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22 posts from July 2012


Baylor University Medical Center recognized again

Shortly after being ranked by Consumer Reports as the safest hospital in Texas, Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas was named the top hospital in North Texas by U.S. News & World Report in the magazine's annual list of the best hospitals. Baylor ranked No. 3 in Texas and also was recognized nationally in six specialties: gastroenterology, nephrology, orthopedics, pulmonology, urology and gynecology. In addition, it was listed as "high-performing" (in the top 25 percent nationally) in cancer, cardiology/heart surgery, diabetes/endocrinology, ear/nose/throat, geriatrics and neurology/neurosurgery. UT Southwestern Medical Center, ranked No. 5 in Texas, was the only other hospital among DFW institutions to be recognized nationally in a specialty, with the Dallas teaching hospital ranked in neurology/neurosurgery and urology.

Other Baylor hospitals listed as high-performing in various specialties are: Baylor All Saints Medical Center at Fort Worth, gastroenterology, nephrology, orthopedics, pulmonology and urology; Baylor Irving, diabetes/endocrinology and neurology/neurosurgery; Baylor Plano, diabetes/endocrinology, gastroenterology, geriatrics, nephrology, neurology/neurosurgery, orthopedics and pulmonology; and Baylor Garland, orthopedics and urology.

"It is a wonderful honor that Baylor University Medical Center is acknowledged for this dedication and excellent care that our health care team provides," Dr. Irving Prengler, chief medical office at the hospital, said in a prepared release.

As previously reported, four Texas Health Resources hospitals in North Texas were recognized as having high-performing specialties. Medical City Dallas Hospital (No. 9 in Texas), and Parkland Memorial Hospital (No. 17 in Texas) rounded out the DFW Top 10 in the magazine's rankings.

-- Jim Fuquay


New Jersey firm moving to DFW Airport location

Mountain Accessories, a manufacturer of high-end plumbing accessories, is relocating its U.S. headquarters and distribution center to International Park near Dallas-Fort Worth Airport from New Jersey.

The company has leased 41,486-square feet in Twinrose Regent 1 at 2611 Regent Blvd. The company is scheduled to start its warehouse and distribution operations here Aug. 1, said the commercial real estate brokerage that worked on the deal. The headquarters will follow in the third quarter, said Bradford Commercial Real Estate Services.

Mountain Accessories will have a 1,000-square-foot showroom and 10,000 square feet for office. The balance of the space is for warehouse and distribution.

The company began looking for a new location a year ago, said Todd Lambeth, Bradford’s executive vice president. Joe Santaularia with Bradford also worked on the deal.

Van Power and David Schrock with NAI Robert Lynn represented Mountain Accessories.

_ Sandra Baker

Four THR hospitals recognized by U.S. News & World Report

Four hospitals operated by Arlington-based Texas Health Resources were designated as among the best in North Texas in a new ranking by the magazine. Hospitals listed as "high-performing" are: Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, in gastroenterology, geriatrics, nephrology, orthopedics, pulmonology and urology; Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital, in geriatrics and neurology/neurosurgery; Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, in gastroenterology, geriatrics, gynecology, neurology/neurosurgery, orthopedics and urology; and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano, in gastroenterology, geriatrics, nephrology, and orthopedics. THR said rankings are based on reputation, clinical excellence and other care-related factors, such as nursing and patient services.

"This recognition speaks to the high-quality care we deliver and represents the hard work and dedication of physicians, nurses and hospital leadership across our health care system," THR CEO Doug Hawthorne said in a prepared release.

-- Jim Fuquay


Lockheed hit by power outage

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth said Monday that a problem with a power cable interrupted electricity to four buildings used by the big defense contractor, although not its main office building or the mile-long factory line where assembly of the F-35 takes place. Lockheed spokesman Joe Stout said the problem, which affected an electronics lab and a hangar where final assembly of the F-16 takes place, was expected to be fixed by mid-day Tuesday.

-- Jim Fuquay


Fewer Fort Worth-Arlington homeowner underwater on mortgages

Fewer mortgage holders in Fort Worth-Arlington are underwater on their loans thanks to a rebounding housing market.

At the end of the first quarter, 11.3 percent, or 43,626, of all residential properties with a mortgage were in negative equity, said CoreLogic.

That compares to 13.1 percent, or 50,663 properties, at the end of the fourth quarter 2011 that were upside down, or owed more than the property is worth, CoreLogic said.

An additional 6.5 percent, or 25,170 residential properties, were in near negative equity for first quarter 2012 compared to 7.0 percent, or 27,027, in fourth quarter 2011, CoreLogic said.

Nationally, 11.4 million, or 23.7 percent, of all residential properties with a mortgage were in negative equity at the end of March. The numbers are down from 12.1 million properties, or 25.2 percent, at the end of 2011.

An additional 2.3 million borrowers had less than 5 percent equity, referred to as near-negative equity, in the first quarter.

"In the first quarter of 2012, rebounding home prices, a healthier balance of real estate supply and demand, and a slowing share of distressed sales activity helped to reduce the negative equity share," said Mark Fleming, CoreLogic’s chief economist. "This is a meaningful improvement that is driven by quickly improving outlooks in some of the hardest hit markets. While the overall stagnating economic recovery will likely slow housing market recovery in the second half of this year, reducing the number of underwater households is an important step toward reducing future mortgage default risk."

 _ Sandra Baker






Hillwood sells land in north FW for another apartment community

FORT WORTH — Hillwood Properties has sold a tract of land for a multifamily development, the second such land sale since it announced earlier this year it planned as many as 3,000 apartments at its Alliance development in north Fort Worth.

