Fort Worth’s Mission To Attract HQs Scores Another

For the third time in five months, a company with an international platform has chosen Fort Worth as the site of its U.S. headquarters.

Global electronic component distributor Chip 1 Exchange is moving its U.S. headquarters from Southern California to Fort Worth, where it will occupy a lease-to-build 15K SF building at 701 East Eighth St. “With recent company growth, Chip 1 looked at multiple locations when choosing the best fit for expansion,” Chip 1 Exchange Chief Operating Officer Damon Pouya said in a statement. “Based on the economic growth potential and demand in workforce, Fort Worth will be a great fit for our expansion into Texas. Fort Worth offers ideal resources and plenty of eager, willing employees looking to learn and grow in an emerging technological marketplace.” “They fully expect to be hiring a couple of hundred people over the course of the next couple years,” Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President of Business Attraction and Retention Chris Strayer said. “They realize that the growth potential is here, and they want to set themselves up for the future growth of the company and that’s why they came to Fort Worth.” The company, while a smaller player in the Fort Worth relocation game, is part of a trend where the city is breaking free of its humble shell and aggressively wooing corporate tenants. Korea-based conglomerate KT&G USA Corp. inked a 10-year, 73K SF lease in April to plant its U.S. headquarters and distribution center in North Fort Worth. In March, $6.5B farm store retailer Mid-States Distributing Co. announced plans to move its corporate headquarters from Minneapolis to 40K SF in the Mercantile Center in North Fort Worth. The city last year closed on nine projects involving companies that did not previously have a presence in Fort Worth, according to Chamber data. So far this year, the city has already finalized 12 such projects. These moves to Fort Worth are not a coincidence. City officials and the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce have been actively targeting companies to move to the city for nearly two years. The mission began when the city of Fort Worth had a dilemma on its hands. Known for its stockyards, revitalized Downtown area, artistic amenities and laid-back vibe, the city in 2017 possessed all the amenities needed to woo companies and businesses. But research gathered by city officials and consultants concluded Fort Worth, while qualified in mostly every other way as a corporate relocation destination, lacked the global name recognition to compete for corporate relocations. The report concluded the city would lose out to nearby competition unless “the community makes a whole-hearted commitment to competing for projects.” The city of Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and other city stakeholders responded to the challenge with an aggressive strategic plan to promote the area’s value to relocating and existing companies to drive commercial development. “One thing that both organizations spoke about when the prospective plans were released was the fact that historically we had been somewhat reactive to different types of projects that may be coming across our door,” Fort Worth Director of Economic Development Robert Sturns said. “We’ve really been trying to be much more aggressive and proactive and going out and looking at specific companies and drilling down on specific target areas, so it really is more of a strategic and selective process that we are trying to use to bring some of these companies in.” So far, the plan is working like a charm and Sturns said along with mainstay industries such as oil, energy, healthcare and manufacturing, Fort Worth sees emerging opportunities in life sciences, biotech and technology.

Bisnow. (2019, July 30). Fort Worth’s Mission To Attract HQs Scores Another Win [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.bisnow.com/dallas-ft-worth/news/commercial-real-estate/fort-worths-mission-to-attract-relocating-companies-scores-another-win-100125

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Afraid Of Brick-And-Mortar Retail? Don’t Be. Some Diamonds Are Sitting In The Rough

All the bad press surrounding brick-and-mortar store closings is distracting landlords from opportunities they have to fill vacated spaces with newer, higher-quality tenants, retail analysts say.

“All I see is opportunity,” Weitzman Senior Vice President David Zoller said. “Think about it, there used to be a gas station on every corner. And when the gas station left, then it was a bank. When the bank left, it was a Starbucks. When the Starbucks left, it came back as a fast-food drive-thru site. There is always an opportunity for well-positioned real estate.”

Data supports his view that retail in DFW is anything but struggling. A first-quarter 2019 report from CBRE shows DFW’s retail occupancy rate at a strong 94.5%.

Analysts with Morningstar Credit Ratings have watched the headwinds in retail, but see many silver linings for landlords with empty retail spaces.

“We don’t see retail as being doom and gloom,” said Steve Jellinek, vice president for CMBS Credit Risk Services at Morningstar Credit Ratings.

Jellinek and his team continually study the impact of retail store closings on loans linked to commercial mortgage-backed securities.

In a recent report, Morningstar Credit Ratings reported that e-commerce retailers chipped away at some of brick-and-mortar’s market share.

E-commerce retail sales represented 14.3% of all retail sales in 2018, up from 12.9% in 2017, and 11.6% in 2016, according to U.S. Commerce Department data.

