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17 posts from January 2014


WinCo Foods opening Fort Worth store Feb. 6

Boise, Idaho-based WinCo Foods is opening its store in Fort Worth Thursday.

The 94,000-square-foot store is located at 8000 Crowley Road, on 12.5 acres at the southwest corner of Sycamore School and Crowley roads. The employee-owned grocery store bought the land a year ago.

WinCo also plans to open a store at Dick Lewis Drive and Thaxton Parkway in North Richland Hills this quarter.

It is opening a store in McKinney on Thursday as well.

WinCo stores are open 24 hours and have 18 checkout lanes, but shoppers will bag their own groceries, he said. Self check-out lanes will also be available.

_ Sandra Baker

Heritage Bag moving headquarters, factory to Alliance from Carrollton

Heritage Bag Co., which makes can liners and food bags for a variety of industries, will move its corporate headquarters and southwest division manufacturing facility to Roanoke from Carrollton.

The privately-held company is moving to a 330,000-square-foot facility within the Alliance Gateway section of AllianceTexas. The company plans to break ground next month on the facility.

Heritage Bag operates six manufacturing facilities across the U.S., making products for use in foodservice and lodging, healthcare, education, commercial buildings and manufacturing facilities. The Carrollton facility is located on Diplomat Drive.

Here are statements from the press release:

“We’re very excited to welcome Heritage to AllianceTexas,” said Tony Creme, vice president of Hillwood Properties. “The company is a market leader in their industry, and has a long history providing sales, marketing, and manufacturing expertise to their customers. We’re proud that Heritage Bag Company chose AllianceTexas as the new site for their company’s home office and Southwest Division facility.”

“Heritage Bag Company is pleased to be joining the AllianceTexas community,” said Carl A. Allen, president and CEO of Heritage Bag Company. “We feel this new state-of-the art facility will help us to meet our growing needs, allow greater flexibility and access to reach our distribution partners across the U.S., and continue our long history of providing quality products and service to our customers.”

  -- Steve Kaskovich



Texas ranks No. 7 for disclosures of state-paid jobs incentives

Texas does a better job than most other states when it comes to disclosing how its taxpayer-subsidized jobs programs work, says Good Jobs First, which bills itself as a non-partisan watchdog focusing on economic development efforts. In a report titled "Show Us the Subsidized Jobs," released Wednesday, the group said Texas has the seventh-best disclosure practices, although even the leader, Illinois, only scored a 65 on a scale of 100. Texas earned a 40 overall. The Texas Economic Development Act program received an 86, the highest for any state jobs program. That measure allows the state's independent school districts to offer property tax reductions to businesses. It was just extended another 10 years by the 2013 Legislature.

Four other Texas programs were rated: the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (score of 61); the Texas Enterprise Fund (53); Film Tax Credits (0) and Skills Development Fund (0). The Emerging Technology Fund and Enterprise Fund are the largest and are both run out of the governor's office. A link to the report is here.

-- Jim Fuquay


First Cash shares fall as earnings lag Wall Street estimates

Arlington-based First Cash Financial Services saw its shares fall about 7 percent in early trading after its fourth-quarter 2013 earnings were slightly below financial analysts' consensus estimate and its 2014 forecast was well short of expectations. The operator of U.S. and Mexican pawn shops and other lending services said it earned $24.8 million in the quarter, or 84 cents a share, including the cost of closing 37 check-cashing and payday loan locations at Texas convenience stories. It said it will wind down those operations over the next six months, with CEO Rick Wessel noting that "regulatory and competitive pressures, especially in Texas," led to the decision to reduce exposure to payday loans. He said revenues from payday lending were expected to fall to less than 5 percent of revenue in 2014, compared to less than 7 percent in 2013. First Cash said it expected to earn between $3 and $3.15 a share in 2014, compared to analysts' consensus estimate of $3.38.

Earlier this month Fort Worth-based Cash America also said it was closing a number of Texas payday loan locations, citing city laws restricting their operations.

-- Jim Fuquay


ERCOT looking at reducing its Texas power demand forecast

The state's largest power grid is considering a significant reduction in its 10-year forecast of electricity demand in the state, according to a preliminary report it released today. The move by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas could impact the current debate over whether Texas has enough electricity, a concern driving current efforts to give generators more financial incentive to boost power supplies.

Under a new forecasting model, ERCOT would trim its expected annual growth rate in peak electricity use to an average of 1.3 percent a year, compared to previous forecasts that were as high as 2.5 percent a year. ERCOT said the change reflects the fact that "the relationship between economic growth and electric demand has changed in recent years," with peak demand growing slower than the economy. The new forecast addresses this "decoupling," according to a summary of the changes posted on ERCOT's web site. That report is available here, and includes links to additional background on the matter.

ERCOT spokeswoman Robbie Searcy said the changes are being reviewed by various stakeholders. The other important part of ERCOT's outlook, its latest forecast of the supply of available power generation to meet demand, could be released in late February, she said. A lower demand outlook would indicate that the supply could also grow less and still maintain a good reserve margin. The Public Utility Commission has been debating changes to the state's deregulated electricity market in an effort to make sure generators have enough financial incentive to add new capacity and avoid power shortages in the future. 

