experience to a part of town not traditionally seen as local or part of a neighborhood, he added.

Adair Downtown, 1000 Louisiana; adairdowntown.com. Open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. (serving breakfast 7 to 11 a.m.; full-service lunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; full bar and bar bites 3 to 8 p.m.).

 


Cushman & Wakefield (NYSE: CWK) announced today that the firm has acquired Colvill Office Properties, a leading provider of office agency leasing services in Houston. Colvill Office Properties currently directs leasing and marketing efforts for 17 million square feet of Class-A office space in Houston.

“As one of the five largest metro areas in the U.S., Houston remains a critically important market for Cushman & Wakefield,” said Andrew McDonald, President of Cushman & Wakefield’s West Region. “Providing our clients with the most respected and accomplished office agency in Houston complements our investor services platform significantly in Texas. The Colvill team has a proven track record of creating exceptional value for their clients and shares our commitment to collaboration and innovation.”

The Colvill Office Properties team has more than 130 collective years of experience and is a four-time recipient of the Owner’s Representative of the Year award as voted by the Houston Office Leasing Broker’s Association (HOLBA). The Colvill current portfolio includes more than 30 individual properties in the CBD, Energy Corridor/Katy Freeway, Galleria/Uptown, Westchase, West Belt, Springwoods and Inner Loop submarkets.

“We could not be more thrilled to join one of the world’s pre-eminent commercial real estate firms,” said Chip Colvill, the founder and former president/CEO of Colvill Office Properties, who joins Cushman & Wakefield as Executive Vice Chairman. “The depth and breadth of Cushman & Wakefield’s global platform and the outstanding team already on the ground here in Houston will enable us to deliver even more value for our building owners, taking what we’ve built at Colvill over the last two decades to the next level with the Cushman & Wakefield international platform.”

About Cushman & Wakefield

Cushman & Wakefield (NYSE: CWK) is a leading global real estate services firm that delivers exceptional value for real estate occupiers and owners. Cushman & Wakefield is among the largest real estate services firms with approximately 51,000 employees in 400 offices and 70 countries. In 2018, the firm had revenue of $8.2 billion across core services of property, facilities and project management, leasing, capital markets, valuation, and other services.


Olin Corp. is renovating a 62,500-square-foot office building in Lake Jackson to create a Technology and Administration Center that will serve as the main building for its Texas operations. The Missouri-based chemical manufacturer will consolidate more than 200 employees from seven area offices to 604 Highway 332 when renovations are completed this summer.

Olin, which has 1,200 employees in the Freeport area, worked with the building owners to create a collaborative work environment. The building, which allows room for future growth, will have a training hall with seating for 130. Dallas based owner/developer St. Ives Realty and partner LandPlan Development are leading the construction. Houston-based Osborn & Vane Architects designed the renovations and LSI Construction is handling construction. Olin will maintain its office in the Energy Corridor.

San Antonio-based Kairoi Residential was hired by a joint-venture of Argosy Real Estate Partners and InvestRes to provide property management services for Kingsland West, a 305-unit apartment community at 18325 Kingsland Blvd. in the Katy area. The joint venture acquired the property, which had been damaged by Hurricane Harvey and subsequently renovated, in November 2018.

Spring Branch Independent School District purchased a 22,381-square-foot warehouse on 4.7 acres at 2425 Campbell Road, from Camnora Ltd. Brad Elmore of NewQuest Properties and John Leggett of Leggett Properties represented the seller, a partnership that includes several investors who live in Spring Branch. The site, originally planned for townhome development, will be used for the expansion of Northbrook High School. PBK is the architect for the project, while Satterfield & Pontikes will handle construction.

Mond Properties purchased a vacant 95,170-square-foot office building at 10500 Richmond Ave. David Carter and Jeff Peltier of Colliers International assisted the seller, a commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) trust represented by special servicer LNR Partners. The building, which lost Worley Parsons as its sole tenant in 2018, is on five acres at the corner of Richmond and Rogerdale in the Westchase District.

Hackbarth Delivery Service leased 49,701 square feet at 1350 Salford Drive. Harper Gully with CBRE represented the tenant. Ed Bane with Bridge Commercial Real Estate represented the landlord, Stonelake Capital Partners.

