Dallas, TX – Las Colinas Real Estate Development Update

The Lake Carolyn Area of Las Colinas (Irving) will see some major real estate development activity within the coming years. Developers are lining up to build projects along the lake and take advantage of the new DART Orange Line Expansion that will improve access to downtown Dallas and DFW Airport. The City of Irving is helping to get the ball rolling by building a convention center and entertainment district that will anchor the regions development.Las Colinas Convention Center – Phase I of development is scheduled for completion in fall 2010. The project will include 50,000 sqft of exhibition space, 20,000 sqft of ballroom space and 20 breakout rooms. The center will be able to accommodate 4,000 attendees.Las Colinas Entertainment District – Phase I of development is scheduled for completion in fall 2010. Plans for the project include a 3,500 seat concert venue, restaurant space, retail shops, a cinema, and a privately owned hotel.Water Street – Gables Residential & Urban Partners are planning to build 300,000 sqft of retail, 500 luxury apartments, and 250,000 sqft of office space on Lake Carolyn and O’Connor Blvd. Infrastructure construction is scheduled to begin in the 2nd quarter of 2009. Phase I of construction is scheduled for delivery in fall 2010.North Shore – Fram Development is planning to build over 1,000 residential units, 100,000 sqft of retail space and 400,000 sqft of office space on Lake Carolyn and W Las Colinas Blvd. Project costs are estimated to be $300MM.Crow Holdings Site #1 – Crow Holdings owns 2 sites on Lake Carolyn. This site borders the north of Lake Carolyn and the south of Northwest Highway. Plans for this parcel include a $250MM mixed use project that will encompass 95,000 sqft of retail, 402,000 sqft of office, and 1,404 residential units.Crow Holdings Site #2 – This site is located south of O’Connor Blvd, and is bounded by Lake Carolyn to the west and Lake Carolyn Parkway to the east. Plans for this parcel include 549 apartments.Las Colinas Station – ICON Partners is building a $150MM project at the intersection of Lake Carolyn Parkway, O’Conner Blvd., and Riverside Drive. Full buildout will include 600,000 sqft of office space, 500 apartments, and a 220 room hotel.Vela – Palladium USA Development is planning to build two 21-story condo towers near the intersection of O’Connor Blvd and Lake Carolyn Parkway. The $120MM project will include 280 condos and 20 villas.Lincoln Northwest – Lincoln Property Company is planning to build 1,655 apartments on the north side of Northwest Highway, between Riverside Drive and Colwell Blvd.

UAE Real Estate in the News

The United Arab Emirates’ real estate markets have been in the news over the last year, and much of that news was negative. When the ball dropped on the new year, it seemed like it brought a new vitality to Dubai and the rest of the region’s real estate industry. It’s not all good news of course, but there are initiatives that are believed to be good for real estate and the region, and harbingers of better times to come.Education Harmonization for Better Business Practices
Dubai Property College has formally joined with the Arab Administrative Development Organization (AADO) in a new initiative to spread real estate sector professional education and training throughout the region. Mahmoud El Burai, Director of the College and the Director for Real Estate Development for RERA, the Real Estate Regulatory Agency, is quoted as saying: “It puts in place the foundation not merely for harmonization of standards and practices but also for the creation of a real estate bloc with huge appeal and, significantly, credibility for investors from any part of the world. The aim is to get the professional practice right by making sure the training is available to a level which is aligned with best international practice.”Prices Down but Activity Up
CB Richard Ellis has issued a report showing that projects put on hold in 2009 are being reactivated, with new contracts being awarded and old projects moving to completion. With prices down already, it is expected that this new inventory will bring them down even more. Landlords are using staged rent and other incentives to attract tenants. Though prices and rents are down, there is also new investment interest in the area. With prices in some areas off more than 50% from their peak, institutional investors are entering the picture, buying up in size and quality to increase their holdings.An Increase in Mergers and Acquisitions Expected
One trend expected in 2010 is more activity in mergers and acquisitions. With more than 2000 brokers listed by the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA), it’s a fragmented market that should result in stronger and larger companies buying up the smaller entities. Along with mergers and acquisitions, there is also the prediction that activities will begin to shift from development to more project management and restructuring.All considered, the UAE appears to be in a position to see a return of some of the excitement of the past in real estate development.