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Houston CRE Had Been Rebuilding. Then Tropical Storm Beryl Delivered Another Blow


Tropical Storm Beryl pummeled the Houston area Monday, cutting off power to millions and killing at least two people — the second major storm to hit the city after a freak derecho caused billions in damages in mid-May and the commercial real estate industry had started to recover.

Numerous roads flooded and were closed, transformers were blown out, trees and utility poles lay toppled, and swaths of Downtown Houston and other areas were under water, signaling a lengthy and expensive cleanup near the beginning of a hurricane season that will last through November.

Parts of Downtown Houston were under water after the second powerful storm in two months passed through early Monday.

“Please, Houstonians, anyone who can hear my voice: Shelter in place,” Houston Mayor John Whitmire said at an 11 a.m. Monday news conference. “We’re in an emergency. We’re in rescue mode.”

As of late afternoon, scattered reports of damage to commercial property had begun to filter in via social media, though officials were still assessing the chaos, and communications were limited due to internet companies such as AT&T and Xfinity suffering major disruptions.

Windows were shattered at 24 Greenway Plaza, gas stations saw their canopies caved in, and posted about possible damage to the NRG Stadium roof. ABC13 was forced to broadcast via Facebook for the first time in history due to storm damage and outages.

Beryl was downgraded to a tropical storm as it moved inland toward Houston after making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane near Matagorda Bay just before 4 a.m. Monday.

Two people died Monday after trees fell on their homes, Harris County officials announced.

The hurricane has also killed at least 12 people in the CaribbeanCaribbean National Weekly reported.

Beryl brought intense wind gusts, confirmed up to 91 mph, less than two months after Houston encountered an unexpected derecho. The May 16 storm brought winds over 100 mph, shattering thousands of windows in skyscrapers Downtown.

Beryl is likely worsening damage from that $5B to $8B storm, which was expected to take months to fully clean up.

Port Houston paused operations Monday and will remain closed Tuesday, the Houston Chronicle reported.

About 16,500 CenterPoint crews will begin restoration operations to more than 2.1 million customers as soon as they are able, Harris County Judge Lina Hildalgo said in a video on social media platform X. She also urged people to stay inside and away from windows until the threat of falling trees passed.

The storm was a major headache for real estate players doing business in Houston, even those who suffered limited damages.

“After a dead business week with the 4th of July holiday in middle of the week, Houston didn’t need a Hurricane on Monday,” Colliers Senior Vice President Coy Davidson, also known online as The Tenant Advisor, posted.

“What I am most frustrated about besides not having power is another lost couple days of productivity. I am trying but the vast portion of my client base is Houston base.”

CBRE Houston Restaurant Practice Leader Thomas Nguyen said he spent the day helping restaurant clients deal with lost electricity.

“We have a bunch of clients without power. I think most missed damage, thankfully,” he said in a text to Bisnow. “[Spoiled] food will be the biggest issue.”

The eye had passed through Houston by around 10 a.m. The full impact of flooding is unclear, as intermittent rain and windy conditions are expected through Monday evening, according to the Houston Chronicle weather team.