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Koontz McCombs Sells Encino Trace Office Park to Brandywine Realty Trust

31 May 2014, 4:47 am

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Brandywine Realty Trust purchased Encino Trace, the office park project located at 5707 Southwest Parkway in southwest Austin, from San Antonio-based developer Koontz McCombs. Details about the transaction remain undisclosed.

The office campus spans more than 54 acres, set to include 320,000 square feet of Class A office space. It will also include a parking garage, an on-site fitness center, a basketball court, a multi-purpose sports field, as well as expansive outdoor amenities such as a 1.5 mile hiking and running trail. To minimize environmental impact, the development will cover less than eight acres, with the buildings designed to achieve a three-star rating from Austin Energy’s Green Building Program. Construction work has already begun, with Koontz McCombs Construction as general contractor.

“Encino Trace meets our definition of what premier office space should be for the kind of clients we enjoy serving,” said Gerard Sweeney, president & CEO of Brandywine Realty Trust, in a news release. “It’s a good example of how thoughtful design can enhance the interior work experience and respect the surrounding environment. That’s a standard we seek in all our projects, and it fits perfectly with Austin’s active lifestyle culture.”

The first tenant to sign a lease for the new building is ARM Holdings PLC, currently a tenant in Brandywine’s Park on Barton Creek campus. It plans to settle its engineering design center there as of the spring of 2015. Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. represented ARM in the lease transaction, while Oxford Commercial represented Koontz McCombs.

“This has been a uniquely challenging and rewarding experience for us,” said Bart Koontz, president & CEO of Koontz McCombs. “It was a complicated transaction involving all of our service areas, leasing, development and construction simultaneously. Best of all, it gave us the opportunity to work with two outstanding companies in Brandywine and ARM. It’s always a pleasure to work with top-flight, professionally managed companies.”



HMC Opens Wyndham Microtel Inn & Suites

24 May 2014, 12:13 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

The Eagle Ford Shale oil and gas development is a powerful magnet for different kinds of businesses. Hospitality Management Corp. (HMC) recently announced the opening of a newly built Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham in Kenedy, Texas, just one hour south of San Antonio.

It marks the 16th hotel the company has acquired and managed in Texas. “We are excited to expand our Texas presence with another hotel in the Eagle Ford Oil & Gas shale play area,” said Gerald Morris, vice president of operations for HMC, in a news release. “HMC is keenly focused on growth in both the Eagle Ford and Cline Texas Oil and Gas shale areas, inclusive of new hotel development. In the past several months, we have added nine hotels located in these dynamic markets to HMC’s growing portfolio, with several more in the pipeline.”

The new development is a 100 percent non-smoking facility, and offers 83 guest rooms and pet-friendly benefits, plus large-vehicle parking. The price of a room includes continental breakfast, and other amenities include free Wi-Fi in the rooms and throughout the hotel, laundry facilities, flat-screen televisions, refrigerators and microwaves. Local calls are also free, while fax, copy and mail service are available at the front desk.

The location caters to business travelers, with local attractions to unwind like Karnes County Club Golf Course and Joe Gulley Park. The hotel is located at 333 N. Sunset Strip Drive, accessible from TX-181.

Photo courtesy of Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham.



KB Home Acquires 78-Acre Lot for New Mirabel Community

18 May 2014, 5:05 am

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

A new community of single-family homes is scheduled to enter the construction phase in September. Renowned homebuilder KB Home will build Mirabel on 78 acres northwest of San Antonio, at the base of the Texas Hill Country, along the IH-10 corridor. It expects to hold a groundbreaking event in spring 2015.

KB Home chose a logistically perfect location for Mirabel: minutes away from major employers, retail and entertainment options, and prestigious schools, on Old Fredericksburg and Ralph Fair roads. Also in the area are the University of Texas San Antonio, Valero, NuStar, USAA, The Shops at La Conterra and The Rim.

