Saturday, February 28, 2009

Macy reopens in Houston!

Macy’s Inc. is planning to re-open its stores at Deerbrook Mall and Almeda Mall, both of which were severely damaged by Hurricane Ike.
The stores were closed last September after the hurricane blew through the Galveston/Houston area.
The Deerbrook Mall Macy’s is scheduled to re-open in August, and the Almeda Mall store is slated to re-open in September.
Upon reopening, the two stores will reinstate about 500 jobs.
Macy’s Deerbrook Mall, which opened in 1984, and Macy’s Almeda Mall, which opened in 1966, will both be stripped down to their bricks-and-mortar shells and completely remodeled.
The Deerbrook Mall store will span 161,00 square feet on three levels, and the Almeda Mall location will encompass 147,000 square feet on one level.
The stores will incorporate Macy’s “Reinvent” elements such as wider aisles, redesigned and spacious fitting rooms with seating areas and plasma screen televisions, as well as electronic price-checkers throughout the stores.
Macy’s Central, based in Atlanta, operates 234 stores in 18 states across the South, Southwest and Midwest. Sixteen of those stores are in the Greater Houston area. For more information see : and

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Slow down seen for 2009 by REIT index

Investment Notes:U.S. REITs down 37% in '08Similar to the broader market, the U.S. REIT market was down in 2008 as all sectors of the economy were affected by the credit crisis and global economic struggles. This year, the REIT market will continue to face the same challenges as other industries: the need to revitalize the frozen credit markets enabling companies to refinance debt coming due, and weathering the uncertain and challenging economy, according to the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT).The FTSE NAREIT All REIT Index was down 37.34 percent for 2008, following a near 16 percent rebound in December. The FTSE NAREIT Equity REIT Index was down 37.73 percent for the year after gaining 16.39 percent in December.The broader market indexes also struggled in 2008. For the year, the NASDAQ Composite was down 40.54 percent, the Dow Jones Industrial was down 33.84 percent, the S&P 500 was down 37.00 percent, and the Russell 2000 was down 33.79 percent.Broader market fundamentals had a strong impact on how insulated or how badly hit specific REIT sectors were in 2008. On the positive side, self storage REITs were up 5.05 percent in 2008. The relatively small sector is comprised of four companies that operate with very low leverage, a factor investors favored in the current credit climate. Healthcare REITs, down 11.98 percent for the year, fared better than most other sectors as investors sought the positive, long-term fundamentals of companies catering to the country’s aging population.On the flip side, the slowdown in global manufacturing and decreased wholesale activity depressed the industrial REIT sector (down 67.47 percent for the year), while regional mall REITs (down 60.60 percent) were affected by investors responding to the fear of a consumer spending shutdown and increasing retail store closings. Lodging/resort REITs (down 59.67 percent) faced the challenge of both vacationers and business customers curtailing travel plans due to the economy.In spite of the fact that some REITs cut dividends in the second half of the year, both the All REIT and Equity REIT indexes posted their highest year-end dividend yields in nearly a decade. The FTSE NAREIT All REIT Index dividend yield was 8.37 percent as of Dec. 31, 2008 (the highest since its 8.98 percent level of December 1999). The FTSE NAREIT Equity REIT Index dividend yield was 7.56 percent at the end of 2008 (the highest since its 8.70 percent level of December 1999). For more information see : or

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Texas still kicking butt and feels good about it!

Texas isn’t letting the economy ruin its state of mind, a new Everest College survey finds.
Ninety-five percent of those who participated in the Texas college’s survey said they consider themselves independent despite the difficult economic outlook.
Meanwhile, more than half — 55 percent — said they would get a new job, start a new career or go back to school in an effort to counteract recession efforts.
“Texans have always been known for having an independent spirit, meeting the challenges of difficult times with courage and resourcefulness,” said Hershell Ernest Jr., a career and education expert with Everest College. “Those who can use that spirit to adapt to the times, leveraging and increasing their marketability in occupations faring well despite the tough economy, position themselves to come out on top.”
Compared to the rest of the nation, Texans also think they are doing better, the survey found. Fifty-four percent of respondents said they don’t feel as affected by the recession because they live in Texas.
Although the state has seen an increase in unemployment figures, Texas is faring better than the nation, according to the college. Texas Workforce Commission statistics show that unemployment figures were at 6 percent in December, more than a full percentage point below the nationwide rate of 7.2 percent.
Certain fields, like health care and social assistance, added more than 28,000 jobs in Texas during 2008.
Everest College’s survey was conducted by Promark Research Corp., a public opinion research firm. For more information see ; or

From HBJ:

Friday, February 20, 2009

Minute Maid makes move to Sugarland

Minute Maid employees reported to work at the company’s new headquarters building in Sugar Land on Monday.
More than 300 employees have moved into the recently completed Minute Maid Building at 2150 Town Square Place in Sugar Land Town Square.
Minute Maid, a division of Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co., moved from 2000 St. James Place in Houston into 115,000 square feet of leased office space in the Sugar Land building, which was developed by Planned Community Developers Ltd. The mixed-use Sugar Land Town Square is located at the southwest corner of Highway 59 and Highway 6.
As a tenant in Town Square, Minute Maid will benefit from a 100 percent tax abatement on real property improvements for seven and a half years from the City of Sugar Land, Fort Bend County and the levee improvement district.
The City of Sugar Land also gave a $2.4 million direct incentive to Minute Maid to relocate from the Galleria area, where it had operated for more than 25 years. However, the company had to agree to two conditions: Put its name on the outside of the office building and refer to Sugar Land as its headquarters location in all corporate materials.
Minute Maid will eventually employ as many as 400 people in Sugar Land.

