Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ralph Bivins new report

The Highest Price Ever? Houston Office Tower Hits Market

HOUSTON - After a year of singles, grounders and bunts, the investors may be ready to hit a grand slam home run in the Houston office market.  In fact, it could be the biggest deal in Houston's real estate history.

The 36-story office building at 1000 Main Street in downtown Houston is being marketed for sale and it is expected to fetch more than $440 million or $526 per square foot - an all-time record or a per square foot price, according to Real Estate Alert.

The building, owned by an Invesco Real Estate partnership, is more than 99 percent leased, according to Real Estate Alert, an authoritative investment newsletter.  CBRE is marketing the 837,000-square-foot building, which was formerly known as Reliant Energy Plaza.

Houston office investment activity has been slower in 2014, as it has been in many parts of the nation.  So far this year, there's been only one trophy deal in Houston over $200 million: AEW Capital's $426 million purchase of a 90 percent stake in the Heritage Plaza building, according to Real Estate Alert.  In 2013, Houston had six trophy deals.

The lack of inventory in the trophy-level price bracket could push prices upward and the 1000 Main sales price could be surprising.

Houston's highest price on a per square foot basis was H&R REIT's purchase of the Hess Tower in 2011. The 845,000-square-foot tower, which is located near Discovery Green park in downtown, sold for $442.5 million or $524 per square foot. The seller was a partnership of Trammell Crow and Principal Real Estate Investors.

The 1000 Main building was developed by Century Development and opened in 2003. The Invesco partnership bought the building in 2012 for $355 million.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013


HOUSTON-Long-term tenant Bechtel has reupped yet again at the Lakes on Post Oak, signing a renewal for 565,916 square feet. As part of the agreement, landlords Crocker Partners and File Mile Capital will make common area improvements to 3000 Post Oak, one of the three buildings making up the 1.2-million-square-foot office complex in the Galleria submarket.

Also on tap is a new parking garage. Ziegler Cooper is providing architectural services and Balfour Beatty will construct the new parking garage.

According to CBRE's Cody Armbrister, who represented the seller with colleague Rima Shpolyansky, Bechtel – through previous entities, mergers, acquisitions and spinoffs -- has been at Lakes on Post Oak since it was completed in 1979. He tells that the most recent deal signed by the San Francisco-headquartered company is a long-term agreement.

In addition to 3000 Post Oak, Lakes on Post Oak consists of the 22-story 3040 Post Oak Blvd. and the 17-story 3050 Post Oak Blvd. The office complex, located on a 23-acre stretch, is 93% occupied.

Just because Bechtel was a long-term tenant didn't mean the deal was a slam-dunk, however. According to tenant representative Derrell Curry with Studley Inc. Bechtel had "multiple options in the market." Still, he notes that the landlord worked hard to keep the company at Lakes on Post Oak. “An aggressive offer from Crocker coupled with the abundant amenities of the Galleria, made remaining at the Lakes on Post Oak the most attractive and logical choice for Bechtel,” sais Curry, who worked with Mark O'Donnell of Studley on behalf of the tenant.

For more information on Houston office space, Houston retail space or Houston warehouse space and Houston industrial space, please call 713 782-0260 or see my web site at :  Thank you for your interest.



Ed A. Ayres

Houston Realty Advisors, Inc.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Young Brokers today in CRE must have good skills

Although the escalating commercial real estate recovery may reinforce the sense that "it's back to business as usual," to those responsible for recruiting brokers in the CRE industry, 2013 hardly seems like business as usual at all.

More and more brokerage firms are actively recruiting new prospects who possess highly specialized experience and skillsets capable of understanding and addressing the real estate needs of firms across the technology, finance, REIT and CMBS industries.

While there is still no substitute for experience, those responsible for bringing in new talent increasingly are looking to attract those with specialized skills to bring to CRE brokerage according to David J. Rubenstein, principal of Cresa Atlanta, who is actively hiring new brokers locally and nationally.

"Particularly with regard to younger brokers who may not currently have significant books of business, we look for ones that have unique skillsets that help us secure new business and execute business once it has been secured," Rubenstein said. "Examples would include a comprehensive understanding of social media, interior and base building design, construction, financial analysis and capital markets."

"I agree that the qualifications for working effectively as a CRE broker have expanded," said Rachel Maman, managing broker for Boston Investment Realty in Newton, MA. "Besides already having degrees in business with a focus on marketing and/or finance just to get their foot in the door, the new generation of brokers will also have to have strong skills in social media and alternative forms of e-marketing. Experience in zoning, permitting and planning is another skillset that is quickly becoming another basic requirement."

