Oct 18

Brenham Shopping Center Developers Say Project Progressing Nicely

Heads of the new shopping center project in Brenham say development is coming along well.

The Houston-based developer Baker Katz is currently developing 35 acres of land at the Highway 290 – Chappell Hill Street intersection, with plans to build a 200,000 square-foot shopping center at that location.

Kenneth Katz of Baker Katz said work at the site has been underway for four to six weeks, and the developer has been in active conversation with several major retailers.

Katz said, while no lease agreements have been finalized, the response from retailers has been encouraging.

Katz said, for the size of the center being planned, he estimated about 20 tenants would fill the center. However, he noted that largely depends on the size of the tenants being worked with. A certain number of tenants need to be considered national retailers.

Katz said crews have had to move a lot of dirt around the site to get it into condition for development, and there are still a few months of dirt work left. In addition, dirt at the site will need to rest for several months before it can be built on. That being the case, he said there will be months where nothing happens at the site.

Earlier this year, Baker Katz entered into a sales tax abatement with the City of Brenham and Washington County for the project. The agreement will reimburse the developer $6 million in sales taxes over a 12-year period, with the city contributing $4 million and the county putting forward $2 million. The city will also contribute roughly $2 million for traffic and infrastructure improvements.

Katz said that having the help of the city and the county was “critical” to the project moving forward.

Katz said the current timeline for the project looks “realistic”, and the summer of 2021 should see the first wave of retailers and restaurants open for business.

Written by Josh Blaschke
Read the Original Article Here

Oct 8

5Qs for Jason Baker about Houston

Born and raised in Texas, a graduate of Texas A&M, and having spent 15 years serving retailers in the Houston market as a principal of the Baker Katz real estate brokerage, Jason Baker knows the Lone Star State. He has scouted locations for a diverse client list that includes Best Buy, AMC Theatres, and American Furniture Warehouse, so we thought Jason would be the guy to ask for an insider’s take on the Houston market.

Houston and Dallas are hotbeds for brick-and-mortar retail growth. What, specifically, does Houston offer to expanding retailers?
The old adage “retail follows rooftops,” could not be truer in Houston. Metro Houston has experienced unprecedented population growth in the last decade, rising more than 18% to 7.5 million people, and we’re heading to 11. With an increase in residential construction comes the need for desirable, accessible retail options and that’s exactly the trend we’re seeing continue in Houston.

Construction of new retail square footage is declining in the market, according to Marcus & Millichap. Is the market saturated?
In the early 2000s, we were adding 5 or 6 million square feet a year. This year, it’s around 4 million. I think it’s just a sign that retailers are being more strategic about spacing between stores and being mindful of cannibalization as they expand their footprints. As a broker, I’m encouraged by the amount of retail that continues to be added throughout Houston and the opportunities that exist for first-to-market concepts in particular.

Give us the key demographics in Houston.
Houston is the one of the most diverse cities in the nation, with more than 140 languages spoken in the metro area. Our energy industry, our port, our medical complex…they draw a truly international populace. So you need to keep a fresh perspective on what types of retailers will thrive in which communities. Also important is understanding Houston’s population shift back inside the urban core, as this allows for opportunities to serve more residents living in the downtown area.

Are there any bargains to be had in specific neighborhoods?
The short answer is no, but that’s due in part to the tremendous population growth we’ve seen over the last decade. There is a big move back to urban living inside Beltway 8. We’re seeing meaningful development in all four quadrants of the city with land values and rent as high as we’ve ever seen them.

What do you personally love about Houston?
If there’s a friendlier city, I haven’t been to it. I really value our ethnic makeup. The culture that runs through our city is unlike any other city in Texas. You truly have to experience it for yourself. It’s an entrepreneurial town, filled with risk-takers who bring big ideas to our city. It is the home of the wildcatters, after all. Also, Houston’s cost of living is relatively low for a metroplex of its size. All our residents can afford to go out and experience our amazing city.

by Al Urbanski
CSA – The Business of Retail
Read the Original Article Here

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