Retail sales, excluding gas stations, automobiles and restaurants, grew year over year every month, except for one, since the start of 2010, data from the National Retail Federation shows.

Yet, Morningstar’s team points out that for every retailer closing stores in 2018, two other retailers opened new locations, according to data from IHL Group.

“There is some downsizing and retailers are going out of business,” Jellinek said. “We do recognize that e-commerce is making inroads, but the survivors — the strong retailers — are the ones that actually make the best use of combining e-commerce with brick-and-mortar retail.”

So who are these strong survivors and how can landlords pick them out of the stack?

The best retail concepts are those that prioritize personal services and experiences, experts with Morningstar said.

“Traditional brands that can be sold on Amazon are the lesser of the desirable tenants,” Morningstar Credit Ratings Vice President Ricky Cipko said. “If you can buy it easily on Amazon, you’re not going to be as valuable as a tenant long term as you would be if you were more of an experience-based tenant.”

As far as large department stores, Morningstar analysts see Nordstrom as a strong performer because it maintains a unique in-store experience.

Cipko said other ideal tenants include names like Apple, which draws customers of all ages and income levels. Discount retailers, including T.J. Maxx and Ross, continue to offer the right mix of products and price points to pull consumers on-site.

A desirable tenant might be a brewery type of operation, a Dave & Buster’s, or perhaps an escape room concept, Cipko added.

Top-tier anchor tenants also include typical service destinations such as salons, massage parlors, trampoline destinations for kids, fitness facilities, entertainment zones for children, and high-quality restaurants strategically planted outside malls or shopping centers.

Malls, in particular, are now dependent on entertainment destinations.

“Anchor tenants are not driving traffic to malls anymore,” Jellinek said. “In a lot of cases, they are holding down the mall. From what we see, the malls that are increasing their sales and remaining viable are the ones that are prioritizing experiences.”

One of the more notable destinations in DFW malls is KidZania, which is under construction in Frisco’s Stonebriar Mall. This destination will allow kids the opportunity to visit a mini-city complete with numerous experiences, including a chance to sit inside a real plane to play pilot.

Restaurants are another big driver, particularly for shopping malls that no longer can rely on a few anchor tenants to drive traffic volumes.

The Shops at Willow Bend is one such example. The West Plano mall created a cluster of restaurants leading up to one of its main retail entrances. With this new add-on, consumers can eat on patio decks right next to the mall.

“They created that restaurant row, which in my opinion, undoubtedly created more buzz and draw to Willow Bend than the large-box retailer did before it,” said Josh Mann, partner of the Dallas retail division of NAI Robert Lynn.

“I think the retail market is changing,” Mann added. “It’s just putting a little bit more pressure on landlords and developers to become creative and differentiate their properties from what’s out there in the market.”

The Shops at Willow Bend in Plano also plans to open a high-end Equinox fitness facility on-site this year. Retail experts consider the fitness category valuable in its ability to drive repeat traffic.

“We have seen fitness centers create a routine of individuals coming back to the shopping center,” said Dan Avnery, NAI Robert Lynn’s president of the Dallas retail division.

Grocery retailers are hard to replace when they leave, but Avnery said fitness centers are solid replacements, since they can achieve a similar result of bringing people back multiple times each week.

Even as retail shifts and changes, brokers and analysts see no need for landlords to fear the loss of tenants. Their only real challenge is making sure they are able to attract or develop replacement concepts that patrons desire.

“There’s always a challenge in connecting a landlord’s mindset of what used to be and a tenant trying to sell a new concept,” Zoller said. “It’s very important for landlords to be open-minded in terms of the opportunities that can reinvent their spaces and a new tenant’s ability to convey that they know what they’re doing, have the experience, have the money behind them and have a concept that is proven.”

Zoller is already backfilling vacated retail premises in DFW with entertainment concepts, including destinations meant for kids. He recently filled a large-box retail space, once occupied by camping goods retailer Gander Mountain, in Mesquite by negotiating a 31K SF lease to Urban Air Trampoline And Adventure Park.

The space worked for the trampoline park because it came with the ceiling clearance and space required to suit Urban Air. It is this type of leasing creativity that makes Zoller believe brick-and-mortar retail will never die.

Bisnow. (2019, May 7). DFW Afraid Of Brick-And-Mortar Retail? Don’t Be. Some Diamonds Are Sitting In The Rough [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.bisnow.com/dallas-ft-worth/news/retail/afraid-of-brick-and-mortar-retail-dont-be-some-diamonds-are-sitting-in-the-rough-98857

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DFW In Top Three for Industrial Development, Investments

DALLAS—The US industrial real estate market had a solid year in 2018 and has continued to strengthen through the first quarter of 2019. Industrial rents are on an upward path, while the construction pipeline is healthy and development is spurred on by the e-commerce sector, according to COMMERCIALCafe’s recent pipeline report.

