North Texas job creation will help fill the 13,250 apartment units expected to be delivered in 2013 and ease fears of an apartment development glut, according to a new report by Marcus & Millichap released on April 24. In-town Fort Worth is expected to add 833 apartment units this year and the submarkets of North Richland Hills/Haltom City and North Fort Worth each expected to add about 450. Dallas is expected to account for about 80 percent of the new apartments delivered this year in the region. Apartment seekers will likely be able to negotiate rents as the region still has a 6.4 percent vacancy rate. That rate stood at 6.2 percent at properties built since 2000 and 9.1 percent at properties built before 1970, according to the report. The Allen/McKinney submarket had the highest vacancy rate at 7.1 percent. Plano, Johnson County, East Dallas, Allen, Prosper, Hurst-Euless-Bedford and Grapevine all had vacancy rates below 5 percent. In-town Dallas and in-town Fort Worth boasted vacancy rates of 5.1 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively. Rents have increased an average of 3.3 percent in the past year, with Fort Worth averaging $758 per month and Dallas at $859. Marcus & Millichap expect rent growth to accelerate this year to better than 4.4 percent. The study balances the expected job growth and rising home prices to help fuel apartment absorption, citing 104,000 new jobs created in North Texas in the past 12 months and a similar number expected to be created in the coming 12 months. – Bill Bowen
Commerce Building announces first office tenants Shannon, Gracey, Ratliff & Miller LLP has leased more than 36,000 square feet on three floors in the five-story Commerce Building under construction at 420 Commerce St. in downtown Fort Worth. The deal marks the first office lease signed in the building, bringing its total leased space to more than 80 percent. The law firm will leave its space at 777 Main St., formerly the Carter Burgess Plaza, which has been its home for 13 years. “We couldn’t be more excited to have Shannon, Gracey coming to Sundance Square,” said Johnny Campbell, president and CEO of Sundance Square, developer of the property, in announcing the lease. “Interest in the Commerce Building, as well as The Westbrook and The Cassidy, has been extremely strong from day one. We will continue to sign leases throughout the rest of the year, which is a testament to the popularity and demand of the buildings in Sundance Square,” Campbell said. Shannon, Gracey will be the sole tenant on the top three floors of the 83,000-square-foot building. Remaining space includes slightly more than 2,300 square feet of retail area on the first floor facing Commerce Street and 8,400 square feet of second-floor office space. Representing Shannon, Gracey in the deal were brokers Jack Huff and Kyle Poulson of Transwestern Commercial Services Fort Worth, with Sundance Square represented by Bill Booker, its director of leasing, and Robert Gamblin, its senior leasing representative. Opening in the fall, the Commerce Building also will be home to Del Frisco’s Grille and Shannon Wynne’s Bird Cafe. Sporting an L-shaped design, Bird Cafe will occupy 3,883 square feet in the adjacent Land Title Building and 2,586 square feet in the Commerce Building. The Sundance Square entertainment district spans 35 blocks and attracts more than 10 million visitors each year. More information is available at www.sundancesquare.com. – A. Lee Graham
Leases, etc. Legend Natural Gas Partners III LP has signed a lease expansion adding 1,078 square feet to its space in the 777 Main St. building in downtown Fort Worth, Crescent Real Estate Holdings LLC of Fort Worth announced April 23. The expansion takes the company’s total square footage to 15,394. Legend is an oil and gas operations, production, exploration and development company founded in 2001. Also leasing space in the building is Rising Roll Gourmet, which took 1,162 square feet for a new deli. John Zogg, managing director of leasing for Crescent, and Whit Kelly, who represented 777 Main owner MS Crescent One SPV on both recent lease transactions, have had a number new leases, renewals and expansions in the building totaling 133,425 square feet, according to a news release. Rising Roll Gourmet’s location will be its first in Fort Worth. Rising Roll Gourmet began operations in Atlanta in 1996 and now has locations in five states. It offers lunch gourmet sandwiches, salads and soups, and breakfast dishes. … SCM Real Estate Services has added the 300,000- square-foot Oncor Building at West Seventh and Houston streets in downtown Fort Worth to its roster of leasing services. SCM Real Estate Services will represent the landlord in leasing activities at the building, which has on-site security and management services.
Black Walnut Café to open first North Texas location Houston-based upscale restaurant Black Walnut Café recently chose Flower Mound as its first North Texas location and plans to open an approximate 6,000-square-foot eatery just north of the FM 2499 and Firewheel Drive intersection. Known for choosing upscale communities, Black Walnut Café will serve an array of contemporary American, fast casual cuisine throughout the day, including selections for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Black Walnut Café representatives recently purchased the land from Weaver Commercial Real Estate Ltd. Todd Weaver, owner of Weaver Commercial Real Estate, said the chosen site is in the center of town and the extensive trail system connects it to houses close by for foot traffic. “Another plus is they are buying the land behind their restaurant for a regional office to manage all the future Black Walnut Café locations here in the DFW area,” Weaver said. “Black Walnut Café consistently donates time and money to local charities in the Houston area, which makes them a great neighbor and we are lucky to have them.” An official opening date has not been determined for the Flower Mound location. The restaurant will be constructed with high-end finishes and will include a catering menu and a full bar, complete with happy hour specials. – Betty Dillard
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