"If the '90s was the Environmental Decade, then we are now in the Urban Planning decade or decades," said Francis P. Rentz, senior commercial advisor of SouthLand Commercial Advisors Inc. in Tallahassee, FL. "You need to learn what they are teaching the urban planners in college because they are all now taking jobs at these cities and implementing what they have learned. How to stop traffic congestion, How to stop sprawl, How to stop sewer plant problems, How to make bus service work… they have an "app" for all of these problems."

Speaking the Language of Business
Aside from business experience, individuals who can quickly size up and understand a company's operations, business model and competition rank very high on recruiters' wish lists. Having a deep acumen also rates highly.

"To be a successful broker in the industrial real estate marketplace, one has to be able to speak the language of a very broad constituency of owners, users and tenants," said Rick Vanderbeck, marketing/leasing director of First Industrial Realty Trust in Pine Brook, NJ. "Many pension funds have increased their allocations to industrial properties as they seek yield in the current low interest rate environment."

To be in a position to provide valuable advice to sophisticated investors like pension funds, brokers need to be keenly aware of various investment strategies, underwriting criteria and possess impeccable market knowledge, Vanderbeck added. They're also expected to have a working knowledge of investment criteria, cap rates and supporting market fundamentals. Finding qualified candidates is becoming an increasingly tall order.

"With brokers in big markets who work for big CRE firms that support Fortune 1,000 firms, there is definitely an increase in specialization," said Chris Gary, vice president | industrial services of NAI Hiffman Commercial Real Estate Services in Oakbrook Terrace, IL.

These days, brokers are not just specializing in office, retail and industrial property. Logistics, food production, and LEED are some of the areas that have increased in specialization in recent years, according to Gary, adding these sub-specialities affect roughly 20% of the brokers at those companies.

Also gone are the days when a broker would arrange the initial outline of a deal and then 'hand it off' to the numbers guys to hammer out the details. Commercial brokers today are expected to possess financial expertise.

"Being able to demonstrate overall cost savings to buyers/tenants is an increasingly crucial component of the job," Gary said. "I have an MBA with a concentration in finance, and I've found myself dusting off old textbooks in recent years as finance has become increasingly important."

Also being able to 'switch gears' and adjust your approach to the specific business of client is also crucial.

"I used to work for a Fortune 50 company (AT&T), so I feel that I can speak the language of corporate managers," added Gary. "It's a different skill set than talking to small- to medium-sized business owners, where the real estate expense more directly affects their take-home pay."

Gary Metzler, managing director/ broker of Metzler Enterprises in McKinney, TX, said he has drawn on his architecture license and a long career in high tech to distinguish himself to clients who are typically technology or medical industry related.

"I'm using numerous skills I picked up in the high tech (semiconductor) industry; strategic planning, cost effective execution, a brutal adherence to schedules, plus insight on the global workplace- cultures and diversity."

Asked To Provide and End-to-End Services
"I have been in brokerage now for three years after spending a little more than a decade in office furniture, interior design and construction," said Dan Thomson, transaction advisor of DTZ, a UGL company in Raleigh, NC. "Companies and real estate executives are being asked to maximize their workplace resources and the only way to do this is through a holistic, end-to-end approach."

Being in a position to advise clients on a broad range of real estate-related issues, from design, project/construction management and capital expense forecasting to change communication, workplace trends and understanding generational differences in the workplace has given Thomson a competitive edge. "I'm able to provide enhanced value to executives seeking to know more than the best rate they can get on a space."

Increasingly, CRE headhunters say, it's getting very difficult for people just graduating from college to break into brokerage. Competition comes from business executives with years of experience who decide to make a career change, such as Craig Daste, owner of High Performance Properties in Metairie, LA, who sold his construction business 10 years ago and then began a full time career in commercial real estate.

"The many years past experience negotiating with various sub-contractors, suppliers, bankers, and customers made things much easier when we started rehabbing office properties in the New Orleans area following Hurricane Katrina. Cost controls implemented during renovation along with controlling monthly property management expenses are important for your success," Daste said.

"We also found the commercial bankers were more at ease knowing they were lending to investor/owners with a history of job completion and controlling work schedules," Daste added.

"Generally, qualifying to be a commercial broker at our firm is harder [because] many more applicants today have better resumes than in the past," said Ken Ulsaker, executive vice president, Commercial Division of Long & Foster Real Estate in Vienna, VA.

