NewsTalk Texas

College Station-Bryan

Texas A&M engineers step one to 600,000-SF complex 


COLLEGE STATION - Texas A&M University announced a $6 million contribution by ConocoPhillips that will support the construction of the new Engineering Education Complex (EEC) for the Dwight Look College of Engineering. When completed, the two centers will feature 600,000 sf of learning space.

The complex will be the innovated learning environment for the 25,000 expected engineers by 2025.

The $62 million EEC will be dedicated solely to undergraduate engineering education and will be built adjacent to the existing Zachry Engineering Center. There are plans to renovate the Zachry Engineering Center during the new construction project.

The complex will feature flexible classrooms, design and fabrication shared-use laboratories, collaborative space, tutoring services and will be the hub of undergraduate engineering.

Read more at tamuTimes.

Brenham building booming: permits hit $9.3M 


BRENHAM, WASHINGTON COUNTY - The city issued 32 permits for $4,227,802 in March 2014, bringing the 2014 total to 98 permits for $9,371,205, compared to 69 permits for $2,113,259 issued during the same period in 2013.

The largest single permit in March 2014 was for Seidel, Schroeder & Co.’s new $2,893,663 building at 2707 S. Market Street.

There were five new commercial construction permits issued in March 2014 for $2,940,573. So far in 2014, 12 permits have been issued for $3,956,099.

Home building surged during March 2014, with eight permits totaling $1,072,480 issued. So far in 2014, 21 permits for new homes have been issued for $2,453,680. Through March 2013, eight permits for homes were issued for $658,380.

Read more at the Brenham Banner-Press.

British bell rings for Brenham jobs and facility 


BRENHAM, WASHINGTON COUNTY - Ground has broken for British-based Precision Polymer Engineering (PPE). The company will lease a $3.3 million, 30,000-sf facility on a five-acre site in the Brenham Business Center near Hwy. 290 by GSL Constructors.

PPE is expected to create 22 jobs during the first year of operation and 60 new jobs over a five-year period. Salaries will average about $46,000, according to Clint Kolby of the Brenham Economic Development Foundation (BEDF).

PPE will invest $3.7 million in capital for machinery and equipment in the first year and another $8.3 million in capital improvements after five years.

The company has received a tax abatement from the Brenham City Council, which will allow a portion of city property taxes to be set aside.

Both PPE and GSL Constructors will receive $635,175 in total abatement during the tax phase-in period but will have paid a total of $1,143,685 in new taxes during the same period, according to the BEDF.

British-based Precision Polymer Engineering manufactures rubber products for industrial customers.

Read more at the Brenham Banner Press and Precision Polymer Engineering. You've read it, now listen to more "Small Towns, Big Deals" on Podcast 203.

Bryan approves fee waivers for some new home construction 

(3/28/2014 6:41:00 AM)

BRYAN - The Bryan City Council approved a program that offers incentives to home builders to build new homes in the Bryan city limits in order to bring more homes to the area. The program waives new home construction fees for residences between 2,200 and 3,000 sf.

The total cost of these fees can be around $1,500.

In the past five years, the City of Bryan has issued an average of 27 permits annually for homes built in the target range.

During January and February of 2014, the value of new homes in Bryan jumped 26 percent compared to the same time in 2013, according to Cherry Ruffino of Coldwell Banker United Realtors.

"It's going to see a positive effect overall. When we're building in Bryan, we're hiring subcontractors, we're generating a lot of business in Bryan," said Roger Williams, owner of Southwest Homes.

Read more at KAGS TV.

Bryan's 400-unit College Edge sharp with sale 


BRYAN - The 400-bed College Edge Apartments at 1512 HollowHill Dr. has been sold. The complex, which is 99 percent occupied, was purchased by RockStreet Partners LLC, a Dallas-based private equity firm.

RockStreet plans to upgrade the property’s amenities and interiors to fulfill the desires of students at Texas A&M University and Blinn College, said Travis Furr, co-founder of RockStreet Partners. Once complete, the renovations will help the firm push the growth of effective rents for the property.

Read more at the Dallas Business Journal.

Texas A&M breaking ground on $54M rec center redo 


COLLEGE STATION - The 300,000-sf Texas A&M Student Recreation Center will be getting a $54 million renovation. Groundbreaking will be March 24, 2014. The project includes 56,000 sf of renovated space and 113,000 sf of new construction.

Completion is set for December 2015. The renovation project will be the first major facelift for the building since it was built in 1995.

Recreation Center additions will include:

•  a personal training suite with an indoor turf area;
•  a gymnasium with two basketball courts;
•  activity rooms for group exercises;
•  a second entrance on the south side of the building;
•  an eight-lane, 25-meter indoor lap pool; and
•  an outdoor plaza on top of the expanded weight room.

Additionally, the natatorium will be gutted and will get $8 million worth of new mechanical equipment and cosmetic upgrades. The lighting in the building will be retrofitted to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

When the recreation center opened, there were about 1.2 million check-ins during the first year, said Dennis Corrington, executive director at the department of recreational sports. That number has fluctuated anywhere between 100,000 more or less every year since then.

The overhaul will be paid for with student fees, but they will not increase. Parts of the facility will be closed at different times during the renovations.

Read more at The Eagle.

Blue baskets roll to Bryan's 155,000-SF Walmart  


BRYAN - Walmart's new 155,000-sf store is open at 643 N. Harvey Mitchell Parkway. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it is the first major shopping center on Bryan's burgeoning west side.

The Walmart will be the anchor tenant in the shopping center, which is planning for additional stand-alone and multitenant retail buildings on the land ranging from 7,000 to 75,000 sf.

The store will employ 300 people, and about three-fourths of those will be in full-time positions. The average daily traffic count was 24,300 cars in 2012, but that number is expected to increase to 33,400 by 2032. The store's location is near the corner of Villa Maria Rd. and FM 2818.

The Dodge Project Report's valuation of $11 million for the 160,000-sf Walmart.


Brenham building permits over $5M in 2014 


BRENHAM, WASHINGTON COUNTY - The City of Brenham issued 28 building permits for $1,386,530 million in February 2014, pushing the 2014 two-month total to 66 permits for $5.1 million.

The largest single permit in February 2014 was the $200,000 renovation of the Bassett Building downtown.

Permits issued in February 2014 include:

•  commercial renovations — seven permits for $707,932;
•  new residential construction — five permits for $534,120;
•  residential renovations — nine permits for $109,328; and
•  residential additions — five permits for $32,750.

Read more at the Brenham Banner Press.

Where dreams come true! Blinn College called CC Disney World 

(3/3/2014 6:42:00 AM)

COLLEGE STATION-BRYAN - Blinn College, a community college, pumped $247 million into the local economy in 2013, according to an impact study by Economic Modeling Specialists International.

The net impact of the college payroll and expenses at the Bryan campus added about $39 million in regional income. "We have almost 700 faculty members, and in addition to that we have 300 plus staff members," said Bryan campus President Sylvia McMullen.

About 46 percent of students relocated from outside of the Brazos Valley and the money they spent on groceries, in rent and at local business added about $37.5 million to the local economy.

The accumulated contribution of former students employed in the regional workforce totaled about $171 million.

Texas taxpayers paid $19.7 million to support the Bryan campus in 2012–2013 and for every tax dollar spent, $5 was gained in added taxes and public sector savings.

The four-campus Blinn System pumped a combined $345 million into the local economies in Bryan, Brenham, Schulenburg and Sealy. That number is up significantly from a 2010 study that estimated the impact at $284 million.

The $247 million impact of the Bryan campus was more than twice the amount of the other three campuses combined.

Blinn District President Harold Nolte touted the broader role of the community college district. He said Blinn's 49 percent transfer rate is not only the highest in the state but is the best in the nation.

The average transfer rate in Texas is 27 percent, he said, and 72 percent of transfer students from Blinn college enroll at Texas A&M.

"It's amazing — you go to most places and they think we're still 3,000 to 4,000 students and we're not. We're 18,500 and we continue to grow," said Nolte. Blinn's enrollment has increased 31 percent since 2006.

Nolte also talked about Blinn's 31 percent enrollment increase since 2006. He called Blinn the "Disney World" of community colleges — where dreams come true.

Read more at The Eagle.

Kyle Field's largest video board in college sports 

(2/20/2014 10:00:00 AM)

COLLEGE STATION - The home of the 12th Man will now call itself home to the biggest video board in college sports. The new video board, to be located atop the new south endzone, will measure 47-feet tall by 163-feet wide (7,661 sf).

The video board is expected to be completed by A&M’s first home game against Lamar in September 2014.

Construction is on schedule and Kyle Field will hold 106,511 people during the 2014 season, according to Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp.

However, the capacity at Kyle Field will decrease to 102,500 in 2015 as the west side of the stadium in redeveloped to complete the project. The $450 million redevelopment of Kyle Field will make it the largest stadium in both The Southeastern Conference and Texas.

Read more at the Dallas Morning News.

See previous story Maroon with envy for Texas A&M Kyle Field expansion.

Brenham permits begin 2014 with a bang 


BRENHAM, WASHINGTON COUNTY - In January 2014, the City of Brenham issued 38 permits with estimated construction costs totaling $3,756,873, compared to 22 permits totaling $851,796 in January 2013.

The permits issued during January 2014 were:

•  new residential construction — eight permits, $847,080;
•  residential renovations — 12 permits, $125, 717;
•  residential additions — four permits, $309.486;
•  new commercial building — seven permits, $1,015,526;
•  commercial renovations — five permits, $1,689,564; and
•  commercial additions — one permit, $45,000

The largest single permit was issued to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church for its $953,564 remodeling project at the church’s fellowship hall.

Read more at the Brenham Banner-Press.

Brenham abatements for Sealy mattress, PPE and GSL 


BRENHAM, WASHINGTON COUNTY - The Brenham City Council has approved tax abatements for Tempur-Sealy, Precision Polymer Engineering’s (PPE) and GSL Constructors.

Tempur-Sealy will expand its production output by adding 104 additional jobs over the next three months and $500,000 in equipment. The company currently has 160 employees.

PPE will invest $3.7 million in capital for machinery and equipment in the first year and another $8.3 million in capital improvements after five years at a new facility being built in the Brenham Business Center.

PPE is projecting to create 22 jobs during the first year of operation and a total of 60 new jobs over a five-year period. The company manufactures rubber products for industrial customers.