This is not the firm’s first acquisition and development in the area. Known for its commitment to maintain and grow its business portfolio in San Antonio, KB Home currently has homes listed for sale in 25 locations in San Antonio, Boerne, Cibolo and New Braunfels.

“We are excited to be back along the IH-10 corridor and look forward to building a beautiful community among the Heritage Oak groves at Mirabel,” said Brett Dietz, president of KB Home’s Central Texas division, in a news statement. “With the extensive community amenities, spacious lot sizes and the popular home designs we plan to offer here, we believe Mirabel is poised to become one of our most popular projects when it opens next year.”

At Mirabel, the homebuilder has planned to offer four one-story and 12 two-story floor plans, ranging in size from 2,004 to 4,094 square feet and featuring as many as five bedrooms and three baths. Ten of the floor plans will show the master bedroom on the first floor, and planned amenities include a community park and pool exclusively for Mirabel’s residents. The homes will be designed to match ENERGY STAR® guidelines, with energy- and water-efficiency details. One of them is WaterSense®, a WiserTM home management system that monitors and controls the home’s energy usage as commanded by the homeowner.



NRP Group Sells Belleza at Cresta Bella Apartments to Inland

10 May 2014, 4:34 am

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

The Class A multifamily development Belleza at Cresta Bella Apartments has changed owners. NRP Group LLC turned it over to Illinois-based Inland Real Estate Investment Trust for an undisclosed amount; the sale was brokered by CBRE Group Inc.

“Inland is the model for best-in-class real estate. We’re confident their team will provide an exceptional experience for Belleza’s residents and its surrounding community,” said Seth Mendelsohn, vice president of investment & asset management for NRP, in a press statement. “In turn, Belleza will greatly benefit Inland as a trophy asset, with awe-inspiring quality and beauty.”

NRP built the Belleza at Cresta Bella Apartments in 2013, ensuring it will become one of Texas’ most desirable communities through its contemporary design, resort-style amenities and breathtaking panoramic views. It features luxurious amenities such as a high-tech business center, expansive fitness gym with yoga room, two dog parks, an infinity pool overlooking the Hill Country area and a second one, larger and with cabanas and a grilling area. Apartment amenities flaunt quartz counters, stainless appliances, tile backsplash lighting, attached parking and more.

Located in the Hill Country of San Antonio’s Northside, the 288-unit upscale community was 98 percent occupied at the time of the sale. Situated along the west side of Interstate Highway 10 at Cam Bullis Road, the community is close to some of San Antonio’s most frequented areas for shopping, dining and recreational activities; the Shops of La Cantera, Six Flags Fiesta Texas and the Rim are in close proximity.



Heyco Energy Group Invests in Gas Converting Plant for Eagle Ford Shale Area

2 May 2014, 6:52 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Dallas-based Heyco Energy Group is developing a new plant about an hour-and-a-half east of San Antonio, in Lavaca County on alternate U.S. Highway 77. It will produce liquefied natural gas (LNG), which will be sold to fuel distributors in the Eagle Ford Shale area, but not directly to the public or LNG users.

The project is estimated to cost around $91 million. Construction is scheduled to begin in May or June and should be finalized within eight to 11 months. The facility, the company’s first of this kind, will convert natural gas extracted from the shale into LNG, used to fuel drilling rigs and hydraulic fracturing equipment used in the area. Enterprise Products Partners will provide Heyco with gas.

“Producers have figured out that it takes a lot of energy to find and produce energy,” Heyco President Chris Coleman reported to the San Antonio Business Journal. “They’re recognizing that LNG is less expensive than diesel fuel and has lower emissions.” An ever-increasing number of oil and gas producers are using cleaner fuels, this way solving two problems with one solution: reducing the creation of greenhouse gas and cutting costs.



