Toyota rents temporary offices for hundreds of workers in Plano

Less than a week after announcing plans to move its North American headquarters to North Texas, Toyota Motor Corp. has already rented space for a temporary office. The giant automaker has leased 120,000 square feet in the Campus at Legacy complex just east of Dallas North Tollway on Legacy Drive. Toyota plans to have its first workers in the building by August. Thinking about selling? Now is the time. Insert article in the blog, not just the link.


Toyota is renting 120,000 square feet of office space at Plano’s Campus at Legacy complex. The automaker has said it plans to have the first employees start here in August.

Less than a week after announcing plans to move its North American headquarters to North Texas, Toyota Motor Corp. has already rented space for a temporary office.

The giant automaker has leased 120,000 square feet in the Campus at Legacy complex just east of Dallas North Tollway on Legacy Drive.

Toyota plans to have its first workers in the building by August, the company previously said.

The company will use the office space while it builds its 1 million plus-square-foot office campus at Legacy and Headquarters drives in Legacy business park.

Toyota leased the office space from San Francisco-based Spear Street Capital, which owns the 1 million-square-foot Campus at Legacy.

Other tenants in the buildings include Denbury Resources, PepsiCo, St. Jude Medical, Bear Transportation, FutureWei Technologies and Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc.

Bruce Miller and Paul Martin with the law firm Vinson & Elkins negotiated the office lease with Chuck Sellers, Russ Johnson and Lauren Perry with Peloton Commercial Real Estate.

Miller said the transaction to rent the office space happened quickly.

“We didn’t know who the tenant was going to be until Monday,” he said. “The lease was signed Wednesday.”

Toyota said Monday that it is moving about 4,000 of its jobs from California, Kentucky and New York to a new U.S. headquarters complex it will build in Plano.

Most of the moves will take place in 2016 and 2017, after the new campus is opened.

Why Not Move to Texas!


The new Toyota Corporate headquarters will be left of the new FedEx headquarters

in the new Legacy West development in far north Plano along 121 Tollway


Legacy West Strikes Again

Toyota, the world’s biggest automaker, is putting its North American headquarters in Legacy West on more than 70 acres at the corner of Legacy and Headquarters drives.  It’s right across the street from where FedEx Office will have its new headquarters.   Between Toyota and FedEx Office, more than 5,200 corporate office jobs will be coming to the project, which surrounds J.C. Penney’s headquarters.   The developer of Legacy West is Fehmi Karahan, the same developer of the Shops at legacy across the North Dallas Tollway.  Karahan Cos. is building the $2 billion Legacy West in partnership with developer KDC and apartment builder Columbus Realty.  “It’s going to happen very quick,” Karahan said. “Toyota is going to break ground before the end of the year.  There is unbelievable momentum.”     Karahan expects to announce soon other large corporates relocating to his development from across the nation.

–          Dallas Morning News, April 29, 2014

“Why Not Move to Texas!”

The business owner who employs over 1,000 next door to the Toyota corporate offices in Torrance, California summed the move up in a few sentences.  “Why not move to Texas!   The taxes are lower, the regulations are less, the climate is business-friendly, the politics are conservative and there is a true entrepreneur spirit.  In California, we have none of those qualities.    In fact, a report out today in the Dallas Morning News states that the tax savings for the average employee of Toyota if they decide to uproot from California and come to Dallas is huge.   The report finds that the tax savings for a mid-level 40-year old employee making $75,000 will be over $200,000 for the rest of his or her life.   For the corporate executive employees, their personal tax savings could be as high as $1 million for the rest of their career.     The move is about the cost of doing business in Texas.  And more moves are scheduled.

