Three Execs Talk 2015 Deals: Towers, Multifamily and Mixed-Use
There's been a continued upswing of activity in the commercial real estate world from 500k SF of deals inked in the newly opened KPMG Plaza at Hall Arts in Downtown Dallas to the surge of multifamily that hasn’t slowed down. It’s why we’re excited to feature some of the biggest dealmakers—like Kim Butler, Kennis Ketchum and Melissa Eastman—at the Bisnow Dallas Power Players: The Women Who Rule Dallas Commercial Real Estate event on Wednesday morning at the Marriott Quorum.
Hall Group moved its HQ from Frisco’s Hall Office Park to take the second floor at KPMG Plaza, says Hall Group director of leasing Kim Butler (with husband Bruce—a Colliers broker—earlier this year when she received the NTCAR Stemmons Service Award). She's just got the top four floors left to fill at that building and hints there may be more announcements soon. She and her leasing team of Tammy Nellis and Brad Gibson are still very active at Hall Office Park, too. She tells us the dynamic DFW market has such a compelling business environment and standard of living that it’s no wonder companies are moving here in unprecedented numbers. She expects more corporate relocations in 2016, too.
Kim (center, with her family at the opening of KPMG Plaza at Hall Arts) tells us she’s bullish on the impact those in the local real estate business have on their communities. "I have never met more generous and caring and make-a-difference people we get the privilege to work with on a daily basis," she tells us. It's important to form relationships with these people, Kim says. If she could go back in time, she tells us she would better appreciate how important it is to look for ways to help those around you. For instance, when someone calls with a question or need, drop what you’re doing to try and help them; it builds great trust and shows how much you respect that person, she says.
Recently named the CREW Dallas Outstanding Achievement Award winner, Portfolio Development owner Kennis Ketchum (on an AT-6 Texan WWII airplane that she and her father used to fly in air shows) says another of her biggest achievements this year is maintaining a healthy life-work balance. It’s tricky, she says, when she just completed a 220-unit multifamily project in Longview and broke ground on a 447-unit project in Rowlett. She’s prepping to break ground on Portfolio’s first out-of-state project in Nashville as well as two other projects. She says the influx of businesses and people to Texas and particularly DFW is clearly driving the need for a large number of apartments. She doesn’t see it slowing down in the near future either.
Kennis tells us the Nashville project is just on the outskirts of downtown in an area known as Metro Center. It will be the project's second phase; the first phase is 100% occupied. She’s building the 184-unit project as a fee developer for a client and anticipates breaking ground in the summer on a 16-month construction period. She’s now working on GC bids for the project, which will target a wide range of residents. The first phase has residents that include Tennessee Titan players, young professionals, retirees, couples and families. It's a transitional part of the city and gives residents very close access to the amenities of downtown Nashville without being right in the middle of the high-density hub, she tells us. Pictured: The Longview project, Paladin Apartments.
When you ask Stewart Title Commercial Services SVP Melissa Eastman (right, with colleague Kate Cavanaugh) about her biggest accomplishment in 2015, she’ll tell you that’s an easy answer. In October 2014, Stewart Title kicked off its new Commercial Services platform and merged three commercial/national offices into one, adding 12 non-revenue attached employees. The big deal: The office still managed to achieve a 35% increase year-over-year in top-line revenue and has exceeded profit margin goals. She says Stewart has also developed a niche in the hospitality sector, closing more than $750M in hotel sales, acquisitions and financing.
Stewart is also working on Preston Hollow Village, a 42-acre mixed-use development in Preston Hollow. Phase 1 opened Q1 and houses great eateries, retail and a Trader Joe's. Phase 2 is under construction and will encompass three, seven-story apartment buildings, she tells us. Coming in 2016: the firm is embarking on a new sales strategy that Melissa believes hasn’t been attempted by another national title insurance company. She can’t disclose what it is yet, but warns to keep your eyes open. She says the Dallas economy is fundamentally strong and has depth; that fuels the big corporate relocations, which creates jobs and increases the demand for rooftops that are still in short supply. Dallas is also not just a one-horse real estate town. It has strong service and tech sectors, which all bodes well for the title insurance industry assuming demand doesn’t outpace affordability. Pictured: Melissa, far right, with Stewart Title colleagues Maria Schindel, Kate, Nancy Kee and Kelly Ansley.
Don't forget to save your spot at the Bisnow Dallas Power Players: The Women Who Rule Dallas Commercial Real Estate event on Wednesday morning at the Marriott Quorum. Register here.