In terms of development, 2019 is poised to bring continuity and stability, as the total square footage scheduled for delivery by year-end is set to match the total pipeline volume of 2018. Last year, developers brought 270 projects totaling 105.7 million square feet of new industrial space to the US market, while in 2019, 304 projects and 104.6 million square feet are expected to be delivered.

“Chicago, the Inland Empire and Dallas-Fort Worth are still the top three destinations for industrial construction, just as in 2018,” COMMERCIALCafe’s Ioana Neamt tells GlobeSt.com. “Investors are betting big on multi-building industrial campuses, as the 10 largest projects scheduled for 2019 delivery all feature more than one building. December is likely to be the busiest month of the year, with the three largest projects scheduled for completion during the final month of 2019.”

Dallas-Fort Worth holds up as the third most attractive market for industrial development going forward this year, with 57 projects totaling roughly 18 million square feet expected to become available, according to the report. In fact, Yardi Matrix tells GlobeSt.com that the most active owners of industrial property by square footage this year will be Crow Holdings at 2.24 million square feet (five projects), Hillwood at 2.16 million square feet (four projects) and Trammell Crow at 2.01 million square feet (three projects).

Buildings 1-4 of Passport Park in Irving make up the second largest US industrial project of the year. Owned by Trammell Crow, the development is scheduled for December and amounts to 2 million square feet. Two other projects part of the DFW market made the top 10, a list which only includes developments that feature more than one building.

Another survey of commercial real estate investors ranked Dallas-Fort Worth as one of the top investment targets among Americas metros. Investors listed DFW the second most desirable investment market for the third year in a row, behind only Los Angeles, according to CBRE’s 2019 Americas Investor Intentions Survey.

“We are seeing unprecedented investor interest for industrial and logistics properties in Dallas-Fort Worth coming not only from US investors, but also global capital from Asia, primarily Singapore, Europe and the Middle East,” said Randy Baird, CBRE executive vice president, industrial and logistics. “DFW is capturing the interest of all forms of capital because we are at a central point in the US supply chain, we have a pro-business environment with a low cost of doing business and we have nation-leading population growth. Investors are attracted not only by the current market fundamentals, which are stronger than ever, but by the long-term view that DFW and Texas as a whole will continue to outpace the country in population and job growth, translating to long-term asset appreciation.”

The survey, which covers all asset types, found in 2019, more investors are prioritizing secondary markets that can offer greater potential for both equity and income growth. Investor interest in secondary assets increased for the fifth consecutive year (33%) to gain significant ground on value-add (37%) as the most preferred strategy.

The survey also examined how investors view each of the different asset types: Industrial and logistics is still the preferred property type, cited by 39% of investors as the most attractive for investment in 2019. Multifamily closely followed in second place, with 37% of investors naming it as the next most attractive property type—up from 20% in 2018. Office was cited by 10% of investors as the most attractive for purchase in 2019. Retail’s share of investors (9%) has held essentially steady during the past three years, despite competition from e-commerce.

“In terms of multifamily investment, DFW has been attractive to capital due to the staggering economic growth we have seen through this cycle, resulting in strong absorption and rent growth in the multifamily space,” said Jeremy Faltys, CBRE senior vice president, multifamily. “This economic growth paired with multifamily being viewed as the most recession-proof asset class has led to unprecedented flows of capital into the multifamily space.”

Overall, the survey shows that investors will remain active in commercial real estate markets this year, with 98% of respondents intending to make acquisitions. There has been a pronounced shift toward greater caution, with the share of investors planning to either maintain or increase spending in 2019 falling to 75% (from 88% in 2018).

“Continued strong real estate fundamentals, combined with historically deep debt and equity capital markets, provide good momentum for 2019. Investors are reducing risk and protecting income streams through diversification. Pricing is at or near the previous peak for most asset types in prime locations, so investors are seeking yield in secondary markets and alternative asset types,” said Chris Ludeman, global president, capital markets, CBRE.

