In the News—Week of July 20, 2020

 In The Title Trove

Around the Nation

Infectious disease consultant, the latest job category in commercial real estate
Suddenly there is a new position in the commercial real estate industry, Fast Company reports. Crocker Partners, which owns and manages 11 million square feet of office space throughout the country, found itself in need of a different kind of expertise to deal with the post-COVID-19 environment. “The issues started becoming more complex and more nuanced, and we realized we had hit the wall when it came to our internal abilities to deal with this epidemiological crisis. And we wanted to bring that expertise in house,” says Angelo Bianco, managing partner of Crocker Partners. The firm hired Walter Okoroanyanwu, a New York doctor with experience in HIV/AIDS.

Energy & Environment

Natural gas utilities put $1.47 billion in efficiency programs, study shows
Oil and Gas 360 reports that natural gas utilities put $1.47 billion into energy efficiency programs in 2018, a study by the American Gas Association shows. The contributions kept 2.25 million metric tons of CO2 emissions out of the atmosphere. The industry’s investment was 8% above what it spent in 2016. “Natural gas utilities are working with their customers to be part of the solution to climate change, helping them lower their emissions while also saving money,” AGA President and CEO Karen Harbert says.


Tall order: Renovation plans made for 75-story 600 Travis
The tallest tower in Texas, 600 Travis in downtown Houston, will be getting a makeover and a new major tenant, the Houston Chronicle, reports. Hines, which owns the building wouldn’t confirm the tenant except to say it was a financial services firm. Sources tell the paper the tenant is JPMorgan Chase & Co. Whatever financial services company it is will be moving into a building with a new look. Architecture firm HOK has come up with pans that include an entry way that pays homage to that glass pyramid that serves as an addition to Louvre.

Plano developer announces plans for large office tower in uptown Dallas
Granite Properties, based in Plano, unfurled the detail of its plans for what will be one of Dallas’ largest office towers for 23Springs, D Magazine reports. Granite Properties will raze three buildings at Cedar Maple Plaza in uptown Dallas. The project will consist of a 26-story office building and two retail buildings, a six-level underground parking lot, and a half-acre of open space. The project’s name comes from two springs that ran through the site more than 100 years ago and the address — 2323 Cedar Springs.


Phoenix-area office market shows positive net absorption for 2nd quarter
The Phoenix metro area’s office market continues to perform relatively well in the face of the pandemic and resulting slowdown, according to AZ Big Media. The area’s office market had net absorption of 234,057 square feet, marking the 33rd consecutive quarter of positive net absorption. The vacancy rate increased slightly to 13.1%. The market added about 400,000 square feet. Average rental rates rose 1.1% to $25.71 per square foot.


In effort to combat corruption, military assigned control of customs, ports
Andrés Manuel López Obrador has put the military in charge of ports of entry and customs offices, Mexico New Daily reports. The president says he made the move to stop corruption. “Land and maritime customs (offices) are going to be in the charge of the army and the navy to ensure safety and avoid the introduction of drugs,” he said at a press conference. Besides drugs, the military will attempt to prevent cash and guns from illegally entering the country.

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