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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, 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 is 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, 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.”


Memorial Hermann Health System, Houston’s largest health system, opened a new 17-floor critical care tower at its Texas Medical Center hospital.

Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center’s new tower, dubbed the Susan and Fayez Sarofim Pavilion, began accepting emergency room patients effective Feb. 20, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Susan and Fayez Sarofim, the billionaire behind Houston-based investment firm Fayez Sarofim & Co., donated $25 million for the project — the largest gift Memorial Hermann had ever received when it was announced in February 2018. The Sarofim Pavilion was part of a roughly $700 million renovation and expansion project at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, according to Memorial Hermann.

“The Sarofim Pavilion enables Memorial Hermann to stay ahead of the fast-growing advances in medicine, keep pace with the extraordinary growth of the greater Houston metropolitan region and, most importantly, meet the health needs of our community for years to come,” David Callender, president, and CEO of Memorial Hermann said in a news release.

The new 17-floor tower has more than 140 patient rooms; 24 operating rooms, including three hybrid ORs; a 335-seat cafeteria dubbed the Arboretum Café; and 900 new parking spots. Sarofim Pavilion also is the new home of the Red Duke Trauma Institute at Memorial Hermann-TMC — one of two adult Level 1 trauma centers in Houston.

Operations for Memorial Hermann’s air ambulance service, Life Flight, moved on top of the new tower. The new John S. Dunn Heliport is 10,000 square feet larger than the old helipad and is capable of handling the weight of a Black Hawk helicopter.

“As the Houston community is growing by leaps and bounds, the need for access to quality health care increases exponentially,” Susan Sarofim, chair of the Memorial Hermann Foundation board between 2015 and 2017, said in the release. “Memorial Hermann has stepped up to the plate to deliver a new facility with greatly increased patient capacity and state-of-the-art equipment. Fayez and I are so proud to support Memorial Hermann as the health system continues to deliver award-winning, innovative care to the Houston community.”

Construction began on the Memorial Hermann-TMC expansion in 2015. The building of Sarofim Pavilion took over 5,500 workers and 3.5 million man-hours, according to Memorial Hermann. Houston-based Vaughn Construction served as the project’s general contractor.


Sandy Aron, president of Hunington Properties

Construction is getting underway on a long-awaited mixed-use project just north of Washington Avenue.

Los Angeles-based Parkview Financial provided a $38 million construction loan to Houston-based Hunington Properties, according to a Feb. 20 press release. Greystone Capital Advisors arranged the financing.

The 126,500-square-foot, the six-story project is being built on 1.38 acres at 1107 Shepherd Drive, formerly the site of Bethel Church. Plans for the project, which Hunington has been calling The Interpose, have been in the works since at least 2016.

Now, it’s expected to be completed in mid-2021, per the Feb. 20 release. The project will feature 168 residential units, more than 20,475 square feet of ground-level retail space, and an above-grade parking structure with 305 spaces.

The apartments will be micro-units, according to Hunington’s website. Each unit will feature stainless-steel appliances in the kitchen plus a washer and dryer. Some units will include balconies or private patios.

Community amenities will include a rooftop deck, resort-style pool, outdoor kitchen, fitness center with vinyl plank flooring, clubhouse with quartz surfaces, business center, lush landscaping, dog park and outdoor space with stadium seating.

“This project promises to be highly competitive and successful as it will offer best-in-class amenities to prospective tenants at a lower per-unit rental rate compared to other nearby communities, due to the smaller floor plan design,” Paul Rahimian, CEO of Parkview Financial, said in the release.


PEARLAND – HCA Houston Healthcare recently broke ground on the HCA Healthcare Center for Clinical Advancement, a new, state-of-the-art training center.
NAI Partners’ Griff Bandy, Partner, and Joe Bright, Senior Associate, represented HCA in the transaction for the 48,400-SF. ground-up new build located at Pearland Town Center, 11200 Broadway Street, just west of Texas 288.
The project is scheduled to open by early 2021. The healthcare organization signed a long-term lease for this specialized build-to-suit.
The training center will have high-fidelity hospital simulation labs, connected classrooms and de-briefing rooms, where the health system’s nearly 7,000 nurses will receive ongoing clinical education and training.
“We’re extremely pleased to have been able to find the perfect solution for HCA in the heart of Pearland Town Center, and honored to play a small role in helping bring a healthcare training and meeting facility of this magnitude to fruition,” said Bandy.
“This was a complex deal given our client’s specific requirements,” added Mr. Bright.
HCA Houston Healthcare officials will gather with shovels and hard hats at the site of the HCA Healthcare Center for Clinical Advancement for an official groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, February 26.
“The HCA Healthcare Center for Clinical Advancement is a significant part of our strategic nursing plan to support and grow our nurses as the differentiator at our hospitals and other facilities,” says Kelli Nations, chief nurse executive at HCA Houston Healthcare, one of the city’s largest healthcare systems. “It certainly helps us raise the bar for nursing care in Houston.”

TA Realty acquired the East Belt Business Park, a 350,000 SF, four-building industrial plan near the Port of Houston in Houston’s Southeast submarket. The seller, Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing was represented by the JLL Industrial Capital Markets. East Belt Business Park comprises two rear-load and two cross-dock buildings that feature 20- to 24-foot clear heights, 114 dock-high doors, 14 drive-up ramps, 510 parking spaces and truck courts ranging from 120- to 180-foot . The property has been more than 90 percent leased since delivery. East Belt Business Park is three miles from the Port of Houston, a 25-mile long waterway that services 8,200 vessels and 215,000 barges each year.


​​​​​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.


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.


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.”