What Was The Good News For August?


Denton County property values continued their upward climb this year.  The Denton Central Appraisal District’s 2016 certified valuations were finalized on July 22, 2016. Countywide property values rose nearly 11%  over last year.  Unfortunately, property owners who disagree with the Denton CAD’s 2016 appraisal of their property value must have filed a written protest with the Appraisal Review Board (ARB) before May 1.  As expected, the 2016 Certified Valuations were less than the Preliminary Valuations, but higher than the 2015 Certified Valuations.

 California-based Charles Schwab Corp. will create at least 1,200 new jobs with its planned regional office campus in northeast Tarrant County.  The 500,000-square-foot office center in Westlake has been given a $6 million Texas Enterprise Fund grant to help pay for the project.  The San Francisco-based company rented office space in Westlake to temporarily house up to 500 Schwab employees in November 2015, so this is a commitment to the DFW area.  Construction on the new office center begins in 2017.

H-E-B continues to tease North Texans with the prospect of opening grocery stores in the region. The San Antonio-based grocery recently purchased six Sun Fresh Market stores, and remains coy about whether those locations will become home to H-E-Bs or the fancier Central Market brand. The state’s largest independent grocery chain has purchased four Dallas store locations in Uptown, Lake Highlands, Lakewood and Northwest Dallas, along with 2 more store locations in McKinney and Grapevine. H-E-B also owns 20 pieces of land in North Texas where new stores could be built.


Pinterest is changing the way it sells its ads.  Marketers will now be able to bid on inventory through an auction process. Previously, CPMs – or cost per thousand impressions – were only available on a fixed-priced basis. Meanwhile, the company also added that marketers can now add frequency capping, which will allow them to specify the maximum number of times a person can see their campaign.

Dallas has made the list of international cities with the greatest office rent increases, according to a report released on August 10, 2016 by commercial real estate firm JLL.  Big D was at the top of JLL’s list of top markets for quarter-over-quarter office rent growth.  Average quoted rents in the Dallas area were up 8% at midyear from the first quarter.  Office rents in North Texas now top $25 per square foot on average — a record high, according to JLL.  The only other North American markets with big rent gains on the list were Montreal (6.3%) and San Francisco (5.8%).  Rents in Houston, hard hit by the energy sector slowdown, were actually 1.1% lower this year, so as you study data, be aware that Texas numbers as a whole, may not be reflective of North Texas activities.


Ford Motor Co. announced in August that it intends to have a fully driverless vehicle — no steering wheel, no pedals — on the road within five years. The car will initially be used for commercial ride-hailing or ride-sharing services, with sales to consumers coming later.  Ford’s approach to the autonomous car breaks from many other companies, like Mercedes-Benz and Tesla Motors, which plan to gradually add self-driving capability to traditional cars. In July, BMW announced a plan to put an autonomous vehicle with a steering wheel on the road by 2021.  Ford is taking the same approach as Alphabet Inc.’s Google, which supports moving directly to self-driving cars once the technology is perfected.

What Was The Good News For July?

Mary KayMary Kay Inc. will build a $100 million manufacturing and R&D complex near Lewisville’s Vista Ridge shopping mall. The new plant will start construction in September on 26 acres at the northeast corner of Denton Tap Road and Vista Ridge Mall Drive near State Highway 121.  The project will replace the company’s almost 50-year-old plant in Northwest Dallas.  The 470,000 square foot building will open in the first quarter of 2018.  The manufacturing operation produces up to 1.1 million products per day and more than half of the output of that plant is exported to Mary Kay Inc.’s international markets.


Tech Week

Techweek is a week long technology festival for entrepreneurs, tech visionaries and thought leaders to meet and enable the innovation ecosystem across the globe. Techweek was founded 5 years ago in Chicago, and in 2016, will be held in 98 cities in North America.  Toronto and Dallas are two new additional cities for 2016, and the November 14 – 20, 2016 Dallas event is expected to draw 5,000 – 6,000 attendees. Techweek will remain in its current markets of Detroit, Chicago, Kansas City, New York, Miami and Los Angeles.

