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16 posts from November 2012


Del Frisco's opening second downtown Fort Worth restaurant

Southlake-based Del Frisco Restaurant Group will open a second restaurant in downtown Fort Worth next year.

The company said today it will open a two-story, 9,000-square-foot Del Frisco’s Grille with a large patio at 420 Commerce St. It also operates Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House at Eighth and Main streets.

"We have enjoyed great success already in Fort Worth with our Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House on Main Street and we are grateful to our loyal guests whom we look forward to seeing so often," Mark Mednansky, CEO of Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group. "We hope our friends in Fort Worth embrace Del Frisco’s Grille, too."

The menu at Del Frisco’s Grille takes the traditional bar and grill to new heights, using bold flavors, regional ingredients and local flair in many of its dishes, the company said.

Earlier this year, Del Frisco’s Grille was honored by Nation’s Restaurant News as the winner of the 18th annual Hot Concepts Award. In New York, the Del Frisco’s Grille in Rockefeller Center was distinguished by the New York City Association of Hotel Concierges and named the winner of the 2012 Concierge Choice Award for "Casual Dining," an award given to those who create exceptional experiences for New York City visitors.

The Fort Worth location will be in the Commerce Building, one of three new building going up in Sundance Square, the 35-block retail, office, residential and entertainment district.

Del Frisco’s Grille is the first restaurant to sign a lease in the new plaza in Sundance Square, said CEO Johnny Campbell.

"This is the first of many announcements we will have in the next few months about retail and restaurants in the plaza," Campbell said.

Del Frisco’s Grille is also in Washington DC, Dallas, Atlanta, and Phoenix, with additional sites planned for Santa Monica, Houston and Boston next year, the company said.

_ Sandra Baker


Panda Power breaks ground on Sherman plant

Dallas-based Panda Power Funds says it broke ground this morning on a new natural gas-fired electricity plant in Sherman. It's expected to go online in late 2014. The groundbreaking comes as the Electric Reliability Council of Texas has warned that the state's largest power grid could run uncomfortably short of power to meet growing demand by then. The 758-megawatt facility is a high-efficiency design called combined cycle, which combines gas-fired turbines driving generators with boilers that use the exhaust heat from the turbine to generate steam to drive another turbine and generator. The company says emissions will be "among the lowest of any natural gas power plant in the United States" and is designed to complement the state's vast wind farms by offering a rapid start-up that can replace power lost when the wind stops blowing suddenly. Bechtel is the contractor and Siemens Energy provides the turbines, boilers and control systems.

-- Jim Fuquay

Baylor Health joins Aetna Medicare Advantage network

Baylor Health Care System has joined Aetna's network of participating hospitals for Medicare Advantage members, effective Nov. 1. The agreement includes Baylor Quality Alliance physicians and HealthTexas Provider Network physicians. Aetna said Baylor has been part of its commercial network for more than 20 years. Medicare Advantage is the HMO-model option offered as an alternative to traditional Medicare. Medicare Advantage typically offers beneficiaries lower out-of-pocket costs but also entails a more limited network of providers.

-- Jim Fuquay


Third quarter Texas home sales strong,Realtor report shows

Texas home sales increased 14 percent in the third quarter, marking the fifth consecutive quarter of improved sales and suggesting a turning point in demand and a recovered housing market, according to the Texas Quarterly Housing report released Thursday.

During the quarter, 66,746 single-family homes were sold, which is slightly lower than the 67,611 homes sold in the second quarter. The median price was $161,400, a 6 percent increase from the year-ago quarter, said the report, issued by the Texas Association of Realtors.

"Previously, it was unclear whether the positive momentum of the first half of the year was a temporary surge or a sustainable improvement," said Jim Gaines, a housing economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, which compiles the report. "These third quarter results clarify that picture, indicating that the housing market has recovered in Texas. Assuming the national economy doesn’t falter in a significant way, I think we’ll see this positive momentum continue in Texas."

Locally, sales figures are also strong.

In Northeast Tarrant County, home sales in the quarter reached 2,268, a 19 percent increase from the second quarter of 2011. The median prices was $181,700, a 6 percent increase from a year ago, the report said.

In Arlington, sales totaled 1,213, a nearly 9 percent increase from the third quarter of 2011. The median price was $136,300, a nearly 6 percent increase.

And in Fort Worth, 2,423 homes were sold for an 8 percent increase. The median price was $121,700, a 5 percent increase.

The statewide "months inventory" figure for the third quarter is also greatly improved, the report said. In the third quarter, the Texas market had 5.5 months of inventory, a nearly 25 percent drop from the year-ago quarter, which showed 7.3 months of homes for sale.

"The listings inventory in Texas has been falling each quarter and the decrease since the same quarter of last year is sizable," Gaines said.

_ Sandra Baker

ERCOT says winter/spring power outlook good

The operator of the state's biggest electricity grid says it should have plenty of capacity to meet winter demand. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said it anticipates peak demand of 58,000 megawatts, vs. 74,200 in projected supply. ERCOT's all-time winter peak demand is 57,315 megawatts on Feb. 10, 2011. That came toward the end of a cold snap that included an ice storm that snarled Super Bowl festivities in Arlington and the rest of the Metroplex. ERCOT experienced rolling blackouts Feb. 2 during the frigid weather after several generators went down with cold-related equipment problems. ERCOT also said a preliminary forecast "anticipates sufficient generation resources during March through May 2013.

-- Jim Fuquay

Trinity Bank reports record earnings

Fort Worth-based Trinity Bank, which in October said it would pay a special $1 per share cash dividend, said it earned 651,000, or 57 cents a share, in the third quarter, up 12 percent from a year ago. The gain came despite $495,000 in charge-offs on three bad loans, which President Jeff Harp said were the first for the nine-year-old institution. He said the bank's loan loss reserve, which stood at $1.37 million at the start of the quarter, covered the losses without hurting income. Trinity Bank finished the quarter with $179 million in total assets, including $85 million in loans, and $157 million in deposits.

-- Jim Fuquay


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