Austin Calling

In anticipation of our team heading to Austin next week to start development, I figured it was appropriate to inaugurate the Austin section of our website.  Only minor problem...I couldn't figure out how to add an "Austin Blog" tab to the top part of the site and subsequently post there.  I guess it's a good thing we are calling in the big guns.

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Commercial Leasing Definitions - Right Of First Refusal Right Of First Offer

In real estate leasing terms, the Right of First Refusal (ROFR) is a legal option of a tenant to rent property before another party can.  This option is appealing to businesses who are planning ahead for future expansion and want the option to secure additional specified space if and when an outside party shows interest in said space. Landlords will offer this kind of option to prospective (or current) tenants to promote growth of a business within their property.

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Houston Office Leasing Q1 Overview - Get The Deals While They're Hot!

The city of Houston sure had a good beginning to 2011.  Fast Company Magazine named Houston its 2011 City of the Year, which could help the city recruit new businesses and cause a spike in leasing activity.  The NCAA Final Four was held at Reliant Stadium, which gave us two great semi-final games (the Final, not so much).  And, according to Jones Lang LaSalle's Houston Office Leasing Highlights Q1 report,  economic conditions are improving and we're in much better shape than a year ago.

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Commercial Real Estate Lease Legalese - Make Sure You Are Protected

Written By: a Houston based associate of an international law firm representing clients in a broad range of developments, financings, dispositions and acquisitions of a variety of commercial projects, including the sale, acquisition, leasing, financing and development of mixed-use, office, retail, industrial and energy facilities.

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Houston Commercial Development Returns

While the talking heads on CNBC and Bloomberg keep flapping their lips about if the recession is over or if the recovery has begun or “maybe something really cool that I don't even know about,” here in Houston we are starting to see signs pointing to a brighter future. Fresh on the heels of Hines’ completion of BG Group Place they are already preliminary discussions for another downtown office building. As this article points out, we will soon be seeing the first new office building in the Galleria area break ground over the summer.

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Is Houston Commercial Office Space a Commodity?

After reading a very informative post on CRE outsider about the future of CRE data, I began to think about an often-debated question among my friends (we are geeks, what can I say).  This question revolves around if Houston commercial office space (or anywhere for that matter) is just another commodity (like wheat, coffee, airline tickets, etc.) or if this definition oversimplifies the Houston commercial real estate business. A commodity is defined by Webster’s as “a good or service whose wide availability typically leads to smaller profit margins and diminishes the importance of factors other than price “.

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Coworking Already Evolving, but yet to hit Houston...

The concept of sharing office space, either through Houston Coworking or co-spacing is gaining traction almost daily. Fast Company just published an article touting the benefits of working in these environments. Examples abound in both San Francisco and New York Coworking and this decade old idea is quickly maturing into more advanced concepts. It is amazing this idea is already evolving before the first iteration has made it to Houston!

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Learning from A Student (of the Real Estate Game)

I grabbed coffee earlier with Joe Stampone of A Student of the Real Estate Game.   He knows his stuff and the blog that he has been writing for more than two years is a first rate resource to learn more about Real Estate as an industry.  While it won’t help you find that perfect space TheSquareFoot, it is one of the best destinations for actual industry knowledge around.  Also, for those of you looking to get into real estate as a profession, he has plenty of invaluable advice.

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Commercial Real Estate Definitions - Base Year

The term Base Year pertains to tenant property expenses in commercial buildings for lease.  Having a base year lease agreement is essentially the combination of a Triple Net Lease, where the tenants are responsible for the property's real estate taxes, insurance, maintenance, repairs, utilities and other items and a Gross Lease, where the property landlord handles those expenses.  A landlord likes base year agreements because they act as a safety net, should the property's expenses significantly increase over the course of a given tenant's lease term.  In general, a base year is calculated on a calendar year basis or the first 12 months of a tenant's occupancy.

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Houston Retail Space Gets Shoutout in WSJ!

The recession’s hit to Houston retail space has been well documented.  In this recent article in the Wall Street Journal, several stats from a survey by Colliers International covering the closures of four prominent big-box retailers over the last couple of years are particularly sobering.  Just over half of the surveyed properties are still vacant and the rest of them were re-leased for rents that averages almost 20% less than what the previous tenants were paying.   As the article points out, the recent bankruptcies of Blockbuster and Borders will only add to the problems.  One positive note is that none of the seven borders locations in Houston were on the initial chopping block so it appears that Houston retail space is holding up better than other national markets.

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Executive Space vs Virtual Office - Is The Line Blurring?

It seems like every other day I see an ad for an executive suite or virtual office in Houston. I thought I would do a little research as to the differences between them and I learned how they are ultimately becoming the same thing.  In the past five years, the virtual office has become one of the favorite words of executive suite landlords in Houston.

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Shared Office Space - Big on both coasts...Is Houston Next?

I was just in New York City for a friend's wedding and used the opportunity to meet with and talk to other early stage companies about their experience with finding office space. New York commercial real estate is clearly a whole different beast, but the general concerns are the same. They were looking for open, collaborative spaces at a decent price, however, they did not want to lock themselves into a space too big or small as things can change very radically and quickly. These companies were funded, had multiple employees, and had a dedicated server / computer equipment (I guess sometimes, a laptop isn’t enough). Thus [co-working in NYC] (http://www.thesquarefoot.com/New-York-City/Coworking-in-New-York] was not an ideal option. They wanted some form of dedicated space.

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Houston Office Space Options for Entrepreneurs - Office, Home, Something In Between?

Being a successful entrepreneur is a desire of many hard working individuals. Though being an entrepreneur is a great way to take control of your work and life,  it poses a few challenges when it comes to balancing the difference between work and home life, especially for those working out of their homes. It got me thinking, what office space options for entrepreneurs are out there for those who do not have a lot of cash, but also don't want to be holed up in their house all day everyday?

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What Is LEED Certified Commercial Property In Houston

Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design or LEED is essentially a building certification system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.  It's primary purpose is to give office space building owners and operators guidelines for achieving efficient energy savings, utility efficiency, CO2 emissions management, and overall improved environmental quality.

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Houston Commercial Property Landscaping - A Bigger Deal Than You Might Think!, Part 1

Landscaping commercial real estate plays a very important role in a commercial property's appearance, especially to potential customers and business clients coming in and out of a Houston office space rental or Houston retail space.  It's an integral part of the leasing process, so most commercial property owners will spend a considerable amount of time and resources ensuring the building's landscape design  is maintained.  Building visitors who could potentially be shopping properties in preparation of signing an office lease are certainly aware of how well the grounds are kept.

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Houston Commercial Property Landscaping - A Bigger Deal Than You Might Think!, Part 2

Commercial property landscaping isn't just about picking the prettiest trees, flowers, and bushes, and having a contractor plant them and call it a day.  There are several factors that need to be considered before a landlord decides what kind of landscaping his/her property needs.  Depending on the landscaping budget and climate, an office rental property or retail shopping center may be better suited to have plants that can with stand climate changes but may not be as visually appealing.  A higher budget may mean more variety and aesthetic beauty, which usually comes with more frequent maintenance.

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