North Texas suburbs cautious about bike-share programs after watching Dallas

Staff Photographer

Some North Texas suburbs have their eyes on Dallas and its bike-rental litter.

They don’t want to clean up the same problem.

For a couple years, McKinney officials have talked about a bike-share program. Carrollton city leaders are considering it, too. What they eventually decide is still up in the air.

But officials in both cities are proceeding with caution after seeing dozens of the ubiquitous bikes lined up on downtown Dallas street corners, others tangled on a sidewalk in a heap like a football pileup and even a couple floating in White Rock Lake.

"That has had a cooling effect on our process in McKinney," said Michael Kowski, director of parks and recreation for the city, during a McKinney Community Development Corporation meeting Thursday. "What we are doing now is stepping back, looking at the market, looking at options to make sure we are fortified against some of those challenges we are seeing in Dallas and across the country."

Learning important lessons

Kowski said the technology behind bike shares has evolved since McKinney officials began discussing such a program a couple years ago when the inventory of bikes was smaller and bike rentals with docking stations dominated the scene. Now, as in Dallas, you can ride a brightly-colored bike anywhere and ditch it wherever.

"We know that people bicycle in McKinney. We see people do it," Kowski told members of the community development corporation at its December meeting. "So it was important for us to consider bike share across our community."

Unlike more dense urban areas such as Dallas, he doesn’t envision hundreds of these bicycles in McKinney, where public transportation is limited to a subsidized taxi voucher program for the elderly and disabled.

He sees it more for recreational use for people who do not own bicycles, for example, to explore the city’s trails. Already, the McKinney Community Development Corporation has set aside $60,000 for the initiative.

"We’re studying it more and not moving forward with anything until we have a full grasp of all the options, and some of the lessons learned from our sister cities," Kowski said in a phone interview.

Two LimeBike rental bikes were submerged in White Rock Lake in Dallas on Jan. 5.
Moving slowly

Carrollton is also moving slowly with regard to starting a bike-sharing program. Mayor Kevin Falconer said Friday that city staff has discussed ways to introduce rent-a-bikes for the past several months. He said Carrollton’s proximity to Dallas and other cities with existing bike programs makes it difficult for Carrollton to outlaw the bikes.

"We are in a metropolitan area — what we call the Metroplex — where we don’t technically have or know where city boundaries are or begin, so if you get on a bike in downtown Dallas you can very well end up in Carrollton," Falconer said. "Obviously, if another city has another bike program and that person happens to ride their bike into Carrollton, we don’t want to prohibit that."

Kowski said McKinney residents also have spotted a few of these bikes trickling here and there into their city limits at times, though the problem isn’t widespread. He said the city still is developing its response to those situations.

Falconer said Carrollton is considering adopting a bike-sharing ordinance with some type of permitting with the bike companies or a combination of both to help prevent any clutter.

He wants to find a happy medium between Dallas’ initial approach of allowing the companies to park lines of bikes throughout the city and Highland Park’s strict ordinance that outlaws leaving any rent-a-bikes overnight, before moving forward into a rent-a-bike contract with a company.

David Ramirez and his niece Giana Correa of Dallas rode a VBikes rental bicycle along the North Texas March for Life route in downtown Dallas on Jan. 20.

He pointed to Plano, which plans to present its bike-sharing ordinance to its city council in late February, as an example of what Carrollton may end up doing.

"They are a neighboring suburb just like us," Falconer said. "We feel like that would be a good city to partner with to see how they are dealing with [the bikes] because they share some of the same opportunities and concerns."

Permitting bikes

Peter Braster, director of special projects for Plano, said the city has shared its proposed bike-sharing ordinance with Carrollton and other neighboring cities to promote a unified stance on the regulation of the bikes.

He said three bike-sharing companies currently operate in the city. VBikes, LimeBikes and Ofo first rolled out in Plano last November.

Plano’s proposed ordinance would mandate permits for all rent-a-bikes, he said.

