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BMW Group Breaks Ground for New Distribution Center

23 Apr 2015, 7:02 pm

By Liviu Oltean, Associate Editor

Galveston Distribution Center Groundbreaking Ceremony

In an effort to better serve BMW and MINI car dealerships across Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas, BMW Group recently broke ground on a new vehicle distribution center in Galveston, Texas.

According to a press release, the facility will be developed on a 20-acre tract and will consist of two buildings totaling 44,000 square feet. Upon completion, the center will handle distribution and storage, as well as inspections, repairs, accessory installations, vehicle programming and maintenance.

“This project helps the port achieve its mission of being the economic engine for the city of Galveston and the local region. With this new vehicle processing center, we are confident that the activity level for the port will continue to increase, including the creation of new livable-wage jobs. We are pleased that our successful efforts to maintain existing world-class tenants and to attract additional ones continue,” said Port Director Michael Mierzwa.

The facility has been slated to open in early 2016 and will be able to process about 32,500 vehicles each year.


HFF Arranges Financing for Two Houston-Area Assets

17 Apr 2015, 8:11 pm

By Liviu Oltean, Associate Editor

HFF has kept busy in Houston this month. The Pittsburgh-based company recently announced that it has secured refinancing for One City Centre, a 608,660-square-foot office tower and two parking garages in Houston, and that it has obtained a $6.2 million mezzanine loan for Kings Landing, a Class A multi-housing community in Kingwood, Texas.

The One City Centre office tower is located at 1021 Main St. in downtown Houston and has direct access to the Metro Light Rail line and tunnel system. It was built in 1961 and renovated in 2010, when it received its LEED EB Gold certification. The asset was acquired by Hallandale Beach, Fla.-based Accesso Partners L.L.C. in 2012.

HFF acted on behalf of the borrower, Accesso, and negotiated a 10-year, fixed-rate loan through J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. According to an official press statement, the proceeds will be used to retire the company’s acquisition debt.

HFF also obtained a mezzanine loan for Mark-Dana Corp., which is developing Kings Landing, a 327-unit multifamily community located at 331 Forest Center Drive in Kingwood. The project is slated for completion in 2016 and consists of 12 two- and three-story buildings.

While HFF was involved in the acquisition of One City Centre in 2012 as well as in prior trades in 2007 and 2008, the firm was not involved in obtaining the senior loan for Kings Landing, which was handled by Amegy Bank.

Trammell Crow, Artis REIT Announce New Industrial Business Park

9 Apr 2015, 1:39 pm

By Liviu Oltean, Associate Editor

Park 8Ninety

Dallas-based Trammell Crow Co. and Artis REIT closed on the acquisition of two land tracts in Missouri City, Texas, where the companies plan to develop Park 8Ninety, a Class A industrial business park.

Located at the south corner of U.S. Highway 90A and Beltway 8, the two tracts were acquired from Ellis Management and a local investment group.

According to an official press statement, the industrial park could accommodate more than 1.8 million square feet of build-to-suit or speculative office/warehouse, distribution and manufacturing space. Work on the first phase, which entails three buildings totaling more than 330,000 square feet of space, is expected to begin this summer.

“This is an incredible opportunity for Artis REIT and Trammell Crow Co. to develop a new-generation, Class A industrial park in Houston’s thriving Southwest industrial submarket. We are optimistic about the growth potential, both in Fort Bend County and in the Houston area, and are excited about this opportunity to partner with Trammell Crow Co. and increase our presence in Texas and in the United States,” said Armin Martens, president & CEO of Artis REIT.

DRA to Seek Proposals for Main St. Tower

4 Apr 2015, 4:00 pm

By Liviu Oltean, Associate Editor

1111 Main St. Site

The Downtown Redevelopment Authority (DRA) of Houston has issued a request for qualifications for the acquisition, clearing and development of a 35,579-square-foot site at 1111 Main St. The RFQ calls for the development of a multifamily project and/or a mid- or high-rise hotel tower with an extensive retail component.

Younan Properties Inc., owner of the neighboring 19-story office tower at 1010 Lamar St., entered into a memorandum of understanding with the DRA to lease two or three levels in the tower. Those levels will be converted to retail space and will connect to the retail component of the future tower. Younan will also provide 587 parking spaces.

DRA stipulated an extensive retail component for the project on the basis of a 2014 study by Jeff Green Partners, which showed that there is tremendous retail potential in the Downtown Houston market. Responses to the RFQ are due May 26th and execution of an agreement has been slated for February 15, 2016.

“Retail in the Downtown Houston area would serve a base of 33,492 employees within a quarter-mile radius, growing to 176,636 within one-half mile and 215,185 within a one-mile radius of the Downtown Shopping District,” the RFQ states. “Using the average expenditures per worker reported by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) in their March 2012 report Office Retail Spending in a Digital Age(,) total (current-year) retail sales potential generated by the daytime employment base is projected to be $957 million.”

Urban Land Institute Unveils Vision for NRG Astrodome

27 Mar 2015, 4:13 am

By Liviu Oltean, Associate Editor

The Houston Astrodome

The future of Houston’s NRG Astrodome remains unclear, but strides are being made toward the repositioning the stadium as a multi-use park.  The Urban Land Institute (ULI) recently released a report that argues for the conversion to enhance the quality of life for residents and serve as a tourist attraction.

Dubbed The Astrodome. Harris County Texas: A Vision for a Repurposed Icon, the report’s recommendations are as follows:

  • To recognize the historic importance of the Astrodome and to create a vision that rehabilitates the dome and NRG Park.
  • To redevelop the Astrodome as a multi-use facility.
  • To increase parking by 1,500 additional spaces.
  • To create a new, multi-purpose ground floor.
  • To create a new outdoor public space or a live oak allée from the light-rail station to the east entrance of the stadium.
  • To develop outdoor covered pavilions along the allée.

ULI’s report also cautioned about the complexity of such a conversion and advised Harris County to adopt “a framework of guiding principles” that would ensure a successful conversion. The principles emphasize that the Astrodome should be rehabilitated as a space accessible by bike, car and train; that the dome’s historic and architectural importance should be actively respected; and that, upon completion, the dome should be a space for arts, education, technology, innovation and history.

As Commercial Property Executive reported in August 2014, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett made a similar proposal—to reposition the dome as the world’s largest indoor park and recreation center. “Rather than try to convert the Dome into something it was never intended to be, I think it is time to look back to the original vision of Judge Hofheinz,” Emmett said last year. “That vision was to provide a place for traditional outdoor activities in a climate-controlled space. A space like none other in the world.”

Image courtesy of Randall Pugh via Flickr.

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