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Wild West Winners

Dallas-Fort Worth
Wild West Winners

Cowtown rocks. That's Red Oak Realty president Jim Eagle?s view. And we agree, having seen INXS and Elvis there over the years, though perhaps that's not what he meant. His succinct statement came yesterday at our at Fort Worth State of the Market.

Susan Halsey

Jackson Walker partner Susan Halsey moderated the panel. (And JW was one of our valued sponsors.) She has an special claim to fame regarding Crescent Real Estate Equities managing directorJohn Zogg (a panelist): her firm's 2009 move to the Crescent-owned Carter Burgess Plaza was the first big deal John and Crescent signed after the firm changed hands to the JV of Goff Capital and Barclays.

John Zogg

John says 2010 was a scary year, but Carter Burgess Plaza?s seen225k SF in subleases and extensions (on 2013 exits) out of 300k SF that had been vacant last year. And they're close to two more deals (50k SF and 15k SF). By next month, the building will have only the top floor vacant, plus 5,000 SF on 21 and 8,000 SF on 34. Know any law firms needing space? He wants to diversify, he says, as many tenants are oil and gas companies. Fort Worth and Houston are the only markets seeing tenants committing to more space for growth, he says. Dallas, unfortunately, is seeing more downsizing to what the firms need, he says. More good Cowtown news: the redeveloped Petroleum Club in Carter Burgess will open this week, and there are plans to put an outdoor patio on the 40th floor.

Jim Eagle

Jim says refinancing CRE is problematic because of tightening federal regulations that are causing a depression in the property's value. Now, there's an additional equity requirement that's leaving 99% of developers scrambling to come up with equity to keep loans in place or move them. The rates are still low to refi across all types of CRE and the banks are loosening up and ready to loan. But (and it's a big one) if you don't have a lot of cash, you can't refinance.

Susan Halsey, Johnny Campbell, Jim Eagle, John Zogg and Todd Burnette

Susan with panelists Sundance Square CEO Johnny Campbell, JimJohn, and Todd Burnette, managing director of JLL (another great event sponsor). John says Crescent has a package out for Dallas and Houston assets, adding that the CMBS market is back with low-leverage loans on high-quality assets at incredible rates. ?Go get some long-term debt today,? he says (with a grin). Johnny feels the schizophrenic markets have kept the recession from dying: ?In the last few years, it's been good news/bad news with a mixed cycle prolonging the situation.? However, Jim says the recent purchase ofCity Place by Spire is a good sign with an entire vacant office tower coming back into play. If that building fills, development will follow, he says.

Todd Burnette

Todd says the sale of a totally vacant tower is a fantastic indicator that the market's strong. City Place 2 presents opportunities for companies that want to expand into downtown. The Fort Worth office market is moving back in the right direction, he adds, while Dallas and Arlington both have a long way to go. Prediction: no new construction for a while. He says Cypress Equities? West 7th project originally included more office space but will likely switch to more apartments, where it's had success.

Johnny Campbell
Johnny says backfilling space, even in a competitor?s building, is good for all the property owners. About 28 years into Sundance Square?s 30-year plan, he says a few projects have been delayed as the market changes, but there are a number of retail announcements coming soon. One of the big additions to the CBD is a grocery store, which is coming online this summer. And, the burning question: What's going into the old Billy Miner?s? Despite 50 restaurant/food service inquiries into the space, Johnny says they're tinkering with the concept of putting an apparel retailer there. 
Hilton Fort Worth Crystal Ballroom

Jim says the expansion west of the CBD in the 7th Street area has had a phenomenal impact on downtown, too, as the Arts District merges with the CBD. Johnny agrees: We need to support all these pockets around downtown. The success of them—like the near South Side and 7th Street—means success for everyone.

Noelle Garsek, Jack Clark and Greg Brooke

We caught up with Winstead?s Noelle Garsek, Red Oak Realty'sJack Clark, and Behringer-Harvard?s Greg Brooke before the event. Jack and Greg tell us they're working together on Burnet Plaza, which is 88% occupied. The 1M SF building has a range of tenants including a financial group, which just took a chunk of space. And congrats to Jack, who earlier this week was promoted to president of Red Oak Realty.