The permits would require bike-sharing companies to put a phone number on each bike so residents can call to report any issues. The companies would also have to respond to any complaints within two hours or the next business day if a complaint is made after hours. Plano officials will also have a say where the bikes can be placed in the city.

Braster said the ordinance and permits would help the rent-a-bikes become successful.

"We know it’s not the bike-sharing companies’ fault," Braster said. "That being said, we need to have a bike-sharing program in place that makes them aware the bikes are not being treated well and gives them the opportunity to fix it."

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Slayer Announces Farewell Tour with June Stop in Dallas

Heavy metal stalwart Slayer is ready for a nap. In the band’s 37-year career, it has released 12 studio albums, played thousands of concerts and won two Grammys for best metal performance (in ’07 and ’08). This week, the band called it a job well done and announced that its next world tour, beginning in May, will be the last.

The first leg of the ominously named One Final World Tour comprises 26 dates across North America. At the end of June, the tour will visit three Texas cities: Houston, Austin and Dallas. The Dallas date is June 19 at Bomb Factory.

Tickets to the Bomb Factory gig, $56.75 and up, go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 26, a ticketfly.com. Slayer uber-fans can also purchase exclusive merchandise and meet-and-greet packages at slayer.net.

Supporting Slayer on the tour are genre fellows Lamb of God, Anthrax, Testament and Behemoth. All have played with Slayer in the past.

"If you are lucky enough to be invited to play even just once with living legends like Slayer, it’s an incredible honor," Randy Blythe, the vocalist and guitarist of Lamb of God, said in a press release announcing the tour. "Slayer gave Lamb of God our very first two overseas shows. Slayer has subsequently taken us on several full length tours, both at home and abroad. … It is irrefutable that Slayer helped create the genre of aggressive metal, and all modern bands of that ilk owe them a huge debt — I know we do."

Slayer performed at Gas Monkey in 2016.

Slayer’s success has often been in spite of challenges, such as the 2013 death of founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman from cirrhosis.

"We want to help give Slayer the best send-off possible and to have one last blast with our friends. But you know, at the end of the day, Slayer will never die," Anthrax bassist Frank Bello said in the press release.

The One Final World Tour:

May 10 Valley View Casino Center, San Diego, CA 11 FivePoint Amphitheatre, Irvine, CA 13 Papa Murphy’s Park at Cal Expo, Sacramento, CA 16 PNE Forum, Vancouver, BC 17 South Okanagan Events Centre, Penticton, BC 19 Big Four, Calgary, AB 20 Shaw Centre, Edmonton, AB 22 Bell MTS Centre, Winnipeg, MB 24 The Armory, Minneapolis, MN 25 Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, Chicago, IL 27 Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre @ Freedom Hill, Detroit, MI 29 Budweiser Stage, Toronto, ON 30 Place Bell, Montreal, QC

June 1 Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT 2 PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ 4 Santander Arena, Reading, PA 6 Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati, OH 7 Blossom Music Center, Cleveland, OH 9 KeyBank Pavilion, Pittsburgh, PA 10 Jiffy Lube Live, Bristow, VA 12 VUHL Amphitheater, Virginia Beach, VA 14 PNC Music Pavilion, Charlotte, NC 15 Orlando Amphitheater, Orlando, FL 17 Smart Financial Centre, Houston, TX 19 The Bomb Factory, Dallas, TX 20 Austin 360 Amphitheater, Austin, TX

Slayer, with Lamb of God, Anthrax, Testament and Behemoth, 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 19, $56.75 and up, thebombfactory.com.

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Dallas makes Amazon’s top 20 list for HQ2, and here’s why – Dallas Business Journal

Dallas-Fort Worth has been named on the short list for Amazon’s second North American headquarters, joining 19 other metro areas, including Austin, in the chase for the online retail behemoth.

Fast-growing Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) will work with each of the 20 finalists to dive deeper into their proposals and request and evaluate additional information before making its final selection by the end of this year, the Seattle-based company said in a news release today.

Houston, which was also a candidate, did not make the list of finalists. Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Washington, D.C., are also still in the running. (See full list, below.)

