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January 10, 2011 
Large and In Charge

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DFW’s largest office space owner, LA-based Younan Properties, inked another 27k SF of leases at three of its suburban Dallas properties, they tell us exclusively. And the firm is adding to its portfolio and headcount.
John Cook and Thom Ridnour
We sat down with Younan regional VP John Cook and the new director of leasing for Dallas Thom Ridnour recently. As owner of 6.5M SF in DFW, John tells us the firm has refocused on enhancing broker relationships. Paying brokers in a timely fashion has vaulted leasing progress more than anything else this year. “A lot of landlords fell behind last year—a symptom of the market. We’ve been one of the first landlords to come out swinging and making sure we put the emphasis on getting people paid,” he adds. Last March, COO Robert Peddicord joined Younan with the goal of increasing occupancy portfolio-wide. First thing, he created regions to establish local control to move deals along more quickly.
Eighty-Eighty Central
John says the Central Expressway submarket is doing better than others (except Preston Center), and tenants are finding high value and quality versus the $34/SF Uptown. The 27k SF of deals include Eighty-Eighty Central (above), North Central Plaza III and 9400 North Central Expressway. At Eighty-Eighty Central signing deals were W.J. Bill Morris, American Momentum Bank, and Pearson Partners. (CBRE’s Burson Holman and Blake Shipley repped Younan.) At North Central Plaza III, three leases were signed with new tenants: Spector Soft, Pulsar, and Property Acquisition Services. (Bradford Commercial Real Estate Services’ Melanie Hughes and Sharon Friedberg repped Younan.) And at 9400 North Central Expressway, five renewals and new tenants are: A. William Arnold III & Assoc., Electric Transportation Engineering Corp, Steven Bell, and Stephen Goetzmann, Promotional Network, and Peter Baldwin and John Franklin. Sharon and Melanie worked those deals, too.
Zaya Younan
Last month, CEO Zaya Younan told our LA reporter the company increased its portfolio (now 11M SF) and occupancies during the recession, and also its staff size. In 2010, the firm leased 1.4M SF nationwide. Zaya tells us the company wants to place $500M to $700M worth of capital in acquisitions this year, targeting assets 100k SF and larger in its key markets: Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Phoenix, and LA (in that order). Robert tells us Younan anticipated doing an IPO last year but put it on hold because of the market conditions. “The decision to wait was made because the market was not where we wanted it in valuation," Robert tells us. "We may revisit that next year.”
9400 North Central Expressway
Thom’s newly created position oversees in-house leasing and works with third-party brokers, John says. With the refocused attention, the retention rate for 2010 is almost 90%. John says 2010 was a banner year with a more than 200% increase in leases negotiated in the second half of the year versus the first.

Dollar General
Bargain-hunting Texans will be happy to know that Tennessee-based Dollar General plans to open 625 new stores across its existing 35-state operating area as well as three new states: Connecticut, Nevada, and New Hampshire in FY ’11. While the number of new Texas stores hasn’t been determined, the state already has more than 1,000, more than any other state, Dollar General spokeswoman Tawn Earnest tells us. Dollar General will expand its presence in new suburban, rural, and metro markets with 7,000 to 8,000 SF stores, Tawn says. The company also plans to remodel or relocate 550 stores. “We've worked hard to enhance the shopping experience, adding new brands, revamping our private brands, and refining our site-selection process. Now, we're comfortable with accelerating our growth,” Tawn tells us. That reminds us we need more toothpaste and sunflower seeds. (Yeah, we know, weird combination.)

Jim Fetgatter
72% of Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate members (who hold a total of $627B of CRE—$265B of that in the US) plan to invest more capital in here in 2011 than they did in 2010. The James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate (Wisconsin School of Business) survey found that investors are narrowly targeting NY and then DC among global cities, says AFIRE chief Jim Fetgatter. Houston is 7th on the list of US cities, with less than 5% of projected investment. Dallas wasn’t on the list, not that we’re bitter or anything. The US ranked four times as high as second-ranked UK as an investment target (perhaps we should host the royal wedding, too), and 60% of respondents called the US the best potential for capital appreciation (54% over China). Multifamily remains the primary target, hotel and retail moved up to second and third, and office and industrial dropped to fourth and fifth.

Robert and Sarah Auer
North Texas had its first snow day of 2011, but as you can see, you'll still get your daily dose of Bisnow in your inbox, even if you don't make it into the office. How did you spend your snowy afternoon? In the 30-something car pile-up on 635, or sledding down your driveway like our DFW reporter's two youngest?
Regardless, let us know what your snowman or latest deal looks like by e-mailing our DFW scribe, Tonie Auer at tonie@bisnow.com.
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