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January 13, 2011 

Already 209 RSVP'd for the Future of Fort Bend County with just two weeks to go. Let's make it the biggest crowd yet. Join us as an all-star cast dives into the area's hottest RE issues. Jan. 27 at Sugar Land Town Square. Sign up today!


Fort Bend County is doing something right: drawing new companies to Houston.

TCC's Jim Casey

Trammell Crow’s Jim Casey tells us the area is having particular success in the industrial sector. His company’s partly to thank: Newbies Flair and LT Foods purchased buildings in TCC’s 157-acre Lakeview Business Park. (There’s one more building and 135 acres left for sale if you know anyone.) Jim says Fort Bend is attractive because it’s the fastest-growing county in the area, and companies like the master-planned residential communities and great schools. There are good business parks and office buildings available close to Houston, and the area has great mobility with two toll roads, two highways, and the only existing leg of the Grand Parkway. What else is coming to the area? Hear firsthand when Jim and other gurus headline Bisnow’s Future of Fort Bend County event Jan 27 at Sugar Land Town Square. Register now!

Ziegler Cooper's Paul Lodholz

We saw that Ziegler Cooper was pegged to design Phase III of a 49.5-acre campus for First Baptist Church of Pasadena, and we had one question: Is church work a safe bet during a downturn? Paul Lodholz, who leads the firm’s worship studio, thinks so. He entered the sector in 1981, and says it’s been a source of stability in his practice through four downturns. Paul had a couple projects kick into gear during the difficult end of ’08—in fact, his studio grew 40% in ’08—partly because of projects already in the works (once a church raises money to build, it’s hard to not use the funds as allocated). Church work is definitely a bit disjointed from the business world, Paul says. It helps that people donate to churches in downturns, giving some clients the means to take advantage of cheap construction costs to launch development. As Paul tells us, “it doesn’t make economic sense, but it makes human sense.”

Clear Lake United Methodist

Above, Clear Lake United Methodist, designed by Paul and completed in ’09. Before you jump into church work, consider the downsides; it’s a different animal than many architects are used to. Clients are often volunteers and committees with no development experience, so you have to put them through a huge learning curve. And the projects tend to be smaller, leading many architects and contractors to consider them too much effort. And although more firms try to get in the game during lean times, Paul says churches are more likely than many property types to require experience. Having a reputation is often more important than pricing. This is especially true in renovation projects, which have been the bulk of his work the past two years.

First Baptist Church of Pasadena

Above, the rendering of First Baptist Church of Pasadena. Church work actually includes numerous property types, like education space, community centers, and gyms. This project is no exception— Phases I and II were not chapels but rather multi-use space. Paul is designing a 115k SF worship center addition that will include the first permanent and separate worship facility. Construction will begin this summer by GC Fretz Construction. One last question: Will church work maintain as other sectors improve? Paul tells us in the past, he’s seen a two- to three-year depressed church market when the CRE world rebounds.

Bret Bunnett

CAPSTAR Commercial Real Estate Services joined Cassidy Turley as part of the firm’s growth plan into two new markets: Dallas and Houston, says Cassidy Turley CEO Mark Burkhart. Often sharing clients, CAPSTAR principal Bret Bunnett (pictured) says merging creates opportunities to expand geographically and grow service offerings by leveraging Cassidy Turley’s capital markets, tenant rep, and corporate services platforms. Founded in 2000, CAPSTAR has five principals who are founding members: Bret, Johnny Johnson, John Patterson, Trey Smith, and Chris Taylor. They'll remain responsible for developing the company’s Texas business. CAPSTAR will be known as Cassidy Turley and transition to the new name by Feb 15. In 2010, Cassidy Turley enhanced its global service delivery through its partnership with GVA Grimley. Its Dallas and Houston operations now include more than 100 professionals and staff.

With the Texans and the Redskins done for the year, we don't know what we're going to do Sunday. Is your team still in? E-mail Catie Brubaker, catie@bisnow.com.
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