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Big D’s 5 Biggest Game Changers in 2015

2015 was chock full of mammoth deals for commercial real estate. Here are five trends that made this a standout year.

1. Mergers & Acquisitions


This year, a handful of big names joined forces. One of the first was CBRE and UCR. (Pictured: CB Texas region executive managing director Michael Caffey, left, with UCR’s Mickey Ashmore, Jim Reid, Rodger Anderson, Scott Weaver and Anthony Buono.) With the move, CB gained the 8M SF of retail properties that UCR managed as well as its 20M SF of national shopping center leasing. Colliers International doubled its size in Dallas with the acquisition of CASE Commercial. Then, there was DTZ's $2B acquisition of Cushman & Wakefield. Last month, Cresa Dallas was absorbed into E Smith Realty, which continues to grow and add staff.

2. Relocations


Commercial real estate types predicted the relocation boom for years, but it didn’t kick into high gear until 2014. This year it found its stride. What’s the allure? An educated workforce, growing population, transportation and traffic, local amenities, distance to new residential markets, exit strategy. and master planning with the ability to expand with little resistance. We’re all still waiting for the full effect of Toyota’s relo from California to Plano. It's just one of the first global companies to call the Dallas area home, but it won’t be occupied until late next year or early 2017. Farmers Brothers is taking 500k SF along I-35W in Northlake in a move from California and Liberty Mutual’s 1M SF project (groundbreaking pictured) kicked off, as well.

3. Ongoing Downtown Revival


Buildings are still trading hands and capital is being poured into revitalization efforts. Austin-based World Class Capital bought 717 Harwood (the old KPMG Centre) in late 2014 and invested in a new lobby and conference space for tenants. Nate says the urban core is at an inflection point; there are multiple companies moving into office buildings, apartments being developed, and hotels coming on line. All of that will change how people view Downtown Dallas, making it a great time to be an owner Downtown. His project is just one of many in the works right now.

4. Uptown Funk


Uptown’s seeing new office, mixed-use, residential and (finally) grocery stores. Whole Foods opened this summer and a Tom Thumb is committed to RED Development’s mixed-use The Union (with a 2017 opening). Crescent is revamping the walkability of The Crescent by taking down its iconic gates and adding green space, as well as making its retail more walkable. Harwood opened the new Frost Tower this year and has more office and residential under construction. Probably the crown jewel to Uptown will be McKinney & Olive, designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli and developed by Crescent Real Estate Equities. 

4. Northward Expansion


Frisco’s $5B mile includes projects like the Dallas Cowboys World HQ, Frisco Station and Wade Park. But, there’s no end to the development moving even farther north. The North Dallas Tollway expanded and growth is following suit. Matthews Southwest, Jerry Jones’ Blue Star Land and Hillwood have all bought giant parcels for residential-heavy mixed-use projects along Hwy 380 between Denton and McKinney. 

We’ll be working on the biggest transactions of the year. Tell us what deals you think were the biggest in DFW in 2015. Send them to