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27 posts from September 2012


Familiar Fort Worth names on Forbes 400 wealthiest Americans list

With the exception of relocating Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton's residence from Parker County to Fort Worth (mistakenly, as far as we know), the Tarrant area members of Forbes magazine's annual list of the wealthiest Americans are pretty much unchanged this year. Walton is No. 8 on the 2012 list, with a net worth of $26.3 billion. (She listed her residence as 11500 Interstate 20, the address of her 3,200-acre Rocking W Ranch outside of Millsap, in October 2011 when she was charged with DUI on her way home from her 62nd birthday party in Fort Worth.) She's followed by investor Robert Bass (tied at No. 151 with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones at $2.7 billion), investor David Bonderman (No. 170, $2.6 billion), investor Richard Rainwater (No. 206, $2.3 billion), brothers Ed and Lee Bass (tied at No. 239, $2 billion), and Sid Bass (No. 271, $1.8 billion). All have been on the list for years.

Dallas area residents on the list, in addition to Jones, include banker Andrew Beal, investor Harold Simmons, oilman and real estate developer Ray Lee Hunt, investor Robert Rowling, oilman Trevor Rees-Jones, investor H. Ross Perot Sr., oilman Timothy Headington, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, pipeline operator Kelcy Warren, banker Gerald J. Ford, Texas Rangers co-owner Ray Davis, real estate developer H. Ross Perot Jr., investor T. Boone Pickens, telecommunications operator Kenny Troutt, and online media developer Todd Wagner.

The complete list is here.

-- Jim Fuquay


Area hospitals recognized for quality

The Joint Commission, an independent organization that accredits healthcare facilities and programs, includes 26 North Texas hospitals on its newly released 2012 list of top performers, based on their records treating any of eight medical conditions. Ten are in the Tarrant area: Baylor Orthopedic and Spine Hospital at Arlington, Medical Center of Arlington, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Azle, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital H-E-B, Baylor Surgical Hospital at Fort Worth, Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth, Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine, Methodist Mansfield Medical Center, Trophy Club Medical Center and Weatherford Regional Medical Center. The complete list of hospitals and the medical conditions there were recognized for is here.

The Joint Commission, in a prepared release, said: "The Top Performers on Key Quality Measures program is consistent with pay-for-performance trends being enacted by federal and state government and private payers. The reported data have been available on The Joint Commission’s Quality Check website and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Hospital Compare website." Of nearly 3,400 hospitals reporting data to The Joint Commission, 620 were top performers in at least one category.

Dallas area hospitals are: Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen, Baylor Medical Center at Carrollton, Baylor Heart and Vascular Center LLP (Dallas), Medical City Dallas Hospital, Methodist Dallas Medical Center, MSH Partners LLC (Dallas), North Central Surgical Center (Dallas), UT Southwestern Zale Lipshy Hospital (Dallas), Las Colinas Medical Center, Medical Center of Lewisville, Dallas REgional Medical Center (Mesquite), Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano, The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano, Lake Pointe Medical Center (Rowlett), and Baylor Medical Center at Waxahachie.

-- Jim Fuquay



Job fair in Arlington on Sept. 27

Continue reading "Job fair in Arlington on Sept. 27" »

Pre-owned auto dealership chain DriveTime to be sold

DriveTime, the national pre-owned automotive retail chain has been sold, subject to regulatory approvals, in two separate transactions, according to SEC filings. The sale was first reported by Dealer Business Journal.

The privately held company has 91 sub-prime automotive retail outlets including locations in Arlington, Fort Worth and Irving. DriveTime's retail outlets and 16 reconditioning centers were sold to an as-yet-unnamed “new entity owned by third-party investors" for an undisclosed amount.

The company's $700 million portfolio of automobile loans and interest in auto finance securities is being purchased by the Santander Consumer USA finance company.

- Bob Cox

Auto dealer CarMax hiring for DFW area outlets

CarMax is hiring! The retailer of used cars and trucks says it plans to hire people to fill more than 50 positions at its four Dallas/Fort worth area stores, including the one at I-30 and Eastchase in east Fort Worth.

The dealerships will be hiring sales consultatns, auto detailers and technicians. CarMax will conduct initial reviews of applications and will then contact applicants and set up interviews. Technicians require previous automotive repair experiences. 

- Bob Cox



Panda Power gets financing for second plant

Panda Power Funds, a Dallas builder of electricity plants that announced plans for a Temple facility just two months ago, said Tuesday it landed financing for another power plant, this one in Sherman. Construction on the 758-megawatt gas-fired plant will start immediately and should be complete by the end of 2014, the company said. Panda did not disclose the amount of financing, other than to say it is senior debt arranged through Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse. It issued $330 million in high-yield bonds for the Temple project, also a 758-megawatt facility. Both are expected to go into operation in late 2014, about the time Texas officials have warned that the state's largest power grid could be uncomfortably short of power to meet growing demand.