GlobeSt. (2019, Aprl 24). DFW In Top Three for Industrial Development, Investments [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.globest.com/2019/04/24/dfw-in-top-three-for-industrial-development-investments/?slreturn=20190402121635

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Relocating Businesses Looking For The Next Hot Spot Should Instead Focus On The Right Fit

Arledge’s firm created a heat map that gives companies a closer look at where the largest concentration of Metroplex millennials live in DFW. The map shows clusters of young workers in Uptown, other parts of Dallas, Addison, Denton and scattered throughout. In this new corporate environment, where no one wants to live far from home, this map is one way for relocating firms to gauge the lifestyles preferred by the next generation of workers. “Millennials are very focused on locations that are close to where they live and don’t require a long commute,” Arledge said. “They seek a quality of life that minimizes commute time and provides amenities such as retail and restaurants near where they live and work.” DFW Cities Aren’t Necessarily Competing With Each Other, But They Aren’t Offering The Same Things Either DFW submarkets are already catering to millennials and building multifamily complexes, retail units and modern office complexes to attract companies with an interest in retaining employees for the life span of their careers. Well-known examples include Uptown’s ongoing development, the refurbishment of Deep Ellum, the creation of Legacy West in Plano and all the multifamily developments that have matriculated into Frisco to be near its entertainment venues. Frisco alone scored two major corporate relocations in the past year, announcing the Professional Golf Association’s impending headquarters move to the city and Keurig Dr Pepper’s relocation plans, which will take the company from Plano to Frisco. Such activity may convey the belief that DFW cities are now competing with each other for the top-dog corporations, but city leaders disagree. “I would say all of my neighboring mayors feel the same way that what is good for one city is good for all … the rising tide rises all ships,” Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney told Bisnow. “We want to see Plano be successful, McKinney be successful, The Colony and others … we know that makes us more successful.” Cheney believes it is less about one area winning over the others, and more about what a company wants. Does it want to be near DFW Airport? Close to entertainment and sports venues? As far as Keurig Dr Pepper’s move goes, the company is moving into a city that possesses enough space for the build-out of a larger corporate headquarters — not to mention, all of the entertainment amenities nearby that complement the corporate brand. “I think they probably looked at The Star and the Dallas Cowboys,” Cheney said. “[The chance] to build a unique experience overlooking the practice field … I’m sure that played into the decision.” The availability of land and incentives also played a role in the beverage company’s move from one DFW suburb to another, Younger Partners Research Director Steve Triolet said. “From a labor and demographic perspective there is very little difference between Frisco and Plano. Business in most cases will make their decision between two similar-type communities based off upon the real estate projects that can accommodate them and also based upon the incentives the cities will give to sweeten the deal.” The incentive in the case of Keurig Dr Pepper? “[Frisco sold] the land at a deeply discounted rate ($2.7M value for just under $600K) to help make the deal happen,” Triolet said. Sometimes it just comes down to where there is room. “Plano is more established and denser, but at this point has fewer land sites available for development,” Triolet said. “Frisco, on the other hand, is less dense, so it can accommodate more future growth, but currently has fewer existing amenities in place for most current locations.” Plano’s mayor agrees his city is lacking in the land needed for ground-up developments, but he said opportunities remain with existing buildings. “Plano is landlocked,” Mayor Harry LaRosiliere told Bisnow. “Going forward the biggest opportunities that exist in new office buildings is by repurposing existing structures. This can be challenging in the sense that sometimes you are trying to fit a square peg in a round hole by retrofitting, so the challenge often comes in the form of additional costs and zoning changes.” Adaptive reuse and redevelopment will also be how the area increases its amenities. The redevelopment of the Collin Creek Mall area, which sits just west of Interstate 75, may be just what the city needs to make a play for corporate relocations. “With a projected 1 million-plus SF of space, this project will provide us the chance to bring new employees and people to our downtown area,” LaRosiliere said. “The entire eastern corridor along U.S. 75 will benefit from this activity.”

Fort Worth Is Also Jumping Into the Corporate Relocation Game The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce recently worked with NAI Robert Lynn to lure farm store retailer Mid-States Distributing Co. to the city. The Chamber saw a need to aggressively chase corporations and promote its 70,000 acres of developable land, 14M SF of downtown office space and a walkable downtown, among other amenities, Fort Worth Chamber Senior Vice President Chris Strayer said. “We’re being more proactive and aggressive in targeted markets, industries and in the site selection community, touting our workforce, available properties, logistics and transportation capabilities,” Strayer said. “A 2017 city of Fort Worth study pointed out that most Americans rank Fort Worth 48th largest city, when in fact we are the 15th largest. That is a perception we’re out to change.” Fort Worth already has 68 active projects in its pipeline with interested parties, including many companies of various sizes and from different industries. Much like how Frisco is attracting businesses through its sports center, Fort Worth’s pitches to companies are focusing on its more earthy down-home vibe and pedestrian-friendly downtown. Mid-States looked at Atlanta as another possible location, NAI Robert Lynn’s Colt Power said. But with incentives and the type of real estate options available in Fort Worth, the company decided on the city’s Mercantile Center. “Culturally, as I got to know the company, the Fort Worth culture is in perfect alignment with Mid-States,” Power said. “They are farm and ranch type of retailers and Fort Worth definitely caters to that as a community.”

