Saturday, May 30, 2009

FAO Schwartz gone in Houston?

Macy's Inc. will lose its FAO Schwarz outlets after Toys "R" Us acquires the toy retailer.
Toys “R” Us said it agreed to acquired the upscale merchant in a deal that combines two of the nation’s most high-profile toy chains, but will end Schwarz’s presence at 260 Macy’s locations.
Last May, New York retailer FAO Schwarz and Macy's signed an agreement calling for Macy's to roll out FAO Schwarz toy stores in about 675 locations over the next two years, including 16 in the Houston area.
“Under the terms of the sale, the FAO Schwarz agreement to sell toys in select Macy’s stores nationwide will end in November of this year,” Toys "R" Us spokeswoman Jennifer Albano said in an e-mail.
Macy's spokesman Jim Sluzewski said the retailer was just notified by Wayne, N.J.-based Toys "R" Us about the change on May 28.
“Our understanding is that the FAO Schwarz product will phase out in our stores and be gone by the end of November," he said.
Asked if Macy's will replace the boutiques with another branded toy chain, or its own, he said Macy's is "reviewing those opportunities."
The deal combined one of the most privileged toy chains merchants with one of the most accessible. Toys “R” Us operates stores in 33 countries worldwide. FAO Schwarz, meanwhile, is the oldest toy retailer in the country, founded in 1862.
Financial terms of the deal between Wayne, N.J.-based Toys "R" Us and FAO Schwarz have not been disclosed, but the deal includes the two FAO stores in New York City and at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, plus the e-commerce and catalog operations.
In a press release, Toys "R" Us CEO Jerry Storch said he takes the responsibility of building on FAO Schwarz’s storied tradition very seriously. ”We will work tirelessly to preserve the distinctiveness and integrity of the FAO Schwarz stores and brand as we grow the business and, indeed, take the brand to even greater heights.”
All merchandising, management, distribution and marketing operations will immediately begin to transition to Toys “R” Us Inc., according to the release.

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 :

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Nordstrom RACK STORE coming to Houston

Nordstrom Inc. is planning to open its first Nordstrom Rack in Houston next year.
“We’ve wanted to bring our Houston customers a Nordstrom Rack for some time and we’re thrilled about this opportunity,” Scott Meden, president of Nordstrom Rack, said in a statement.
The store will be located in The Centre at Post Oak near Post Oak and Westheimer.
Nordstrom Rack is Nordstrom’s off-price retail division offering savings of 30 percent to 70 percent on apparel and accessories for women, men and children. Nordstrom Rack merchandise is made up of products from Seattle-based Nordstrom’s (NYSE: JWN) full-line stores and the company’s online store at, as well as special purchase items.
The Centre at Post Oak, owned by Houston-based Weingarten Realty Investors, is located directly across the street from the Houston Galleria and includes tenants such as Marshall’s, Barnes & Noble, Old Navy, Grand Lux Cafe and Morton’s Steakhouse.
Vonn Tran of Weingarten represented The Centre at Post Oak in the lease, and Jan Odom served as associate counsel for Weingarten on the deal.
The newest Nordstrom Rack will be the retailer’s sixth in Texas.
About Nordstrom, Inc.
Nordstrom's got fashion sense. Founded in 1901 and based in Seattle, WA, Nordstom, Inc. (NYSE: JWN) is one of the largest upscale retailers in the US, carrying apparel, shoes and accessories for women, men and children. The company generates revenue of $7.7 billion and employs 53,000 people. In addition to its traditional full-line stores, the company operates outlet store, Nordstrom Rack, a freestanding shore store, a clearance store, an e-commerce site and catalogs. Fanonnable boutiques design high-quality men's and women's apparel and accessories. The Product Group coordinates the design and production of private label merchandise and the Credit division operates the company's private-label and co-branded Visa credit cards. In August 2005 the company purchased a majority interest in Jeffrey, the operator of luxury specialty stores, Jeffrey New York and Jeffrey Atlanta.
Houston Business Journal - by Greg Barr Senior Reporter
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 :

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Katy office building sold into joint venture

The Det Norske Veritas office building in Katy has been sold by landlord Duke Realty Corp. into a joint venture the company formed last year with CB Richard Ellis Realty Trust.
The 90,000-square-foot building, developed by Indianapolis-based Duke, is 100 percent leased to Norway-based Det Norske Veritas.