Riverstone Property Management purchased an 18,643-square-foot office building at 1000 FM 1960 W. from A-K Texas Venture Capitol. David K. Meyers of NewQuest Properties represented the seller. Friedman Real Estate represented the buyer.

Othon leased 13,761 square feet at 575 N. Dairy Ashford. Gary Lawless and Dustin Cruz with Cresa represented the tenant. Steve Rocher and Kristen Rabel with CBRE represented the landlord, I-10 EC Corridor #2 LP.

Zohra and Riyaz Momin purchased a 3,380-square-foot four-plex at 415 W. Polk St. in Montrose. The buyers plan to fix up the 1930s building and rent the suites. Jojo Tharayil of Excel Realty Co. represented the buyers. Cotton Munson of Davis Commercial represented the seller, GFK Associates.

Advanced Analysis leased 7,150 square feet at Wynwood Business Park, 7245 Wynnpark Drive. Will Austin with Bridge Commercial Real Estate represented the tenant. Garret Geaccone and Boone Smith with Stream Realty Partners represented the landlord, KKR.

Associated Energy Group/AEG Fuels, a provider of aviation fuel and services, subleased 5,630 square feet at 8686 New Trails Drive in the Woodlands. Ryan Dierker of Newcor Commercial Real Estate represented the subtenant. Angela Barber and Tim Gregory of JLL represented the sublessor, ETCL Woodland LLC.

JobSparx, an employment resources firm, renewed its 2,655-square-foot office lease at 14500 Torrey Chase. Zack Wheeler with Newcor Commercial Real Estate represented the tenant. Jason Gibbons of the Finial Group represented the landlord, 14500 Torrey Chase LLC.

 


Lee & Associates was awarded the leasing and management of five Houston office buildings totaling 430,000 square feet in 2019.

The company’s landlord agency team will lease and manage 550 Westcott (83,366 square feet); 4101 Interwood (80,000 square feet); 1505 S. Highway 6 (63,487 square feet); 16430 Park Ten Place (110,408 square feet) and 10101 Southwest Freeway (102,292 square feet).  The buildings range from Class A to Class B.

“Our recent success has been due to the depth of our team and the focus we have on technology and platforms for today’s digital marketplace,” Robert LaCour, Lee & Associates principal said in an announcement.

Lee & Associates added a property management group in 2019. The company specializes in commercial real estate services for office, industrial and land real estate investments


Marcus & Millichap (NYSE: MMI), a leading commercial real estate investment services firm with offices throughout the United States and Canada, has announced the sale of The Shops at Champions, a 16,112-square foot retail property located in Houston, Texas, according to Ford Noe, Regional Manager of the firm’s Houston office.

Alex Wolansky and Gus Lagos, investment specialists in Marcus & Millichap’s Houston office, had the exclusive listing to market the property on behalf of the seller, an individual/personal trust. The buyer, a private investor, was secured and represented by Gus Lagos.

The Shops at Champions is located at 6265 Cypress Creek Parkway in Houston, Texas.

About Marcus & Millichap (NYSE: MMI)

With nearly 2000 investment sales and financing professionals located throughout the United States and Canada, Marcus & Millichap is a leading specialist in commercial real estate investment sales, financing, research and advisory services. Founded in 1971, the firm closed 9,472 transactions in 2018 with a value of approximately $46.4 billion. Marcus & Millichap has perfected a powerful system for marketing properties that combines investment specialization, local market expertise, the industry’s most comprehensive research, state-of-the-art technology, and relationships with the largest pool of qualified investors.


A little while back, I wrote about how an emerging new category of workplace alternatives are attracting attention from both the venture community and some of the commercial real estate’s biggest players.

One such company is Austin-based Swivel, which has developed an agile leasing platform and network. The startup just raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Jim Breyer of Breyer Capital (who’s also backed the likes of Facebook and Spotify). Breyer is contributing $5 million of the capital. JLL Spark, the venture arm of commercial real estate brokerage giant JLL, put up the remaining $3 million. The financing brings Swivel’s total raised to $14.6 million, according to its Crunchbase profile.

Swivel raised an $850,000 seed round in 2016 and then another $1 million in June 2017. In 2018, the company brought in another $4.8 million in what Swivel founder and president Scott Harmon described as a Seed 2 round.

