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32 posts from April 2012


North Arlington apartment community sold

The Conner Group in Centerville, Ohio, a real estate investment firm, has sold Legacy Point, a 246-unit apartment community in Arlington.

The property, 1901 NE Green Oaks Blvd., was sold to MREF Legacy, Llc. in Carrollton for an undisclosed amount.

The Conner Group said it bought the property in 2007 for $25.2 million. The apartment community was built in 1995.

Larry Connor, Connor Group managing partner, said it was the right time to sell.

"We were at a point where we felt we could maximize our return to investors," he said.

The Connor Group bought the Lodge at Frisco Bridges in Frisco in March. The firm now owns and operates about 2,100 units in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and about 16,000 units nationwide.

_ Sandra Baker



Texas says deal with Amazon.com "resolves all sales tax issues"

Amazon.com agreed Friday to begin collecting Texas sales tax and remitting it to the state.

- Scott Nishimura


Former Dallas Fed chief McTeer says Congress needs to reach budget compromise

Congress must reach a compromise bill to avert deep automatic spending cuts beginning next year that would cut too deeply into defense, Robert McTeer, the former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said in Fort Worth Thursday.

Problem is, the fall elections are in the way, McTeer, who served as Dallas Fed chief between 1991 and 2005, said during a speech at a National Center for Policy Analysis luncheon at Colonial Country Club. The specter of big defense cuts, on top of ones already underway, "might bring the Republicans into a compromise attitude," McTeer said.

But those talks need "to be done real soon, and I don’t see any prospect of that," McTeer, who referred to the looming fight as a "fiscal cliff," said during an interview after the lunch.

The automatic cuts of more than $1 trillion over a decade will occur since Congress didn’t reach an agreement to cut the federal budget deficit last year.

McTeer, a distinguished fellow at the conservative Dallas-based think tank, said the nation’s economic recovery is weaker than appears.

"The numbers really haven’t improved all that much," he said.

Unemployment rates look better because a large number of discouraged jobseekers have left the workforce, housing hasn’t recovered, the fourth quarter’s gross domestic product gain was propped up by a buildup in inventories, and consumers are still smarting from the recessionary hit to their market portfolios and home equity, McTeer said.

Savers are shunning excess spending and boosting savings, good news for the future that nevertheless hurts the economy now, because it’s 70 percent driven by consumer spending, McTeer said.

"We’re better off, unless everybody does it," he said of the savings trend.

He lauded the Federal Reserve’s money-easing policies. "In my opinion, they saved our cookies," McTeer said.

The federal bank bailout, engineered by the Bush Administration in its final weeks in office, "saved the banking system and didn’t cost the taxpayers any money," McTeer said.

The massive federal stimulus package promulgated by President Obama and the Democrats "probably did a bit of good, but at a great fiscal cost," McTeer said.

McTeer was also critical of Obama’s campaign rhetoric proposing higher taxes for the wealthy.

"That’s created a lot of uncertainty and caused people to withdraw," he said.

McTeer questioned Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s recent announcements of its internal forecasts projecting a continued slow recovery.

"I worry about the flexibility he gives up," McTeer said in the interview.

McTeer also said he "personally" believes Bernanke is being conservative in the forecasts and may be looking for a recovery to pick up steam faster than the forecasts.

Of the upcoming budget talks, McTeer said, "it’s not necessary to eliminate the deficit. What’s important is that the deficit and debt as a percentage of GDP start back down. Politically, there’s going to have to be some compromise."

Scott Nishimura

Trader Joe's says Fort Worth store will open June 15

Trader Joe's has dragged this one out long enough. The hugely popular grocer says today it will open its new Fort Worth store, 2701 S. Hulen St., 8 a.m. June 15.

The store is taking applications this week 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1 p.m.-4 p.m.

- Scott Nishimura

Cash American earnings rise in first quarter

Cash America International, the Fort Worth-based operator of pawn shops and other consumer lending, said it earned  $41.5 million in the first quarter, or $1.30 a share, up 15 percent from a year ago. Revenue rose 25 percent to $457.5 million on a 47 percent gain in e-commerce, which included a 91 percent gain in international activities. It also saw a 22 percent gain in merchandise sales and a 15 percent gain in pawn loan fees and service charges. Cash America's shares (ticker: CSH) jumped more than 6 percent in early trading. Its announcement is here.

-- Jim Fuquay

Hillwood sells 20 acres in north Fort Worth to Atlanta apartment developer

FORT WORTH — Hillwood Communties, a Perot company, has sold 20-acres in north Fort Worth near its Heritage community, to Atlanta-based Davis Development, which plans a 322-unit luxury apartment community called The Sovereign.

Davis Development is expected to begin construction later this year, said Venture Commercial, which represented Hillwood in the sale. The property is on North Tarrant Parkway between Ray White Boulevard and Highway 377.

"With its proximity to major thoroughfares, great retail, and Keller ISD schools, this is a great location for our fourth DFW multi-family project," said Gene Babb, who handles land acquisitions for Davis Development, in a statement.

Many of the units will feature direct-access garages.

Venture’s Ken Reimer and David Davidson Jr. assists Hillwood Communities and is also marketing another 23 acres of land near the planned community.

In February, Hillwood announced plans to build 3,000 apartments in the next decade. Housing demands at Alliance, Hillwood’s 17,000-acre residential, office, retail and industrial project in north Fort Worth, are growing because of a growing employment base, Hillwood said.