Bisnow. (2019, March 21). Relocating Businesses Looking For The Next Hot Spot Should Instead Focus On The Right Fit [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.bisnow.com/dallas-ft-worth/news/economic-development/what-do-relocating-corporations-want-the-most-when-picking-a-dfw-home-the-top-answer-may-surprise-you-98084

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Bear Creek Ranch west of Fort Worth planned for community with 6,000 homes

A Dallas developer is planning to build thousands of new homes on a 2,000-acre ranch west of Fort Worth.

JMJ Property paid almost $35 million for the Bear Creek Ranch in Aledo, located 15 minutes from downtown Fort Worth via Interstate 30.

The company plans to build 5,000 to 6,000 homes on the site, said CEO Timothy Barton. The property is near the huge Walsh Ranch development, one of the largest new residential projects in North Texas.

JMJ is already buying other tracts of land in the area, too.

“We have other tracts out in Parker County,” Barton said. “Today, we are closing on another 200 acres — the Rogers Ranch. We are going to create a master planned development. We want to find a market people can afford and still give a great quality of life in close proximity to the city.”

The project, now in its design and engineering phase, will begin with development of large estate lots, Barton said. But it’ll also have more affordable homes.

“Our price point will be somewhere near $300,000,” Barton said. “We see that as a high-demand price point and I see that as the high-demand area. Our goal is to get somewhere around 10,000 home lots under control.”

Bear Creek Ranch is in the 6,000-student Aledo school district. Its enrollment has grown nearly 21 percent in the last five years. The Walsh Ranch development, which spans more than 7,000 acres and is expected to eventually be home to 50,000 residents, also is in the Aledo district.

The property was sold to JMJ Development by Dixon Water Foundation, a philanthropic land management organization founded by late Dallas businessman Roger Dixon.

“We worked quite quickly and we ended up buying it within 90 days,” Barton said.

JMJ Development is working on several other residential projects across North Texas. And the company is a partner in a proposed high-rise condominium and hotel project on Dallas’ Turtle Creek. It’s also working on a hotel and residential high-rise in the Dallas Design District.

Dallas News. (2019, Feb 18).
Bear Creek Ranch west of Fort Worth planned for community with 6,000 homes [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.dallasnews.com/business/real-estate/2019/02/18/ranch-west-fort-worth-planned-community-6000-homes

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Part E-Commerce, Part Expertise: How Dallas Became An Industrial Powerhouse

Shiny office buildings and a slew of new corporate headquarters have dominated recent real estate headlines in Dallas. But despite all its glitz, office development is no longer the region’s largest source of growth. That distinction now belongs to the industrial sector. The DFW Metroplex has ballooned into the nation’s fourth-largest industrial market. It offers an ideal mixture of available land, a business-friendly environment and consumer demographics. Thanks to the rise of e-commerce, demand for industrial space in DFW has reached unprecedented levels. The challenge has become delivering warehouse space as fast as possible. Yet none of this has caught Dallas off guard — this is the culmination of almost a century of work. “Dallas has always been a pioneer in industrial development,” said Greg Gordon, the founder and president of Gordon Highlander, a Dallas design-build and tenant construction firm. “The magic of Dallas is that we have a world-class community of architects, developers, contractors and subcontractors.” In the late 1940s, Trammell Crow pioneered the development of speculative warehouses in DFW. He grew to become one of the largest multi-sector developers in the nation. Gordon’s father worked for Trammell Crow; having grown up in the industrial business, Gordon leveraged his father’s project management experience when he founded his own firm in 2007. A generation has passed, but a tight-knit group of builders lives on, Gordon said. Along with this community, DFW offers large tracts for development and little in the way of bureaucratic red tape. Zoning regulations and property taxes are minimal compared to other major cities. “There’s very little bureaucracy in the DFW area,” Gordon said. “Pro-business taxes and incentives make the region attractive. Many companies from California and other parts of the West Coast have migrated to DFW just looking for greener pastures.” But one trend has forever changed the face of industrial real estate in DFW, Gordon said. “The boom right now is a confluence of factors — our history, our expertise, the local environment, the business migration to Dallas, but most of all e-commerce.” As online sales and the demand for rapid delivery have grown, companies have moved distribution warehouses closer to urban hubs. And now, as more consumers send back the products they buy, companies need not only a distribution center but also a reverse logistics center to take care of stacks of returns. The result is that developers are building warehouse space in the DFW area on spec at record-breaking rates, hoping to capture a tenant that needs to move as soon as possible. “Developers are building mega-warehouses without ever having had a conversation with a potential tenant,” Gordon said. “When a developer secures a tenant, they come to us and say ‘we need to move in yesterday.’ So what we pride ourselves on is working diligently to build out those spaces as soon as possible, for whatever they need.” As the sophistication of the industrial sector grows, so do the speed bumps. Gordon said there are more stakeholders than ever before in any industrial project. If handled improperly, the coordination efforts can slow a project down to a crawl. “Everyone used to just have one representative at the table — now there are dozens of stakeholders on every team,” Gordon said. “We’re dealing with subcontractors, IT people, HR people, health and safety people. The more people you have around the table, the harder it is to avoid delays.” Avoiding delays requires smart team building, clever planning and agile project management. Gordon said he has learned and studied the DFW industrial environment to build the right team for every kind of project. Gordon Highlander has invested heavily in communication technology to speed the build-out process and ensure that all parties remain on the same page. “Having a hot market like Dallas’ means you need contractors that are responsive, agile and adaptive,” Gordon said. “But I’d say that our city has found a formula that works. Companies moving to DFW are just blown away by how fast things get done here.”