"Currently our brokers have come from the following backgrounds: lawyers, lobbyists, business owners, salespeople from various compatible industries, experienced real estate brokers, developers, computer consulting firms, executives from fortune 500 firms, commercial property managers and commercial appraisers."

Ulsaker said his firm looks for applicants with highly specialized skillsets, such as having a vital knowledge base to satisfy a specific clientele or a complementary skill to what the firm already offers, including those who who can better tap into the large minority commercial activities. By Mark Heschmyer at COSTAR
May 29, 2013
For more information on Houston office space, Houston retail space or Houston warehouse space and Houston industrial space, please call 713 782-0260 or see my web site at :  Thank you for your interest.
Ed A. Ayres
Houston Realty Advisors, Inc.
Mitaquye oyasin

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

- ConocoPhillips has signed an 850,000 SF long-term lease encompassing two new office buildings

: Houston -
ConocoPhillips has signed an 850,000 SF long-term lease encompassing two new office buildings within Houston's prestigious Energy Corridor submarket. ConocoPhillips will fully occupy Energy Center Three, a 550,000 SF office tower currently under construction, by 2nd quarter 2015, and in 2016, will also lease an additional 300,000 SF in Energy Center Four, a planned 600,000 SF office building slated to commence construction later this year. Aaron Thielhorn, Kevin Schmok, and Brandon Houston with Trammell Crow Company, and Joe Wanninger with Principal Real Estate Investors will lead the development team. Executive Vice President Cody Armbrister and Steve Rocher, Senior Vice President, with CBRE's Houston office.
For more information on Houston office space, Houston retail space or Houston warehouse space and Houston industrial space, please call 713 782-0260 or see my web site at :
Thank you for your interest.



Ed A. Ayres

Houston Realty Advisors, Inc.

Monday, April 1, 2013



Talk about a cool crib: Facebook purchased the Astrodome and announced plans for a regional hub officing out of the iconic dome.
Facebook will relocate 150 workers and look to hire about that many locally. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (who reportedly will owe $1 billion in taxes this year) says he couldn't ignore all the headlines about Houston's job growth and low taxes. "We like to be cutting-edge in all our decisions, and our facilities are no different," he said in a statement. "When we heard the Astrodome was sitting unused, we just couldn't resist. Such an iconic building is the perfect addition to our portfolio."Although plans aren't finalized, we learned renowned architect Pickard Chilton is spearheading design of the office; what was once first base will become a swimming pool surrounded by beanbag desks for Facebook's youthful employee base. A track will ring the outside, where employees could run but more likely will race robots. And of course, the roof will be emblazoned with its signature blue and white F. Our calls to the Mayor's office for how this will impact the area went unanswered

Friday, March 22, 2013


A new group called RLJ Lodging Trust has acquired the historic Humble Oil Building, a three-tower complex that occupies an entire city block in downtown Houston, for $79.5 million. This building has been in and out of play for 15 one time it was to be a downtown new Ritz Carlton..The purchase price equates to approximately $151,000 per key, based on a combined forward room count of 528 keys. The Humble Oil Building consists of an 82-room apartment tower that will be converted to a 166-room SpringHill Suites, as well as two existing hotels. The hotels include the 191-room Courtyard Houston Downtown Convention Center and the 171-room Residence Inn Houston Downtown Convention Center. RLJ Lodging purchased the buildings with its revolving credit facility. The new SpringHill Suites is scheduled to open in mid-2015.
For more information on Houston office space, Houston retail space or Houston warehouse space and Houston industrial space, please call 713 782-0260 or see my web site at :  Thank you for your interest.
Ed A. Ayres
Houston Realty Advisors, Inc.
Mitaquye Oyasin                                           

Friday, March 15, 2013


HOUSTON — Exel, part of the supply chain division of Deutsche Post DHL, renewed leases at 8607, 8609, 8711 and 8833 City Park Loop in the City Park East Business Park in Houston. The lease renewals total 767,632 square feet of rail-served industrial space. Sam Brown with Sam H. Brown Interests represented the tenant in the lease transaction. John Kruse and Jason Dillee of Holt Lunsford Commercial represented the landlord, The Realty Associates Fund VIII L.P.
For more information on Houston office space, Houston retail space or Houston warehouse space and Houston industrial space, please call 713 782-0260 or see my web site at :  Thank you for your interest.
Ed A. Ayres
Houston Realty Advisors, Inc.