GSL Constructors will invest $3.3 million for a 30,000-sf building and lease it to PPE.

The city council also approved a special use permit that will allow construction of a three-story, 76-unit apartment complex for senior citizens.

The complex is being proposed for a tract of property bordered by North Market St., Cottonwood St. and Liberty St., near the downtown area.

Read more at the Brenham Banner-Press.

See previous story British bell rings for Brenham jobs and facility.

Brenham whistles Dixie Street Storage sold 


BRENHAM, WASHINGTON COUNTY - The 44,150-sf, 284-unit Dixie Street Storage facility, located at 405 North Dixie St., has been sold, according to David H. Luther, regional manager of Marcus & Millichap’s Houston office. The asset’s list price was $1,100,000.

Dixie Street Storage contains one office along with the storage units. The facility is situated on a five-acre parcel, which has approximately two acres available for expansion of the facility.

A private investor bought the facility from a Texas-based a partnership.

Source: Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services

Toadstool fungus grows bigger plant in Madisonville 


MADISONVILLE, MADISON COUNTY - Fungus is growing in a remote part of Madison County and it's big business. To keep pace with rising demand, Monterey Mushrooms is undergoing a massive expansion at 5816 Hwy. 75 South.

"We'll be adding roughly about 40 jobs into the community," Monterey Mushrooms General Manager David Nesselrode said. The $15 million, 100,000-sf expansion includes offices, a packing facility and a 50,000-sf production facility.

It will provide an additional 3.5 million pounds of mushrooms annually, bringing the total production up to 36 million pounds out of the Madisonville facility.

If you are a gardener, mushroom compost is spectacular for growing your spring garden. Drive your pickup in and they'll fill it up. (It will be stinky, but it's a cheap way to grow plants.)

Monterrey is still using the same facility it started with back in 1975. They've had some minor improvements since then, but nothing quite like this.

Texas Mushroom Festival will be held on Oct.18, 2014.

Read more at Listen to Podcast 204 for more Texas news.

Texas A&M 2013 economic impact reaches $4.4B 


COLLEGE STATION - The economic impact of Texas A&M University, the Health Science Center, A&M Agencies and the A&M System offices and activities has almost doubled over the past decade.

For calendar year 2013, the estimated Texas A&M impact on College Station-Bryan and the surrounding area was $4.42 billion, an increase of almost $113 million from 2012 levels and about $2.2 billion more than in 2003 — a 96.4 percent gain.

Those figures are based on the use of a standard 2.5 multiplier effect representing the number of times such generated dollars are typically spent and re-spent in the local economy. The Texas A&M-related funding subject to the multiplier effect was $1.77 billion, representing a gain of almost $50 million over the 2012 level.

The annualized average payroll for the 21,073 Texas A&M and A&M System employees (including student employees) based locally was approximately $889 million for 2013, representing an increase of more than $16 million.

The direct local economic impact of the university's record number of students on the College Station campus was estimated to be $494 million, for a gain of more than $25 million.

Expenditures by visitors attending sporting events and other campus activities totaled an estimated $385 million, almost $8 million more than for the previous year. The estimated number of visitors totaled more than 1.3 million. Texas A&M athletic events accounted for about 960,000 of them, for an increase of more than 86,000.

Construction costs attributed to calendar year 2013 total about $148 million, a decline of approximately $58 million, attributable primarily to the completion of some projects. However, work was started on others during the year, including the $450 million expansion and renovation of Kyle Field.

Read more at the tamuTimes.

Texas A&M Bright Football complex adds $16M renovation 


COLLEGE STATION - Texas A&M’s Bright Football Complex is set to undergo a $16 million renovation of the Aggies’ locker room, athletic training facilities, meeting rooms and coaches’ offices.

The comprehensive project will significantly upgrade and modernize the first- and third-floor areas of the 11-year-old building.

Last fall, Texas A&M opened the new Lohman Center, which serves as the entryway of the Bright Football Complex, and the R.C. Slocum Nutrition Center, located on the second floor of the facility.

The renovation will be funded entirely through gift funds from the 12th Man Foundation. Encompassing 48,600 sf, the project includes new finishes, graphics, office space, furniture and the latest technology throughout the facility. In addition, Hagner Auditorium, where the Aggies’ full-team meetings are conducted, will be updated and refurnished.

Construction is expected to begin as soon as possible, with an anticipated first-floor completion date of fall 2014. The third floor, which primarily includes the coaches’ offices, is scheduled to be complete by summer 2015.

Texas A&M is currently in the midst of a $450 million redevelopment and expansion of Kyle Field. Renovation of the Bright Complex, while separate from the Kyle Field project, will occur simultaneously in order to maximize construction efficiencies.

Read more at AggieAthletics.

College Station-Bryan economic outlook 2014 


COLLEGE STATION-BRYAN - The region's growth dominated discussion by university, city and county officials at Wednesday's Economic Outlook Conference.

The state demographer's estimates that College Station-Bryan's population is expected to be about 400,000 in 2050, according to James Gaines, research economist the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M.

Gaines said those estimates look to be conservative, though. "It could well be that the growth could be closer to 500,000 by 2050," he said. In the last 40 years, Texas gained 14 million, but is projected to add another 30 million in the next 40 years.

Bryan-College Station had record-high median home prices in 2013, with the average home selling for $160,000. The market is also more concentrated in higher costs, with 70 percent of homes sold priced between $100,000 and $250,000, an increase from 47 percent of home sales in 2000, Gaines said.

At the highest end of home prices, homes valued at more than $250,000 made up nearly 20 percent of sales in 2013, up from just 5 percent in 2000.

The impact of Texas A&M entering the SEC was relevant throughout the conference's presentations. Shannon Overby, president and CEO of the Bryan-College Station Convention and Visitors Bureau, said total direct travel spending amounted to $422 million in 2012 and generated $7.6 million in local taxes.

With the growth comes the addition of seven new hotels to the area, all of which are under construction currently or soon to break ground. That's a 27 percent increase in hotel rooms in the community over the next 18 to 24 months.

Read more at The Eagle.

Timber! College Station ISD buying conference center 


COLLEGE STATION - The College Station City Council has decided to sell the conference center property off George Bush Dr. to College Station Independent School District, which will use the land to turn it into the new and larger Center for Alternative Learning.

The building was purchased for $788,430, which has about $184,000 knocked off the appraised value to account for the anticipated demolition costs.

The new space will primarily be used for expanding Timber Academy High School, the alternative choice program. The Center for Alternative Learning includes Timber Academy, the Venture Center and LEAP, the elementary disciplinary education program.

Between 120 and 150 students graduate from the Center for Alternative Learning every year, but that number could be higher if there was more space.

The conference center was used for meetings, conferences and receptions but was closed in July 2012 for safety reasons. An architect's report found the building in disrepair and needing significant alterations and suggested the city look into selling the property.

Read more at The Eagle.

Madisonville Buc-ee's redo for three million bucks 


MADISONVILLE - Buc-ee’s Madisonville store, located at the intersection of I-45 and SH-21, is set to undergo a $3 million renovation.

The renovation will enlarge certain areas inside the store, add to the restroom space and create more jobs, but also, will add at least 32 more gas pumps and parking. When all is said and done, Buc-ee’s will employ 175 people at the Madisonville location.

Read more at The Madisonville Meteor.

Bryan's Hilton Garden Inn hits home run 


BRYAN - Construction on the five-story Hilton Garden Inn has finished and the new hotel is now open for business at 3081 University Dr. E.

The 119-guestroom, 82,880-sf hotel has construction costs of $5.5 million, as reported in February 2013. Located three miles from Texas A&M University, the hotel is also located directly across the street from Veterans Park and Athletic Complex — a popular destination for out of town little league soccer, football, and baseball participants.

The Hilton Garden Inn is just one of many new hotels coming to the College Station-Bryan area, as reported in May 2013. Further, Starwood Hotels and Resorts plan to build an Aloft Hotel on Lincoln Ave. near Red Lobster, as reported in October 2013.

Source: City of Bryan

Bryan's Best Western Premier sold 


BRYAN - The 100-room Best Western Premier hotel at 1920 Austin’s Colony Pkwy. has been sold. Located in the heart of the Brazos Valley, the property offers proximity to SH 6, FM 158 and Texas A&M University. The 66,295-sf building was built in 2008 and sits on three acres.

Both the previous own and the new owner are private investment firms. The property is valued at $5.15 million, according to the Brazos Central Appraisal District.

Read more at Texas Real Estate Business.

Highland Villas spans generations in Bryan 


BRYAN - The $22 million Highland Villas complex is underway at 2900 Wildflower Dr. Though the majority of the 170 units at the complex are designed for independent seniors, 48 units are available to other renters.

This blended concept puts seniors and families together to serve multiple generations as the baby boomer generation ages.

The gated complex, expected to open to residents in August 2014, includes one-, two- and three-bedroom units. The nearly 200,000-sf complex will include a clubhouse facility with a fitness studio, business center, laundry, kitchen and media room as well as a swimming pool and children's playground.

In addition to bank financing for the project, Madhouse Development said it received Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs' tax credits and HOME Investment Partnership funds.

Highland Villas is part of a master-planned community with retail and restaurants.

Source: Austin Business Journal

Listen to Podcast 200 for this story and more.

$50M upgrade coming to Texas A&M Rec Center? 


COLLEGE STATION - The Texas A&M Student Recreation Center is set to get its first major facelift since opening in 1995 — a $50 million renovation that will increase its space by 25 percent. The university is soliciting bids from companies who will work with San Antonio-based architect Marmon Monk to renovate the center.

The request calls for nearly 20,000 sf of renovated space, nearly 36,000 Elements path sf of natatorium renovation and more than 113,000 sf of new construction. The design is somewhat flexible and the final list of amenities will be determined by the winning bid.

The renovation will help meet the needs of the largest, ever-expanding student body in Texas.

When the approximately 300,000-sf recreation center opened in 1995, approximately 1.2 million check-ins were made by students to the center. That number has fluctuated anywhere between 100,000 more or less every year since then, meaning that the center has pretty much operated at capacity since day one while the number of students has grown.

See The Eagle for the full story.

College Station-Bryan Apartment MarketData report: Oct. 2013 


COLLEGE STATION-BRYAN - Apartment MarketData Research Services LLC released October 2013 data. The multifamily market data represent three months trailing (August–October 2013).

As a rule these represent all properties except those that are leased but not occupied units.

