Thursday, March 30, 2017

New Amusement Park Coming to Southeast Houston

Permits have been issued for the first two buildings of Adventure Pointe, a planned amusement park southeast of Houston, Texas City officials confirmed to the Houston Business Journal.

Officials have approved construction work on the Main Street building, which will serve as the park entrance, and the Pirate Ship building.

Adventure Pointe sits on a 25-acre lot off of Interstate 45 near the Tanger Outlet Mall and Lago Mar, a planned community currently under construction. The park will also boast a mini railroad, an ice skating rink, a boardwalk and a live entertainment venue.

Infrastructure work got underway in 2015, with additional site work beginning in August 2016, according to city officials.

Local cardiologist Harvey Slusky is behind Adventure Pointe. In the 1940s, Slusky's father Louis created Playland Park, the predecessor to AstroWorld.

Houston Nights

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Adaptive Reuse Projects Provide Substantial Returns

The renovation of of old industrial-use buildings can lead to high-value creative office spaces.

By Lily Coral Published in Commercial Real Estate

A new study by commercial real estate firm Transwestern shows that adaptive reuse projects can yield “staggering returns for investors.” Of the creative offices tracked in the research, two are located in Dallas’ West End: The Brewery Building and Factory Six03. The research tracked “noteworthy” creative office developments across the country—those marked as having an exit price over $50 million, or those that are under development with a size of 100,000 square feet or more.
Factory Six03, which is being redeveloped by Granite Properties, spans 215,440 square feet and was formerly home to Brown Cracker & Candy Co., Sunshine Biscuit Factory, and West End Marketplace. The Brewery Building, which is being redeveloped by Provident Realty Advisors, has 180,000 square feet and was built in 1890

 Source: Transwestern Research

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs in the United States that are classified as manufacturing has been declining over the last 20 years—a statement that may not be surprising. In 1996, the number of jobs hovered around 17 million decreasing to around 14 million jobs in 2006, and last year that average hung around the 12 million jobs mark. This leaves a number of former manufacturing buildings readily available for creative office projects, and developers have responded.

“The conversion of a property from industrial or retail use to creative office has become an increasingly popular value-add strategy for investors,” Transwestern’s Michael Soto, director of research in Southern California and co-author of the report, said in a statement. “Two trends are fueling demand for this type of differentiated office product: One, technology, advertising, media and other companies trying to attract millennials are interested in the characteristic features of creative office space—open floor plans, natural lighting, common spaces and amenities such as caf├ęs and rec rooms. And two, tenants are returning to cities, where they can take advantage of live/work/play environments.”

Baker Katz and Braun Enterprises purchased a historic building on Washington Avenue.

Baker Katz and Braun Enterprises purchased a historic building on Washington Avenue.

While this type of development is nothing new, the research points out, “What is new this cycle is the sheer volume of creative office exits nationally at core/core plus pricing.” Of the significant projects tracked in the research, Texas had the most creative office projects currently under development. In addition to the two in Dallas, the other Texas projects are Houston’s Imperial Market, San Antonio’s Pearl, and Austin’s Saint Elmo Market District.
The authors of the research offer some cautionary advice for entering this kind of development in today’s market. “Rising land, building, and construction costs—especially in hot neighborhoods—may add more risk when compared to a few years ago, when we were at a different point in the real estate cycle,” Sandy McDonald, director of research in Chicago and co-author of the report, said in a statement. “In addition, adaptive reuse often comes with hidden costs and potentially expensive future property modifications.”

