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.
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.
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, 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, 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, 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
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.
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 - 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.
BRENHAM, WASHINGTON COUNTY - Precision Polymer Engineering (PPE) will lease a $3.3 million, 30,000-sf facility being built 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.
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.
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 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 - 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 - 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.
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.
COLLEGE STATION - The Texas A&M Student Recreation Center is set to get its first major facelift since opening in 1995 — a $50 million renovation that will increase its space by 25 percent. The university is soliciting bids from companies who will work with San Antonio-based architect Marmon Monk to renovate the center.
The request calls for nearly 20,000 sf of renovated space, nearly 36,000 Elements path sf of natatorium renovation and more than 113,000 sf of new construction. The design is somewhat flexible and the final list of amenities will be determined by the winning bid.
The renovation will help meet the needs of the largest, ever-expanding student body in Texas.
When the approximately 300,000-sf recreation center opened in 1995, approximately 1.2 million check-ins were made by students to the center. That number has fluctuated anywhere between 100,000 more or less every year since then, meaning that the center has pretty much operated at capacity since day one while the number of students has grown.
See The Eagle for the full story.
COLLEGE STATION-BRYAN - Apartment MarketData Research Services LLC released October 2013 data. The multifamily market data represent three months trailing (August–October 2013).
As a rule these represent all properties except those that are leased but not occupied units.
Age Group: All information is grouped into four age categories. Properties built before 1970, properties built in the 1970's, properties built in the 1980's, and properties built in the 2000's and 2010's.
Rate: Rental Rate is the average market rate expressed as ($/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 - 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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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 - The City of Bryan has released its October 2013 building report. Follow the link for all of Bryan's monthly reports.
|Permit Type||# Permits||Value|
|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|
*Total includes all building permits issued.
Source: City of Bryan
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.
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.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, or agriculture workshop program coordinator Erin Pilosi at (979) 847-6185, EMPilosi@ag.tamu.edu, or visit http://txagrability.tamu.edu/.
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 - 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.
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.
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.
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 www.CollegeCreditforHeroes.org. 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.
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 kylefield.com.
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.”
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 - 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.
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.
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.
Source: O’Connor & Associates
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.
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.
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 - 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 - The City of Bryan has released its July 2013 building report. Following the link for all of Bryan's monthly reports.
|Permit Type||# Permits||Value|
|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|
*Total includes all building permits issued.
Source: City of Bryan
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.