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17 posts from June 2013


Dallas-Fort Worth consumers taking on more debt

Dallas-Fort Worth consumers have taken on more debt in the past year, says one of the major credit monitoring firms.

At the end of the first quarter, the consumer debt in the metro area stood at $196.9 billion, according to Equifax National Consumer Credit Trends report Thursday.

The debt is up 1.75 percent from $193.5 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2012.

Dallas-Fort Worth was among consumers in Houston, St. Louis and Pittsburgh to see debt increases.

Overall consumer debt nationwide fell from $11.02 trillion in the first quarter of 2012 to $10.92 trillion in the first quarter of 2013, Equifax said.

The decline mostly came from consumers paying down mortgage debt.

“We are seeing changes in consumer behavior," said Trey Loughran, Equifax Personal Solutions president. “People are paying down their debt faster and taking their access to credit more

_ Sandra Baker

Fort Worth developer starts $55 million home development in Argyle

Fort Worth-based James R. Harris Partners has started construction on the $55 million The Oaks of Argyle 107-lot custom home community in Argyle, north of Fort Worth.

The 40-acre development, at the end of Cook Street, east of Texas 377 and adjacent to Argyle High School, will have 8 acres of park land, the developer said. Home prices will start at $400,000.

“We decided to purchase the land because of its location and its beauty,” said Justin Welborn, a partner in JRH Partners. “Our intent is to leave the land in its native form as much as possible.”

WeThe%20Oaks%20of%20Argyle%20entrylborn said a first phase of construction will include 50 homes. Selected builders are Village Homes, Bannister Custom Homes, Noble Classic Homes, Hamilton Homes and Craftsman Village Homes.

JRH Partners bought the land from The Miles Foundation of Fort Worth, a philanthropic group. Frost Bank and the foundation are financing the development, Harris Partners said.

Mike Ball with Mike Ball Realty represented The Miles Foundation.

JRH Partners has been developing in Texas since 1979.

_ Sandra Baker


Area's mortgage delinquency rate plunges in April, says CoreLogic

Fort Worth-Arlington area homeowners behind on their mortgage payments at least 90 days fell to 4.2 percent in April, down from 5 percent in April of 2012, according to the latest monthly report from CoreLogic.

It is the lowest delinquency rate in more than two years.

Also, the foreclosure rate, which measures the percentage of loans in some stage of the foreclosure process, dropped to 1.2 percent in April, compared to 1.6 percent in April of 2012, the report showed.

The delinquency rate measure the percentage of loans that are 90 days or more delinquent. It is commonly called being "underwater."

The Fort Worth-Arlington includes Tarrant, Wise, Parker and Johnson counties.

_Sandra Baker TX_FortWorth_19100_201305


Aldi building grocery store at FW's Eastchase Marketplace

Aldi is building a grocery store at the northeast corner of Eastchase Parkway and Ederville Road, behind the Burger King at the Eastchase Marketplace.

An Aldi spokeswoman said she had no details about the store, but said it would open by the end of the year.

Aldi’s Texas division, based in Denton, bought a 2.8-acre tract in mid-May from Equity Alliance of Fort Worth Llc., in Farmington Hills, Mich.

Aldi entered the Dallas-Fort Worth market in 2008 with its first location in Pantego. It now has 13 Tarrant County locations. It has a distribution center in Denton.

_ Sandra Baker

Sam's Club starts hiring for new Mansfield store

Sam’s Club has set up a welcome center at the site of its new Mansfield store where it will take applications.

The store is scheduled to open this fall.

The store is at 1730 N. Highway 157, just off U.S. 287, near the Kindred Hospital.

Applicants can apply from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Applicants also can apply online at careers.walmart.com.

Residents and business owners can also sign up for memberships at the welcome center.

The retailer is hiring about 175 full- and part-time employees for the store. Some of the available jobs include cashier, maintenance, and sales associates.

_ Sandra Baker


West Fort Worth office building sold to partnership

SkyWalker Property Partners teams with the Caffey group to buy Atrium Center office building on Camp Bowie Boulevard.

Arlington-based SkyWalker Property Partners and the Caffey Group have bought the 50,686-square-foot Atrium Center office building on Camp Bowie Boulevard in west Fort Worth.

The Caffey Group, a project management and consulting firm in the oil and natural gas industry, will relocate in September from 309 W. Seventh St. in downtown Fort Worth to the building, 8851 Camp Bowie West, and lease 10,419 square feet of space. Caffey Group has an option to buy the three-story building.