Multihousing Market Condition Comparison
College Station-Bryan Texas
Units Occ. Rate Size Units Occ. Rate Size
< 1970 1,114 88.8% $0.872 818 135,526 95.7% $0.827 831
1970's 6,593 92.8% $0.846 778 386,427 95.0% $0.806 818
1980's 6,336 91.7% $0.824 792 488,859 96.0% $0.892 780
1990's 2,121 95.6% $0.813 905 225,041 97.2% $1.055 922
2000's 2,139 91.5% $0.895 905 364,347 97.0% $1.023 962
2010's 545 97.2% $0.942 892 53,223 96.8% $1.170 932
Totals 18,848 92.5% $0.845 817 1,653,423 96.2% $0.934 858

Age Group: All information is grouped into four age categories. Properties built before 1970, properties built in the 1970's, properties built in the 1980's, and properties built in the 2000's and 2010's.
Rate: Rental Rate is the average market rate expressed as ($/SF/month).
Size: The average size of each unit expressed as (SF/unit).

Source: Apartment MarketData Research Services LLC

See College Station-Bryan Market Data Sources for more!

College Station Gander Mountain packs over $11.6M 


COLLEGE STATION - Delaware Statutory Trust has sold a Gander Mountain retail store located at 2301 Earl Rudder Fwy. at a premium to the original $11.6 million acquisition price. The 66,000-sf store was completed in 2007 for an estimated construction cost of $4.4 million, according to state filings.

Additionally, the company also sold a Gander Mountain located at 4006 W Loop 289 in Lubbock for more than the initial $9 million purchase price. The 55,000-sf store was completed in 2007 for an estimated construction cost of $5.4 million, according to state filings.

Gander Mountain is a leading national retailer of hunting, fishing and outdoor gear.

Read more at Business Wire.

Aggie scoop: journalism comes back to College Station  


COLLEGE STATION - Texas A&M University will once again offer journalism as a major.

The minor in journalism the school currently offers has become increasingly more popular with students over the years, according to Director of Journalism Studies Dale Rice. "It's grown in five years from fewer than 20 students, to more than 80," said Rice.

The new program is expected to be rigorous. Only 25 students a year will be accepted and every student will be required to have two minors with one of those minors outside of the College of Liberal Arts.

Print-journalism will be the focus of the program, with no classes in broadcast journalism offered. The school plans to teach traditional print journalism along with the developing web-based media.

The program will commence in fall 2014, and will be available to freshman and some students who wish to switch to a new major.

Read more at KBTX.

CS OKs $7.5M sale of Chimney Hill Shopping Center 


COLLEGE STATION - The College Station City Council agreed to sell the Chimney Hill Shopping Center property on University Dr. for $7.5 million to Houston-based PM Realty Group. PMRG plans to turn the property into a mixed-use retail and high-end multifamily development.

PMRG is planning to offer about 150 units aimed at professionals, not students. Dan Leverett, executive vice president and managing director of development with PMRG, said the housing will be attractive to the professionals coming to the area for work at Texas A&M, oil, pharmaceuticals and other developments in the growing area.

There will be four areas of residential development above retail, with one area being five levels. There will be a three-story garage behind the residential component that will not be visible from University Dr.

Though PMRG did not offer the full price that College Station paid for the property in 2008, its $7.5 million offer is higher than the roughly $7 million appraised value of the land.

"It will generate jobs, it will generate additional property tax, it will generate an enormous amount of sales tax and it will cease to be a blight on the City of College Station, so this is a win-win-win," said Councilman James Benham. "So, those who are concerned about the state of their taxes, within 18 months of the assumed closing of this property the citizens of College Station will be made whole on this money."

The first phase of construction is expected to be completed by September 2015, and the second phase will be done by March 2017.

Read more at The Eagle.

Gingerbread house in Bryan sets world record 

(12/4/2013 3:00:00 PM)

BRYAN - The biggest gingerbread house in the world has been constructed at the Texas A&M Traditions Club, located at 3131 Club Dr. The house at Traditions Club is 60 feet by 42 feet and is 20.11 feet tall at its highest point.

The house, totaling more than 39,000 cubic feet, is comprised of 1,800 pounds of butter, 7,200 eggs, 7,200 pounds of flour and 3,000 pounds of brown sugar. It contains a whopping 36 million calories.

The GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS adjudicator, Philip Robertson, was there November 30, 2013, to verify the record-breaking 39,201.8 cubic-foot structure.

The previous record holder was 36,600 cubic feet and was built inside the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.

The house will be up until December 14 and open from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.
Santa will be available for photos at this time. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for kids. So far, the house has raised in excess of $150,000 for St. Joseph Level II Trauma Center.
Read more at KHOU-TV and The Eagle.
Listen to Podcast 197 for what's happening in Texas.

Fortune 500 company College Station 


COLLEGE STATION - Cognizant Technology Solutions, a Fortune 500 tech company, will relocate its U.S. corporate headquarters from New Jersey to College Station.

The company has pledged a three-year, $150,000 grant to support science, technology, engineering and math education, or STEM, programs at A&M.

Cognizant, which provides outsourced information technology, consulting and business process services for companies, has employees and facilities in 49 states, with Montana being the exception. It employs 166,400 people with 29,000 in the U.S. and nets more than $8 billion a year in revenue.

Cognizant President Gordon Coburn said Cognizant plans to hire another 10,000 Americans during the next three years and that 750 of those jobs will be in Texas.

The company recently acquired College Station-based IT company SourceNet Solutions, and Coburn said the company's growth in the area will build upon that foundation and grow gradually in the coming months.

Coburn said that a key factor for the relocation was Texas A&M and its deep pool of talent that he said the company will draw from.

Read more at The Eagle.

Hearne crowns, mouldings to 132,000 SF 


HEARNE, ROBERTSON COUNTY - ECMD Inc. will relocate its Texas operations from Houston to a distribution facility at the 132,000-sf former Lifetime Doors facility, located at 2000 South Market St.

The facility will create 15 to 20 jobs when it opens in early 2014.

The building is currently being refurbished into an efficient distribution facility. The building is being reconfigured to facilitate drive-through indoor loading and unloading of curtain-side 18-wheel trucks.

The ten-plus acres adjacent to the building, Hwy. 6, and the railroad provide ample space for ECMD to expand into manufacturing as future needs dictate.

“Hearne’s strategic central Texas location is what caught our eye,” said John Harwell, CFO of ECMD, Inc. “The location on combined TX6/US 190 — The Crossroads of Texas — allows the ECMD fleet to make shorter hauls to each major metro market and the smaller markets in between.”

New manufacturing jobs, retail expansion along Hwy. 6/US 79, and a strengthening economy are resulting in increased local property, hotel/motel, and sales tax collections in Hearne.

North Carolina-based ECMD Inc. is the parent company of EastCoast Moulding Company, Crown Heritage Stair Company, and Arndt & Herman Building Products Company. ECMD manufactures and distributes quality mouldings, millwork, staircase components and columns.

Read more at KAGS TV and ECMD.

Listen to Podcast 197 for what's happening in Texas.

Bryan building permits Oct. 2013 


BRYAN - The City of Bryan has released its October 2013 building report. Follow the link for all of Bryan's monthly reports.

City of Bryan Building Report
January — October
Permit Type # Permits Value
2012 2013 2012 2013
Residential - single-family 148 161 $27,769,253 $31,069,633
Residential - add/alter/reno 588 486 $4,338,361 $4,177,770
Commercial - new 66 32 $56,622,916 $46,067,315
Commercial - add/alter/reno 131 187 $8,617,425 $14,239,563
TOTALS* 1,264 1,238 $102,544,789 $109,270,444

*Total includes all building permits issued.

Source: City of Bryan

Bryan: Kent Moore Cabinets aiming to hire veterans 

(11/18/2013 10:30:00 AM)

BRYAN - Kent Moore Cabinets employs more than 500 people, and managers say they are looking to add to their workforce. The company is hoping veterans will apply for the current job openings.

Finding a job can be stressful for all recent veterans, so it helps when companies are so welcoming, according to David Frierson who was in the Marine Corps for nine years.

"I think part of the reason they're looking for us is the skill set we've acquired over the years. Whether its leadership of other marines or service members or the ability to get the job done," said Frierson.

More than 15 vets currently have jobs with the Bryan company.

"Veterans deserve a job when they get back, and we'd like to make jobs available in our company for them to come to," said Teresa Galliher, a vice president within the company.

Read more at KBTX.

The Crossing Place sold in College Station  

(11/15/2013 6:44:00 AM)

COLLEGE STATION - The Crossing Place Apartments has been sold to Seattle-based Horizon Realty Advisors LLC. The 384-bed complex at 400 Southwest Pkwy. is located approximately one mile from Texas A&M University’s campus.

The sellers, a joint venture owned by Alex. Brown Realty Inc. (ABR) and Asset Plus Companies (Asset Plus), a Houston-based real estate management firm, partnered to purchase the property at an attractive basis in May 2012 via an off-market transaction. The joint venture subsequently implemented strategic capital improvements, which permitted material increases in rental rates.

The property is currently 100 percent leased for the 2013–2014 school year.

Read more at the Business Wire.

Veterans: From Battleground to Breaking Ground 


SAN ANTONIO - The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, in cooperation with the Texas AgrAbility Project and U.S. Department of Agriculture, is presenting a free workshop, “From Battleground to Breaking Ground: A Transformational Journey,” which targets returning veterans who are interested in agriculture production as an employment option.

The first workshop will be in San Antonio on November 9 in conjunction with the San Antonio International Farm and Ranch Show.

The workshops address specific issues related to agriculture production for veterans with disabilities, however, any veteran interested in farming or ranching is encouraged to attend.

Each workshop hosts a military veteran who is operating or in the process of starting an agriculture production business.

For more information on the workshops, contact Cheryl Grenwelge at (979) 845-3727,, or agriculture workshop program coordinator Erin Pilosi at (979) 847-6185,, or visit

Nearly 45 percent of returning veterans are from rural areas, noted Dr. Cheryl Grenwelge, affiliated faculty at the Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M, AgriLife Extension Specialist and Texas AgrAbility project coordinator.

The program “has been uniquely designed with input from many organizations and agencies, including Texas AgrAbility, USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service, National Farmer Veteran Coalition, Farm Service Agency and the Texas Department of Agriculture,” said Bryan Davis, AgriLife Extension agent for Bexar County.