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings tweeted that the city is “thrilled to be in the next round of @amazon HQ2 process.”

“There’s much work left to be done, but I want to thank my fellow mayors, @DRChamber, @FTWChamber and all our citizens for making @CityOfDallas and DFW such a desirable place to be!” Rawlings posted.

The Dallas Regional Chamber and Fort Worth Chamber submitted the DFW region’s bid to Amazon in September.

“We’re proud of the great work done by our regional cities and leaders,” said Mike Rosa, senior vice president of economic development at the Dallas Regional Chamber. “We’re looking forward to the next steps and are in direct contact with Amazon to begin that process.”

Amazon will employ 50,000 people with an average salary of $100,000 or more at the new campus it is calling HQ2. The company plans $5 billion in infrastructure investments over 8 million square feet, and the first buildings are scheduled to open in 2019.

Amazon received 238 applications from local officials in the U.S., Canada and Mexico after putting the site selection process up for grabs in an unusually public way.

Although Dallas was listed by Amazon as a finalist, the precise location of a potential corporate site within the North Texas region isn’t known yet.

The Dallas Regional and Fort Worth chambers did not specify how many locations it forwarded to Seattle-based Amazon, but developers and city officials representing more than 35 sites in over a dozen North Texas cities publicly pitched or otherwise confirmed that their location is on the list. The chambers, cities and state of Texas have also stayed mum on what economic incentives are being dangled in the attempt to reel in Amazon, although some out-of-state metro areas have released their incentive offers.

North Texas’ proposed sites include downtown Dallas skyscrapers, Victory Park near the American Airlines Center, multiple locations in Collin County, one on the University of Texas at Dallas campus, and another at the station of the planned bullet train connecting Dallas and Houston. In Tarrant County, potential sites include a future Trinity River development north of downtown Fort Worth, and 800 acres in Grapevine on Dallas Fort Worth International Airport property.

The diversity of options in DFW is “one of the most compelling aspects of our proposal,” said Brandom Gengelbach, executive vice president of economic development for the Fort Worth Chamber.

“We are excited that Amazon has determined that our region’s proposal merits additional consideration, and we’re confident that upon further inspection Amazon will soon realize all of the reasons why this region has been a magnet for corporate headquarters locations in recent years,” Gengelbach said.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott applauded Amazon’s decision in a statement that touted the Lone Star state as “the land of opportunity.”

“I am thrilled to see that Amazon has included both Austin and Dallas as finalists for its forthcoming HQ2,” Abbott’s statement reads. “Texas is a hotbed for the tech industry, and both Austin and Dallas have proven themselves to be among the most sought after locations for companies looking to grow and thrive.”

Amazon didn’t say exactly what factors led them to choose Dallas or any of the other cities on the list.

“Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough — all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity,” Holly Sullivan, of Amazon’s public policy department, said in a statement Thursday. “Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation.”

Abbott said companies like Amazon appreciate Texas’ workforce and its “low-tax and limited-regulation environment” when making expansion decisions.

“I am confident that the economic advantages of an Amazon expansion in Texas speak for themselves, and make either Austin or Dallas an ideal fit for Amazon’s HQ2,” the governor’s statement says.

In its request for proposals, Amazon sought information about the region’s labor force, wage rates, business environment, population, incentives, fiber connectivity, mass transit availability, crime rates and cost of living. Amazon also asked for proximity of sites to major airports, traffic congestion rankings during peak commuting times, partnerships with higher education institutions and local kindergarten through 12th grade computer science programs.

The submittal from DFW included a secure and custom-built map-based website, for Amazon’s eyes only, that contains both the regional response and individual city responses. The submittal is designed so that Amazon can review both regional and city-specific answers to criteria requirements outlined in its request for proposals.

Many in the DFW business community and even outside the state like DFW’s chances of luring HQ2. A steady stream of Fortune 500 companies have chosen North Texas for headquarters relocations in recent years, including Toyota North America, now based in Plano. The DFW area topped a list of prospective sites for Amazon’s new headquarters, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis, and the region has fared well in similar rankings.