Mark Caffey, the Caffey Group’s CEO, and Marty Oakes, chief financial officer, are original investors in the Hangover Opportunity Fund, a real estate investment fund led by Gary Walker, SkyWalker Property’s president.

The building is being renamed Atrium West, the buyers said. The building is 58 percent leased, but will jump to 78 percent when Caffey moves in. Its largest tenant is the city of Fort Worth's engineering department, which occupies the entire 16,141-square-foot third floor.

“We'd always talked about owning our own building,” Oakes said. “It made sense to partner with someone we knew.”

Theron Bryant with SCM Real Estate represented SkyWalker Property. Jack Clark with Red Oak Realty represented the seller, Hwy 80 Capital LP.

The new owners said they will spend $100,000 on building upgrades.

_ Sandra Baker

Texas added 19,500 jobs in May but unemployment rose to 6.5 percent

The Texas economy added another 19,500 jobs in May but the state's unemployment rate rose to 6.5 percent, from 6.4 percent in April, as the labor force expanded, the Texas Workforce Commission said today.

Texas has added 324,700 jobs since May 2012, including 299,800 private sector jobs. In May, nine of the 11 major industries in Texas saw positive growth led by the education and health services sector, which added 5,500 jobs.

The commission said that May employment data for metro areas was not yet available due to technical difficulties affecting reporting of the labor force statistics. An updated report for May will be released when the data becomes available.

-- Steve Kaskovich


Ash Grove will close two Midlothian cement kilns, build one new kiln

Ash Grove Cement Corp. will shut down two of its older cement kilns in Midlothian while building one new-technology kiln at the site as part of a national settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency. The Overland Park, Kans.-based company and other cement producers faced a September 2013 deadline to meet new EPA emission standards.

EPA announced today that Ash Grove also agreed to pay a $2.5 million penalty and invest about $30 million in polution control technology at its nine Portland cement plants around the country. The settlement resolves alleged violations of the Clean Air Act, EPA and the Justice Department said. Ash Grove also will spend $750,000 "to mitigate the effects of past excess emissions from several of its facilities," including the Midlothian plants, EPA said today.

"The agreement with EPA will allow Ash Grove to move forward and provide an environmentally sustainable product that is the foundation of our economy," CEO Charles Sunderland said in a prepared release. The company said the agreement takes effect after public comment and court approval, likely  in July, the  individual plant compliance will vary.

The kilns have been the subject of long-running battles. More than a year ago, Downwinders at Risk, a group that has worked for two decades to reduce emissions from the kilns, predicted the move would happen by 2014. At the time Ash Grove said no decision had been made.

-- Jim Fuquay

Motorola Mobility teams with Texas A&M and seven other U.S. schools

Motorola Mobility, which on May 29 announced plans to employ 2,000 people to build a smartphone at an Alliance development facility in north Fort Worth, says it is collaborating with eight U.S. universities in an effort to streamline new joint research projects and boost cooperation. Texas A&M is the only Texas school in the group, which also includes Stanford and MIT. The company will participate in the consortium through its  Advanced Technology And Projects group. Motorola Mobility, a Google company, said the Multi-University Research Agreement will let  ATAP and the schools to engage in research projects "in less than 30 days, rather than the several months that traditional sponsored research agreements can often take to establish."

-- Jim Fuquay


Centergy Retail releases first look at proposed Left Bank project

Fort Worth-Rendering B - rev-02

Centergy Retail has completed buying 35 acres west of the Trinity River off West Seventh Street where it plans an a grocery-store anchored development to include a hotel, apartments, shops and offices.

 West Miller, Centergy president, said the location, being called the Left Bank, would be ideal for such retailers as Neiman Marcus and Whole Foods, but stresses the company is talks with a lot of national retailers for the site.

 “We don’t have a deal with Neiman Marcus,” Miller said. “We have talked to them. We have talked to a lot of department stores.”

 The area is ready for a traditional grocery store, though, he said.

 “There are several good grocers out there and my job is talk to all of them,” Miller said.

 Neiman Marcus has a store in Ridgmar Mall. Target, in the adjoining Montgomery Plaza development, has a grocery section.

 Centergy bought the bulk of the West Seventh Street property from Chesapeake Land Co.

 Centergy late Monday released the first renderings of what the Left Bank could look like.

_ Sandra Baker



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