-- Jim Fuquay


The LOFT opens Friday in Fort Worth's Sundance Square

Mark Friday morning on your calendars for the opening of the LOFT women’s apparel and accessories store in downtown Fort Worth’s Sundance Square.

The 5,394-square-foot store, at the corner of Houston and Third streets, opens at 10 a.m. During opening weekend, shoppers who spend $75 or more will receive a special tote as a gift.

Sundance Square announced the new tenant in May and has since been renovating some of the former Billy Miner’s space for the store. It is across from Sundance Square’s $110 million expansion project now underway that includes three buildings for offices, shops and restaurants and residences. It also includes a public plaza.

Other clothing retailers in Sundance Square are Jos. A. Bank, Leddy’s Ranch and Pappagallo Classiques.

LOFT operates 500 stores across the U.S. and online at LOFT.com. LOFT is a division of Ann Inc.

_ Sandra Baker


Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas says state's housing recovery to continue this year

 If job growth stays strong in Texas through the rest of the year, the recovery of the state’s housing market should continue this year as well, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas says in a report issued today.

"Home sales and construction have bounced back from recessionary levels, and apartment leasing remains robust thanks to solid employment and population gains," the Dallas Fed said.

Texas homeownership rate has inched up to 64.7 percent, one percentage point higher since the housing market bottomed out in the first quarter of 2011, the report said. The gain indicates a willingness of residents to buy a house. Sales began improving in the second half of 2011, the report said.

In North Texas, sales were flat in 2011 when compared to 2010, when sales were buoyed by a federal tax credit to homebuyers.

Through July, existing home sales rose nearly 20 percent from the same period of 2011, the report said.

"This activity is consistent with 2003-04 levels, before the national housing boom," the report said.

Lack of inventory is the factor most impacting sales and prices, the Dallas Fed said.

"Texas inventories of existing single-family homes are a 5.5 months of supply at the current sales pace. Inventories below about 6.5 months of supply are historically consistent with rising home prices," the report said.

Fewer Fort Worth-Arlington borrowers underwater on mortgages, CoreLogic says

Fort Worth-Arlington homeowners are among the declining numbers of those falling into underwater on their mortgages, CoreLogic said today.

Locally, 8.2 percent, or 30,927, of all residential properties with a mortgage were in negative equity at the end of the second quarter in June, compared to 11.3 percent, or 43,626 properties, at the end of the first quarter in March. An additional 5.3 percent, or 20,015 residential properties, were in near negative equity for second quarter compared to 6.5 percent, or 25,170, in first quarter.

Negative equity, often referred to as underwater or upside down, means that borrowers owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. Near negative equity is when borrowers have less than 5 percent equity in their home.

Nationwide, 10.8 million, or 22.3 percent, of all residential properties with a mortgage were in negative equity at the end of the second quarter, which is down from 11.4 million properties, or 23.7 percent, at the end of the first quarter.

An additional 2.3 million borrowers had near-negative equity, at the end of the second quarter. About 600,000 borrowers, though, reached positive equity at the end of the second quarter of 2012, bringing the total to 1.3 million for the first half of the year, CoreLogic said.

In Texas, 8.8 percent of borrowers were underwater and another 4.5 percent were in near negative equity, CoreLogic said.

Rising home prices, lower levels of inventory, and declining REO sale shares contributed to the decline in the number of borrowers underwater, said Mark Fleming, CoreLogic’s chief economist.

If home prices rise another 5 percent, an additional 2 million borrowers nationwide would be above water, said Anand Nallathambi, CoreLogic’s CEO.

_ Sandra Baker


Arlington hospital, physician groups merge

Irving-based USMD Holdings Inc. has been formed with the merger of USMD Inc., Medical Clinic of North Texas, Urology Associates of North Texas and Impel Management Services. The organization describes its goal as the creation of "an innovative integrated health system led by physicians." The participating groups have relationships dating to at least 2003, when Urology Associates acquired a stake in Arlington Memorial South Medical Center, which was renamed USMD Surgical Hospital of Arlington. USMD Inc. also operates USMD-Fort Worth hospital and has cancer treatment centers and lithotripsy centers, which treat kidney stones. Medical Clinic of North Texas is a large multi-specialty physicians' group practice with 42 clinics, according to its website. Impel, a management consultant to physicians, had previously discussed merging with Medical Clinic of North Texas.

According to a prepared release, USMD Holdings combines 240 physicians and their associates in 62 North Texas facilities, the two Tarrant hospitals, and cancer and kidney treatment centers in 10 states.

-- Jim Fuquay


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