Below is the full list of cities being considered by Amazon, in alphabetical order:

AtlantaAustin, Texas Boston ChicagoColumbus, Ohio DallasDenverIndianapolis Los AngelesMiamiMontgomery County, Maryland Nashville, Tennessee Newark, New Jersey New York CityNorthern Virginia PhiladelphiaPittsburgh Raleigh, North Carolina TorontoWashington D.C.

Dallas 100 – Fastest Growing Companies

Ranked by nUmber

Rank Business Name nUmber 1 J.W. Logistics LLC 1.0 2 Preston Hollow Capital LLC 2.0 3 Revolution Retail Systems LLC 3.0 View This List

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While Dallas-Fort Worth braces for temperatures in the teens, Denton could experience ‘hard freeze’

Staff Photographer

Updated at 11:05 a.m. Monday: Revised to include information about a hard freeze watch.

Don’t let the Monday morning sunshine fool you into thinking North Texas is done with winter weather.

Another round of freezing temperatures and the likelihood of snow is headed this way again with the arrival of a cold front Monday afternoon. The northern swath of North Texas, including Denton and Grayson counties, will likely experience the worst of the cold front as Tuesday slides into Wednesday.

Here’s what to expect:

This week

The cold front will move into North Texas around 3 or 4 p.m. Monday, bringing with it some light rain. That will likely turn into a wintry mix around 6 p.m., as temperatures continue to drop, meteorologist Bianca Villanueva with the National Weather Service said.

Monday evening travel is expected to become dangerous and difficult, and it could remain hazardous into Tuesday as temperatures are expected to stay below freezing.

Compounding the hazardous driving conditions is the wind chill thanks to 10 to 15 mph winds. That will make it feel like we’re in the single digits Monday evening into early Tuesday, Villanueva said.

After 10 p.m., that wintry mix will transition into a very light snow that will continue overnight.

Dallas-Fort Worth could get about half an inch of snow as the weather moves south into Central Texas, she said.

A winter weather advisory has been issued for several North Texas counties including Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Rockwall. It will begin at 6 p.m. Monday and end at noon Tuesday.

The Dallas forecast calls for a high in the upper 20s on Tuesday. But once the sun sets, temperatures across the immediate area are expected to fall to the teens.

Denton County and neighboring counties to the north, however, could experience temperatures in or near the single digits. The National Weather Service has issued a hard freeze watch for those counties for Tuesday night.

After all precipitation has come to an end: Hard Freeze Watch has been issued for areas north of a line from Eastland to Denton to Paris, where Tuesday night temperatures may drop into the single digits. Lows in the teens will occur elsewhere. pic.twitter.com/XviKiAIsNc

— NWS Fort Worth (@NWSFortWorth) January 15, 2018

Temperatures will likely stay in the 20s and 30s on Wednesday and are expected to jump back into the 40s on Thursday.

3:15 PM: Winter Storm Watches and Advisories have been posted for portions of North Texas and all of Central Texas. Light amounts of winter mix will lead to hazardous travel Monday night and Tuesday. #txwx #ctxwx #dfwwx pic.twitter.com/uRVSCjnDIm

— NWS Fort Worth (@NWSFortWorth) January 14, 2018

Here’s what KXAS-TV (NBC5) has in the forecast:

Tuesday: 29/21Wednesday: 34/16Thursday: 43/23Friday: 57/34Saturday: 67/48

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Record home sales in North Texas in 2017

Staff Photographer

A record number of North Texas homes changed hands in 2017.

More than 106,000 preowned single-family homes were sold in the area by real estate agents. That’s 5 percent more than the all-time high sales in 2016.

North Texas home sales have risen more than 60 percent since 2010.

The 2017 sales increase was helped by a jump in December home purchases. Real estate agents sold 8,990 houses last month – a 12 percent rise from December 2016, according to data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and North Texas Real Estate Information Systems Inc.

Median home sales prices in December were 8 percent ahead of where they were in the same month in 2016 at $250,000.