Hillwood has about 300 acres zoned for multifamily use just east of Alliance Town Center, which runs along Interstate 35W from North Tarrant Parkway to Golden Triangle Boulevard. The land can accommodate about 5,000 units.

_ Sandra Baker

Huguley to join Texas Health Resources network

Huguley Memorial Medical Center in far south Fort Worth will become part of the Arlington-based Texas Health Resources system effective May 1, THR and Huguley's parent, Adventist Health Systems, confirmed today. As previously reported, the two parties have formed a joint venture -- with THR holding the controlling interest -- to own and manage Huguley. Huguley will eventually adopt the THR brand, while Adventist will be responsible for daily operations, the parties said. A public ceremony is planned for Friday.

-- Jim Fuquay 


U.S. Concrete will relocate its headquarters to Euless

U.S. Concrete, a producer of ready-mix concrete and precast concrete products and owner of Redi-Mix, will relocate its headquarters from Houston to Euless, city officials said today.

The company already employs 250 workers at a Redi-Mix regional headquarters at 331 N. Main St. and expects to add 45 professional-level jobs with the relocation. The move is expected to be completed by July 1.

"Redi-Mix has been a crucial business partner with Euless for many years and we are excited to see them expand," said City Manager Gary McKamie. "Relocating the corporate headquarters to Euless will promote new business development within the city.”

Euless put together a generous incentive package to attract the Redi-Mix operation a couple of years ago. The city built the regional headquarters facility for the company, spending $4.9 million for a 27,551-square-foot building on 2.2 acres. In 2010, Redi-Mix moved in, rent-free, as long as generates a certain level of sales tax, according to our columnist, Mitchell Schnurman.

And because the city owns the headquarters, Redi-Mix pays no real estate taxes (although it does pay a much smaller tax bill on business property).

U.S. Concrete is a publicly-traded company which went through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in 2010. It trades on the Nasdaq under the symbol USCR. Last month, it reported a net loss from continuing oeprations of $11.7 million for 2011 on revenues of $495 million.

-- Steve Kaskovich



Trader Joe's hiring for Fort Worth store

Trader Joe's hasn't said when it plans to open its new Fort Worth store, beyond this Spring. But it's posted on CraigsList, looking to hire people for work to begin at the end of May.

Starting Tuesday, the company began taking applications at the store, 2701 S. Hulen St. The company said in posts on its web site and the free CraigsList site that it’s taking applications 9 a.m.-noon, and 2 p.m.-5 p.m.

"We are hiring for work to begin at the end of May," the company said.

The company is advertising for "Store Crew" who will work on the cash registers, bag groceries, stock shelves, build displays, and "have fun helping customers."

Additionally, Trader Joe’s wants people with specialized talents.

Have a "Passion for Art? Flair for Food? Love of Wine?"

Trader Joe’s wants people who who can craft handmade signs promoting merchandise; plan, prepare, and serve samples of food to customers; and answer customers’ questions about wine.

The company confirmed last fall it was headed for Fort Worth, and said then it expected to open in the Spring.

Alison Mochizuki, spokeswoman for the California-based Trader Joe’s, said in an email that the company doesn’t say how many people it hires per store or expects to hire. She also said the company isn’t yet saying when its opening will be.


- Scott Nishimura

FW Chamber among top 20 economic development groups in 2011

The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce said Tuesday it was named among the top 20 economic development groups by Site Selection magazine, a trade publication.

It is the fifth time in the last eight years the chamber has made the list, featured in the magazine’s upcoming May issue.

The magazine also named the deal to lure GE Transportation to Fort Worth as one of the top 10 deals in North America in 2011. GE Transportation is building a locomotive manufacturing plant and a plant to building mining equipment in far north Fort Worth.

The chamber made the top 20 list by securing 15 economic development projects that represent about 3.2 million square feet of real estate, $587 million in capital investments and nearly 3,500 jobs. The total economic impact of the deals secured in 2011 is estimated at $1.2 billion, according to the chamber.

"The Fort Worth Chamber has done an exceptional job to help us leverage our city’s attributes to attract new business opportunities that are strengthening our community by creating new jobs and new tax revenue," said Mayor Betsy Price.

David Berzina, executive vice president for economic development at the chamber, credited the chamber’s partnerships with the city and Tarrant County for a strong 2011.

"These partnerships are the reason we have been more successful than many other groups across the nation at securing new business opportunities for the Fort Worth community," he said.

The Dallas Regional Chamber was also included among the top 20 economic development groups.

Site Selection annually names the top-ranking organizations based on such things as capital investment, jobs created, the contributions of the local or regional economic development organizations and overall economic vitality.

In May 2011, GE Transportation said it selected Fort Worth for its new $96 million locomotive plant. The plant is scheduled to open by the end of the year, initially creating about 500 jobs, but possibly an additional 275 jobs by 2016. The company is expanding an existing building to 900,000 square feet near the Texas Motor Speedway.

The deal received $3.3 million in tax abatements from the city and $4.2 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund. Tarrant and Denton counties also approved tax incentives for the project.

About five months later, GE Transportation said it would also build a mining equipment plant next to the locomotive plant. It is expected to employ 130 workers. The 236,000-square-foot, $95 million plant will build electric-drive wheel systems for huge off-road vehicles that perform heavy hauling work such as moving ore extracted from mines.

The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce has 2,000 member businesses.

- Sandra Baker


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