Friday, March 24, 2017

New Caney Independent School District planned building boom

New Caney ISD tackles resident growth with Kingwood-area upgradesDistrict nears completion of Phase I of $173M bondNCISD tackles resident growth with Kingwood-area upgrades

Several schools and an aquatic center are under construction throughout New Caney ISD as the district continues to use voter-approved bond funds to accommodate population and economic growth in Montgomery County.
NCISD, which services Lake Houston-area residents who live in Montgomery County, will complete construction on four projects near Kingwood this summer that were funded as part of the district’s $173 million bond referendum passed by voters in May 2015.
Construction on six of the bond’s Phase I projects will be completed by the end of 2017 and include an elementary school and an aquatic center, according to district officials. 
“Projects from the 2015 bond referendum will add approximately 3,500 new seats to the district’s schools to accommodate student population growth,” Superintendent Kenn Franklin said.
Based on moderate growth projections, the district expects the student population to grow between 5 percent and 7 percent annually in the next decade, to more than 20,000 students by 2023, according to a 2016 demographics study performed by the Population and Survey Analysts demographics firm

When complete



 Kingwood-area projects

The NCISD projects under construction near Kingwood include a new Infinity Early College High School building at Lone Star College-Kingwood, renovations at Kings Manor Elementary School, a field house at White Oak Middle School, a swimming and diving facility located at Texan Drive Stadium and additional classrooms at Porter High School, according to district officials.
Phase I also includes the construction of the district’s 10th elementary school—Dogwood Elementary, which is located in the Roman Forest subdivision. The $27.6 million school will open in August.
When Infinity Early College opens at LSC-Kingwood in 2018, it will be the first early college academy located on a Lone Star College System campus. The facility will cost $11.4 million and host at least 400 students, according to the district.
Early college high school academy programs allow students to take college courses and earn associate degrees when they get their diplomas, said Kimberly Klepcyk, dean of Academic Partnerships and Initiatives for LSC-Kingwood. LSC resources will aid student success, she said. “Early college is not just about accumulating the hours to get the degree,” Klepcyk said. “It’s also about teaching the students college-going skills and letting them learn about the college culture. And it’s really difficult for them to learn about college culture if they’re back at the high school.”
The $15.8 million aquatic center will have 400 seats and feature a 25-yard competition pool when it is completed this summer. It could help NCISD attract University Interscholastic League swim meets, said Jim Grant, the former NCISD executive operations director.
NCISD is also spending $8.7 million to construct 20 classrooms, a 4,000 square-foot career-technology education building and a greenhouse at Porter High School as well as $7.3 million for a new roof and renovations at Kings Manor Elementary School, Franklin said.  Both projects will be completed this summer.
Phase II will begin construction this spring and includes improvements at New Caney High School and New Caney Middle School as well as construction of Elementary School No. 11, which will open for the 2018-19 school year, according to district documents. The projects will cost $59 million.

Future growth

NCISD is experiencing commercial and residential growth within its boundaries as developers react to the completion of Grand Parkway segment G—from I-45 to Hwy. 59—in March 2016, according to PASA data. Neighborhoods south of the Grand Parkway near Hwy. 59, such as Valley Ranch, Brookwood Forest Springs and Woodridge Forest expect to deliver more than 2,000 new homes to the area by 2025, according to PASA.
NCISD also purchased land in the southwestern part of the district that could serve as the third high school. The district expects to need a third high school if the student population continues to grow 5-7 percent annually, Franklin said. The 2015 bond did not provide funding for a third high school.
“The school district, along with the board of trustees and community involvement… could consider recommending another bond referendum in the near future,” Franklin said

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Houston housing remains a top pick of investors

By Katherine Feser  

Houston continues to be a top choice among home investors, who are drawn by low prices and strong returns compared with other markets, a new report showed.

Out of state investors, particularly from California, are eyeing Houston, according to HomeUnion's 2017 Single-Family Rental Research Report. The company is an online real estate investment management firm based in California.

"Though losses in the energy sector caused Houston to experience a drop in the number of new jobs in the market, the economy is recovering nicely today," Steve Hovland, director of research at HomeUnion, said in a report. HomeUnion projects a job growth rate of 1.3 percent in Houston compared to 1.7 percent growth nationally.

Cleveland, Columbia, S.C., and Memphis, Tenn., topped HomeUnion's list of metro areas with the highest cap rates, which measures returns on single-family rentals in the first year. Houston just missed the top 10 at No. 11 with a cap rate of 6.9 percent.

