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Kim Gatley
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enior Vice President & Director of Research at REOC Austin

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Macy's to close 100 stores

Macy's closing three locations in Austin.

Macy’s closing three locations in Austin.

Struggling Cincinnati-based department store giant Macy’s Inc. announced Thursday it’s closing 100 stores in an effort to overhaul its retail strategy.

Macy’s (NYSE: M) will close a majority of those stores in early 2017, according to a news release. The locations of store closures will be announced at a later date, the company said. The company operates three stores in Austin: at Barton Creek Square southwest of downtown, at the Domain and at Lakeline Mall near Cedar Park. …Read Entire Post

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Water park, hotel and conference center slated for Round Rock

Kalahari water park, resort coming to Round Rock.

Kalahari water park, resort coming to Round Rock.

The city of Round Rock announced June 15 it is working with a company to bring a destination hotel, conference center and water park to the city in a move that city leaders are saying could turn Round Rock into a tourist destination.

The Round Rock location will feature up to 1,000 guest rooms, indoor and outdoor water parks, and a convention center. The development will also include additional entertainment, recreation and other mixed uses on 334 acres on Hwy. 79 across from the Dell Diamond and Old Settlers Park, according to city documents. …Read Entire Post

25 Best Cities for New Grads to Live, Work, and Play In

Austin ranked 6th by SmartAsset for new grads to live, work, and play in.

Austin ranked 6th by SmartAsset for new grads to live, work, and play in.

Austin, Texas, is SmartAsset’s sixth best city for new graduates, falling from the No. 1 spot in 2015. SmartAsset says the city’s rising cost of living contributed to the fall in rank; its affordability received a score of just 31.28. But the city scored high for job availability at 82.26 and life outside of work at 92.53.

The median gross rent (rent plus utilities and fuel expenses) in Austin was $1,012 for the four years through 2014, while the average travel time to work is approximately 23 minutes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. …Read Entire Post

UPS to build new package distribution facility in Round Rock

UPS distribution facility to begin construction in Round Rock.

UPS distribution facility to begin construction in Round Rock.

UPS will build a new package distribution and warehouse facility in Round Rock following an economic development deal approved by City Council May 12.

The council approved an economic development agreement with United Parcel Service Inc., otherwise known as UPS, to open a warehouse and distribution facility as well as hire at least 314 full-time equivalent employees.

The agreement states UPS will purchase approximately 50 acres of land and invest at least $70 million in facility improvements and personal property. According to a release from UPS, the package processing facility will include automated sorting systems and will house approximately 300 UPS delivery vehicles. The Round Rock building is expected to open at the end of 2018. …Read Entire Post

Austin, tech, and 18 hours

austin_cityOver the past decade, Austin has evolved from its ‘college town’ attitude into a dynamic metro with a dense urban core. In its new report, CBRE identifies key trends helping the Texas capital join the ranks of America’s major cities.

Office: due to robust employment growth, Austin’s office market is setting record highs in absorption and rents, while reaching new post-recession vacancy lows.

…Read Entire Post

Cielo moves ahead with innovative East Austin project with City Council's approval

Rendering of the The Foundry at 310 Comal St. in Central East Austin.

Rendering of the The Foundry at 310 Comal St. in Central East Austin.

Cielo Property Group is expected to break ground on The Foundry, an office and residential condominium project at 310 Comal St. The 95,444-sf development will include 78,324 sf of creative office space and 17 for-sale condo units.

Additionally, Cielo is trading property at 1409 and 1411 E. Fourth St. for land Habitat owns at 1600 and 1602 E. Fourth St. The new parcel will allow about 8,800 sf of additional development than could be entitled on the other parcel.

The Foundry mixed-use project could deliver as early as fourth quarter 2017.

Click here to read the full article: Cielo moves ahead with innovative East Austin project with City Council’s approval (Austin Business Journal, 4-1-2016)

Austin metro area surpasses 2 million residents

PopulationGrowth_BlogThe Austin metro area is officially home to more than 2 million people, according to U.S. Census Bureau numbers.

From July 2014 to July 2015, the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan area—which includes Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell counties—grew from 1,943,465 to 2,000,860, making it the fastest-growing metropolitan area with a population over 1 million for the fifth year in a row.  …Read Entire Post

While other Texas cities lose construction jobs, Austin holds steady

craneWhile some Texas cities such as Fort Worth and Houston are among the 153 metro areas in the U.S. that have seen a drop in construction jobs in the past year, Austin’s construction industry has held its own.

According to federal employment data released by the Associated General Contractors of America, Austin gained 100 construction jobs between August 2014 and August of this year. The Austin region …Read Entire Post

Mortgage REITs Fill Void Left By Banks

bank vaultKeefe, Bruyette & Woods has published a report detailing how mortgage REITs have begun picking up the slack that’s increasingly being left by banks. Opportunities for mREITs stem not only from the reluctance of the banking system to devote capital to residential mortgages, but also from their own operating model, says KBW.

“The share of residential mortgages on bank balance sheets has fallen dramatically” …Read Entire Post

Constructing Lending Grows Faster Than Traditional Loans

BankIconHere is an interesting factoid about the commercial real estate bank lending market: Currently bank lending for construction and development is growing faster than lending for completed buildings, according to a soon-to-be released independent analysis by Chandan Economics of call reports filed by banks with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

This is in marked contrast with recent history, Sam Chandan, president and Chief Economist of Chandan Economics …Read Entire Post