The startup has been testing its model across Texas, mostly in Austin and some in Dallas and Houston.

“Everything seems to be proven right and working,” Harmon told Crunchbase News. “So we raised this round to scale up nationwide.”

How it works

Harmon founded Swivel in late 2016 with some initial incubation capital from Floodgate. He and Floodgate Co-Founder Mike Maples had started and sold a software company together in the late 1990s called Motive and decided they wanted to work together again.

They both had a passion for “simplifying the office,” Harmon said and felt like the commercial real estate office market needed to be disrupted.

Swivel Founder Scott Harmon

So how does it work? Pre-qualified member companies can contract with Swivel’s landlord partners for turnkey office space on flexible terms with little or no upfront capital expenditure and no lease lock-in.

Landlords use the company’s agile leasing platform to backstop their leases for member companies. (I wrote about a similar startup, Landing, recently that is focused on flexible apartment leases). Using Swivel, leases are typically a 12-month commitment with a maximum of four years.

Clients are able to use Swivel’s software to configure and design the space however they want; most offices are between 3,000 and 10,000 square feet. Companies need only to give 60 to 90 days notice before moving out and they are not charged any penalties or move-out fees and don’t have to deal with subleasing.

Since its network launch in 2019, Swivel has signed up over 30 landlords representing more than 150 properties across Austin, Dallas, and Houston.

What it is and what it’s not

Harmon is quick to point out that unlike other flexible workspace operators such as WeWork or Knotel, Swivel is not a landlord. It does not lease space.

“We’re more like a VRBO for office space,” he told me. “People who own properties use our technology and platform to lease to new tenants on more flexible terms. Landlords make the money and share their profits with us.”

For example, a landlord can open up two floors in a building specifically to be listed via Swivel. They can charge a (10 to 20 percent higher) price per square foot because of the flexible terms, but it will still come out to about half the cost of a co-working space, Harmon said. The swivel will completely furnish the space, and “the building becomes more valuable,” according to Harmon.

“We work with hundreds of landlords,” Harmon said, “and we allow them to make more money by bringing a different kind of client into their building and providing a new class of service.”

Swivel is also not out to replace commercial real estate brokers, opting instead to partner with them so it saves money on marketing as well. It works out well for all involved, Harmon said.

Looking ahead

Swivel’s target market is tech-enabled companies in their growth phase, which make up about half of the tenants leasing through its platform. (It works with tenants such as Dremio, Graylog, Guideline 401k, hOp, Plivo, Samcart, TalentRobot, and Verify.)

The process is a more appealing one to tech upstarts that simply prefer a more digital process in general.

“They’re just used to the flexibility and that sort of convenience in other parts of their lives,” Harmon said.

But Swivel has also helped a number of multinational companies that require flexibility for their satellite offices.

The company plans to use its new capital primarily to expand across the U.S. in 2020. It is in talks with landlords in Boston, New York, Northern Virginia, Charlotte, N.C., Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Utah, Denver, and San Francisco.

“Expansion cities are a finite list and expand based on how our landlord partnerships unfold,” Harmon said. “Landlord partners will determine the order and timing of opening up each market.”

For his part, Breyer believes Swivel’s business model is an ideal approach to help landlords be able to meet the evolving needs of tenants.

“As a VC, one of my mantras [to portfolio companies] is ‘don’t sign anything longer than two years,’ ” Breyer told me. “Real estate hasn’t kept up with that, as the leasing business hasn’t yet been tech-enabled, particularly in very important markets, like Silicon Valley and Austin.”

In general, he also believes flexible leases will become more and more important in general given workforce needs.

“The next generation thinks about flexibility first and foremost,” Breyer told me. “Swivel gives landlords the opportunity to attract the tenants of the future.”


Rendering of the Hewlett Packard Enterprises project which is under construction north of Houston.

HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – A joint venture of Patrinely Group, USAA Real Estate, and CDC Houston, announced the start of construction on a two-building campus for the offices of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, north of Houston.

Scheduled for completion in spring 2022, the Hewlett Packard Enterprise development will consist of two 5-story buildings located at the southwest corner of East Mossy Oaks Road and Lake Plaza Drive and include 440,000 SF of rentable space.

Located in Spring, this development will house the fourth major corporation to choose CityPlace at Springwoods Village, joining HP Inc., Southwestern Energy and the American Bureau of Shipping.