For all of 2017, home sales prices were 9 percent ahead of where they were in 2016.

"I believe the resale market has more room to grow-both in sales and demand in 2018," said Paige Shipp with housing analyst Metrostudy. "However, as the median price increases, appreciation and sales pace will slow."

Year-over-year percentage home price increases in the Dallas-Fort Worth area have slowed from double-digit gains in 2016 and in early 2017 as more properties have come on the market and price growth has outstripped wage increases.

At the end of December, 17,440 preowned houses were listed for sale with real estate agents in the more than two dozen North Texas counties included in the numbers – 6 percent more than a year earlier. December listings work out to only a 2-month supply of homes in inventory for sale. That’s still less than half of what’s considered a normal market.

One of the biggest increases in North Texas sales came from million dollar homes. In 2017 local real estate agents sold 1,652 homes valued at $1 million or more. That’s a 21 percent increase from 2016 million dollar sales.

Sales of houses priced at less than $180,000 declined in 2017 because of the low number of these properties on the market.

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Top 10 Dallas Apartment Owners

Last year nearly $5 billion was invested in Dallas multifamily assets, as the metro continued to attract both domestic and foreign investors. However, as a result of the recent construction surge, the average occupancy rate decreased in Dallas and Fort Worth alike. The demographic expansion in recent years has little impact on the housing sector. While the city’s population is growing nearly three times faster than the U.S. average, the increase in multifamily stock has remained almost on the same level with the nationwide rate.

This list highlights the metro’s top 10 private, REIT and institutional investor apartment owners, based on unit counts, according to Yardi Matrix data from December 2017. The total number includes units within projects that are completed, under construction, planned and prospective.

10. Greystar
Fitzhugh Urban Flats in Dallas

Although Greystar has the lowest number of units in Dallas (5,772) on this list, the company is one of the largest nationwide, where it owns more than 65,000 units. Fitzhugh Urban Flats, the 452-apartment community at 2707 N. Fitzhugh Ave., is the largest multifamily property Greystar owns and operates in Dallas. By the end of the year, the real estate firm is expected to complete Elan Flower Mound, a 466-unit community under construction in Dallas, and Overture Fairview, a 195-apartment multifamily property in Fairview.

9. InterCapital Partners
Shadows of Cottonwood in Dallas

With seven units shy of 5,900 apartments in Dallas, the Chicago-based company acquired two multifamily properties this year. In a deal with McDowell Properties, InterCapital snagged The Vines, a 300-unit community in Lewisville. The firm also purchased the 504-unit Shadows of Cottonwood from Bridge Investment Group Partners. Additionally, InterCapital significantly expanded its portfolio two years ago with the acquisition of six assets totaling more than 1,700 units from McDowell Properties, two properties totaling 658 apartments from Bridge Investment Group Partners and a 240-unit community from Allen Harrison Co.

8. Cross Equities
Tschannen Estates in Dallas

Cross Equities owns 28 multifamily properties in Dallas totaling a little more than 6,200 units, with Granite Redevelopment acting as property manager for all of them. The Addison-based firm purchased the 373-unit Tschannen Estates last year from a private owner, and in 2016 the 160-unit Spanish Timbers from a different private owner. The largest community Cross Equities owns is the 437-unit Spanish Village, located at 3232 Sumter Drive, acquired in 2012 from Latitude Management Real Estate Investors.

7. Madera Cos.
Meadow Ridge in Fort Worth, Texas

With 28 properties, Madera Cos. has 6,641 units in Dallas, most of them located in Fort Worth. Meadow Ridge, a 484-unit community located at 3101 W. Normandale St. in Fort Worth, is the Lubbock-based firm’s largest multifamily property, acquired this June from Rosenberg Brothers Investments. Last year, in three separate portfolio transactions, Madera purchased 10 assets from Starwood Capital Group totaling more than 2,422 units, as well as a 156-unit property from American Equity Real Estate.