-- Jim Fuquay

Cash America earnings rise in fourth quarter

Cash America International, the Fort Worth-based operator of pawn shops and other consumer lending outlets, said it earned $27.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, or 91 cents a share. That was up from $24.5 million a year earlier. After adjustments for unusual items, the company said it earned $1.01 a share, just ahead of Wall Street's consensus estimate of 99 cents. Cash America's shares (ticker: CSH) were up more than 1percent in early trading.

Included in those unusual items was a $5 million penalty levied by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau related to the company's practices collecting unpaid loans in Ohio. The CFPB found that Cash America mishandled court documents and overcharged military personnel on loans. Also among the charges was $865,000 to cover the cost of closing 28 consumer loan offices in Texas during the quarter. In its outlook for 2014, the company said it expected to earn between $1.15 and $1.25 a share in the year's first quarter, compared to $1.40 a year earlier and analysts' estimates averaging $1.18. It said it  expects to earn $4.20 to $4.40 a share for the full year, compared to adjusted earnings of $4.04 in 2013 and analysts' consensus estimate of $4.27.

-- Jim Fuquay


The Fort Worth-Arlington mortgage delinquency rate inches up in November

The number of Fort TX_FortWorth_19100_23104_201312Worth-Arlington mortgage holders more than 90 days delinquent on their loans fell to 4.17 percent in November, compared to 4.6 percent from November 2012, according to a CoreLogic report..

The rate inched up from 4.1 percent October. It was last above the current rate in March 2013 when it reached 4.3 percent, CoreLogic said.

Foreclosure rates in FortWorth-Arlington also decreased in November, CoreLogic said.

CoreLogic said the rate of FortWorth-Arlington area foreclosures among outstanding mortgage loans was 1.04 percent for the month of November,  a decrease of 0.15 percentage points compared to November of 2012 when the rate was 1.19 percent.

Foreclosure activity in FortWorth-Arlington was lower than the national foreclosure rate, which was 2.18 percent for November 2013.

_ Sandra Baker


Ernst & Young moving to Sundance Square's new Westbrook Building

FORT WORTH Ernst & Young has leased the top, sixth floor of The Westbrook Building on the west end of Sundance Square Plaza in downtown Fort Worth.

The 8,600-square-foot lease pushed occupancy in the newly-opened building at Third and Houston streets to 60 percent. Ernst & Young will also have access to 1,900 square feet of balcony space overlooking the plaza.

The accounting and consulting firm will move from the Wells Fargo Building nearby. 

“This is a great space with fantastic views of the new plaza so we know Ernst & Young will be very happy in this prime location,” said Johnny Campbell, Sundance Square president.

Robert Gamblin and Bill Booker represented Sundance Square. Glenn Dyke, Phil Puckett and Blake Lloyd with CBRE represented the tenant.

The Westbrook is named after the historic Westbrook Hotel built in the early 1900s and closed in 1969. Starbuck’s relocated to The Westbrook in November and Taco Diner will open this spring. 

_ Sandra Baker


ERCOT: Electricity use up 2.1 percent in 2013

The state's biggest power grid said electricity use was up 2.1 percent last year compared to 2012, as coal-fired capacity rebounded. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which carries about 85 percent of the state's electricity demand, said power plants that burn coal provided 37.2 percent of that electricity, up from 33.8 percent in 2012, a year that saw particularly low natural gas prices. Natural  gas-fired units provided 40.5 percent of the power in 2013, down from 44.6 in 2012. Wind power set another new high in 2013, providing 9.9 percent of total electricity consumed, up from 9.2 percent in 2012 and just 4.9 percent in 2008.

ERCOT said total demand was 324,859,701 megawatt-hours for all of 2013. A typical Texas residence uses about 1,500 kilowatt-hours a month, or about 18 megawatt-hours a year. Summer demand peaked at 67,245 megawatts, up 1 percent from 2012 but below the record peak of 68,305 megawatts in 2011. A megawatt is about enough to power 200 Texas homes during a period of high demand, typically a hot summer day when air conditioners work hard.

-- Jim Fuquay

New rehabilitation hospital planned in Arlington

Two area hospital systems will team with a Nashville company to build a 40-bed rehabilitation hospital in Arlington. Arlington-based Texas Health Resources, Dallas-based Methodist Health System and rehab specialist Centerre Healthcare Corp. plan to break ground on the facility this summer in southern Arlington. Centerre has previously partnered with those organizations on Texas Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Worth, a THR facility, and Methodist Rehabilitation Hospital in Dallas.

Texas Rehabilitation Hospital of Arlington will serve patients recovering from strokes and other brain or spinal cord injuries, amputations and other complex injuries. It’s expected to employ about 150 people when open. The companies did not disclose an address for the new facility, but said it will be between Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital, at 800 W. Randol Mill Road in central Arlington, and Methodist Mansfield Medical Center at 2700 E. Broad St.

-- Jim Fuquay


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