In the News—Week of July 11, 2022

 In The Title Trove

Deal of the Week

Thomas Title’s Energy Services’ team closed two phases of a utility-scale renewable energy transaction for approximately $550 million in West Texas for an international global energy developer consisting of about 400 megawatts. The developer plans to make these projects operational this year. The transaction was closed by Lacy W. McCormick out of the Houston office.


Kohl’s ends merger talks, board mulls selling off real estate

For now, it looks like Kohl’s is not selling its whole business, but the retailer is considering unloading its real estate portfolio, CNBC reports. Kohl’s said it has ended talks to sell to The Vitamin Shoppe owner Franchise Group. But the company is under pressure from activist investors to do something. The company says the board is looking at ways to get some cash from its real estate. Kohl’s has been resistant to selling property and leasing it back.

Energy & Efficiency

Louisville city government wins Kilowatt Crackdown awards 

The Louisville Energy Alliance gave Louisville Metro Government two of its Kilowatt Crackdown awards for energy efficiency, the city reported. The Kilowatt Crackdown program is a competition among building owners and operators to cut energy use. Two city buildings — Metro Development Center and the Northeast Regional Library — were recognized for large reductions in power use. The cuts were realized primarily by changing automated schedules for boilers, chillers and pumps. The Kilowatt Cup, the top prize, went to La Quinta del Sol of Louisville East, a new hotel that was built using tankless water heaters, LED lights and motion sensors to shut systems off when rooms are unoccupied. The building generates electricity from rooftop solar panels and micro-windmills. The hotel was able to finance many of the upgrades using low-interest loans from Louisville Metro Government’s EPAD program. 


Gexa Energy signs 10-year lease, moves to downtown Houston

Gexa Energy, which provides electricity options for residential, is moving its headquarters from northwest Houston to downtown, the Houston Chronicle reports. Gexa Energy will move from 20455 State Highway 249 to 601 Travis late this year or early 2023. The building is home to NextEra Energy Resources, Gexa’s parent company. Gexa signed a 10-year lease for 62,261 square feet. The move is a welcomed one for the downtown submarket, which is still recovering from the pandemic. Figures from Cushman & Wakefield show about a third of the space in downtown Houston is available for lease.


Lone Star Funds purchases two high-end hotels in Frisco  

Dallas-based investor Lone Star Funds bought two luxury hotels in Frisco, The Dallas Morning News reports. The Westin Dallas Stonebriar Golf Resort & Spa and the Sheraton Stonebriar were assessed at more than $40 million for property taxes, although terms of the deal were not made public. The hotels were owned by Western Securities, which is based in Calgary, Alberta. Westin Stonebriar has 302 rooms, was built in 2000 and is next door to the Stonebriar Country Club golf course. Sheraton Stonebriar has 168 rooms.


All luxury, all the time: Gilbert tops in high-end apartments

Once the self-proclaimed “Hay Capital of the World,” Gilbert can now claim the mantle of top U.S municipality for luxury apartments. Gilbert ranks No. 1 in the country in the percentage of luxury apartment construction from 2012 to 2021 in the 100 largest cities, AZ Big Media reports. Figures from StortageCafe show that 100% of the 4,029 apartment units built in Gilbert were classified as luxury. What makes an apartment a luxury apartment — besides higher rents? Clubhouses, sky decks, gyms and pools. About 86% of the apartments in the United States built in the period studied were classified as luxury. Chandler ranked second (99%), Plano, Texas (99%) was third and Scottsdale was fourth (98%). 


Apartment, home values rise rapidly in areas preferred by tourists 

Government data show home and apartment prices are rising faster in areas that cater to tourists, and foreign buyers are likely a major force behind increases, Mexico News Daily reports. Figures from the government show the average price of a home or apartment rose 7.7% to about $72,000 nationwide. But in Quintana Roo and Baja California Sur prices rose more than 12%. During the pandemic, there was a boom in the vacation home sector, not just (because of demand) from local clients but also from foreigners,” The director and co-founder of Ancana, Andrés Barrios, says, “At the start of 2022, in certain destinations more focused on Mexicans, we’ve seen a … reduction in terms of the number of sales compared to last year, but we’re still seeing a lot of interest from foreigners.”

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