Hillwood sold 18.5 acres at the northeast corner of Texas 170 and Old Denton Road to SWBC Real Estate in Dallas, which plans a 318-unit community called Overlook Ranch. The development will feature 15 garden-style apartment buildings and include one-, two- and three-bedrooms units. The units will average 850 square feet.

Amenities will include a movie theatre with surround sound, car wash/detail center, clubhouse with resort-style pool and spa, and state-of-the art fitness center. Construction is scheduled to begin later this year and pre-leasing starting in early 2013, Hillwood said.

SWBC real estate is a part of SWBC Enterprises in San Antonio, which is owned by Charlie Amato and Gary Dudley. SWBC Enterprises specializes in residential mortgage lending, insurance sales and investment advisory services.

Hillwood’s has planned for the construction of as many as 3,000 apartments at the 17,000-acre Alliance, primarily in the 900-acre Alliance Town Center. Hillwood has about 550 apartments at Alliance Town Center that are completed or under construction.

In April, Hillwood sold 20 acres near its Heritage community in Alliance to Atlanta-based Davis Development, which plans a 322-unit luxury apartment community called The Sovereign. Davis Development said it expected to begin construction this year at North Tarrant Parkway between Ray White Boulevard and U.S. 377.

"Overlook Ranch fills a growing need for increased multi-family options within AllianceTexas," said Mike Berry, Hillwood president. "The project complements Hillwood’s efforts in the multi-family industry in north Fort Worth."

Blake Barnard with J.B. Barnard & Co. coordinated the transaction.

_ Sandra Baker



FW office towers Western Place are sold to California investors

The Western Place office complex along the West Freeway in Fort Worth has been sold to a San Diego real estate investment firm for $32 million.






The American Recovery Property Trust, or ARPT, bought the twin 10-story buildings from G REIT Liquidating Trust and NNN Realty Investors in Santa Ana, Calif., according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The multitenant property, on nearly 13 acres, was sold June 15.

ARPT paid $20 million in cash and 1.2 million shares of stock valued at $12 million, the filing said. It financed the deal with a $24 million note from Goldman Sachs Commercial Mortgage Capital, deed records show. According to the SEC filing, ARPT paid $4 million in closing costs and holdbacks for tenant improvements, reserves and taxes.

Todd Mikles, CEO and controlling shareholder of Sovereign Capital Management Group in San Diego, is president of ARPT.

G REIT owned 78.5 percent of Western Place and NNN Realty Investors owned 21.5 percent.

G REIT was founded in 2001 to buy, manage and invest in office, industrial and service real estate properties. In 2006, stockholders voted to liquidate. In December, the trust still owned three properties, including Western Place, at Westridge Avenue and Interstate 30.

G REIT bought Western Place in 2004 from Skyrise Properties in Dallas.

Western Place  was built in 1978 and was the headquarters for Western Co. of North America. It has also been owned by Travelers Insurance Co. and Texas Health Resources.

_ Sandra Baker



Alliance seeks summary judgment against Velvet Box, cites "dildos and artificial vaginas"

Not very often that you see this kind of terminology in a lawsuit filing.

Alliance Town Center Association, in its suit seeking to oust its tenant The Velvet Box, which sells adult novelties, has filed a motion for summary judgment in the 342nd State District Court in Fort Worth.

The motion maintains The Velvet Box continues to operate in violation of state and local laws and language in its lease barring the operation of a sexually oriented business. Fort Worth Police have said The Velvet Box, which also operates a store in Fort Worth’s West 7th district, is not classified as a sexually oriented business.

“In September 2009, Velvet Box opened a retail store specializing in a variety of sexually-oriented products, including vibrators, dildos, ‘strap on’ dildos, male rnasturbators, anal beads, butt-plugs, cock rings, anal lubricants, sex restraints, sex harnesses, whips, sex lubricants, sex books and other such products,” the latest filing, by Alliance Town Center attorney Kelly Hart & Hallman, said.

The Velvet Box “strangely denies that its sex shop is ‘sexually-oriented’,” the filing says.

The filing went to say The Velvet Box sells “obscene devices”  - specifically singling out “dildos and artificial vaginas” in violation of state law.

- Scott Nishimura


DFW housing report says construction of new homes growing

A second housing report this week that shows Dallas-Fort Worth housing starts on the rise suggests the housing recovery is well underway.

"While much of the improvement to date has been centered on the northern suburbs and at the higher price points, our builder clients are reporting widespread improved confidence among potential homebuyers," said Ted Wilson, partner with Residential Strategies, a Dallas-based consulting firm, which released the report Friday.

D-FW homebuilders started construction on 4,538 houses from April through June, up 19 percent from 3,804 starts in the same quarter a year ago, the report said.

Builders also closed the sale of 3,901 homes, up 7 percent from the second quarter of 2011.

Wilson said low 30-year mortgage rates have contributed to the rise in construction and sales activity. The average 30-year loan rate fell to 3.62 percent this week, Freddie Mac reported.

"Buyers that can qualify for a mortgage want to take advantage of these attractive low rates," Wilson said.

Fort Worth has a supply of 2,738 new homes that range from being under construction to completed or model homes. That’s 112 more than the first quarter and 33 more than the supply at the end of June a year ago, the report said.

"Finished inventory is being snapped up in the better performing neighborhoods," Wilson said.

- Sandra Baker

Bloomingdales job fair Saturday for Grand Prairie outlet store positions

Bloomingdale’s will host a job fair from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, July 7, for positions at its new store at the Paragon Outlets center in Grand Prairie.

The store will open in mid-August.

Job seekers can go online at www.bloomingdalesjobs.com to see a list of openeings prior to the job fair and to request an interview on another date.

The job fair will be at 3901 Arlington Highlands Blvd., Suite 200, in the Arlington Highlands Shopping Center, off Interstate 20 and Matlock Road.

_ Sandra Baker


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