In the News—Week of April 25, 2022

 In The Title Trove


Blackstone pays $13 billion for student housing developer 

Hedge fund giant Blackstone has agreed to acquire a real estate investment trust that boasts it is the largest developer and owner of off-campus student housing in the United States, Commercial Observer reports. Blackstone will pay $13 billion to American Campus Communities, which has 166 properties in 71 leading university markets with more than 111,900 beds. This is Blackstone’s second major venture into the student housing game. The hedge fund started a joint venture with Landmark properties a few months ago.

Energy & Efficiency

Often overlooked smart pumps are crucial to sustainability goals

Smart pumps play an important, though often understated, role in energy efficiency, Faculties Net reports. Peter Gaydon, director of technical affairs at the Hydraulic Institute, says many municipalities ignore the importance of pumps. “The pumps responsible for heating and cooling buildings, treating and distributing water, and generating power are often overlooked in conversations around smart or sustainable cities,’’ he tells the website. “But when pumps can account for 40% of industrial energy usage, it’s imperative for the decision-makers in commercial building, public and private utilities, and power generation to look beyond what’s on the surface and make adjustments to the unseen technology that powers our lives.” 


Relocations to Houston are helping office market recover 

Enbridge, a Canadian natural gas company, was part of a wave of relocations to Houston that has helped the office market rebound, The Real Deal reports. Enbridge’s nine-floor sublease in Houston’s Energy Corridor in March, is part of a trend that saw the overall office space demand rise more than 11% from the previous year, according JLL. “Although the office market remains heavily tenant favorable, key indicators such as positive net absorption and upticks in leasing activity and office-demand-driving jobs reflect that the sector is headed toward recovery,” JLL says.


Developer plans industrial park in south Dallas County

Griffin Partners, a Houston developer, is the latest builder headed to southern Dallas County with plans for a new business park, The Dallas Morning News reports. Southern Dallas County has become DFW’s fastest growing industrial building market, with more than 20 million square feet in planning or building stages. Griffin Partners plans to build a two-building warehouse project with more than 560,000 square feet near Interstate 45.  The $34 million project is expected to begin construction in 2023. 


Billionaire buys former mini-golf site, plans tech hub for Scottsdale 

Billionaire George Kurtz has purchased CrackerJax amusement park in Scottsdale for $55.5 million and plans to create a tech campus, the Phoenix Business Journal reports via ABC15.  Kurtz is the co-founder of cybersecurity company CrowdStrike, best known for investigating the Democratic National Committee cyber-attacks and alleged a connection to Russian intelligence services. CrackerJax offered mini-golf, go-karts and batting cages and was built by the Herbergers, a prominent Valley family. Kurtz says he will “create a transformational, sustainable mixed-use campus as a catalyst to attract top innovators, technology entrepreneurs, knowledge workers, and venture capitalists to accelerate Scottsdale’s growing technology cluster.”


Judge issues order to halt work on stretch of Maya Train

A judge in Mérida, Yucatán has issued an order stopping the construction of the Maya Train railroad between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, Mexico News Daily reports. Adrián Fernando Novelo Pérez ruled that all work on a portion of the railroad must stop due to the “imminent risk” of “irreversible damage” in response to a lawsuit filed by three scientist who study caves. Novelo wrote that the work was not being carried out with methods to ensure “the highest protection to the environment and water of the affected communities.” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the government will review the ruling.

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