For more information see: or

Friday, February 6, 2009

Bonnie Kelly named HOLBA Landlord Rep. of the YEAR!

Bonnie Kelley of CB Richard Ellis Inc. has been named Landlord Representative of the Year by the Houston Office Leasing Brokers Association.
The award is given annually to a professional who epitomizes Holba’s core values of respect, integrity, service and excellence. The organization honored Kelley Feb. 5 during an evening reception at Hotel ZaZa.
The CBRE senior vice president was recently responsible for leasing 287,000 square feet to Dow Chemical Co., 247,000 square feet to WorleyParsons Group Inc. and 174,000 square feet to Mustang Engineering Inc. The leasing activity also earned Kelley the title of top producer in CBRE’s Houston office.
Rob Neblett, Holba’s board president, says Kelley’s level of professionalism and enthusiasm has resulted in an outstanding level of production.
Established in 1987, Holba is a local organization that has a total of 70 members. Ed A. Ayres, was also elected to the Board of Dirctors of HOLBA. For more information see; or

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Industrial Sale-Leasebacks Outnumber Retail, Office

Sale-leaseback deal volume got off to a slow start in January, not a surprising development in light of the generally sluggish investment sales market. According to Real Capital Analytics Inc., sale-leaseback deals totaled only $183 million for the month. That figure represents only a fraction of the volume tallied for January 2008, when Real Capital Analytics tallied $790 million.In the biggest sale-leaseback deal reported so far this year, Gilead Sciences Inc. disclosed last Thursday that it had completed the $137.5 million acquisition of a 163,000-square-foot office building and 30 adjacent acres in Foster City, Calif. The transaction, a partial sale-leaseback, also provides significant room for growth to the buyer, a pharmaceutical development company, as it includes entitlements for 540,000 square feet of additional development.Although Gilead’s purchase is in the office sector, industrial properties are outnumbering other property sectors in sale-leaseback transactions. Since the beginning of the fourth quarter last year, 25 industrial sale-leaseback deals have closed. Another 16 office deals have closed or come under contract, and the retail sector lags far behind, mustering only three deals since Oct. 1. Although the small sample makes conclusions difficult to draw, the apparent popularity of industrial properties may reflect the sense among buyers that the sector may outperform the office and retail sectors.The trend continues to follow the pattern set in the past several years. Of 103 sale-leasebacks recorded during the fourth quarter of 2007, for example, the largest number of deals, 44, involved industrial assets. Office assets traded in 38 deals, retail properties changed ownership in 19 transactions and a pair of development properties rounded out the list.Some investors are finding opportunity in the efforts of owners in struggling industries to turn their assets into cash. In late January, Inland Real Estate Acquisitions Inc. said it had wrapped a $59 million sale-leaseback deal with The Home Depot Inc. for distribution centers in Birmingham, Ala., and Valdosta, Ga. In a statement, Inland acquisitions coordinator Mark Cosenza cited the facilities’ central role in Home Depot’s supply chain. Inland also liked the recent vintage of the two 637,000-square-foot facilities, which were both completed last year. Fro more information see: or
By: Paul Rosta, Industrial Editor CPN news

Monday, February 2, 2009

Houston retail occupancy shows slight dip in 2008

Houston’s retail sector posted a lower occupancy rate in 2008 than in 2007, but it was only a slight dip year over year, according to The Weitzman Group.
Weitzman found that Houston had an occupancy rate of 87.8 percent at the end of 2008, down from 88.5 percent at the end of 2007.
The Dallas-based retail brokerage firm based its report on data from roughly 137 million square feet of retail space in shopping centers in the Houston area that have at least 25,000 square feet of space.
Store closures had an impact on occupancy rate, as national retailers reacted to the economic downturn.
The occupancy rate was also affected by the fact that in 2008 Houston experienced its highest level of retail building since 2001 when 6 million square feet of space was developed. Nearly 5 million square feet of retail space was added during 2008, according to Weitzman.
Most of the new projects were planned and funded before the credit crisis, which has brought new development to a halt because of a lack of financing.
Weitzman expects a number of retail projects will be completed in 2009, but fewer new deals are expected to be announced this year compared to last. For more information see ; or

Mix use project across from NASA coming up

Vertical construction has begun on the first mixed-use project to be developed by Houston-based Griffin Partners Inc.
Martin Fein Interests Ltd. broke ground last week on 313 apartments in the previously-announced Nassau Bay Town Square project. The yet-to-be-named apartment complex is going up in the 31-acre development at the intersection of Nasa Parkway and Saturn Lane.
Site work on streets and utilities in Nassau Bay Town Square is expected to be finished in March. Construction of the retail portion will follow in the second quarter.
When the development is finished the apartment units will be joined by 600,000 square feet of office space in three buildings, 73,000 square feet of retail space, a 180-room Marriott Hotel, 24,000-square-foot conference center and the Nassau Bay City Hall.
First announced in April 2007, the new development replaced a dozen older office buildings that sat across from the entrance of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. For more information see: or