Wind Energy

American wind power supported a record 88,000 jobs at the start of 2016—an increase of 20% in a year—according to the U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report.  The Texas wind power industry currently ranks first for both installed and under-construction capacity and employs almost 25,000 people.   Strong job growth coincided with wind ranking number one as America’s leading source of new generating capacity last year, outpacing solar and natural gas.   Innovative turbine technology has cut the cost of wind energy by two-thirds in just six years, which is leading to continued interest and investment in the wind energy industry.   Texas is home to about 40 wind turbine manufacturers, and the wind industry has a total capital investment of almost $33 billion.  The Department of Energy estimates Texas could produce enough wind energy by 2030 to run about 15 million homes.


Pokemon Go has seen more downloads and more activity than Twitter or Tinder either one since its release on July 6, 2016.  Nintendo is reaping huge rewards from Pokemon Go’s instant success, seeing an amazing 25% increase in stock shares. At $37 or so, the company’s stock price is still well below the high it hit in 2007 when Nintendo was trading in the mid $70 range, however the increase adds somewhere around $9 billion to the company’s market value.  While the game itself is free to play and can easily be used without spending any money, it’s still bringing in somewhere around $1.5 million in revenue each day through in-app purchases. Businesses of all shapes and sizes are finding ways to cash in on the Pokemon Go craze, by having locations called PokeStops and Gyms, that correspond to the business’s real-life locations that players have to go to in order to pick up items or battle other trainers. Unfortunately, most Pokemon Go players are not big spenders, but certain businesses in certain places are seeing a significant impact.  Impressively, over 60% of those who have downloaded the app in the US are using it daily.  Be watching Virtual Reality vs Augmented Reality, and what that may mean for the real estate industry and many others.


The U.S. Senate recently passed H.R. 3700, the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act,” by unanimous consent. This legislation includes reforms to current Federal Housing Administration restrictions on condominium financing, among other provisions, and is long supported by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).  Changes include efforts to make FHA’s recertification process “substantially less burdensome,” while lowering FHA’s current owner-occupancy requirement from 50 percent to 35 percent. The bill also requires FHA to replace existing policy on transfer fees with the less-restrictive model already in place at the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Condominium sales in Texas’s 4 major metro areas increased in the first half of 2016, according to a report released the Texas Association of REALTORS®.   According to the report, Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio all experienced an increase in condo sales between January and May 2016 compared to the same six-month period last year.

What Was The Good News For June 2016?

Emeryville, California-based Jamba Inc. — which owns and franchises Jamba Juice stores — plans to relocate its headquarters to Frisco’s Hall Office Park, bringing more than 100 corporate jobs to North Texas.  Jamba has signed a lease for about 25,000 sq feet of office space, which will include about 19,000 sq feet of office and meeting space, as well as a roughly 6,000-square-foot test kitchen and retail store front.  The new corporate office, called the, “Jamba Whirl’d Center,” will house Jamba’s operations, sales and marketing, business development, finance, supply chain, human resources and technology departments.  The company’s California lease expires at the end of 2016, so the move will be accomplished by then.



By the end of June 2016, Google Earth will receive a huge upgrade.  The mapping service will begin using images from a newer NASA satellite to produce crisper and clearer pictures.  Google says the higher quality images will be possible because of sensors in Landsat 8, a satellite that launched in 2013, and “new processing techniques.”  Landsat 8 can take pictures with a lot more detail, a lot more frequently, Google reports. That means Google will have access to twice as many images that are much more recent. Google can then piece together the best ones to formulate its maps.  The extra details mean that users should see more subtleties in landscapes, and become more aware of changes over time.


