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June 29, 2010 
Arch Over Dallas

Move over Renaissance Tower, there’s a new skyline icon: the gleaming white 400' arch on the $117M Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, which topped off Saturday. We hear US Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison brought doughnuts to the watch party. (Candy canes might have been more geometrically appropriate, but we'll forgive her.)
 Haynes & Boone co-founder Mike Boone, Trinity Trust Foundation prez/CEO Gail Thomas, Haynes & Boone partner George Bramblett Jr.,
The final arch piece weighed 150 tons. A champagne toast, weighing 8 fluid ounces, was raised Monday on the 7th floor of 2323 Victory Ave. in the offices of Haynes & Boone. Trinity Trust Foundation prez/CEO Gail Thomas (center), with Haynes & Boone co-founder Mike Boone and partner George Bramblett Jr., calls the Trinity River Project one of the most ambitious public works efforts in the nation and says the arch provides a visible sign that Dallas is a 21st century city.
Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge
Visible from Haynes & Boone, the first of the 11-piece arch was placed on May 28. The Santiago Calatrava-designed bridge is scheduled to open in 2011. A collaborative effort by the City of Dallas, the Texas DOT, the US Army Corps of Engineers, Williams Bros., and J.D. Abrams, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge will connect Singleton Boulevard in West Dallas across the Trinity River to Woodall Rodgers in downtown. Gail tells us the bridge is part of the $2B Trinity project, one of the largest urban developments in the nation, stretching 20 miles through Dallas and encompassing 10k acres.
Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert,  Al Hill Jr., Kay Bailey Hutchison, Trinity Trust chairwoman Mary McDermott Cook
Margaret Hunt Hill’s family was instrumental in contributing funds to the project and among those toasted at the event. Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert (here with Al Hill Jr., son of the late Margaret Hunt Hill, and Kay & Trinity Trust chairwoman Mary McDermott Cook) says it will be Dallas’ signature landmark for The Trinity project. The arch is one of many “great things happening in the city,” including the Museum Tower condo groundbreaking last week. He also pointed to the $185M Museum of Science and History construction.

The Gambler
Encore’s prez/CEO Pat Barber
Like a detective at a crime scene, Encore’s prez/CEO Pat Barber sees the clues and plans to make his own steals, as Encore plans to invest up to $500M in equity this year. Earlier this spring, we told you about one of Encore's acquisitions—the 360k SF Governor’s Pointe shopping center in Cincinnati (below). It consists of Governor's Pointe North, anchored by Lowe's—and Governor's Point South, anchored by Bigg's Supervalu supermarket. Pat tells us it's underwriting more than 40 retail, multifamily, and hospitality projects in various stages. He expects a lot of growth for his company over the next three years.
Governor’s Pointe
With 78 projects and over $1.2B invested to date, Encore Enterprises’ IRR over its 11-year history comes to a whopping 56.7%, one of the biggest selling points that is bringing in more investors, Pat tells us. “We underwrite deals to nausea to make sure there are no surprises. We may be lucky, but there is lot to our success.” Of course, Encore knew when to hold ‘em and fold ‘em. Probably the biggest move was selling everything it had built up in August 2007 and adding former CEO of Realty Capital Partners Donna Arp to build on the equities platform. “We fund the whole thing, and then raise that capital to backfill into the projects recycling our money,” Pat says. 

CRE Gets Oily
BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill
More than two months after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, experts have mixed opinions on the impact on CRE. CoStar predicts (based on previous spills and hurricanes) that CRE prices will drop 10% along the Gulf Coast. The Wall Street Journal concurs, especially regarding Florida beachfront hospitality. “The oil spill could push suffering properties over the edge—and scare opportunistic investors from the market,” the WSJ reports. Conversely, economist Peter Linneman believes there will be minimal impact in general—and CRE specifically. REIS director of research Victor Calanog tells us he expects only beachfront retail and seasonal rentals to be affected. For most sectors, “the net effect could be a wash,” especially because of new businesses and households moving in for the cleanup efforts. Luckily for Texas, many experts predict that most of the damage will occur from Louisiana to Florida.
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