commercial real estate

Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, a former Marshall Field’s Warehouse and a tech darling.

Any of us who’ve spent time in an office know that work is changing. We hear about new ways to work and all the technologies that aim to serve. But what about the actual physical spaces we work in?  Sure, everyone talks about mobility and the ubiquity of the cloud, but what about when the butt hits the Aeron chair? That’s changing, too.

A recent survey by commercial real estate broker CBRE reported that 45 percent of respondents “anticipate migrating to an activity-based workspace,” while 52 percent “anticipate implementing some level of unassigned seating.”

Back in January 2018, the Chicago Tribune posted a story about how older, enormous buildings — typically the stuff of real estate white elephantry — were suddenly tech company darlings. And not for manufacturing, but carpeted office space. These are buildings like the disused Old Main Post Office, Merchandise Mart, and a number of 100-year-old catalog warehouses (remember Monty Wards?). Each of these relics have 50,000 to 260,000 square feet per floor. Put in perspective, that something up to six acres per floor.

The reason these spaces are now hot is because as commercial broker Matt Ward of Newmark Knight Frank said, “This thinking of different floor, different planet is finding its way into every boardroom. The idea of us getting out of our offices and being together is seen as a necessity in today’s business.”

In a word, collaboration.


We got a tip this morning that The Foundry at Mockingbird Station, a reportedly fabulous high end co-working space, has locked out all its tenants. Apparently everyone showed up for work today and couldn’t even get onto the floor. Sad news because co-working spaces are one of the fastest-growing segments of commercial real estate. Just read that WeWork will soon occupy the most square footage of private office space in Manhattan!

According to reviews on yelp, the space was formerly known as The Creative Consortium. But troubles may have been brewing since last June.

photos courtesy of yelp


Now this is interesting: Steve Brown is reporting that Costco is building a SECOND store in North Dallas in the vacant space on Park Lane at Greenville Avenue where the old Sam’s Club used to be until it was closed in 2011. Sam’s opened a store on Northwest Highway at Timber Creek.

This is terrific ness, of course, because I am generally a Costco fan. But a couple things:

One: the city of Dallas gave Costco $3 million two years ago when they opened the store on Coit at Central. Two years ago. Apparently it has been so successful it is now profitable to invest in some pricey land and spend $10 million to open a second store of 133,000 square feet 4.2 miles away without any help from Dallas taxpayers. 

Also, Costco opened it’s 12th North Texas store in Mckinney this July. Clearly, North Texas is bullish on Costco.

Two: where does Steve Brown get that this is near NorthPark mall? This store is clearly east of Central/I75, on Greenville Ave. and in an area loaded with class C and maybe even a few class D apartments, pawn shops, and drugs. It was like that in 2011 and hasn’t changed much. The Dallas Ebola patient stayed in an apartment right down the street. The neighborhood was once called the Heroin Center of Dallas. And the local DART station nearby is notorious for synthetic drug peddling:

Of the 46 DART stations in Dallas, most crime and K2 arrests occur at a handful of stops, including in the central business district and Deep Ellum. 

Other high-crime stations are the Kiest, Park Lane, Bachman and Morrell stops.

My concerns: what will the security be like at this new Costco? Will it help elevate the neighborhood? Will this store carry jewelry?

frost 4

Got myself over to Preston Hollow Village the other day, at the northwest corner of Central/75 and Walnut Hill Lane. Whenever I drive by that development I get happy. I’m happy because the stores are great, but happy also because it represents a new generation of progressive Dallas development. I still recall the old apartments that were once on this land, the fires, and then the fallow dirt that sat and SAT and wouldn’t even sell at auction during the depths of the recession in 2009. Wells Fargo acquired all of Wachovia’s bad assets, including this, and Wells ended up foreclosing on the property Wachovia had poured more than $40 million into. Kroenke Holdings bought the land in 2010 from the bank.

WalnutHill & Central 2009

To see the land full, vibrant, and loaded with shoppers as I did — I’m talking lines at Trader Joe’s! — is a huge accomplishment.