A series of ten workshops will be held across the state through 2014. The workshops will be located in San Antonio, Dallas, Weslaco, Temple and El Paso.

Source: Education & Human Development at Texas A&M University

Bryan: Move It Management buys All Size Storage 


BRYAN - All Size Storage, a 61,825-sf facility, has been purchased by Move It Management LLC. The storage facility is located at 1429 W. Villa Maria Rd.

The Dallas-based self-storage management company bought the 501-unit facility that was built in 2005 and was 65 percent physically occupied at the time of sale.

Move It Management owns and operates more than 30 self-storage properties across Texas as well as the southeast states and Boston. In June, it acquired Atascocita Self Storage in Humble and Bay Area Mini Storage in Corpus Christi.

Read more at Inside Self Storage.

Aloft Hotel to debut in College Station 

(10/24/2013 6:39:00 AM)

COLLEGE STATION - Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide is expected to build an Aloft hotel located at the corner of University Dr. W. and Lincoln Ave.

The new hotel will feature 102 loft-like rooms and 1,500 sf of flexible meeting space. The hotel, owned by Lodging America, is expected to open October 2015.

Starwood already operates seven Aloft hotels in Texas, in Austin, Dallas, Frisco, Houston, Irving, Plano and San Antonio. The company also plans to open a second Austin hotel in Northwest Austin in October 2015.

Read more at Lodging Magazine and Starwood Hotels.

Bryan-College Station home sales up, population growing  


BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION - According to the Bryan-College Station Regional Association of Realtors, home sales have jumped from 149 in September 2012 to 186 in 2013. In July 2013, home sales peaked at around 292. The association said sales topped 400 in 2013.

Home sales in Brazos County and surrounding counties are the highest they have been in years, and experts say it will only go up from here.

Ed Berry with the BCS Regional Association of Realtors said there are several reasons for the increase, including more business opportunities in the area, competitive home pricing, and the growing popularity of Texas A&M University.

"That's helping to attract businesses here, and along with the businesses comes growth," said Berry.

With the growth comes the need for more infrastructure. Roads that were fine in the past will likely become troublesome in the future.

Bob Colwell with the Texas Department of Transportation said they are working on nine different projects designed to help ease traffic congestion.

College Station officials said the population could reach 100,000 residents as soon as December 2013.

Read more at KBTX.

Texas A&M to offer military training as credits for vets 


COLLEGE STATION - Texas Workforce Commission and Texas A&M University System officials signed an agreement that paves the way for the state’s service members and veterans to earn college credits for their military training and experience.

The 13 Texas A&M system schools will join the College Credit for Heroes initiative immediately, nearly doubling the size of the fledgling program that has been partnered almost exclusively with community colleges. A total of 30 colleges and universities are now part of the initiative including Alamo Colleges and Lone Star College.

The web portal veterans use to register is Nearly 20,000 veterans have created accounts and 2,352 have completed requests for transcripts. Based on its first year numbers, the veterans were awarded 25 credit hours on average.

Dr. James Wright, president emeritus of Dartmouth College and keynote speaker, also spoke of a social obligation to give back to those who volunteered to fight in the military. He praised Texas A&M and others' efforts to further veterans' education.

Read more at The Eagle and the San Antonio Business Journal.

Texas A&M construction and enrollment grow 


COLLEGE STATION - The demolition of G. Rollie White Coliseum and construction of the first phase of the new Kyle Field are highlights of Texas A&M University’s building program to serve a growing student body.

Many of the educational and recreational activities formerly conducted at G. Rollie and the adjacent Read Building are now available at the newly opened Physical Education Activity Program Building near Reed Arena on West Campus.

The first new residence hall to be built on campus in almost a quarter-century also was opened for the start of the fall semester. Hullaballoo Hall serves 648 students on the north side of the campus. It is built on the former sites of Crocker, McInnis and Moore Hall Residence Halls.

The Corps of Cadets is also benefitting in the housing arena. Lacy Hall has been renovated in much the same manner as two dorms were enhanced in 2012, and similar work is now underway at Leonard Hall.

The Texas A&M Equine Complex, being constructed at the corner of F&B Rd. and FM 2818, is scheduled for completion in late 2013. It will be the headquarters for several student organizations, including Parsons Mounted Cavalry.

The newly renovated university golf course is scheduled to reopen Oct. 25. In addition to a revamped 19-hole course, it will include an additional three holes for student instructional and research purposes.

Major renovation programs are underway at the Jack K. Williams Administration Building, Francis and Scoates Hall.

Access between the main campus and West Campus is being significantly enhanced with the opening of the grade separation project at Old Main Dr. and Wellborn Rd. The safety-driven project serves both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

Read more at tamuTimes.

For more on the Kyle Field renovation, see

Student housing headed to A&M's West Campus 

(9/12/2013 6:45:00 AM)

COLLEGE STATION - Texas A&M University has set its sights on West Campus housing. A new project, planned for partial completion by 2015, will add 4,200 new beds to on-campus living and aims to provide enough space to house an entire A&M freshmen class.

The West Campus Housing Project will be built on 46 acres along University Dr. where the Howdy Farm is currently located, near the intersection with Discovery Dr. A&M officials expect the construction to cost around $225 million.

The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents have approved ground leases to allow private developers access to university land. The negotiations, new to Texas A&M, would allow private companies to use their own capital to construct project.

Through the public-private partnership, the university would retain control of room rates, assignments and programming elements for the West Campus Housing Project.

The 640-bed Hullabaloo Hall, on the north side of campus, was the first residence hall constructed since the 1980s. “11 Hullabaloo Halls would fit in [the new housing] site,” said Thomas Kosarek, principle with BGK Architects. “Either that, or [Simpson] Drill Field and Academic Plaza.”

Read more at The Battalion and The Eagle.

College Station's Northgate continues meteoric rise 


COLLEGE STATION - The openings of The Rise and The Stack are only the beginning of what will soon become a hub of residential activity in Northgate.

In 2009, an estimated 2,300 people lived in Northgate, but new development will add more than 3,500 new residents and 90,000 sf of nonresidential space, not including Texas A&M's Campus Pointe project. The Rise and Stack combined added nearly 900 beds.

Northpoint Crossing development will add 603 units for a total of 1,900 bedrooms, and 50,000 sf of nonresidential space on 11.5 acres.

A project on 3.4 acres bordered by First St., Church St., Louise Ave., and Wellborn Rd. will bring an estimated 400 to 600 beds and 10,000 to 15,000 sf of nonresidential space with an estimated value of $40 million.

Some of these developments are not providing as much parking as there are beds. The Stack, for example, offers 234 parking spaces for 416 bedrooms.

Residential projects in Northgate only are required to provide parking for 75 percent of residents. This is due to the amount of public parking available and the expectation that not everyone will need a car with the proximity to campus and Northgate.

The City of College Station’s comprehensive plan had planned for 30 dwelling units per acre in the Northgate Area, but after development there will be 60 to 65 per acre.

Read more at The Eagle.

Bryan Walmart leaving room for retailers 


BRYAN - The upcoming 150,000-sf Walmart on the corner of Villa Maria Rd. and FM 2818 is bringing with it the first major shopping center on Bryan's west side.

A site plan shows several stand-alone and multitenant retail buildings on the land, with sizes ranging from 7,000 sf to 75,000 sf. The map shows several junior anchor stores, such as Academy and PetSmart.

The $14 million project is half done and in its final phase of construction. It is not expected to be completed until summer 2014. The Walmart is not expected to have its grand opening until early March 2014.

Read more at The Eagle.

Texas A&M set for $8M renovation of Francis Hall 


COLLEGE STATION - Texas A&M University is set to begin a $8 million renovation of Francis Hall. Following renovation, the building will house the Department of Construction Science within the College of Architecture.

The project will include demolition of the building’s current interior; installation of new mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire alarm and communication systems; and the construction of an auditorium and an exhibit hall.

The building will include a state-of-the art building information modeling (BIM) Cave, a safety lab, a student lounge, a conference/bid room, and exposed mechanical, electrical, an- structural systems that will make the building a virtual learning laboratory.

Completion is expected in time for the fall 2014 semester. The three-story Francis Hall was originally constructed in 1918. Satterfield & Pontikes Construction will serve as general contractor for the project.

Read more at Texas Real Estate Business and the Texas A&M University System.

O'Connor apartment overview: College Station-Bryan  

(9/3/2013 7:30:00 AM)

COLLEGE STATION-BRYAN - O’Connor & Associates has compiled apartment data for the College Station-Bryan MSA including historical apartment rents per sf and occupancy. The chart below summarizes the report.

For the full O'Connor report, see multifamily under College Station-Bryan Market Data Sources.

College Station-Bryan Market Statistics
Month Class A
Class A
July 2013 92.55% $1.12 88.77% $0.91
June 2013 94.95% $1.12 89.19% $0.91
May 2013 96.49% $1.12 91.80% $0.91
Apr. 2013 96.74% $1.11 92.47% $0.91
Mar. 2013 97.49% $1.11 92.24% $0.91
Feb. 2013 97.05% $1.13 92.16% $0.91
Jan. 2013 96.72% $1.13 92.27% $0.90
Dec. 2012 97.49% $1.12 92.02% $0.90
Nov. 2012 97.88% $1.12 92.59% $0.90
Oct. 2012 97.36% $1.12 91.92% $0.90
Sept. 2012 96.50% $1.12 91.69% $0.90
Aug. 2012 93.77% $1.12 89.50% $0.90
July 2012 93.75% $1.12 89.48% $0.90

Source: O’Connor & Associates

Aggie REC getting $34M expansion 


COLLEGE STATION - The Student Recreation Center (The REC) on the campus of Texas A&M University is set to undergo a $33.5 million, two-year expansion beginning in spring 2014.

The expansion, scheduled for completion in January 2016, will add 140,000 sf to the already 300,952-sf facility.

The weight and fitness room will double in size, and new activity rooms for group exercise classes and student organizations will be added.

An indoor, eight-lane pool, a 6,000-sf multiactivity room that can be used for large group activities and banquets and a potential second entrance on the south side of the building are all on the table.

The REC was completed in 1995. “The student population has increased 25 percent since we first opened 18 years ago,” said Dennis Corrington, executive director at the Department of Recreational Sports.

The REC’s current facilities will remain open during construction, however several areas will most likely temporarily close as the project progresses.

Read more at The Battalion. Listen to Podcast 185...for this story and more!