“Breaking ground on HPE’s campus is another major milestone reinforcing CityPlace as the most important and vibrant, 18-hour mixed-use destination in north Houston,” said Robert Fields, President, and CEO of Patrinely Group, the managing partner of the joint venture. “2019 was a significant year with the opening of ABS headquarters, the HP Inc. campus, Star Cinema Grill, 24 Hour Fitness, and two Class A multi-tenant buildings, CityPlace 1 and 1401 Lake Plaza Drive.”

Pickard Chilton is the design architect; Kirksey is the executive architect; REES is the interior architect; D.E. Harvey Builders is the general contractor. Ronnie Deyo, John Roberts and Beau Bellow of JLL represented Hewlett Packard Enterprises. Dennis Tarro of Patrinely Group, and Chrissy Wilson and Russell Hodges of JLL represented the landlord.

The project will have a parking garage with 2,055 spaces.

CityPlace is a 60-acre mixed-use development providing the growing area along the Grand Parkway corridor near the 3 million-SF Exxon Mobil campus.

When fully developed, the project will include a full-service Houston CityPlace Marriott, 8 million SF of Class A office space with 500,000 SF of retail space and multifamily projects.

The development’s five to 10-story Class A office buildings will offer parking at a ratio of up to 4.5 cars per 1,000 rentable square feet, with spaces located in all structured parking.

CityPlace is the commercial center of Springwoods Village, a 2,000-acre master-planned community, 20 miles north of downtown Houston.

 


Atlanta Developer Launches 540-Acre Intermodal Port Near Houston

Atlanta-based Stonemont Financial Group recently launched phase one of its 540-acre Southwest International Gateway Business Park in El Campo, Texas, around 60 miles southwest of Houston.

“We have officially closed on the land and completed all of our designs, and we’re in the process of breaking ground as we speak,” Stonemont Financial CEO Zack Markwell told FreightWaves during an interview Wednesday.

The new park, which could house up to 8 million square feet of industrial space, is located along Interstate 69, almost midway between Houston and San Antonio, and about 200 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.

The first phase of construction will include two warehouses: a 125,000-square-foot distribution center and a 200,000-square-foot speculative warehouse. The park will have full intermodal and transload capabilities once completed in 12 to 15 months, according to Stonemont officials.

Vitro Chemicals, a subsidiary of Monterrey, Mexico-based Vitro, has already signed on as a tenant for the 125,000-square-foot distribution center. Vitro is one of the largest glass manufacturers in the world.

Markwell said another reason they picked El Campo was to capitalize on its location along the Kansas City Southern Railway NYSEKCS.

“We have been working with KCS for the last four to five years in finding the optimal location where we had frontage on their line and then also frontage on I-69,” Markwell said. “All of that is a very strategic location to the Houston market, but also the important markets of San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas.”

KCS’s major hubs include Kansas City, Missouri; Shreveport, Louisiana; New Orleans; Dallas; and Houston. KCS’s Mexico-based affiliate, Kansas City Southern de México (KCSM), operates across northeastern, central, southeast-central and southwest-central Mexico.

Markwell said by connecting the new industrial park to the KCS rail line, Mexico-based manufacturers can use KCS for cross-border shipping from their factories in Mexico, all the way to the park, and closer to major distribution centers in Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas.

Tenants will also benefit from customs preclearance that enables users to bypass rail and highway backups at the border crossing, as well as avoid backlogs of truck and rail traffic at existing regional parks and ports closer to the congested Houston metro area.

“Our manufacturers in Mexico are moving the border north — if you think about it that way — where they are coming from Mexico, coming to Laredo today and then breaking down and either drawing from that point or staying on and switching carriers and going throughout the United States and distributing back into Texas,” Markwell said. “What we’re doing is moving that border north to just 62 miles outside of Houston and serving it from that point.”

The park will also be part of a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ), with additional local and state economic incentives available for tenants.

Ridgeline Property Group, an Atlanta-based commercial real estate development firm, is partnering with Stonemont to develop Southwest International Gateway, Business Park.

Pittsburg, Kansas-based Watco Companies will operate the short line railroad connecting the buildings to the KCS mainline. Houston-based NAI Partners will oversee leasing at the park.