Another hot spot is Frost, the gelato store that serves up quintessential Italian gelato by Frost Italian gelato master Nazario Melchiondia. Though you might think wow, that’s nice for the eight months of the year when it’s steaming hot in Dallas, guess again. Frost serves up a HOT GELATO that is delish (you plop in one or more fave gelato flavors to steaming coffee) as well as hot chocolates. Perfect for our FROSTY weather but Frost gelato is also a great treat for anyone feeling under with the flu or a head cold. And talk about great holiday gifts, I picked up some gift certificates at Frost for my husband’s staff at nearby Presby Dallas. (Shhh, don’t tell!)

Frost 2


DFW Internet was set ablaze yesterday after H-E-B announced the purchase of six Sun Fresh Market stores in the area. (Photo by Dave Stone/Flickr)

Monday afternoon, the Dallas-area Internet exploded: It wasn’t just a rumor, the long-desired H-E-B grocery store chain had bought up six Sunfresh Market sites — four in Dallas, one in Grapevine, and one in McKinney.

Interestingly enough, it seems like the drumbeat for expansion may have been happening even earlier than this, judging from this thread in Retail Watchers.

As neighborhood NextDoor pages and Facebook groups filled with the requisite 15 reposts of the same Dallas Morning News article, people began to express their joy at the possibility of the area finally getting the stores that are ubiquitous in Central and Southeast Texas, but not so much around here. They also began to guess about which it would be – Central Market, or H-E-B. (more…)

$30K millionaire

Guest post by David Shaffer

The term $30,000 millionaire describes a young professional who spends his or her disposable income on items that represent a more expensive lifestyle than what would be expected based on the paycheck. Think of the college graduate who wears designer suits, frequents five-star restaurants, and lives in a swanky high rise; or the young professional who enjoys fine dining and hanging out at the most prestigious clubs nearly every night. They spend money freely on fun, feeling and looking good, withfauxballer-300x201 long term growth investments about as far from their brain as a Volvo station wagon.

The $30,000 millionaire mentality is about looking good and staying mobile — and let me tell you, this lifestyle choice has been a positive driver for the multifamily sector in DFW. The young professional is hoping that he or she becomes a HENRY (high earner not rich yet) soon, and so on …


The future is bright for those of us who want a better, more sustainable wholesale option in Dallas, as the Dallas City Council voted 10-5 to approve $3 million in economic incentives to bring Costco inside the Dallas city limits. As Candy explained, the money will come from a public-private partnership fund that comes from your water bill:

It’s a pool of funds earmarked for Economic Development. The funds are actually generated from fees users of Dallas Water pay. The water department is a revenue generating operation for the city — the city charges the utility a fee in lieu of taxes. This money goes into the public/private partnership fund and can be used for whatever the City Council decides, in this case economic development.

For those of us that were so hopeful about Costco moving into the decaying eyesore that is the Steakley Chevrolet lot on Northwest Highway and Abrams, only to have those dreams squashed, this is great news. According to Costco’s own numbers, members who live south of LBJ will spend $40 million in their new store at Coit and Churchill Way. Just think of all of the Sam’s Club members that will jump ship, too. I know that I’ll be shopping at the new store once it’s constructed, and I’m not even a current wholesale club member!


Dallas ISD's Board of Trustees voted Thursday to OK the purchase of 9400 N. Central Expressway. (Photo: Bethany Erickson)

Dallas ISD’s Board of Trustees voted Thursday to OK the purchase of 9400 N. Central Expressway. (Photo: Bethany Erickson)

As you’ve probably read by now, the Dallas Independent School District’s Board of Trustees voted 5-3 last night to purchase the building at 9400 N. Central Expressway in a bid to consolidate the district’s various departments that are currently spread all over Dallas County.

We can debate the merits of having a building where hundreds of employees will be able to work under one roof for the first time in probably more than 50 years, but that was done for quite some time last night.

Instead, I’d like to talk about something else that came to light (actually, I’ve heard the confusion from many a homeowner about this time every year, too) at this meeting — folks don’t know there’s a difference between the appraisal value Dallas County Appraisal District uses for taxation, and a fair market value appraisal. (more…)