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SEEING STARS

Dallas-Ft. Worth
SEEING STARS
Quality projects make or break a deal and investors are chasing opportunities as elusive as Emmitt Smith on a touchdown run. That's the word we got from the experts yesterday at the BisnowDallas Capital Markets Summit at the Dallas Marriott City Center.
 
SEEING STARS
Speaking of Emmitt, we caught him schmoozing briefly with Phase Engineering?s Scott Spear. He's still crafty, dodging our efforts to get the 411 on the former No. 22. As founder/CEO of ESmith Legacy, the latest we've heard are the plans to develop a hotel at 125th Street and Lenox Avenue in Harlem. Scott tells us he has his own Cowboys connection: his father-in-law, Jack Davis, scouted for the NFL and worked with the Cowboys for years and even sold the org its first uniforms when it was an expansion team.
Bisnow Dallas Capital Markets Summit crowd
More than 400 of you gathered to get the skinny on capital markets from the fellas in the trenches like UBS Realty Advisors executive director Alan Green, who says close to $1B has been invested by UBS year-to-date, mostly in the Northeast and some on the West Coast. And, there are projects in the pipeline with another $1B burning a hole in the REIT's pockets. It will likely be invested before year's end, he says.
UBS Realty Advisors executive director Alan Green
Alan says property values have been making a comeback this year, but UBS researchers are pointing to another possible recession, which means deals get a little closer look at the risk.Multifamily tops pecking order of the investment focus, Alan says, because the fundamentals support it. Well-leased office buildings follow closely behind. (Bottom of the risk list: beeper stores.) The most attractive markets are the Northeast, Manhattan, DC, San Francisco, and LA. Although, he says Chicago and Minneapolis are markets that are working, too. The trick is to determine the appropriate return for the risk, he says. (That varied for each panelist, by the way.)
Grubb & Ellis EVP Scot Farber
Grubb & Ellis EVP Scot Farber says the spigot opened on Jan. 1 and deals started cranking. However, lately the wall has been hit. By mid-year, Dallas absorbed 1M SF, which is comparable to Houston. Austin followed with 500k SF. The numbers look even better when you consider that in the Q2, there was only 12M SF absorbed nationwide. Where there is plenty of money available for core deals, it's dropping off, Scot says. The spread is jumping around and there is simply more caution on the equity side.
Jim Neil
Moderating the panel, Churchill Capital Co principal/CEO Jim Neil says uncertainty with the economy is causing people to be more cautious and continuing that wait-and-see MO. Hillwood Investments CEO Todd Platt agreed; he's seeing deals get tanked by investors who ultimately don't want the risk.
 
Todd Platt
Todd says the firm's plans have stayed pretty steady over the last six months operating as if the economy weren't recovering. Todd says Hillwood leaders search for quality locations and assets but not necessarily occupied projects: ?We like the risk of a property with only one- or two-year leases. It gives us the opportunity to play … and we don't have to compete with the pension funds.? Hillwood has also done a lot of lending this year, too, he says. Most of Hillwood?s deals have been industrial or residential, which is still really rough, he says. In DFW, it's better than the rest of the country. Although, there is still an 18- to 24-month shelf life for good lots and up to 48 months of the Class-B properties.
 
Rick Kuhn and Mac McWilliams
Event sponsor Bury+Partners' Mac McWilliams, right, with American Institute of Steel Construction's Rick Kuhn, tells us the firm is doing the site work for the 40 or so QuikTrip developments that have (or will) open across North Texas this year. Bury+Partners is also working several multifamily projects with Wood Partners as well as a project with the Tarrant Regional Water District to place an 84-inch waterline from Joe Poole Lake to Lake Benbrook.
 
John Cornelsen and Reagan Browning
Photo-bombing strikes again as one happy Bisnow reader gave us a big smile behind Evolving Texas? John Cornelsen and Flagship Capital Partners' Reagan Browning. We were surprised John could focus on capital markets—he's heading to Cabo for the weekend. But, when he's working, he has some multifamily and light commercial projects in the works. John recently opened the firm's Dallas office. Offering bridge lending programs with both senior and mezz debt. Flagship is partnering with Hines.