Construction Progresses at Candlewood Suites in San Antonio

17 Apr 2014, 10:35 am

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

What is to become the “largest Candlewood Suites hotel” in the world is progressing toward a scheduled open date in July 2014. Cleveland Construction Inc., the current general contractor for the Fort Sam Houston Candlewood Suites hotel, located in Joint Base San Antonio, shared updates about the massive development, designed by EDI International.

The expansive project will be built on five stories of pre-fabricated cold-formed metal panel structure, encompassing 153,685 square feet that will turn into 310 studio and one-bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens and generous work areas in each room. Hotel amenities will include a swimming pool with patio pavilion, business and fitness centers, guest laundry facilities, a breakfast bar and on-post shuttle service. The exterior consists of gypsum board sheathing, a fluid applied barrier, an exterior insulation finishing system (EIFS), a TPO roofing system and blast-resistant windows and storefront systems.

Work is underway on the concrete sidewalks and EIFS; the swimming pool area is prepared, as is the final site grading. On the interior, work is done on the drywall, ceramic tile installation, vinyl flooring, interior doors and hardware, toilet and bath accessories, electrical wiring, HVAC devices and trim, and installation of the elevator systems.

The hotel development is part of Privatization of Army Lodging, an Army-led program established to revitalize on-post lodging facilities for service members, their families and all government travelers. “Breaking ground on the first Candlewood Suites hotel is a major milestone for the PAL program,” said Charlie Smith, senior vice president & general manager of portfolio operations – lodging for Lend Lease (US) Public Partnerships, during the groundbreaking event.



San Antonio’s Shavano Centre III Listed For Sale Through Marcus & Millichap

7 Apr 2014, 2:21 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Marcus & Millichap recently announced it has been chosen by a San Antonio developer to market for sale the office building known as Shavano Center III. Scott Ryan, an associate vice president for investment, is heading the effort. The property is listed for $12.5 million, or $197 per square foot.

“Shavano Center III is stabilized at 100 percent occupancy,” said Ryan in a news release. “The property is an attractive, well-placed asset with a varied tenant mix and staggered rollover.”

The asset is located in the Far North submarket, at 3619 Paesanos Parkway, between Interstate Highway 10 and U.S. Highway 281. Built in 2007, it totals 63,501 square feet on three stories. The 3.29-acre, park-like property features mature oak trees; the building is constructed from concrete tilt wall panels with stone veneer, encasing a steel frame. Shavano Center III features a security surveillance system with 24-hour card key access, and tenants have control of HVAC and electricity. Surrounding retail and entertainment establishments include The Shops at La Cantera, The Westin Resort, The Rim and the Six Flags Fiesta Texas.

According to Marcus & Millichap, San Antonio’s office market will go through some positive changes throughout 2014. Vacancy will fall to 13.8 percent, as a sign of employment growth and consequently of additional investor interest. Rents will go up 2.7 percent, following last year’s increase of 0.3 percent. Sales are also looking up, as institutional investors and REITs gain interest in newer, multi-tenant and sale-leaseback opportunities.



Presidium Group Acquires Villages of Cinnamon Creek

1 Apr 2014, 1:33 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Dallas-based Presidium Group L.L.C. announced its fourth acquisition of a residential property in the San Antonio area over the past six months. The other three apartment complexes are the 252-unit Oakwell Springs, the 81-unit Hunter’s Ridge Apartments and the 123-unit Towne Oaks apartments.

The Villages of Cinnamon Creek is a 348-unit multifamily community located on the Northwest Side, at 8722 Cinnamon Creek Drive. In close proximity are the University of Texas Health Science Center, the University of Texas at San Antonio and the national headquarters of USAA.

Transaction details have not been made public, but last year the property was assessed at $21 million. According to the Bexar Appraisal District, the previous owner of the community was F&F International Associates L.P. Presidium plans to rebrand and renovate the community in the coming months, having allocated $3 million for capital improvements. Work includes upgrades to the units’ interior hardware, plumbing, lighting fixtures and appliances. Exterior work will consist of improvements to the building exteriors, amenities and common areas.

