Texas’ $15.8 billion medical construction pipeline

By Sabriya Rice, Dallas Morning News

 

A vibrant and robust economy is spurring the building and expansion of hospitals and medical office buildings in Texas.

At $15.8 billion, the Lone Star state has the second-largest pipeline for medical real estate in the nation, according to medical real estate data firm Revista, which recently released its annual healthcare construction analysis evaluating projects underway in 2017.

Texas Medical Projects

“There is a lot of construction and demographic growth in general in Texas, and healthcare real estate goes along with that,” said author, Mike Hargrave. “It’s a vibrant economy.”

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LAN consulting firm chosen for bullet train station study in Dallas

By Bill Hethcock, Dallas Business Journal

texas-high-speed-rail-map

The North Central Texas Council of Governments has selected the Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam consulting firm to conduct a station area planning study in downtown Dallas for the proposed high-speed rail line between North Texas and Houston.

The contract amount and other financial specifics were not immediately released by the council or the Houston-based engineering consultancy. The study will be completed in summer 2017.

The firm, which goes by the acronym LAN, will be supported by sub-consultants AZTEC/TYPSA and Leo A Daly as specialty team members. AZTEC/TYPSA will draw on its expertise with high-speed rail projects around the world, while Leo A Daly will provide land use and economic development services.

The sub-consultant team also includes Bowman Engineering & Consulting, DRW Planning Studio and Civil Associates.

The team will evaluate major transportation and land use changes that will occur with the advent of high-speed passenger rail service for the Dallas-Fort Worth region, and ways these impacts can be absorbed or mitigated.

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DART’s Downtown Rail Decision

By Steve Brown, Dallas Morning News

 

Last week I stood in the terminal at Love Field and watched a DART train zip by.  It didn’t stop — can’t stop. There’s no station.

That has to be one of the biggest urban transit blunders ever.  Why would a big-city commuter rail line omit the airport from service?

Does that make sense?

Hopefully transit planners won’t bungle again as they decide what to do about adding a second rail line through downtown Dallas.

The expansion of DART’s rail system with a new downtown line could be an economic boost to the center city. Or it could chop up downtown with rails that divide the area and reduce property values.  DART and Dallas already made the wrong decision about Love Field.

More than a decade ago, when plans were in flux for the commuter rail line running along the west side of Dallas’ airport, the transit agency and the city said they couldn’t afford the $160 million needed to build a DART station at Love Field.  And federal transit officials would not approve a plan that included Love Field.

So instead of stopping at the airport, DART’s yellow and white trains roll by next to the runway along Denton Drive.  There’s been talk of building some kind of a underground people mover to connect the airport to the DART line, but those are still just plans.

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Dallas heads list of cities with greatest office rent growth

By Steve Brown, Dallas Morning News

Uptown Office

You don’t have to tell North Texas businesses that office rents are on the move.

Huge employment gains in the area and corporate moves are fueling the strongest demand for office space in decades.  So it’s no wonder that tenants have to pay a lot more for their business space.

 

Average quoted rents in the Dallas area were up 8 percent at midyear from the first quarter.

Office rents in North Texas now top $25 per square foot on average — a record high, according to JLL.

The only other North American markets with big rent gains on the list were Montreal (6.3 percent) and San Francisco (5.8 percent).

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Modern Magic: How Data is Changing Site Selection

By Jeff Bounds, Dallas Inovates

Big Data

Companies across North Texas are using cutting-edge data wizardry to peer into the future as part of the site selection process for their operations. And few are better at it than The Container Store. Experts say the 38-year-old Coppell retailer is a leader in employing what’s known as “predictive analytics” to tease out optimal locations for its stores, which sell high-end storage and organization products such as shoe racks, canisters, and baskets.

With number-crunching and visualization help from South Carolina-based eSite Analytics, The Container Store brass know how much income residents in a given neighborhood have, but also how long customers may sit in traffic when they’re likely to visit a prospective store. Valerie Richardson, the chain’s vice president of real estate, can factor in information that correlates with The Container Store (NYSE: TCS) customers, such as how many people in a geographic area give to charity or enjoy drinking wine.

“Depending on the size of the investment, one bad store could cost you five good stores,” she said. “If you make the wrong decision, you live with the costs for five to 15 years. An unsuccessful store is a huge contingency on the balance sheet.”

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Google Fiber takes first step into Dallas

By Anna Butler, Dallas Business Journal

Fiber Optic

Google Fiber will begin exploring what it would take to bring its super-fast Internet system to residents and small businesses in Dallas.

“This is a first-step in discussions, but a big step for us,” Jill Szuchmacher, Google Fiber’s director of expansion, told me in an interview.

To get started, Mountain View, California-based Google plans to meet with Mayor Mike Rawlings and other city officials to discuss what it looks like to roll out Fiber smoothly in Dallas. This ease is measured by how non-disruptive it would be to add fiber-optic network lines and how painlessly the City can enact necessary changes.

Using its Fiber checklist, Google will weigh in-place logistics and infrastructure – like whether the thousands of miles of wiring required can partially utilize existing utility poles, rather than digging up streets – and will help prepare officials for the onslaught of permit submissions (about 100 times more than what most cities are used to according to Szuchmacher).

Outside of Los Angeles and Chicago, Dallas is one of the biggest metro areas that Google Fiber has attempted to enter. Szuchmacher said that Dallas was a natural choice for both its accelerated job growth and maturing tech sector.

“We want to see how we can help catalyze this activity,” she said.

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Hines Exploring Potential Sale of Nearly $5 Billion in Holdings

By Mark Heschmeyer – CoStar

Ross Avenue Tower

Global real estate investment firm Hines is joining the ranks of major institutional investors seeking to cash in some of their longer-held investments and lock-in returns at today’s high property valuations.

The Houston-based developer disclosed it is exploring strategic alternatives for two of its sponsored non-traded REITs: Hines Real Estate Investment Trust and Hines Global REIT. Hines said it is considering the usual list of alternatives for such investment vehicles, including selling individual or packages of properties, a sale or merger, or even listing the REITs’ shares on a national exchange.

Combined, the two REITs have raised and invested more than $5.6 billion from stock offerings, which Hines REIT has been doing since 2003 and Hines Global since 2008. Both completed their acquisition phases a little more than a year ago.

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