Bryan's $150M pipe manufacturing facility underway 


BRYAN - Axis Pipe and Tube Inc. has broken ground on a new pipe and tube facility. The company will invest in excess of $150 million in the new state-of-the-art facility that sits on 183 acres.

The plant is expected to employ more than 285 people at full capacity and is scheduled to begin production by mid-2014. The facility will produce more than 300,000 tons of energy-related tubular products aimed at meeting the growing demand of the U.S. oil and natural gas industries per year.

The facility will operate as Axis Pipe and Tube Inc., a division of The Prolamsa Group.

Check out the Center's previous story, Bryan steel plant, largest in Brazos County history.

Read more at PRNewswire.

Scott & White College Station welcomes first patients 

(8/22/2013 10:00:00 AM)

COLLEGE STATION - Scott & White Hospital-College Station, off Hwy. 6 and Rock Prairie Rd., has opened its doors for patients. The new 320,000-sf hospital, built on 98 acres, employs 250 people at 700 Scott & White Dr.

The five-story, 143-bed hospital includes a new electronic medical system that allows patients to go online to schedule and manage appointments. For more information, please visit previous stories on NewsTalk Texas.

Read more at The Eagle.

Bryan Waldenbrooke snapped up by Titan 


BRYAN - The 180-unit Waldenbrooke Estates has been purchased by SenQuest, a division of Titan Real Estate Investment Group Inc. The community consists of approximately 164,200 rentable sf in four three-story structures.

Waldenbrooke was developed in 1985 and recently updated through a $260,000 capital improvement program.

Waldenbrooke Estates occupies nearly six acres at 2410 Memorial Dr., just a few blocks from St. Joseph Regional Health Center and within close proximity of Texas A&M University.

WSL Waldenbrooke Investors V LP sold the property.

Read more at Commercial Property News.

Bryan building permits July 2013 


BRYAN - The City of Bryan has released its July 2013 building report. Following the link for all of Bryan's monthly reports.

City of Bryan Building Report
January — July
Permit Type # Permits Value
2013 2012 2013 2012
Residential - single-family 109 106 $23,554,444 $20,803,521
Residential - add/alter/reno 345 435 $2,948,553 $3,340,741
Commercial - new 17 34 $27,040,580 $28,145,287
Commercial - add/alter/reno 128 91 $10,547,717 $3,900,739
TOTALS* 845 866 $68,960,730 $60,609,616

*Total includes all building permits issued.

Source: City of Bryan

Tweet this: Texas A&M $2.8M aviary flying to Aggieland 


COLLEGE STATION - The Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences announced groundbreaking on a new aviary scheduled for completion in May 2014.

Located off F and B Rd., the new building will be approximately 11,000 sf, with plans for a functional hospital, receiving area with quarantine capabilities, two isolation rooms, a laboratory for infectious disease research, classrooms and four offices.

Eleanor M. Green, Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine, said, "This facility will provide the laboratory, avian housing and classroom space that will allow this program to continue to thrive.”

The new facility highlights Texas A&M’s commitment to exotic species and to conservation, according to Ian Tizard, Richard M. Schubot Professor of Exotic Bird Health and Distinguished Professor of Immunology in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology. "It enhances our programs in environmental health and will be a magnificent resource for the whole college,” Tizard said.

The new, climate-controlled aviary will be able to house a population of 200 to 250 birds — many more than is possible in the current facilities — in a comfortable and safe environment, with separate spaces for infected and healthy birds, which will help researchers conduct their studies.

The new facility will expand the capabilities of the Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center at the CVM. The center conducts research into all aspects of disease in wild and captive birds, as well as avian genetics, genomics, nutrition and behavior.

Read more at The Eagle and

Texas A&M golf course tees up for new divots, mulligans 

(7/31/2013 7:00:00 AM)

COLLEGE STATION - With more than $3 million in new construction, the Texas A&M golf course promises new jobs, new money and new challenges for golf fans.

Rene Rangel is the CEO for Sterling Golf. "I'm really excited for the whole Aggie Nation to look at it," said Rangel. "Every place you go around on campus, it's all about pride and honor. I think the Aggie community is going to be very proud of what's been done to their campus."

Among the improvements, the 18-hole course with 170 acres now offers two new lakes and more than 100 new bunkers. The course also boasts a new wall-to-wall irrigation system with 1,200 irrigation heads. That's up from about 500.

Rangel said he expects the course to come with about 50 to 60 job openings.

Texas A&M footed the bill for half of the project, Sterling Golf out of Houston paid for the other half. The public course is expected to open in mid-October.

Read more at KBTX.

Stack, Rise add tiers to Aggieland housing 


COLLEGE STATION - New apartment complexes, The Rise at Northgate and The Stack at Legacy Point, are finishing up construction in preparation for fall occupancy. Both are located right off University Dr. — The Rise pushing up to the street and The Stack adjacent along Church Ave.

The Rise is an 18-story, 400,000-sf mixed-use development. It will house 471 beds in 184 units. Construction value is $23 million, according to state filings.

The Stack has six floors, with 416 beds in 209 units. There are still some two-bedroom units available, but one-, three- and four-bedroom units have all been leased. Construction value is $25 million, according to state filings.

The two developments can house almost 900 students between them, and those students, their families and their possessions will be descending all at once. Move-in day for both apartments is Aug. 16 — ten days before school starts.

Both buildings have additional retail space. The Rise has 17,000 sf of retail space on the bottom floor of the development, and the city has permitted a 13,000-sf CVS to locate there. The Stack has 5,000 sf of retail space.

Read more at The Eagle.

Beds, beds galore sold in Woodlands of College Station 


COLLEGE STATION - Interwest Capital Corp. purchased the 904-bed Woodlands of College Station. The Class A student housing complex serves Texas A&M University.

A management contract for an additional 440 beds was also included in the transaction.

According to the Brazos Central Appraisal District, the seller was an LP based in Athens, Ga. The appraisal district assesses the complex at $33.8 million.

The student housing property at 1725 Harvey Mitchell Pkwy. is close to 100 percent occupied and "preleasing for the upcoming 2013-2014 academic year has been incredibly strong," commented Interwest investment analyst Justin Shifrin.

The buy has enabled Calif.-based Interwest to continue its growth both in the student housing sector and in Texas, where it already owns three other multifamily properties. Woodlands of College Station is the company's fifth buy in the Lone Star State.

A total of 557 units were originally constructed, with a portion of the project dedicated as for-sale condominiums and the remainder as rental apartments.

Now that Interwest has closed on the five-year-old property, the next step is to complete furnishing the remaining units (half of the units are leased on a furnished basis).

Read more at and Interwest.

Housing, construction boom in BCS 


COLLEGE STATION-BRYAN - Most U.S. home builders feel more optimistic about home sales and construction driving economic growth than they have in the last seven years. In Bryan-College Station, things are especially good.

BCS Homebuilders Association President Michael Schaefer says strong local home building this year is contributing to continuing low interest rates, and more people are settling here, increasing demand.

Schaefer says over the last couple of years, developments such as Texas A&M joining the SEC, the new hospital, and the bio-corridor, have contributed to a boom in construction growth, stimulating the local economy through a multiplier effect that will continue.

The bio-corridor is going to be a significant player in the housing market in the next five years, to such an extent that people will be blown away with the amount of jobs generated, Schaefer said.

In the meantime, Schaefer feels construction costs and demand will increase the property values of older houses by 5 to 7 percent each year for the next couple of years.

Schaefer says the desirability for young families and retirees is also increasing, not only from available jobs, amenities, and the location, but because the Wall Street Journal and other articles have designated it an affordable place to live.

Read more at WTAW.

Planning for Kruse Center at Blinn College Brenham 


BRENHAM, WASHINGTON COUNTY - The new $10 million, 40,000-sf facility will be funded in part by a gift from the Kruse family. The Kruse family made the donation to the Blinn Foundation and designated it toward the design and construction of the Kruse Center.

The building will be a new recreation, activities and athletic center on the Brenham campus. The new center, which could open as early as the fall 2015, is currently planned for the corner of Old Mill Creek Rd. and Blinn Blvd., across the street from the baseball stadium.

Source: Brenham Banner

Incoming! Texas A&M to welcome lots of fish 


COLLEGE STATION - Texas A&M University President R. Bowen Loftin revealed that the university overshot in offers made to high school seniors and is preparing to take in about 1,000 more Aggies than expected in the 2013 freshman class.

The school received about 10 percent more applications than it did in 2012 and wanted to enroll about 8,700 freshman.

"We messed up, and more people than we expected, based on historical data, said 'yes,'" Loftin said. "The numbers I'm hearing on the freshman class are about between 9,500 and 9,700 most likely.

"This will be the biggest jump ever in our history in terms of the size of the incoming class from year to year. And that will put a strain on us as well," he added.

Loftin spoke to and answered questions from about 150 staff members for nearly an hour and a half at a forum called "The university moving forward."

It was Loftin's first update to the body in about two years, said Lisa Blum, chairperson of the University Staff Council.

Loftin also offered updates on the Kyle Field construction and funding, detailing plans to blow up the west side of the stadium for the reconstruction project.

"Once we finish the fall '14 season, the entire west side will come down," Loftin said. At one point there will be 2,000 workers on the construction.

Read more at The Eagle.

Orange cones move around in Aggieland 


COLLEGE STATION-BRYAN - TxDOT's most recent project, a nearly $10 million venture to upgrade the State Highway 6 (SH 6) ramps from Boonville Rd. in Bryan to FM 2818/Harvey Mitchell Pkwy. in south College Station, began in May and is expected to take two years to complete.

With 77,700 vehicles driving that part of SH 6 each day, TxDOT lowered the speed limit between University Dr. and Harvey Rd. to 60 mph starting last week.

All six projects are on schedule, though some are expected to be completed as late as December 2014.

TxDOT is also working to widen the roadway from Democrat Rd. to the Navasota River, a $13.4 million project.

Expected to reach completion in September is the almost $5 million project to add turn lanes, medians and signal upgrades on Briarcrest Dr. from the highway to Kent St. Some 36,000 vehicles drive through the area every day.

Crews have been working to create a grade separation between Harvey Mitchell Pkwy. and Villa Maria since February of last year. That $14 million venture is expected to be complete by the end of next summer.

University Dr. is getting a revamp too as crews work to widen the roadway from SH 6 to Boonville Road.