“The Villages of Cinnamon Creek is an outstanding asset in good physical condition in one of the most desirable San Antonio submarkets,” said Presidium co-CEO Cross Moceri in a press statement. “The community is well located and performing at strong levels, with upside potential to significantly increase rental income through value-add renovations.”



San Antonio City Council Selects Gustafson Guthrie Nichol to Design Hemisfair’s Civic Park

25 Mar 2014, 1:39 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

The San Antonio City Council has selected a firm to design and arrange the landscape architecture for the Hemisfair Park. The winner is Seattle-based Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN). The project is part of a series of three parks on the Hemisfair site.

The downtown site is located at one of the most vibrant pedestrian intersections of the city – Market Street and Alamo Street – and it spreads across more than eight acres. Plans are for a beautiful urban green space embraced by a lively, walkable district, with the design based on the community’s vision for the park. Completion and availability to the public are set for 2018, just in time for San Antonio’s Tercentennial and the 50th Anniversary of the World’s Fair.

The transformation of the Hemisfair site is being led by the non-profit Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corp. (HPARC). GGN will collaborate with San Antonio-based Alamo Architects and a team of local and national design and engineering experts. Kathryn Gustafson, founding principal of GGN, and principal Keith McPeters will lead the design team. Project consultants are Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Vickrey & Associates, CHG Engineering, Ximenes & Associates, Jaster-Quintanilla, Tillett Lighting Design, Drew Collaborative Works, Toole Design Group, CMS Collaborative, Theatre Projects Consultants and ETM Consultants.

GGN’s other projects in the U.S. and Europe include the Lurie Garden at Millennium Park in Chicago; the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial at Hyde Park in London; Cultuurpark Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam; Seattle City Hall Plaza; Valencia Parque Central in Spain; and the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

“We were immediately drawn to the Hemisfair project as a rare opportunity to create one of the world’s great public spaces,” said Kathryn Gustafson in a news statement. “We are excited by the design potential inherent in the cross-cultural influences that define and propel San Antonio – a city with a rich history and a growing urban population,” she added.

Photos courtesy of Hemisfair 



KB Home Announces New Community of Built-to-Order Homes in New Braunfels

18 Mar 2014, 3:49 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

This summer, New Braunfels will make room for a new construction site that will offer to homebuyers 469 Built to Order homes in a new community called West Village at Creekside. The grand opening is scheduled for January 2015.

The developer is KB Home, which recently announced acquisition of land where future residents will have the option to choose from two collections. Amenities will include a private swimming pool, a picnic pavilion, walking trails and a playscape for children. The surrounding areas offer rapid access to retail shopping, Comal ISD schools, a Buc-ee’s convenience store and The Village at Creekside, known as the largest healthcare hub between San Antonio and Austin.

“The Village at Creekside includes a hospital, labs, medical offices, fitness facilities and serves as a lifestyle center for the local area,” said Brett Dietz, president of KB Home’s San Antonio division, in a press statement. “We are excited to offer our beautiful, new energy-efficient homes to those who want to call this growing part of New Braunfels home.”

All homes will be built with energy efficiency in mind to help residents save on utility bills. WaterSense-labeled faucets and fixtures will be incorporated in each home to conserve natural resources. Those interested can opt for solar panels, which help lower energy bills further.

This is KB Home’s third New Braunfels community and joins 23 other communities in San Antonio. The newest ones on the market are Park Vista, CrossCreek and Esperanza, and the plans for further growth in the area don’t stop there.

“In addition to being one of San Antonio’s premier homebuilders, we pride ourselves on being one of the area’s first-choice land buyers,” added Dietz. “KB Home’s extensive market knowledge and strong relationships with local land sellers enable us to identify and quickly secure exceptional opportunities to offer our homes in highly attractive locations, including in New Braunfels, where West Village at Creekside will be built.”







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