Located at 22535 Colonial Parkway, near the intersection of Interstate 10 and the Grand Parkway, the building is the first installment in the Westside Office Park. The business park is controlled by Giorgio Borlenghi, president of Houston-based Interfin Cos.; John McCormack, chief executive officer of Houston-based Visible Changes Inc.; and hair product guru John Paul DeJoria, co-founder and CEO of John Paul Mitchell Systems.
The recent transaction is part of the joint venture’s purchase of three buildings with a total of 327,000 square feet in Texas and Florida valued at nearly $41.1 million. All three fully-leased properties — including an office building in Orlando and a warehouse in Tampa — were previously owned by Duke before being transferred into the joint venture.
The joint venture between CB Richard Ellis Realty Trust and Duke plans to acquire up to $800 million of newly developed, build-to-suit projects over the next three years.
CB Richard Ellis Realty Trust is sponsored by Los Angeles-based CB Richard Ellis Investors LLC.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 : Houston Business Journal - by Jeniffer Dawson Reporter

Friday, May 22, 2009


A partnership led by Caldwell Cos. is in the process of buying the Bridgeland master-planned community northwest of Houston.
Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo Corp. is in line to be Caldwell’s financial partner in acquiring the 11,400-acre property consisting mostly of vacant land.
The buyer has been awarded a preliminary contract to purchase the land for $90 million to $95 million, according to a source inside the deal. Bridgeland is designed to include more than 20,000 homes and 65,000 residents when the project site in Cypress is built out in 20 years.
Bridgeland is being sold by General Growth Properties Inc. The Chicago-based owner of primarily retail properties filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors in mid-April. Bridgeland is not included in the bankruptcy proceeding.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 :

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Restaurant smoking ban is extinguished

A Texas State senator’s initiative to pass a statewide smoking ban in restaurants has been extinguished for now, but a spokesman for Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, says it’s likely legislators will relight the bill in future legislative sessions.
Senate Bill 544 made it through the Health and Human Services Committee but fell one vote short of getting a full hearing in the Texas Senate, said Jeremy Warren, communications director for Ellis, the bill’s sponsor.

With only 12 days left in the legislative session, Warren says the bill is done for this season. To try again, lawmakers will have to revive it at the next session in two years, he added.
Citing the journalists’ shield law that passed the Texas Legislature on its third try, Warren said smoking-ban supporters are likely to try again. “Sometimes a third time is a charm, but for this session it is no more,” Warren said.
The Texas Restaurant Association supported the ban, considering it the only means to equalize competition among local jurisdictions, where some municipalities have enacted bans and others have left the decision up to restaurant owners.
The association in a statement Wednesday said, "The Texas Restaurant Association is disappointed by the failure of the proposed statewide smoking ban to pass the Texas State Senate. While this issue has long been a contentious one, TRA believes that applying a smoking ban across all workplaces and all jurisdictions is the only equitable solution to a growing social concern." From HBJ may 20, 2009 for more information see

Friday, May 15, 2009

New Industrial space assignment for Houston industrial Broker

Stream Realty Partners LP has landed the management assignment for nearly 2 million square feet of industrial property in Houston owned by Cabot Properties Inc.
The deal represents a 50 percent increase in industrial business for Stream which, upon securing the assignment, leases and/or manages more than 6 million square feet of industrial properties in the Houston area.
Stream was tapped to manage the large Cabot portfolio, but is only responsible for leasing a portion of the buildings, a mixture of flex, manufacturing and distribution space.
The portfolio includes Main Park, a 660,000-square-foot project in eight buildings located at 3605-3651 Willowbend. Stream will also manage 259,000 square feet in six buildings at 3404-3556 Yale St.
Cabot is a private equity real estate firm based in Boston that specializes in buying, developing and operating industrial properties. Since it was formed in 1986, the firm has been responsible for more than $4.5 billion in property investments and 50 million square feet of leasing.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 :