As Texas A&M campus expands westward, TxDOT is working on a new Texas 47 interchange at Health Science Center Pkwy — an almost $10 million project expected to be ready in the fall.

Read more at The Eagle.

Veteran FINALLY HOME near College Station 

(6/28/2013 6:55:00 AM)

COLLEGE STATION - Operation FINALLY HOME partners with corporate sponsors, builders, developers and volunteers to provide custom-built, mortgage-free homes to wounded and disabled veterans and the widows of the fallen.

SouthStar has donated three lots to veterans for custom-built homes across Texas, including one in King Oaks community, a development located near College Station, one in Vintage Oaks in New Braunfels and one in The Sanctuary at Lake Ridge in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

On June 29, 2013, celebrated Army veteran J.R. Martinez, SouthStar and Operation FINALLY HOME will welcome home veteran Monte Bernardo to the site of his new custom-built home in the King Oaks development.

Bernardo will be seeing his home site for the first time since being injured in the line of duty on July 4, 2012. His home is being provided through the charity and the land has been donated by SouthStar.

Read more at the Fort Mill Times.

Google/Motorola research includes Texas A&M  

(6/20/2013 10:00:00 AM)

COLLEGE STATION - Texas A&M is one of eight universities selected by technology giant Google and it subsidiary Motorola for a groundbreaking research agreement. Motorola negotiated a common agreement for conducting joint research that would allow the company to initiate a project rapidly with one or more universities.

Researchers will be able to set up small and large research projects with people at these universities in less than 30 days. Ultimately, improving the speed needed to create these projects will help get new technology developed via partnerships into the marketplace more quickly.

Motorola announced the agreement saying it will streamline its joint research projects by funneling company dollars to top researchers across the nation. The universities do not receive any funding up front, only when a project is initiated.

The agreement specifies that Google has the option to negotiate exclusive licensing of a technology for particular uses that it has funded the university to develop.

Motorola selected 

  • California Institute of Technology,
  • Carnegie Mellon University,
  • Harvard University,
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
  • Stanford University,
  • Texas A&M University, and
  • Virginia Tech for the partnership.

Read more at The Eagle, San Francisco Business Times and

First time for Police Academy cadets to run Wiatt's course 


BRYAN - The $2.2 million Robert E. “Bob” Wiatt Physical Skills Training Complex at the Texas A&M Riverside Campus has opened. The training complex is located at the corner of 5th St. and Avenue D on the Riverside Campus in Bryan.

Built by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, the 10,500-sf multipurpose facility will primarily serve the cadets of TEEX’s Central Texas Police Academy.

The facility contains a 3,100-sf multiuse instructional area where traditional classroom, defensive tactics and other aerobic training will be conducted, a state-of-the-art weight and cardio training area, and showers and locker rooms. Adjacent to the building is a circuit training exercise and running track.

The training facility was named in honor of the local legendary law enforcement professional who served as an FBI agent and Director of Security and Police at Texas A&M University, as well as an instructor at the police academy.

Texas A&M and TEEX officials, along with Wiatt family members cut the ribbon on the new complex.


Brenham boosts May building permits 


BRENHAM, WASHINGTON COUNTY - Two huge construction projects in the Brenham school district sent building permits issued in May by the City of Brenham soaring past the $22 million mark.

The city last month issued 24 permits totaling $22,130,954 in new construction, renovations and additions.

Read more at the Brenham Banner-Press.

A&M students moved for development 


COLLEGE STATION - Construction crews soon will demolish the 280-unit University Apartments in preparation for the new A&M-owned College Pointe mixed-use development, which is off University Dr. across from Bonfire Memorial and many of the engineering buildings.

By the time the project is finished, it will have a full-service hotel, retail space, an office park and high-end housing and game-day condos.

A&M contracted with Midway Companies to develop Campus Pointe. It is expected to have about 200,000 sf of retail space, a 150,000- to 200,000-sf office park, 300 high-end multifamily units and an entertainment component.

Phillip Ray, chief business development officer for the Texas A&M University System, said the development is aimed at young professionals and can help faculty retention and recruitment.

For students, relocation off campus meant losing convenient and affordable on-campus housing, as well as incurring extra costs such as parking permits and furniture on a fixed income.

For its residents, the University Apartments' selling points were the affordability, location and its community center. The apartments are dated, though, with paper-thin walls and some lacking basic amenities such as Ethernet connections and ceiling fans.

Located right behind the University Apartments, The Gardens opened in 2010 and include newer amenities such as microwaves and dishwashers, storage space and walk-in closets.

The lowest rent rate at the University Apartments was $457 for a one-bedroom efficiency, and the most expensive unit was $567. At The Gardens, the lowest rent is $737 and the most expensive is $1,087.

Read more at The Eagle.

College Station No. 4 on best 'unknown' retirement places 


COLLEGE STATION - According to USA Today, Aggieland is the fourth best "unknown" place to retire in the nation.

The publication ranked cities not typically considered retirement destinations based on tax and crime rates, an active downtown and good medical facilities.

The article credits the ranking to sporting events at Texas A&M, the geographical location between the state's major metropolitan areas, low housing costs, low crime and a warm climate.

Mayor Nancy Berry credited low taxes, parks, quality medical facilities, golf courses and a thriving arts community. She said Texas A&M played an instrumental role in attracting retirees back to Aggieland.

Marci Rodgers, College Station Senior Services coordinator, has seen the active senior population boom since she started with the city in 1998. She said in 2002, an average of 3,000 seniors participated per month in city programs. In 2012, that monthly average had ballooned to 14,000.

Rodgers, too, cited College Station's geographical location and Texas A&M as primary draws. "I think we're seeing Aggies retiring in College Station," Rodgers said. "It's a great opportunity for the City of College Station to build on that with the university and our medical corridor."

"Baby boomers will be our next big population," Rodgers said.

Read more at The Eagle.

New Jersey firm buys Bryan Towne Center 


BRYAN - Lamar Companies, based in Fairfield, N.J., announced the purchase of the Bryan Towne Center Shopping Center.

The shopping center is located at the northeast corner of Hwy. 6 and Briarcrest Dr. The center has a gross leasable area of 58,268 sf with over 30 acres of developable land and is shadow-anchored by one of the largest Target stores in the metro area.

Lamar Companies

Brenham shows commitment to education 


BRENHAM, WASHINGTON COUNTY - The new $14 million Alton Elementary School is underway in the 1300 block of South Market St.

Full construction on the 67,620-sf school will begin in June 2013 when the school district’s year ends. The new school should be ready for classes in the 2014-2015 school year. Alton currently has 533 students in grades prekindergarten to fourth.

This is the second new school campus for the Brenham School District in seven years. Brenham Elementary, located at 1000 W Blue Bell Rd., was completed in 2006 with an estimated construction cost of $8.2 million, according to state filings.

Additionally, renovations at the Brenham Middle School, located at 1600 S. Blue Bell Rd., are expected to begin during summer 2013. Assistant Superintendent Byron McAdams says this is virtually a new school in itself.

Read more at KWHI and the Texas Tribune.

Texas A&M, University of Texas open joint library 


COLLEGE STATION - The Texas A&M University System and The University of Texas System will open their Joint Library Facility at Texas A&M University’s Riverside Campus on May 24, 2013.

The 18,000-sf library facility represents an unprecedented collaboration between the state’s two largest university systems to provide joint storage of more than a million books and make them available for use by other academic or medical institutions.

The $6.3 million construction project at the Riverside Campus began in summer 2012.

The facility will enable the UT System and Texas A&M System libraries to store print books and journals using high density shelving, minimizing the physical requirements and costs of print storage.

Officials explained the new facility will help alleviate pressures as libraries continue to add volumes and related resources. The facility will keep the burden of storage costs off individual campuses in both systems.

Read more at the TAMU Times.

Brenham scoop: H-E-B reopens 


BRENHAM, WASHINGTON COUNTY - H-E-B held a grand reopening of its 81,000-sf Brenham store. Located at 2508 South Day St., the renovation cost $8.3 million, according to city records.

Some of the new and expanded features include: a full-service meat market, a full-service seafood department, a produce department, a full-service deli, a bakery and in-store tortilleria, a pharmacy with a new convenient drive-up window, an expanded floral department

Since Brenham is the home of Blue Bell Ice Cream, this store is proud to have the largest ice cream set in the company, carrying every flavor that Blue Bell creates daily in-store!

H-E-B, with sales of more than $19.4 billion, operates more than 350 stores in Texas and Mexico. H-E-B celebrated its 105 anniversary in 2010. Based in San Antonio, H-E-B employs more than 80,000 partners and serves millions of customers in more than 150 communities.

Read more at The Eagle.

Listen to Podcast 172 for this story...and more!

Reading the green for Texas A&M golf course 


COLLEGE STATION - Six months since beginning renovations on the Texas A&M golf course, landscapers are nearly finished installing the new irrigation system and are smoothing out the soil in preparation for grass.

"If you think of it in four stages, we're just starting stage 4," Sterling Golf CEO Rene Rengal said. "We'll be planting grass within the next two weeks."

The university partnered with Aggie-owned Sterling Golf last fall to manage the multimillion dollar renovation that includes a redesign of the 18-hole course, a brand new driving range and the replacement of the irrigation system that dated to 1973.

The project was estimated to cost $5 million, but the project is expected to end up below budget with a projected cost down to $3.5 million. The course is expected to open in late September, but that could change if it doesn't rain enough throughout the summer.

Read more at The Eagle and NewsTalk Texas.

Hotel boom reserves College Station-Bryan 


COLLEGE STATION-BRYAN - Another hotel building boom is on the horizon in Bryan and College Station — four hotels are under construction and more could be on the way. Between 350 and 400 more rooms are expected to be added within the next 18 months as the following four hotels open:

Home2Suites — 300 Texas Ave., College Station;
Hilton Garden Inn — 3000 Plaza Centre Court, Bryan;
Staybridge Suites — University Dr. at Forest Dr., College Station; and
Value Place Hotel — 620 N. Earl Rudder Fwy., Bryan.

The four-story, 68,972-sf Staybridge Suites has construction costs estimated at $5.6 million, according to state filings.

The Bryan-College Station (BCS) Convention and Visitors Bureau says Texas A&M's switch to the SEC and the Johnny Manziel Heisman hype are bringing more visitors to the area. The typically slow months of January and February have been record-breaking months in 2013.

There are currently around 3,400 hotel and motel rooms in the BCS area.