BISNOW. (2019, Jan 31).
Part E-Commerce, Part Expertise: How Dallas Became An Industrial Powerhouse [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.bisnow.com/dallas-ft-worth/news/industrial/part-e-commerce-part-expertise-how-dallas-became-an-industrial-powerhouse-96980.

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The Future of Brokerage: Opportunities for those who Advise and Adapt

Technology advancements and changes in consumer behavior are impacting and disrupting the commercial real estate (CRE) industry as we know it. The digitization of the workplace, the growing role of robotics, the Internet of everything, our gig economy, the introduction of automation and AI are all creating a biosphere of promise and challenge. On the brokerage side, access to information will make it easier for buyers and sellers to make more informed decisions. As a result, brokers will no longer control the conversation.

The reality is that a broker’s role will never truly go away, but there will be radical changes. While we won’t see an AirBnB or Uber-like company disintermediate CRE soon, technological enhancements will disrupt the traditional brokerage model that has already minimized much of the need for human touch. By revolutionizing data ubiquity and transparency, whether it’s through the blockchain or other means, brokers will need to provide more advisory information to clients.

What does this mean for brokers? Three things:

There will be no room for “C” players who hoard information and simply serve as connectors. In the future, information will be more readily available to clients and transparency will rule the day. We will see that the matching of a particular property in a particular asset class to a particular client can and will be done by AI. In fact, we are already seeing this being tested in CRE tech companies. In short, the obvious will be automated, whereas specialization and adding cerebral value to a transaction in an advisory capacity will be demanded and rewarded.
Double-ending deals with a finite group of clients will be rendered obsolete. Every day new and unlikely buyers are entering the market. In the past this meant international buyers in Gateway markets. Today we see not just international buyers entering into secondary markets, but we also see family offices, previously local investors expanding out of market, and even crowdfunding. These new investors are more sophisticated, expect real-time information and access to all data. As a result, landlords are going to demand that their brokers make their properties available to the entire brokerage industry in order to drive value.
There will be no more secrets in CRE. As real estate becomes more commoditized, data more readily available, clients more sophisticated, and the basics automated, the industry will be forced to operate with an open playbook. Fees will need to be clearly stated and they will be earned through creativity and adding value to the process. Those who built their businesses through obfuscation will no longer have an advantage and may in fact be relegated to “C” player status.

The reality is that the service that too many brokers in our industry offer clients today is simply not good enough. Changes in CRE client behavior, coupled with emerging technologies will radically change both the way in which transactions are facilitated, and the industry functions as a whole. This creates new opportunities for skilled participants. Those who lead and adapt today will sit in the pole position; those who seek to maintain the status quo are at risk of being disintermediated.

The following article appeared in the digital version of the National Real Estate Investor 2019 Market Outlook.

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CRE Snapshot: A Look At The North Central Dallas Retail Market

With three prominent and sizable retail developments gaining steam, the North Central Dallas retail market has been adding tenants and gaining a fair share of attention.

