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23 posts from January 2013


Texas Health Resources, Aetna form ACO

The latest Accountable Care Organization, an affiliation of medical providers and sometimes insurers that assumes financial responsibility for patients' medical expenses, has been formed by Arlington-based Texas Health Resources and Aetna Inc. The two announced today that they will operate in 10 North Texas counties, including Tarrant and Dallas. THR operates 25 hospitals and its Texas Health Physicians Group has more than 750 doctors and other providers. Early this month it formed another ACO with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, and also has formed an ACO specifically for Medicare beneficiaries. Aetna says it is one of the nation's largest health insurers with about 37 million customers.

"Texas health is collaborating with Aetna, physicians and employers to develop an accountable care model that not only cares for people when they are ill, but also focuses on keeping people healthy and out of the hospital unless they are acutely sick or injured," THR CEO Doug Hawthorne said in a prepared release. Ralph Holmes, president of Aetna's Texas operations, in the same release said "we believe our members will receive more coordinated care that will lead to better health outcomes."



Wells Fargo giving $200,000 to Tarrant housing agency

Tarrant County Housing Partnership on Thursday will receive a grant for $200,000 from Wells Fargo Housing Foundation to support the agency’s work providing affordable housing. The grant is part of Wells Fargo’s national effort to increase affordable housing while stabilizing and rebuilding distressed neighborhoods. It's the foundation's second grant to the agency and one of 59 Priority Market grants nationally totaling $6 million. Wells Fargo executives, leaders of the Tarrant County Housing Partnership, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Tarrant County Development Director Patricia Ward will participate in the ceremony and formal check presentation Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Hazel Harvey Peace Center for Neighborhoods, 818 Missouri Ave. in Fort Worth.

“Our Dallas-Fort Worth team members are really pleased that we can continue to support the Tarrant County Housing Partnership and the great work it does for affordable housing and neighborhood stabilization in Tarrant County,” said John Gavin, Wells Fargo’s regional president for community banking. Gavin and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Regional Sales Manager Michelle Eldridge will represent Wells Fargo at the ceremony. “It’s hard to express in words our appreciation for the continued support of Wells Fargo,” said Donna VanNess, president of Tarrant County Housing Partnership. “Their generosity has been an important factor in our success.”

-- Jim Fuquay


Fort Worth's Sundance Square announces another restaurant for new building, plaza

Longtime Sundance Square restaurateur Shannon Wynne, owner of the Flying Saucer and 8.0, will open a new concept downtown called the Bird Café.

The 6,400-square-foot restaurant will open in October and include 2,300 square feet of patio space in the new Sundance Square plaza, and using some of the space used by the Flying Saucer.

"We couldn’t be happier with Shannon’s new concept," said Johnny Campbell, president and CEO of Sundance Square.

Bird Café will be incorporated into the existing Land Title Building, built in 1888, as well as the new Commerce Building currently under construction on Commerce Street, between Third and Fourth streets. The L-shaped restaurant will use 3,883 square feet of space in the Land Title Building and 2,586 square feet in the Commerce Building creating a unique blend of new and old, Campbell said.

A patio will extend from the Commerce Building to the Land Title Building creating an outdoor dining area. The patio will be split between two levels with the ground level featuring 1,824 square feet and another 496 square feet on the second floor.

"We are keeping the decor under wrap until we are ready to open, but we are incorporating the historical significance of the Land Title Building into the design while creating an interior that has a current sensibility," said Wynne. "It will all come together when we open and I think patrons of the Fort Worth art scene will dig it. While pretty upscale, we will be very approachable at lunch and dinner."

Wynne closed 8.0 last year on Fourth Street and moved the Flying Saucer there. The Flying Saucer had occupied the Land Title Building since 1995. The 8.0 opened in 1993.

The Commerce flanks the new plaza on the east and another new building, The Westbrook on the west. The north side of the plaza along 3rd Street will be framed by the historic Jett Building and a new multi-purpose pavilion. On the south side of the plaza, a double allée of trees will define the nearly 1-acre site.

_ Sandra Baker


Energy Future Holdings loss widens in 2012

Energy Future Holdings, the Dallas-based electricity company, lost $2.17 billion in 2012 on sharply lower operating revenues of $5.64 billion, it said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing of its unaudited, preliminary financial results. The loss compared to a 2011 net loss of $1.91 billion on $7.04 billion in revenues. EFH, formerly known as TXU Corp., owns Luminant Generation, the state's largest power generator,  TXU Energy, an electricity retailer, and a majority of Oncor Electric Delivery, which operates the electrical wires and poles that distribute power in much of North Texas. It was taken private in a $45 billion buyout by a group led by the private equity investors Texas Pacific Group and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts

EFH, which was weighed down with $38.5 billion in long-term debt following the buyout, last year managed to reduce its interest expenses but not enough to offset declining revenues. It reported $3.5 billion in interest and related charges last year, compared to $4.3 billion in 2011. Its Oncor regulated utility, in which it has an 80 percent stake, earned $340 million on $3.3 billion in revenues. 

-- Jim Fuquay

Cash America earnings down on charges in fourth quarter

Fort Worth-based Cash America International, the nation's biggest operator of pawn shops, said it earned $24.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, down from $37.8 million a year earlier. The most recent quarter included $15.4 million in after-tax charges related to Mexico store closings and a refund to Ohio customers. Not counting those, Cash America earned $39.9 million, or $1.29 a share, higher than its own guidance and also of financial analysts' consensus estimate of $1.20. The news was favorably received by investors, who bid up the company's shares (ticker: CSH) by 7.5 percent in early trading.

Cash America said revenue rose 4 percent in the fourth quarter to $491.6 million.  Non-pawn consumer loans, such as payday loans, accounted for $222.9 million of that, up 24 percent from a year earlier. For all of 2012, the company earned $107.5 million, down from $136 million in 2011.

