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.