Year to date, the North Central Dallas submarket has delivered 205K SF of new retail construction, fourth in the Dallas-Fort Worth region behind leader Far North Dallas, which delivered 491K SF in Q3, West Dallas (246K SF) and the Mid-Cities (245K SF), according to CBRE Research, which provided a snapshot to Bisnow on how North Central Dallas retail is performing. The North Central Dallas submarket extends north of Interstate 635 and is situated between I-35 and U.S. 75. It incorporates all or portions of several fast-growing northern suburbs, such as Plano, The Colony, Frisco, Allen and McKinney, as well as a portion of northern Dallas. The submarket and the entire Dallas-Fort Worth region are benefiting from a robust economy that has added jobs at one of the fastest rates in the country during this real estate cycle. The DFW metro area has added 114,900 non-farm jobs since August 2017 with 31,800 of those coming from the professional and business services sector, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. Growth is particularly strong in the metro’s northern suburbs.

Three large mixed-use developments in the submarket have changed its landscape. Grandscape: The 433-acre development in The Colony was named the best mixed-use project in D CEO’s commercial real estate awards. Grandscape, anchored by Nebraska Furniture Mart, includes over 3M SF of retail, entertainment, dining, residential and office, including first-to-market tenants Scheels and Andretti Indoor Karting & Games. The development announced several new retail tenants over the summer: Barley and Board, Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse, Seven Doors at Montecito Grill and LSA Burger Co. The Star: The 91-acre retail, restaurant and office campus in Frisco is home to the Dallas Cowboys headquarters and team practice facility but also has over 30 restaurants, shops and a hotel. In the fall, the Dallas Cowboys opened a new retail concept there, Dallas Cowboys Studio, which offers exclusive Cowboys-themed apparel and accessories made exclusively for the boutique. Legacy West: Located at the Dallas North Tollway and State Highway 121 in Plano, Legacy West is in one of DFW’s highest traffic areas. Besides high-profile office users such as Toyota, Liberty Mutual and JPMorgan Chase, it features the first European-style food hall in the region with close to 30 different food and beverage options. A new concept, Neighborhood Goods, announced plans to open there in November.

BISNOW. (2018, Oct 30).
CRE Snapshot: A Look At The North Central Dallas Retail Market [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.bisnow.com/dallas-ft-worth/news/retail/cre-snapshot-a-look-at-the-north-central-dallas-retail-market-94372.

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Class A Office Buildings in North Texas Evolve With New Tech

Over the last decade, Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) has been consistently recognized as one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the nation, and there are no immediate signs that the growth is stagnating.

Particularly in the last several years, DFW has experienced a wave of corporate relocations and expansions from a wide variety of industries. This activity has brought an assortment of valuable economic opportunities to the metroplex, resulting in a robust construction pipeline. This new product is focused on meeting the strong demand for highly amenitized, future-proofed Class A office space and embracing the high-tech connectivity that helps guard against obsolescence.

Fortune 500 and other prominent companies continue to eye DFW as a top location. These users expect buildings to include not only standard amenities like fitness centers and conference rooms, but also access to the latest technology and seamless connectivity.

Arie Barendrecht, WiredScore

How We Got Here

In the 1980s, a major commercial construction boom in North Texas set the benchmark for Class A office buildings, which were traditionally developed without modern technology in mind.

Buildings such as The Crescent, Bank of America Plaza and Fountain Place were the gold standard for office properties and served as benchmarks for quality for much of downtown and Uptown Dallas.

Over time, these upscale buildings evolved to offer advanced services and amenities, such as covered parking, high-end finishes, open gathering spaces for collaboration, on-site food-and-beverage options, health and wellness services and conference facilities.

Nowadays, discerning tenants at Class A properties tend to view traditional amenities as standard features and necessary conveniences. As such, office users are increasingly looking for developers and building owners to provide additional, innovative infrastructure that can meet and adapt to evolving technological needs.

J.J. Leonard, Stream Realty Partners

In addition to common offerings like eco-friendly efforts — such as achieving LEED certification, activity-based designs and on-site meeting facilities — Class A offices are now expected to be outfitted for present and future tenant requirements in the digital era.

Shifting Priorities

In a recent WiredScore survey, 84 percent of office tenants indicated they would pay more rent for a space if the building owner could prove the development had reliable connectivity.

This shift in expectations for on-site offerings in office spaces has redefined corporate standards nationwide. It has led developers to design buildings with both present and future tenant needs in mind, as opposed to simply emulating existing buildings.

Similarly, in the recent Value of Connectivity survey, which polled leasing decision-makers across the 10 largest U.S. cities about issues pertaining to the availability and quality of internet connections in the workplace, 75 percent of office tenants stated that poor connectivity impacted their company’s profitability. To stay competitive, DFW’s commercial real estate industry has elevated the general standard for Class A office product to support the sophisticated technology that tenants are starting to use on a daily basis.