-- Jim Fuquay


More apartments to come at Alliance Town Center in north Fort Worth

Hillwood Multifamily, a subsidiary of Hillwood Properties, said it will build a 306-unit luxury apartment community at Alliance called SageStone Village.

The community will be on 13 acres in the master-planned, mixed-use Alliance Town Center development. Residents will be able to walk to Alliance Town Center’s shops and restaurants.

"SageStone is truly a one-of-a-kind, high-quality multifamily residential option at Alliance Town Center," said Mike Berry, president of Hillwood Properties. "With a significant and rapid population growth in the region, and a wide range of existing and expanding retail and lifestyle amenities in and around Alliance Town Center, Hillwood is pleased to provide high-quality, multifamily residences in a unique master-planned environment."

SageStone Village will feature one-, two- and three-bedroom, three-story apartment homes with attached garages. The units will average 940 square feet.

The community will also feature a state-of-the-art fitness facility, resort-style pool and pavilion, and outdoor social spaces.

Together with Monterra Village, Hillwood’s 550-unit townhome and traditional style apartment community, completion of SageStone Village will bring Hillwood’s total multifamily investment at Alliance Town Center to 856 units.

Apartments will be available in SageStone in the fourth quarter and the project completed in 2014.

_ Sandra Baker


Photo booths are Stock Show traditions

A pair of booths flank the doorway into the Fort Worth Stock Show's sheep barn, where for more than a quarter century families have stopped for photos.

For the 27th year, Pictures With The Baby Animals and Pictures On The Pony are seasonal money makers for James Milam, who raises Shetland ponies and other animals on an eight-acre family ranch in North Richland Hills.

"It makes us a living," he said. "I've ranched all my life and this beats punching a time clock."

Between now and the Feb. 9 end of the show more than 2,000 framed prints of children riding ponies or sitting on hay bales with baby goats will leave Milam's booths in the hands of proud parents.

Two ponies take day-long turns and about 10 kids from 12 days to 2 months old are rotated so they're always frisky, Milam said.

Babyanimals 2"We do pony rides for church functions with the same Shetlands we use for pictures," he said. "But at the end of the show I either sell the kids or give them away, because I don't do goats."

At right, Jennifer Ashinhurst shoots Casper, left, and Everett Moncrief with their grandmother, Patty Adams, and a yet-to-be-named kid. Star-Telegram/Terry Evans


Wells Fargo to open Irving mortgage center, hire hundreds

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, the nation's biggest home lender, said today it will open a new mortgage operations center in Irving . Together with additional hiring for an existing facility in Bedford, the lender expects to make more than 450 new hires. The new operations center is set to open next month at 250 E. John Carpenter Fwy. Wells Fargo will hold a job fair Jan. 23 and 24 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Dallas, 300 Reunion Blvd. in downtown Dallas. "All jobs will require candidates to have mortgage loan underwriting experience, and to apply online at www.wellsfargo.com/careers/ to be considered for a role," the company said.

Wells Fargo already has a mortgage fulfillment operations center in Bedford  that employs 116. It said applicants for the Irving site can also be considered for similar roles in Bedford.

-- Jim Fuquay


Jacobs Engineerings says it will keep downtown Fort Worth office

FORT WORTH — Jacobs Engineering said Wednesday it will keep its downtown Fort Worth office in the landmark 777 Main building, but with a significantly smaller profile.

The announcement comes several months before Jacobs lease in the building is scheduled to expire. It also quells talk that the company plans to consolidate its Fort Worth and Dallas offices elsewhere in the Metroplex.

This year, Jacobs will move all of its operations in the building to the 24th, 25th, and 26th floors of the 40-story office tower at Seventh and Main streets owned by Crescent Real Estate Holdings. Renovations on those floors will begin next month, Jacobs said.

The space, plus some space in the basement it will keep, totals about 75,627 square feet, less than a quarter of the space it now has. Jacobs signed a 10-year lease, but it has options to renew.

In announcing it will stay in Fort Worth, Jacobs said it is consolidating its two Dallas offices onto three floors in Dallas’ 36-story Harwood Center tower.

Tom McDuffie, a Jacobs group vice president, said in a statement, "Our relocation and facility enhancement decisions are driven not only by sound business practices, but also by our desire for safe, healthy, and enlivening office environments that support the way we want to do business, provide the technology we need, and more importantly, enhance our employees' productivity."

_ Sandra Baker


Haven Behavioral plans 36-bed Fort Worth psych hospital

Haven Behavioral, a Nashville-based operator of inpatient psychiatric hospitals focusing on geriatrics, expects to open a 36-bed facility at 1000 St. Louis Ave. in Fort Worth's medical district around Aug. 1. The Star-Telegram on Sunday reported the company's filing for the facility for a story on the expansion of psychiatric hospitals in the Tarrant market, but the company wasn't able to provide more details at the time. John Baker, who will be CEO of the new hospital, said today the 24,000-square-foot facility will be in the former Veteran's Administration clinic building at the corner of St. Louis and Rosedale. Baker said it will serve older patients, as do the company's other hospitals, to meet a growing need. He said the location is in line with Haven Behavioral's strategy of putting its hospitals within existing hospitals or medical malls, rather than its own free-standing buildings.

According to Tarrant Appraisal District records, the 48,000-square-foot VA clinic building was purchased in 2011 by Gregg Enterprises of Dallas. Baker said it is now a medical mall. Haven Behavioral said in a filing with the state that it will renovate its portion of the building at a cost of $3.4 million. The VA moved out of the building after it opened a 239,000-square-foot outpatient clinic, one of its largest, on Interstate 20 in south Fort Worth in 2010.

-- Jim Fuquay


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