In 2015, the Dallas-Fort Worth area had the second-highest residential construction total of any U.S. market, according to data released in May 2016 from the U.S. Census Bureau.  Builders filed permits for more than 57,000 D-FW homes, apartments, condos and townhouses.  Only New York City – with 86,424 building permits – had more residential construction last year. In the D-FW area, slightly more than half of the building permits recorded in 2015 were for single-family homes. The rest went for new apartments.  Two other Texas cities made the top-10 building list – Houston and Austin.


Fieldhouse USA is expanding its longtime presence in Frisco by bringing its second U.S. indoor sports facility to Grapevine Mills mall in early 2017.  The indoor sports facility will bring youth and adult sport leagues and tournaments to the area. FieldhouseUSA is a league, event and tournament-based indoor sports facility projected to draw more than 1.6 million visitors annually to the new location. The 106,000-square-foot facility will feature nine basketball courts and nine volleyball courts offering league play in basketball, volleyball and indoor soccer. FieldhouseUSA also offers programs for performance training, all-sports camps, baseball/softball, birthday parties, boot camps, cheerleading, club volleyball, corporate events, dodge ball, lock-ins, skills training, taekwondo and tumble.


download“Dancing With The Stars” cast members, Maksim “Maks” and Valentin “Val” Chmerkovskiy have opened the Dance With Me studio in Southlake.   It became the first studio the owners opened outside of the New York City area.  The dance studio teaches all types of ballroom and Latin dances in both American and international styles for couples, groups and individuals.



Independence Fest 2016 in Flower Mound is presented by Market Street, and will be headlined by the musical group “Loverboy.” Independence Fest 2016 will also see a performance from the group Le Freak, plus a vintage car show, and a showcase of local businesses, with fireworks as the closing celebration of the July 4th event.  Other area fireworks displays include Kaboom Town in Addison on July 3rd and Willie Nelson’s July 4th picnic in Fort Worth.

How to Prevent Tree Roots from Damaging Your Property


Trees are hardy plants, and their roots fight back against man-made limits around them. In urban and suburban landscapes, tree roots are often forced to grow between buildings or under driveways and walkways—and they can cause costly damage if left unchecked.

“Before you plant a new tree in your yard, you need to understand how a tree could damage your property, and take appropriate measures to prevent that damage,” says Tchukki Andersen, a board-certified Master Arborist and staff arborist with the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA).

Woody tree roots thicken as they grow, gradually pushing shallow roots toward the surface. Since soil near the surface is best suited for root growth, most tree roots are just below the surface, placing them directly in conflict with man-made obstacles. Where the soil is covered by a solid driveway or patio, upward growing roots will grow against the underside of the pavement or pavers.

“Most damage is found six feet or less from the tree, since roots become smaller and less damaging the further they are from the trunk,” says Andersen. “Keep this in mind before you plant. That small sapling could become a large shade tree with roots spreading 30 or 40 feet outward from the trunk.”

Some homeowners, masons and landscapers manage intrusive roots by grinding down or removing them. This can be expensive, and is harmful to the tree. Wounding a tree’s roots creates points of entry for pathogens, leaving a tree vulnerable to disease. Cutting major roots also reduces a tree’s ability to absorb nutrients and water, leaving it more susceptible to drought. In addition, cutting roots can reduce a tree’s structural support, which increases the danger the tree will topple onto your house in high winds.

When cutting problem tree roots, remember:

• The farther you cut from the trunk, the less threat to the tree’s health, and the less danger of creating a hazard.

• Avoid cutting roots greater than 2 inches in diameter.

• Prune roots back to a side or sinker root (one that is growing downward) when possible.

• Roots recover from being severed when you cut them cleanly with a saw, instead of breaking them, and mulch and water well after pruning.

• Consult a qualified arborist when cutting within a distance equal to five times the trunk diameter to the trunk.

To avoid cutting tree roots altogether:

• Install physical root guides and barriers that redirect tree roots down and away from hardscapes with minimal impact on the tree.