6. Cortland Partners
Aleo at North Glen in Irving, Texas

Coming in at No. 6 is Cortland Partners, with 20 properties totaling a little more than 6,806 units. The Atlanta-based company is developing the 50-unit second phase of The Bristol in The Colony, scheduled for completion by the end of the year. In 2017, Cortland acquired the 417-unit Suite 2801 in Euless from Crow Holdings, and the 420-unit 910 Texas Street by Cortland from Hat Creek Partners. The company’s largest multifamily property is the 590-apartment Aleo at North Glen in Irving, located at 7904 N. Glen Drive and purchased at the beginning of 2016 from Bell Partners

5. Knightvest Capital
Magnolia Ranch in McKinney, Texas

Knightvest owns and manages 33 Dallas multifamily properties totaling nearly 9,500 units. The 576-unit Magnolia Ranch, located at 3191 Medical Center Drive in McKinney, is the company’s largest community, bought in February 2015 from Blackstone Group. Last year, the Dallas-based firm purchased the 216-unit Reagan at Bear Creek in Euless from Residential Realty Group, and the 246-unit The Heights in Arlington from Momentum Real Estate Partners. Two years ago, Knightvest acquired seven properties totaling more than 1,600 units in separate transactions.

4. Lincoln Property Co.
The Village Bend & Bend East in Dallas

With only 22 multifamily in Dallas, Lincoln Property Co. owns more than 10,500 apartments. The Herndon, Va.-based firm awaits city approvals for three properties, the 927-unit Gates of Prosper in Prosper, the 1,500-unit Village 121 in Plano and the 152-unit 305 Jack Finney in Greenville. The company is also expected to deliver the 299-apartment Lincoln Kessler Park by the end of May 2018. Once completed, the community will feature one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments ranging from 732 to 1,377 square feet. The Village Bend & Bend East, a 1,064-unit multifamily property located at 5454 Amesbury Drive, is Lincoln’s largest community in Dallas.

3. Westdale Asset Management
The Davenport in Dallas

Westdale has 44 properties and roughly 12,000 apartments in Dallas, with the largest one being the 685-unit The Davenport at 14500 Dallas Parkway. The company acquired the community in 2008 from CenterSquare Investment Management. Westdale is developing The Case building, a 337-apartment property at 3131 Main St., and is expected to complete the construction by the middle of the year. In 2016, the company purchased the 416-unit Ridgecrest at 1200 Dallas Drive from Blackstone. The previous year, Westdale expanded its Dallas portfolio with the acquisition of Camino del Sol, a 300-unit property located at 1030 Dallas Drive.

2. MAA
Post Addison Circle in Addison, Texas

With four fewer properties than Westdale, MAA, the largest apartment owner in Austin, owns and operates about 14,000 apartments in Dallas. Post Addison Circle, a 1,334-unit community in Addison, is the largest of them. Completed in phases in 1997, 1998 and 2000, the 10-building property features studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments ranging from 420 to 2,273 square feet. In 2016, MAA completed Cityscape at Market Center II, a 318-unit community located at 440 Coit Road in Plano, adjacent to Cictyscape at Market Center, a 454-unit property completed in 2014. In the last 10 years, the Memphis, Tenn.,-based company developed more than 4,000 apartments.

1. Starwood Capital Group
Landmark at Lake Village North in Garland, Texas

The Connecticut-based company has more than 50 multifamily properties in Dallas, amounting to 15,535 apartments. Starwood purchased its largest Dallas community, Landmark at Lake Village North, in 2016 from Landmark Apartment Trust of America as part of a multi-state portfolio sale that expanded its local portfolio with more than 3,500 units. The 848-apartment community in Garland, completed in 1983, consists of one-, two- and three-bedroom units ranging from 560 to 1,271 square feet. Last year, Starwood closed a deal with Milestone Group, acquiring 78 multifamily properties in 10 states, increasing its Dallas portfolio with almost 5,400 units. Additionally, the company is planning a 50-unit second phase for its Briarcrest community in Carrollton.

Images courtesy of Yardi Matrix

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