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Fort Worth’s Future

Dallas-Fort Worth
Fort Worth’s Future
Subleasing, plus the oil and gas industry, are key to Fort Worthfilling vacancies and digging its way out of what seemed like a bottomless pit.
Todd Burnette
JLL managing director Todd Burnette tells us before the last downturn, the oil and gas industry were exploding (figuratively) in Cowtown. Space was getting tight, rents were going up, and it was tough to get a full floor downtown. Then, the bubble burst(figuratively) in late '08, giving downtown tenants lots of opportunities (the figurative word for vacancies). And then after four months of shock, vacancy started going up, creating opportunities for subleasing. At its peak, about 30% to 40% of the vacancy was subleased space, Todd says. It's paying off, though. In January, Fort Worth CBD vacancy dipped below 16%, a good move from 17% back in January 2010.
downtown Fort Worth
Two of Fort Worth?s biggest deals in 2010 were the result of a sublease or downsizing by tenants, including the 119k SFQuicksilver relocation to Burnett Plaza. The firm (which wasn't downtown) took space that Americredit vacated. The second largest deal was Dale Resources (from Dallas) for 75k SF in the converted Bank One Garage. Former Encore top dog Jonny Brumley?s new company, Enduro, also leased a full floor at Carter & Burgess. Todd tells us there are more spin-offs for the oil and gas companies taking space, too. Even better, he believes the CRE market is almost at dead bottom. Rents aren't rising yet, but concessions are slowing. JP Morgan Chase just renewed 60k SF in the Chase Bank Building two years early because of an attractive rate. The landlord wins, too, with a new 10-year commitment ahead of time stabilizing the asset. Todd thinks rents in the Fort Worth CBD will increase by year's end.
Star Telegram building
Now, Todd?s working on the sale of the 200k SF Star Telegrambuilding to a partnership including Bob Simpson, founder of XTO. The Star Telegram will lease a 60k SF space in another downtown building (in the works). Another sign of recovery: the recent sale of the City Place project to Spire. Todd, a former SMU soccer player, coaches his kid's U10 soccer team and still plays a little bit of tennisin a Fort Worth league: ?With three kids, it's easier to play tennis for an hour than spend four hours on a round of golf.? Of course, he's willing to spend some time with you, talking more about Forth Worth at the Bisnow Fort Worth State of the Market with Crescent?s John Zogg, Red Oak Realty's Jim Eagle, and more. March 30 at the Fort Worth Hilton. Great schmoozing too! Sign up now!