Chinks Begin To Appear In The Woodlands Armor
For The Woodlands, anything but rapid growth feels like a tough market. Although growth in the submarket is tapping the brakes, experts at Bisnow's fifth annual Future of The Woodlands event yesterday say it shows no signs of stopping.
The Woodlands Area Economic Partnership CEO Gil Staley described major employment and business expansion in The Woodlands as “very lonely.” Other than ExxonMobil job growth, only 278 jobs have been created in 2016 so far. Class-A office vacancy is at 10%. Distance hasn't separated The Woodlands from feeling the pains of Houston. Just like every other submarket, sublease space is spiking.
During the downturn, Halberdier Real Estate founder Trey Halberdier is taking a note out of acclaimed entrepreneur Seth Godin’s book. With the state of The Woodlands market, there’s not much opportunity in what he refers to as the “box” of The Woodlands. That’s why Halberdier Real Estate is investing in the edges around the Woodlands. Halberdier is positioning itself to be on the acquisition side of investment sales in the area. Trey says now it’s just a question of whether his top-notch team can execute to the best of its abilities. To that end, Halberdier Real Estate has brought on five new interns to help seize every opportunity.
Pictured, nearly 400 professionals packed Three Hughes Landing yesterday.
Coventry Development Corp EVP Keith Simon (above, fourth from left) pointed to the importance of roads to the continued development of the area. The Grand Parkway has been a significant boon for development in the area, but more work needs to done. One major project Keith pointed to was the direct connectors at Grand Parkway and I-45 that TxDOT has been slow to move forward on.
Pictured: Moderator Barron, Adler, Clough & Otto partner Nick Laurent (with the mic) kicks off our first panel: Pinecroft CEO Tom Pisula, Trey, Keith, Marcus & Millichap's Nate Newman and Patrinely Group CEO Robert Fields.
Pinecroft CEO Tom Pisula (speaking above) sees financing as the biggest issue facing The Woodlands. Headline risk has scared many major international banks away from the area. National CMBS markets are already likely to have a rough year, so capital is very leery about getting anywhere near what they consider a very hard-hit area.
One reason The Woodlands's fundamentals are staying strong is areas like Springwoods Village. Patrinely Group CEO Robert Fields noted that Springwoods Village has continued strong growth and is starting to feel like a real community.
There’s plenty of cause for concern, sure. But as Marcus & Millichap's Nate Newman knows, the area is remarkably resilient. The Woodlands' best defense is its top-tier offerings. During a downturn, there is always a flight to quality. When asked what character from a movie he’d be, Nate chose Maverick from Top Gun, a fitting choice for a native of The Woodlands. The Woodlands itself is a maverick, set apart from the rest of Houston, boldly drawing the Houston metro north to meet it.
Snapped: Marcus & Millichap co-workers David Luther, Doug O'Toole, Nate Newman and Taylor Booker.