Both DFW and the nation have learned through Amazon HQ2’s request for proposals (RFP). Not only are requirements such as proximity to local transit, access to a robust talent pool and buildings within walking distance to entertainment among the top preferences, but so too are standards around sustainability and connectivity. According to Amazon’s RFP, “ensuring optimal fiber connectivity is paramount at our HQ2 location.” Responses to the RFP needed to demonstrate the fiber connectivity on all submitted potential sites, while also offering multiple cellular phone coverage maps to ensure optimal service.

Amazon HQ2’s RFP is just one prominent example of how office tenants in today’s market are seeking properties with built-in infrastructure that supports telecommunications and data connectivity, including multiple points of entry, extensive capacities, backup power, conduit availability and numerous service providers available to cover the building and premises.

In addition to high-speed Wi-Fi connections, corporations specifically request distributed antenna services (DAS) installation during the development process to help combat and prevent poor coverage.

Employee recruitment and retention also drive demand for tech-based amenities in top office assets. It’s no secret that this is critical to operations for any business. Consequently, tenants are tasking landlords and developers with providing buildings that feature integrated, reliable technology that enhances the overall employee experience.

By taking advantage of new technologies that are accessible in state-of-the-art office spaces, tenants can gather valuable data to ease employees’ workloads, save money and optimize operations. A good example of this trend in action lies in the Internet of Things (IoT), a network of interrelated devices, embedded electronics and digital machines that are used to transfer data over a network to determine the status of a slew of in-office activities, alerts and even human-to-human interactions.

Take, for instance, IoT-powered HVAC systems that understand how office temperatures react to changing weather conditions. These systems can track office temperatures in real-time and adapt their heating and cooling functions more intelligently, resulting in more pleasant working conditions and happier employees. Workplaces today need to be ready to accommodate smart sensors, artificial intelligence (AI), robots and much more as such technologies become more prevalent in sophisticated office environments.

What’s Next?

Due to technological evolution in Class A office space, many landlords in DFW are enhancing existing assets — Pinnacle Tower, New York Life and Encore Office’s newly renovated building and Fortis Property Group’s Chase Tower — with digital connectivity capabilities that match tenant needs.

To get ahead of the technology challenge and offer top-of-the-line office space, some developers are also building office properties from the ground-up with these technologies embedded.

According to the recent estimates, sustained job growth is anticipated in DFW, which naturally creates demand for office space. Developers and investors will continue to experience shifting tenant needs and expectations regarding future-proofed Class A office space.

Developments such as JPMorgan Chase’s 2000 Ross mixed-use project and Stream Realty Partners’ Platinum Park in Legacy are prime examples of DFW-area buildings being constructed to serve future technology needs. With many similarly ambitious buildings and major renovations on the horizon in North Texas, developers have already begun constructing smarter buildings — a necessary first step in helping to create a truly “smart city.”

Rebusiness Online. (2018, Sept 7).
Class A Office Buildings in North Texas Evolve With New Tech [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://rebusinessonline.com/class-a-office-buildings-in-north-texas-evolve-with-new-tech/.

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Baylor Scott & White plans massive office center on edge of Deep Ellum in Dallas

A new office project coming on the edge of Deep Ellum in Dallas will relocate hundreds of jobs to the area.

Baylor Scott & White Health plans to build a large office administration complex with more than 600,000 square feet of construction in the 3700 block of Elm Street. The planned office center is just south of Baylor’s huge Dallas campus. Building permits value the project at more than $70 million.

The project will include 300,000 square feet of office space and a parking garage.

Officials with the Dallas-based hospital and health care firm confirmed they are working on a major development.

“Plans are underway to develop a new workspace that will bring together Baylor Scott & White Health’s five North Texas offices under one roof,” a representative for the health firm said in an email. “The building will be constructed on the south side of Landry Park near Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

“Although we are in the early stages of this project, we believe this move will not only produce significant cost savings as we consolidate our five office leases, but will also provide new opportunities for our colleagues to work more collaboratively and deliver greater service to our patients and health plan members,” the statement said.

Construction is expected to be completed by late 2020.

Baylor Scott & White is a major office tenant in the Bryan Tower on the east side of downtown. And the health services provider has other offices in the area.

The planned Deep Ellum office building site is adjacent to DART’s commuter rail line and is just blocks from new apartment and retail construction underway in the neighborhood.

It’s one of two new office projects on the way in that area.

Closer to downtown, a 250,000-square-foot office tower is being built as part of the Epic development on Elm at Good-Latimer Expressway.

Dallas News. (2018, Aug 21).
Baylor Scott & White plans massive office center on edge of Deep Ellum in Dallas [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.dallasnews.com/business/real-estate/2018/08/21/baylor-scott-white-eyes-new-office-center-edge-dallas-deep-ellum-district.

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