For more stats, see the hotel category under College Station-Bryan Market Data Sources.

Read more at KBTX.

Bryan opens new wastewater plant 


BRYAN - In an effort to keep up with growing demand, the city opened its first new wastewater treatment plant in more than 50 years.

The $18 million, 100-acre Thompsons Creek Wastewater Plant will treat around 2 million gallons a day but can treat 8 million gallons if needed.

Mark Jurica, Bryan's treatment and compliance manager, said the new plant is going to get needed capacity out to the west side. The plant will serve the residential community, the bio-corridor and the Texas A&M Health Science Center.

The new plant is the most energy efficient in the city. The old Turkey Creek plant will be demolished within the next few months.

Read more at KWKT.

Maroon with envy for Texas A&M Kyle Field expansion 

(5/3/2013 11:00:00 AM)

COLLEGE STATION - The Texas A&M Board of Regents approved a $450 million redevelopment plan to transform Kyle Field on May 1, 2013.

The new Kyle Field will be the biggest college football stadium in the state and will also take the lead in the SEC. The planned capacity is 102,500. The plan calls for sweeping changes both in and outside of the stadium.

While 31,000 always-standing students will remain on a partially rebuilt east side, new seating areas will be significant. The premium areas will include loge boxes, luxury suites and a premium club that will extend from goal line to goal line on the second deck of the west side. The field will be lowered and fans will move closer.

The major work is scheduled to begin following the 2013 season and be finished by August 2015.

Read more at The Dallas Morning News and FoxSportsSouthwest. Howdy! See more about Texas A&M University.

Bryan steel plant, largest in Brazos County history 

(5/1/2013 9:00:00 AM)

BRYAN - Axis Pipe and Tube, a subsidiary of Mexico-based manufacturer Prolamsa, has purchased 240 acres, or about 30 percent, of the Texas Triangle Park. The project is the largest manufacturing investment to date in Brazos County.

The facility's largest building will encompass approximately ten acres, and the second largest will fit five acres under one roof.

The company plans to invest $120.9 million into the facility — $91.6 million for machinery and equipment, $20 million for building and property improvements and $9.3 million for the land.

The company pledged to create 285 direct jobs with average annual salaries of $37,000.

Over the next ten years, the facility will indirectly and directly create 536 jobs with a payroll of $186 million, $87 million worth in taxable sales and purchases, and $3.5 million for Bryan ISD.

Bryan beat out 25 other suitors for the facility. Brazos County will abate $4.2 million in property taxes over the ten-year contract and the City of Bryan will forgo $4.9 million in property taxes.

Prolamsa anticipates the official groundbreaking to take place in early summer 2013 with operations beginning mid-2014.

Read more at The Eagle.

IMAX action set for Bryan 

(5/1/2013 8:00:00 AM)

BRYAN - Construction on the new IMAX 3D theatre has started at the Premiere Cinema. The new cinema will provide the only IMAX experience within a 90-mile radius. According to state filings the renovation is estimated at $1.5 million.

Construction plans on the 58,000-sf project include converting two of Premiere's existing theatres into one wide auditorium to make room for the massive, five-story IMAX screen and 350 reclining leather seats.

Premiere will also install a Starbucks, a fireside wine and beer bar, and an in-auditorium dining option through their restaurant, Backstage Bistro.

Bryan Business Council, the City of Bryan and IMAX Corporation are all collaborating on the project. The Bryan Business Council played an integral role in negotiating a half-million dollar loan for the project, consisting of 5 percent interest over a period of 60 months.

Although no funds from City of Bryan taxpayers were included, the new IMAX 3D theatre is guaranteed to add value to the Bryan-College Station community.

IMAX currently has approximately 700 theatres in 52 countries.

Read more at KBTX.

Bryan Walmart Neighborhood Market hiring 75  


BRYAN - The Walmart Neighborhood Market at 1901 S. Texas Ave., currently under construction, is set to hire at least 75 full and part-time positions.

The new Walmart Neighborhood Market is located at the Texas Ave. & Carson St. intersection. The 62,000-sf store will focus on food and health and beauty products.

The majority of new associates are expected to begin work in June to help prepare the store for its grand opening this summer.

The new store will be Walmart’s third in Bryan-College Station. Construction costs are estimated at $3.5 million.

Read more at KBTX.

Campus Pointe construction points to College Station 


COLLEGE STATION - Midway Cos. is set to begin construction on Texas A&M's Campus Pointe project in summer 2013. The development will begin at the intersection of University Dr. and College Ave., and stretch to the old Plaza Hotel redevelopment line.

The Campus Pointe project is expected to include

  • 225 to 250 room full service hotel;
  • 200,000 sf of retail space;
  • 300 high-end apartments;
  • 36 game day condos; and
  • 150,000 sf of office space.

Midway leased the 60-acre site from Texas A&M in October 2012. A&M System officials say the development will go up in three phases over the next several years. The contract with Midway says the final phase will go up no later than November 2022.

Read more at KBTX.

With Northgate growth, College Station to add substation 


COLLEGE STATION - With all the growth at Northgate and the Research Valley Biocorridor, the City of College Station is expected to build a $4.7 million substation to handle the growth.

Around 1,700 bedrooms are currently under construction on Northgate, with an additional 2,000 on the horizon. And that's on top of all the buildings that will be built in the Research Valley Biocorridor.

City planners say the new substation will go next to the Texas A&M substation on Agronamy Rd. Construction should be complete by December 2013.

This new substation will be the seventh in College Station.

Read more at KBTX.

Scott & White Hospital hiring in College Station 


COLLEGE STATION - Scott & White Healthcare has started hiring job seekers for its new $165 million, six-story hospital at Hwy. 6 and Rock Prairie Rd. The facility will employ 250 people.

The new 320,000-sf hospital, built on 98 acres, will have 119 patient beds when it opens in August 2013.

See Scott & White's website and College Station jobs. Full and part-time jobs in all departments for numerous positions are available.

Scott and White is no longer hiring tobacco users effective January 1st, 2013, and beyond. This applies to users of all products containing nicotine, including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, electronic cigarettes, snuff and replacement nicotine.

Read more at KBTX.

Listen to Podcast 168 for this story...and more!

Chicks hatches convenience store in Bryan 


BRYAN - The new Chicks store, eatery, and gas station at 600 N. Earl Rudder Fwy. at Briarcrest Dr. is now open. Construction costs were estimated at $1.5 million, as reported February 2013.

In all, Chicks boasts 60 soda fountains and over 300 menu items. It will also be open 24 hours a day 365 days a year. With 23 bathrooms, 18 gas pumps, a deli, and 12,000 sf of retail space Chicks rules the roost.

This is the first Chicks to open, but if Bryan provides a nice nesting area, more Chicks could be hatching.

Read more at KBTX.

Life Care retirement blooms in Bryan's $55M Arbor Oaks 


BRYAN - The $55 million redevelopment project for Crestview, a 242,000-sf seniors housing property, has been completed.

The newest phase is Arbor Oaks at Crestview — the area’s first Life Care retirement community. The center has room for more than 150 older adults.

Arbor Oaks features 92 maintenance-free, independent-living apartment homes.

In addition, residents have lifetime priority access to a continuum of care at the on-site health center, including 48 assisted-living, 48 skilled nursing and 18 dedicated memory support residences, if ever needed.

Life Care communities (a type of Continuing Care Retirement Communities or CCRC) are seeing popularity spikes across the country.

Read more at PRWEB. See previous news Arbor Oaks at Crestview update in Bryan.

Dirt turned at former Plaza Hotel site in College Station 


COLLEGE STATION - Construction has started on a new $45 million development at the site where the 17-story Plaza Hotel was imploded in 2012 at the corner of University Dr. and Texas Ave.

The Northpoint Crossing project will include 307 apartment units and 920 beds, and two parking garages. It will feature a mix of uses including apartments, restaurants and retail.

The first floor will contain 50,000 sf of restaurants and retail.

The first phase should open by summer 2014. Phase two of the project will include an additional 300 apartments and should open in 2015.

Read more at KBTX.

Texas A&M, GlaxoSmithKline to build $91M facility 


COLLEGE STATION - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has approved Texas A&M University System and GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s plans to build a $91 million facility to manufacture influenza vaccines.

The 110,000-sf manufacturing center will serve as the anchor of Texas A&M's Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing.

The facility is projected to add more than 6,800 direct and related jobs to the state. In addition, it is expected to bring in more than $41 billion in expenditures to the state of Texas over the next 25 years.

Once built and operational, the center’s influenza manufacturing facility will be able to supply 50 million doses of pandemic influenza vaccine within four months of an outbreak. The project will break ground in summer 2013.

Read more at WTAW and the Houston Business Journal.

College Station's Northgate to urbanize 


COLLEGE STATION - Northgate development exploded in 2012. In the pipeline are developments that will attract approximately 5,000 people in and around the 150-acre district.

Northpoint Crossing, by Capstone Collegiate Communities, will be located on 11.5 acres, at the intersection of University Dr. and Texas Ave. The project’s first phase will have 928 beds and 50,000 sf of retail. Construction is set to begin in spring 2013, with completion in spring 2014.

Campus Pointe, a joint venture between the Texas A&M System and Midway Cos., will go in next to Northpoint Crossing on University Dr. The 60-acre development will demolish the university housing units along University, beginning in summer 2013.

The project will break ground in spring 2014 and will be anchored by a full-service hotel. Officials anticipate 200,000 sf of retail, 150,000 to 200,000 of commercial space and 300 high-end multifamily units, 36 of which will be game-day condos.

Another system venture is the unnamed South College Avenue Project, bounded by College Ave, Cross St., Inlow Blvd. and Dogwood St. The university has leased land to American Campus Communities to build a development with 784 beds. Groundbreaking will commence in spring 2013, with apartments projected to be open in August 2014.

The 18-story Rise at Northgate, located near University Dr. and Church Ave., stretches 18 stories high and will include 174 apartments, 484 bedrooms and 17,000 sf of ground floor retail.

The Stack at Legacy Point, located adjacent to the Rise at Northgate along Church Ave, is slated for a June 2013 completion and fall 2013 occupancy. The development will house 416 residents in 209 units and include 5,000 sf of retail.

Read more at The Eagle.

Businesses boom in Bryan 


BRYAN - New restaurants, rooftops and businesses are coming to Bryan's east side.