• Curve new hardscape features, such as a driveway or patio, around the tree roots.

• Suspend hardscape features on small pilings to bridge over roots.

Ultimately, the best way to keep the trees and their roots on your property from causing damage is to select species that match site conditions, Andersen says, and to avoid planting large shade trees within 12 feet of hardscapes. In areas within five to seven feet of a paved area or structure, plant trees that grow to a mature height of less than 30 feet. In areas within seven to 10 feet of a paved area or structure, plant trees that grow to a mature height of less than 50 feet. Reserve trees that mature to higher than 50 feet for areas with at least 12 feet of clearance around the trunk; this allows adequate space for the roots.

A professional arborist can assess your landscape and work with you to determine the best trees to plant.

What was the Good News for May?

According to personal finance technology company SmartAsset, Dallas-based Dave & Buster’s Entertainment Inc. is the country’s second-best performing stock in the nation over the past five years. The Dallas-based entertainment company was the only North Texas business to make SmartAsset’s ranking the nation’s top 10 publicly traded companies, coming in second to Reno, Nevada-based Eldorado Resorts.  In SmartAsset’s study, D&B logged an average annual return of 73.42%, soaring above the national average of 5.52%.   The company held its initial public offering less than two years ago, and they have seen rapid physical expansion and revenue growth in that last two years. It opened 10 of its large-format entertainment centers in 2015, and has 83 centers in the U.S. and Canada. It has also signed a seven-store master development agreement for the Middle East.  The company plans to open another nine to 10 locations this year.

Almost 40 North Texas hotels are under construction, including the new Renaissance Hotel at Legacy West in Plano.  More than 16,000 additional hotel rooms are in the works in the Dallas-Fort Worth area – a 41 percent jump from a year ago, according to a new report from Lodging Econometrics.  Lodging Econometrics reports that there are currently 39 hotel projects under construction in the D-FW area, and 63 hotels are expected to start in the next 12 months.  D-FW currently ranks third in the country in hotel construction, behind New York (101 hotels) and Houston (41 projects).  Out of the hotels being built in North Texas, 29 are Marriott International flagged projects, Lodging Econometrics said.

Since 2009, Flower Mound has seen a net increase in jobs of 10,687.  In 2015, there were an additional 1,782 net jobs and already in 2016 Flower Mound has increased 1,487 jobs net.  Increased employment brings sales tax revenue and home sales!

The first Metroplex location for the popular Buc-ee’s Travel Center will open at the southwest corner of Texas 114 and Interstate 35W — across from the Texas Motor Speedway — at 6 a.m. Monday, 05/23/16, a store manager confirmed this week.  There are scheduled to be 240 employees at this location.  The north Fort Worth store will be the company’s 25th location, with another is scheduled to open later this year in Denton, on I-35 near Brinker. Most of the company’s stores are located in south Texas, with the closest store currently in Terrell.

Park Place Dealerships is about to break ground on a new Jaguar and Land Rover dealership on the south side of Texas 114, near Texan Trail, in Grapevine, with the facility expected to open in spring of 2017. Park Place Jaguar Land Rover will be built on 8 acres and will relocate the Park Place Jaguar business from Plano.

Park Place Jaguar Land Rover will feature a two-story building with  30 service bays, 12 “make ready” bays and a showroom that can hold 12 cars.  The service area will hold 9 vehicles and include a 2,800-sq-ft car wash.

The company already operates Park Place Lexus and Park Place Motorcars — the latter a Mercedes dealership — in Grapevine.

In recent months, the options for online shopping with curbside and home delivery have multiplied with Kroger, Wal-Mart, H-E-B Central Market and Amazon.com expanding and increasing online options in Texas.  Beginning June 1, 2016, Google Express becomes available in DFW also.  Google isn’t building its own fulfillment center, but instead will open their service throughout Texas in partnerships with Costco, Walgreens, Barnes & Noble and Whole Foods Market.