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January 20, 2010 

Please join the 436 already signed up for our first Dallas Happy Hour & Schmooze. Don't miss this premiere gathering of Dallas's finest in real estate. Jan. 28, 6-8pm, Preston Center. Thanks to sponsors Parmenter Realty Partners and Cousins Properties. Free drinks and hors d'oeuvres, if you sign up now!

The location of the NTCAR broker forecast last Thursday—the Frontiers of Flight Museum—grants us immunity to make unforgiveable puns: Speakers agreed that the CRE market is stuck on the runway and awaiting departure, and nobody is coming by with pillows or peanuts.

NAI Robert Lynn EVP Rick Medinis and Grubb & Ellis managing director Kathy Permenter flank UCR prez Mickey Ashmore, as he goes over his forecast. Mickey says one major obstacle to retail recovery is high unemployment. Until people start spending money again, don’t anticipate a spike in activity.

You know it’s a gripping speech when a plane hurtling toward the ground receives not even a glance. (Don't worry, nobody got hurt.) Rick’s take on what’s hurting industrial: the gap between bid and ask. Tenants are seeking deals and landlords are coughing up capital, free rent, allowances, extra land to park trailers, as well as the fencing around that parking.

Dallas Central Appraisal District commercial supervisor Robert Evans (here with The Okpa Co. principal Edward Okpa)

Dallas Central Appraisal District commercial supervisor Robert Evans (here with The Okpa Co's Edward Okpa) says the CRE market is near the bottom, as rates and values are coming down. Edward is excited for mixed use projects in the works near the Dallas Convention Center Hotel. Gloomy attitudes have a snowball effect that leads to nothing getting done, he says. Spoken like a true politician—Edward is a former Dallas mayoral candidate.

Highland Builders prez Steve Westbrook, estimator Tim Robison, and VP Shane Cloud.

Highland Builders prez Steve Westbrook, estimator Tim Robison, and VP Shane Cloud. Shane says the average project size has declined in the past year, but he expects that level to stay about the same in the coming year. He adds lease rates are going down, which offers promise that firms will have some movement from one space to another, requiring Highland's services for the finish-outs.

The Year of Positive Thinking

Hillwood Properties prez Mike Berry

That’s what Hillwood Properties prez Mike Berry called 2009 at the Tarrant County Commercial Real Estate Forecast last week. We snapped this pic for the visual learners: He's showing that Alliance*Texas, a 17K SF development, is gunning for another record year. Wow, how do we get an asterisk in our name?


Here's one entrance to Alliance*Texas, which saw a record 3.4M SF in leases in '09. Most of it was hanging on to what we had, Mike says. Among his Metroplex 2010 predictions: no new construction; aggressive tenant retention efforts by landlords with early renewals and rent reductions in exchange for term; new deals with free rent; and investment sales and distressed deals slow to materialize.

Send story ideas to Tonie Auer, tonie@bisnow.com
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