A Value Place Hotel is under construction at 620 N. Earl Rudder Fwy. and should open by summer 2013. The 46,052-sf, four-story hotel has construction costs of $2.75 million.

Construction on a four-story Hilton Garden Inn started at 3000 Plaza Centre Court. The 119-guestroom, 82,880-sf hotel has construction costs of $5.5 million.

The 11,338-sf Scott & White Clinic, at 748 N. Earl Rudder Fwy., is underway with construction valued at $1.8 million.

A new 12,049-sf Chick's restaurant and gas station are being built at 600 N. Earl Rudder Fwy. at Briarcrest Dr. The construction value is $1.5 million.

Read more at KBTX.

Listen to Podcast 161 for this story...and more!

College Station sells land, expects $30M development 


COLLEGE STATION - College Station City Council has agreed to sell city-owned land near Northgate, which includes Café Eccell, for the development of multifamily housing.

Asset Plus Realty Corporation, a Houston based company, is set to close on the 3.36-acre property for $3.6 million in June. The property is bound by Wellborn Rd., Church Ave., 1st St. and Louise Ave.

The company plans to build a four-to-eight story student housing development with costs estimated at $30 million. The city will extend a $600,000 economic development grant to the company. Construction will start within two years, and the project will be complete by 2016.

The city originally started the acquisition of the block in 1997 for a game-day condominium project that fell through.

Read more at The Eagle and KBTX.

Hitachi, IT jobs to Bryan 


BRYAN - Hitachi Consulting, an arm of Hitachi Ltd., is set to bring jobs to the Brazos Valley by building a support facility in town. Officials anticipate the new partnership will bring up to 25 jobs to start, with that number expected to double over the next year to 18 months.

In deciding where to locate the center, officials studied consumer price index and the distance to available offices and commercial airports. The company wanted an area near a university with quality IT degrees. Salaries are expected to range from $40,000 to $100,000.

The service center is expected to open in The Suites at Galleria Village at 1716 Briarcrest Dr. in Bryan by March 4, 2013.

Read more at The Eagle and KBTX.

Ground breaks on College Station mental health hospital 


COLLEGE STATION - Strategic Behavioral Health has started construction on a new $12 million mental health hospital next to the College Station Medical Center.

The 52,000-sf hospital will have 72 beds, a staff of about 250 and will be equipped to treat various psychiatric ailments from depression to schizophrenia in children, adults and seniors. Salaries will average about $18 per hour.

The facility is expected to be complete in a year and, when complete, will meet the needs of more than 300,000 people who currently lack access to mental health care. It will also establish a residency program with the Texas A&M Health Science Center.

Read more at The Eagle and KBTX.

Skyline of College Station's Northgate changes 


COLLEGE STATION - The skyline of Northgate, across from Texas A&M University, is continuing to grow.

The newest landmarks of Northgate include the six-story The Stack and 18-story Rise on Northgate. Both student apartment developments will open for the fall semester.

The Stack will include retail space and a parking garage, and construction costs were estimated at $25 million, according to state filings. Four-bedroom units at The Stack will rent for $675 per person per month and one-bedroom units will lease for $975.

Construction on The Stack’s 209 units supporting 415 beds is set to be finished by July 2013. Developer Jack Culpepper expects the development to be at full occupancy within two years.

The Rise at Northgate will have one bedrooms for $1,100 per person and four or six bedrooms for $775 per person monthly. Construction costs have been estimated at $30 million, according to state filings.

The site of the imploded Plaza Hotel is set to become a multimillion dollar development of apartments, restaurants and retail and is expected to be finished by the fall of 2014.

Read more at KBTX.

College Station-Bryan economic outlook bright 


COLLEGE STATION-BRYAN - The College Station-Bryan area showed positive signs of growth in 2012 according to Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University researcher Jim Gaines.

Home sales in the area were up 17 percent for 2012 compared to 2011. The median home price went up 2.5 percent. Single-family building permits went up 30 percent in 2012, and multifamily permits rose 17 percent. Furthermore, they rose 191 percent from 2010 to 2011.

"Will we overbuild a little bit? Generally we do," Gaines said. "The economy doesn't work that smoothly, so there will be a little bit of that, but right now, my understanding is the units being built are being leased."

In Northgate, 3,000 additional residents are set to move into the area in the next two to three years with things like The Stack residential building. In all, the city expects $500 million to $1 billion in investment over the next two decades.

Downtown Bryan continues to be a visible sign of growth. Since 2002, $25 million in infrastructure investment has helped make for a $98 million market value increase. Nineteen new businesses have come to downtown since 2010.

Read more at KBTX.

Texas A&M economic impact surpasses $4B 


COLLEGE STATION-BRYAN - For calendar year 2012, the estimated Texas A&M University impact on the entire Research Valley was $4.3 billion, an increase of more than $540 million from 2011 levels and $2.2 billion more than 2002, a 95.7 percent gain

A major factor for the increase in the contribution to the local economy was the growth in expenditures by visitors attending sporting events and other campus activities at Texas A&M University.

Attendance at Texas A&M athletic events increased by almost 98,000, including a gain for home football games of more than 77,000, for a
15 percent increase over the 2011 level. Visitors also remained in the area longer and spent more money in 2012.

Also included are $873 million for 21,581 A&M employee salaries, $378 million from university visitors, and $470 million for student expenses.

Read more at the TAMU Times.

TEEX purchases 17.8 acres adjacent to Disaster City 


COLLEGE STATION - The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) has purchased a 17.8-acre tract adjacent to Disaster City. The newly acquired land brings the total land area of the Emergency Preparedness Campus to nearly 297 acres.

In addition to Disaster City, the campus includes the world-renowned Brayton Fire Training Field and the Emergency Operations Training Center.

The emergency preparedness campus doubled in size in 2011, when a total of 159 acres adjoining Brayton Fire Training Field was transferred to TEEX from the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The additional property included a 31-acre tract on Nuclear Science Rd. and a 128-acre tract immediately northeast of the Emergency Operations Training Center.

A team from TEEX Emergency Services Training Institute is now developing plans for the use of the new property as well as the 159 acres obtained in 2011.

Source: Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service

College Station-Bryan apartment stats Dec. 2012 


COLLEGE STATION-BRYAN - Multifamily statistics for the College Station-Bryan area have been released by San Antonio-based Apartment MarketData Research.

The area’s apartments remained relatively affordable in the three months ending December 2012, as the area's units averaged $0.841 per sf, compared to an average of $0.912 for all of Texas’ metro areas.

The area's occupancy in units built since 2000 remained just below the Texas metro average of 96.8 percent, with a 96.0 percent occupancy rate.

College Station-Bryan Apartment Statistics
Dec. 2012*
Texas Metro
Average rent per sf $0.841 $0.912
Average rent per sf
(units built since 2000)
$0.875 $1.023
Average occupancy 96.5% 95.6%
Average occupancy
(units built since 2000)
96.0% 96.8%
Total units 18,666 1,644,924
Total units built since 2000 2,386 402,303

*Trailing three months

For other Texas metros, see Apartment MarketData Research.

Source: Apartment MarketData Research

College Station's Veterans Park to get $3.7M upgrade 


COLLEGE STATION - Veterans Park is set to get a $3.7 million upgrade. The City of College Station will add two artificial turf fields in hopes to score more tournaments.

"The 7 on 7 event not going to A&M became a catalyst for us to actually push this project forward," said David Schmitz, Director of Parks & Recreation. Due to SEC rules, the annual 7 on 7 football tournament held at Texas A&M for 15 years will move to Round Rock this summer. This year the city estimates it will lose out on the tournament's economic impact of about $900,000.

But with the addition of the two artificial turf fields and the scheduled return of the tournament in 2014, the possibility of keeping it here could be a touchdown waiting to happen.

The city is paying for the fields with money already collected by the hotel/motel tax, and construction will begin summer 2013. Two more additional artificial turf fields will be added in 2014 to bring the total number of fields available for use up to 13.

Read more at KBTX.

Blue Bell cranks out $14 million scoop 


BRENHAM - Whatever it might say for the economy, Blue Bell Ice Cream is hot. A $14 million expansion of cold storage and production capacity will add about 100,000 sf to the existing plant at 1101 S. Blue Bell Rd.

For its construction project, Blue Bell received a tax "phase-in" that will save the company about $442,000 over eight years, said Julie Fulgham, the City of Brenham's director of development service.

The privately held company that calls itself "the little creamery in Brenham" will add 50 employees over the phase-in period, Fulgham said. The plant currently has 875 employees.

Blue Bell was one of three Brenham manufacturers granted tax phase-in agreements in 2012.

Now available in 20 states, the product is selling so well that Blue Bell Creameries has begun a project that will expand its Brenham plant by 25 percent.

It's the first major expansion since the early 1990s at the Brenham facility, about 70 miles northwest of Houston.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle and NewsTalk Texas.

Construction up in Bryan-College Station 


BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION - The number of building permits issued by Bryan and College Station rose by about 600 this year over 2011, indicating that construction activity is increasing locally.

New developments, such as the Scott & White Hospital in College Station and the Pendleton Place Apartments in Bryan, create new venues for the community and more tax dollars for the cities. The permits  — which include new commercial and residential construction — are how the cities approve the developments.

The City of Bryan was just shy of having issued 4,000 permits for 2012 through the month of November. That figure includes home-improvement projects and demolitions.

In 2011, there were 3,700. The increased amount of construction has resulted in $115 million in permit values within the city, an approximate $35 million increase from 2011.

While College Station has increased its number of permits, Bob Cowell, the city's executive director for planning and development, expects the permit values to remain about the same.

There were about 1,200 permits with $228 million in permit values in 2011 and 1,500 for $204 million in permit values in 2012. Those figures only include what Cowell described as building permits.

There were 382 single-family residential permits worth $51 million in 2011 compared to 514 single-family residential permits worth $72 million in 2012.

Read more at The Eagle.

TEEX buys property in College Station Business Park 


COLLEGE STATION - The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) has purchased a building in the College Station Business Park, where the agency has been leasing space since 2004. The 60,000-sf Gateway building sits on 1.15 acres and has 200 parking spaces.

The $6.8 million price tag is substantially less than the cost of building a new facility, and based on rental fees, the cost will be recovered in just a few years, said Charley Todd, associate agency director.

The agency will continue to utilize 43,000 sf of office space and a large warehouse area of the building. The Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) plans to purchase Suite A, which includes an additional 17,000 sf of offices, wet labs and cold storage units.

Source: Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service

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