New Marina in Tiki Island

International Bancshares Corp. is doing double duty as lender and developer to build a $25 million marina on Tiki Island, now that the project’s original developer is no longer on board.
IBC-Houston originally loaned money to Tiki Ventures Ltd. for construction of 90 residential condominiums and 150 boat slips on the tiny hamlet just outside of Galveston. But a sinking economy scuttled the deal and the bank took possession of the property late last year. The site is now owned by an IBC subsidiary called Premier Tierra Holdings Inc.
The bank has brought in Yacht Clubs of the Americas to market 400 proposed marina slips as condominiums for boats. The Florida-based operator of upscale marinas launched a marketing effort last week in conjunction with Laredo-based IBC. The partners will not disclose the nature of their business arrangement.
“It’s the first time we’ve developed a project,” says Jay Rogers, chairman and CEO of IBC-Houston. 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 :

Thursday, May 14, 2009


O'Rourke leases ACL Channelview property

O’Rourke Marine Services LP has signed a long-term lease agreement with American Commercial Lines Inc. to lease the company’s facilities in Channelview.
Houston-based O’Rourke will provide full-service towboat fueling and lubricant services to the inland marine industry, according to a news release issued by Jeffersonville, Ind.-based American Commercial Lines (NASDAQ: ACL).
Provided by O’Rourke also will collect used oil and bilge discharge at the facility, which is located in the Houston Ship Channel.
“This partnership is a win for both ACL and O’Rourke,” Dan Jaworski, American Commercial Lines general sales manager for liquids, said in a news release. “Having O’Rourke as a tenant at our Channelview facility will enable us to more efficiently fuel our towboats, and, as part of the agreement, O’Rourke will utilize ACL’s towing and barge services as the need arises.”
American Commercial Lines closed its liquid tanker barge headquarters in downtown Houston in late March as a cost-cutting measure. for more information see

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Buffalo Bayou received ASLA Award

Buffalo Bayou Promenade has received the American Society of Landscape Architects’ top award.
The project, designed by Houston-based SWA Group, received the ASLA’s award of excellence in the general design category.

The promenade runs west along Buffalo Bayou from downtown Houston and adds 23 acres of parkland to Houston’s inner city.
The judges selected 49 projects for recognition out of nearly 600 entries worldwide. Buffalo Bayou Promenade was one of only three projects granted the award of excellence.
The project was “what being a landscape architect is all about,” the awards jury said.
“All awards should inspire and teach and this project sends a great message on scale, proportion, materials, and perseverance. So many cities have these opportunities. By capturing open space under a labyrinth of highways the landscape architect has made the intimidating unintimidating. It sends a great message for the future of parks.”
In addition, the Brays Bayou Greenway Framework, also designed by SWA Group, and the Urban Corridor Planning Study won honor awards in the analysis and planning category
For more information see:

Monday, May 4, 2009

Enterprise Products buys rail, truck facility from Martin Midstream

Enterprise Products Partners LP has purchased Martin Midstream Partners LP’s Mont Belvieu rail and truck terminal facilities.Financial details of the agreement with Kilgore-based Martin Midstream were not disclosed.

The acquisition allows the Houston midstream energy company to offload, store and transport refinery grade propylene from rail cars for use at its Mont Belvieu propylene/propane and natural gas liquids fractionation complex.
As part of the deal, Enterprise (NYSE: EPD) has acquired infrastructure to load propane for sale to local distributors.
Also included in the purchase are storage facilities that can accommodate up to 85 rail cars, allowing Enterprise to double its capacity going into Mont Belvieu. For more information see:

Friday, May 1, 2009

Simon is backing out of Houston Mall

Simon Property Group Inc. appears to be pulling back on plans for a proposed Katy mall project that’s been on the drawing board for more than a decade.
The S&P 500 company has attempted to build a major retail center on 134 acres near the northeast corner of Interstate 10 and the Grand Parkway since 1997.
The circular acreage surrounded by a mall ring road has at various times been earmarked for an outlet mall, regional mall, lifestyle center and mixed-use center.
Simon recently began marketing the vacant land for sale through local retail brokerage firm Page Partners. For information: see