"Cap rates in Houston, which measure the relationship between purchase price and operating income for investment properties, are a draw for investors," Hovland said. "Few other markets offer cap rates at nearly 7 percent, which is much higher than the national average."

Single-family rents in Houston are projected to fall 0.4 percent to $1,591 in 2017, according to HomeUnion. Rental vacancy is anticipated to fall slightly to 7.3 percent.

The median investment home price appreciated to $162,900 in the third quarter. "We're seeing a lot of Houston and Dallas activity,"said Stacey Corso of HomeUnion. "I think it's the low entry prices and strong rents and prospects for a recovering economy." 


Monday, March 20, 2017

Lagoon coming to Humble Texas

A northeast Houston subdivision will build a 1.5-acre artificial lagoon and sandy beach tailored to look like a Caribbean seashore thanks to patented technology from the Florida-based designer. 
The project in Balmoral, a community in the works near Atascocita in northeast Houston, will probably be the second such lagoon in Texas; another in Dallas is expected to open sooner.
The technology comes from Florida-based U.S. Crystal Lagoons Corp, the U.S. arm of the company that built the world's largest swimming pool in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, in 2015.

The shimmering clear water is produced by a proprietary technology for sonic water filtration, which Man said differs from 
Forum Image 
conventional pool technology and uses 50 percent less water than a park of the same size. He said the lagoons uses a fraction of  the chemicals of a conventional swimming pool, and sport 400 sensors measuring water parameters in real time.
At Balmoral, lagoon construction is expected to begin by late summer or early fall, and open to swimmers in summer 2018, said Jeff Sheenan, director of community affairs and amenity development for Land Tejas.

Home construction will start in late April or early May of this year, and people are expected to start moving into finished houses in the third quarter. When the project is completely built out, within 10 to 12 years, it will have 1,700 home sites, the developers said.

Land Tejas has announced that Balmoral, a 580-acre development coming to Humble, will house a 1.5-acre, crystal clear, beach-edged lagoon. Construction should be completed by Summer 2018.

Check out this video rendering of some of the work that the company behind these massive creations, Crystal Lagoons, has made in other parts of the world.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Houston home sales continue to rise, as do days on market

 By Nancy Sarnoff

Houston's housing market saw gains for the fifth-straight month in February as buyers closed on 4,933 single-family homes -- a 4 percent increase over the same period a year ago, the Houston Association of Realtors said Wednesday.

Homes that sold for more than $250,000 showed the strongest sales volume, and luxury homes of at least $750,000 saw their fourth consecutive month of positive sales, according to the association, which tracks transactions through the Multiple Listing Service primarily in Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties. The median price of a home sold in February was $220,000, up 7.3 percent over last year.

Inventory was flat compared with January. Based on recent sales activity, it would take an estimated 3.5 months to sell all of the homes on the market, indicating an environment generally favorable toward sellers.

"We need housing inventory to grow a bit more than it has, but we still believe the Houston real estate market is experiencing sustainable sales levels as we wrap up the first quarter of the year," HAR chairwoman Cindy Hamann said in a statement.

But after years of homes flying off the market in record time, the amount of time it takes to sell a house has been inching up since last summer.
February home sales in Houston

Priced $1 - $99,999: Down 21.0 percent

$100,000 - $149,999: Down 15.8 percent

$150,000 - $249,999: Up 9.4 percent

$250,000 - $499,999: Up 21.1 percent

$500,000 - $749,999: Up 19.8 percent

$750,000 and above: Up 27.9 percent

In February, it took an average of 66 days to sell a house, the highest in three years. That's still low considering the long-term average is around 78 days.

Townhouse and condominium sales in February spiked 17.1 percent with 486 properties selling during the month at a median price of $162,000 -- 8 percent over last year. Inventory grew to 3.8 months from 3.3 months a year earlier.

In line with lower overall apartment rents in the city, single-family rents were down in February as well. Compared with February 2016, the average rent for a single-family home fell 2.1 percent to $1,652, while the average rent for a town house/condominium was off 3.5 percent to $1,478.

Still, the number of new single-family leases were up 8.5 percent.