September 5, 2013

Major Expansion at Houston’s Galleria

HOUSTON – Simon Property Group is reportedly planning a major redevelopment of The Galleria in Houston, which will include a new 200,000 sf Saks Fifth Avenue store, a 300-unit high-rise residential tower and a high-end luxury retail boutique. The Galleria III wing of the mall will be torn down to make way for new Saks construction, David Contis, president of Simon Malls, told the Houston Chronicle.

The 2.4 million sf Galleria which has 400 stores and restaurants, two Westin hotels and three office towers, was developed by master developer Gerald Hines, with phase one starting over 40 years ago.

The Galleria has exceptional retail sales over $1.25 billion annually, Contis told the Chronicle’s David Kaplan, a veteran retail journalist.

Macy’s which has had two stores in the Galleria since Macy’s bought the Foley’s chain in 2005, will close one of its Galleria stores. The existing Saks space will be converted into 35 smaller stores, Simon said.

Simon currently owns or has an interest in 326 retail real estate properties in North America and Asia comprising 241 million sf. Simon is headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind.

September 4, 2013

Midway Developing Mixed-Use Project in Houston’s Inner Loop

HOUSTON – Midway Cos. has announced plans to develop a mixed-use project in the Upper Kirby District of Houston’s Inner Loop. An office project, anchored by energy trading firm Vitol, will be built as an anchor to the development. It is one of the area’s first major office construction projects in in decades, will serve as an anchor for a new mixed-use development.  The site is located at Richmond Avenue and Wakeforest Street, just west of Kirby Drive at Levy Park.

Midway is also known for its City Centre development at Katy Freeway at Beltway 8 in west Houston.

According to Mike Loya, the President of Vitol, “Vitol is very pleased to be working with Midway, the team behind the transformation of City Centre.  We look forward to our future home.”

Chris Oliver and Trey Strake of Cushman & Wakefield represented Vitol, and Michael Anderson of Colvill Office Properties and Shon Link with Midway negotiated the office lease.

August 27, 2013

Eminent Domain Action Heavy on Houston’s Gulf Freeway

HOUSTON – Deal Sikes & Associates has represented the majority of property owners in eminent domain cases involved in the recent widening of the heavily congested Interstate 45 South, also known as the Gulf Freeway. State officials have designated the Gulf Freeway as the third-most congested stretch of freeway in Texas.

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) exercised its power of eminent domain to obtain land for expansion of the Gulf Freeway, which is being widened from Beltway 8 to NASA Road 1.

As privately owned property was taken through eminent domain for the Gulf Freeway expansion, in many cases there was a significant disparity between the price offered by the governmental entity and fair market value, Deal Sikes reported

A number of property owners with highly valuable freeway frontage retained the services of Deal Sikes & Associates to determine the fair value of their holdings and the losses that resulted from the condemnation actions. The resolution of these cases resulted in increases in compensation for the property owners.

Deal Sikes, a valuation firm with heavy experience in eminent domain consulting, previously represented the majority of the commercial property owners impacted by the widening of the Katy Freeway, Highway 59 and Highway 290.

“Property owners must receive just compensation when governmental entities take their property through the government’s power of eminent domain,” said Matthew Deal, principal the Deal Sikes firm. “A thorough evaluation is required to ensure that just compensation is paid for the loss of their property and for damages to their remaining adjacent property.”

“The strong Houston economy and population growth has required a great deal of road expansion recently and we are anticipating more public improvement projects in the coming years,” said Mark Sikes of Houston-based Deal Sikes.

August 23, 2013

MetLife Provides $235 Million for Downtown Houston Office

HOUSTON – MetLife has closed a $235 million loan secured by the 46-story BG Group Place, for a partnership advised by Invesco Real Estate.

Completed by Hines in 2011, BG Group Place is a 973,861 sf office building in downtown Houston at 811 Main, on the block bordered by Fannin, Rusk and Walker streets.

BG Group Place is just two blocks from Block 69, at Texas Avenue and Main, where Hines plans to break ground in early 2014 on another major office tower.

BG Group place is over 96 percent occupied and the Houston downtown market is strong.  “The BG Group Place investment aligns well with our overall commercial real estate strategy and allows MetLife to grow in a key market for us,” said Robert Merck, senior managing director and head of real estate investments for MetLife.

The transaction was led by Chad McKenney and John Hall from MetLife’s Dallas regional office.

One of the largest CRE lenders, MetLife originated, through its real estate investments department, more than $9.6 billion in commercial mortgage loans in 2012.