ISIS is gaining credibility among the worldwide terrorist organizations. In one day the Islamist terrorists attacked three continents (Tunisia, Kuwait and France) and killed scores of innocent people in a call for more violence to make Ramadan a time of “calamity for the infidels.”
Iran says it does not want nuclear arms but it has more than 8 tons of enriched uranium that can be turned into the fissile core of a dozen or more atomic bombs and it wants the right to ship this material to other countries for sale. Obama still has Kerry attempting to cut a deal with Iran.
The Big Four indicators are all still trending up but look out for industrial production.
- One of the most important facts used to judge the overall health of our country is the number of people working. Just how may are pulling the wagon compared to those riding in it. The labor participation rate is troubling.
- Consumer Confidence ended at 96.1 this quarter, a small increase.
- The FED continues to talk about raising rates sometime in the near future. Some are saying it will be September or later.
- Lower prices have cooled the oil boom. Schlumberger has eliminated about 11,000 jobs because of the drop in drilling caused by the drastically lower prices for crude.
- Grocery stores continue to be one of the favored anchors for the neighborhood centers. And there are plenty to go around. But a newer trend that is starting to take hold is the addition of medical office in neighborhood centers. And everything from emergency rooms to specialized providers like Cook Children’s are boosting the developers’ choices of quality tenants.
- Theaters are innovating and coming out of their mold of go to the window, buy the tickets, get popcorn, watch the movie, and go home. The theater operators have been trying meals for quite some time but how about much larger arcades and even bowling allies?
- Other family attractions like iFLY and trampoline parks are raising retail experiences. IFLY, the simulated skydiving experience, gives you the ability to somewhat feel what it is like without jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.
- Many of the larger retail developers like Simon are also giving families a break from shopping where new Moms can breastfeed for a few minutes and just get off their feet. Simon claims increased sales from the new venues.
- The fast casual restaurants are expanding at a good rate again. Operators like Panera Bread, McAllister’s Deli, Jason’s Deli, Corner Bakery and Chipotle are planning rapid expansion of their stores.
- Despite the drop in oil prices, employment is up in Texas. According to RECON, the bi-weekly newspaper published by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M, Texas gained 287,000 nonagricultural jobs from May 2014 to May 2015.
- Office is on fire again in DFW. According to CBRE Marketview, Q1 2015 is the highest quarter for DFW office deliveries in a decade. And rents are going up also. With corporate California leaving for lower taxes and a better business climate, relocations like Toyota, FedEx, Raytheon, and Liberty
- Mutual are filling new build-to-suit properties. Since 2005, we have added more than 600,000 jobs to the region.
- Another big corporate tenant has selected Fort Worth over Torrance, CA. Farmers Bros. Coffee is right on the heels of Toyota in leaving the high-tax state with its plans to build a $40 million, 500,000 s/f facility in Northlake just to the north of Alliance.
- And we are about to get our first Buc-ee’s, the 50,000 s/f convenience store. Buc-ee’s will also be locating north of the Speedway.
- Downtown is continuing to expand in all directions. The Lancaster Corridor is seeing some new mixed-use projects with Catalyst Urban Development’s new project along Lancaster. It will change the entire corridor.
- The city’s utility construction along Main Street South is finally under way. The addition of upgraded infrastructure along with some awesome street and sidewalk work should give that area a huge boost.
The Chisholm Parkway area along the new toll road from the Fort Worth CBD south to Cleburne continues to get new approvals. Realty Capital got P&Z and City Council approval for The Dylan, a 900 unit mixed use multi-family development on the NWC of the Parkway and Sycamore School Road. At the same time, two smaller developments were OKed for 7 Eleven and a small strip that include a Starbucks on the same corner. This is the new expansion area to watch in Fort Worth.
NORTHWEST FORT WORTH/LAKE WORTH
Lockheed boosted its 2015 forecast for annual profit as improved margins for its aircraft unit, led by the F-35 fighter jet, helped ease pressure from US defense spending cuts. Anything that helps Lockheed will help this area.
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS
North Richland Hills, the third largest city in Tarrant County after Fort Worth and Arlington, has received approval for its two rail stops on the new TEX Rail commuter train project, a 27-mile commuter rail line from downtown Fort Worth to Grapevine and DFW Airport. After years of naysayers saying it would never happen, TEX Rail officially placed orders for eight rail cars valued at about $106.7 million.
In summary, our area and the overall Texas economy seems to be continuing to perk along. I can’t help but think that our economy could grow much faster if it were not for the federal government staying in our way constantly. Maybe the overreach will be over soon.