–          Dallas Morning News, April 30, 2014 (excerpts)

Corporate Giants Leaving California

In both 2012 and 2013, Texas was ranked the best state for business in a survey conducted by Chief Executive.  California ranked 50th both years.   Last year, CNBC ranked California 47th on the same measure while Texas was ranked 2nd.    And one of California’s most frequent visitors is Texas Governor Rick Perry, encouraging and persuading other businesses to move to Texas.  Toyota is just the latest move to Texas.    Others will follow.  Over the last several years, corporate giants such as Nissan, Campbell Soup, Chevron and Comcast have all left California due to high taxes.   In fact in 2012, California lost 5.2 percent of its businesses.  The unemployment rate for Texas is 5.5 percent while California’s rate is 8.1 percent.   

–          The Daily Caller, April 30, 2014

Three Large Master-Planned Developments Underway

Three Large Master-Planned Developments Underway

Canals at Grand Park - Frisco

Canals at Grand Park – Frisco

Developers in Frisco have begun construction of an urban-style mixed-use village that will have almost 2,000 homes.  The $500 million Canals at Grand Park development on Legacy Drive will have a variety of apartments, houses, townhomes and senior townhouses built around landscaped parks and waterways.  Dallas-based Charter Holdings and Arcadia Realty Corp. are the developers of the land, which is west of Dallas North Tollway and near Frisco’s Main Street.  Work has begun on the 152-acre project at Legacy and Cotton Gin Road. The first homes should be ready next year.    “We wanted this community to be developed with new urbanism, so it doesn’t look like a traditional suburban subdivision,” said Charter Holdings CEO Ray Washburne said Monday. “Since it is all coming up at once, it will be incredible.”   “Our whole project will be in three phases,” said StreetLights CEO Doug Chesnut. “We will have the first phase finished late next year.  “The units in the buildings will have walk-up front doors and front porches,” he said. “This is an old way of thinking that we forgot.”  The single-family home neighborhoods will also be built with houses that front on tree-lined streets and face the almost dozen small parks and greenspaces.   Builders including CB Jeni Homes, Darling Homes, Cambridge Homes, Normandy Homes and Drees Homes have bought the home sites, Gietema said. “It will be the late fourth quarter when we deliver the first building lots,” he said.

  • Dallas Morning News, May 5, 2014

Inspiration – Adjoins Towns of Wylie and St. Pau

Inspiration – Adjoins Towns of Wylie and St. Paul

With demand for new homes surging in Collin County, developer Huffines Communities is rushing to start work on a 1,400-home residential community.  The almost 600-acre Inspiration development is under construction at the east end of Parker Road.  Construction has begun on the shores of Lake Lavon with the first 206 houses.   Builders include Highland Homes, K. Hovnanian, Meritage, CastleRock, and Shaddock, and the average price will be $375,000.  Inspiration will have a community center with a pool and an outdoor pavilion.

  • Dallas Morning News, May 3, 2014


Riverwalk – Flower Mound

Riverwalk – Flower Mound

Crews in Flower Mound are well on their way to create a massive $16 million development anchored by a body of water that doesn’t exist yet.  They are currently working to divert water from three surrounding ponds to form the modest river. The goal is to create a “river walk.”   “It’s very difficult. It takes some trenching, some building of some wells, in order to infiltrate restoring and retaining the water in that particular location,” explained Alvin Jackson with Centurion American, the lead developer on the project.   Flower Mound voters approved the multi-million dollar project through the creation of a Public Improvement District back in November. The creation of a PID allows the developer to levy assessments on the river walk property, and revenue generated would go to future economic development.   The hope is that a water feature will attract business.  The mixed-use development will include restaurants, shops and housing along the waterway.  It’s a massive, ambitious project happening all at once.   Jackson predicts the water feature will be complete by October. They plan to release a list of stores and restaurants by mid-summer.

  • WFAA, April 10, 2014

1st-quarter home resales have first drop in 3 years

In 2013, D-FW prices jumped by almost 12 percent. At the end of March, fewer than 19,500 houses were listed for sale with real estate agents in North Texas — a 12 percent drop in number of homes for sale from a year earlier. There’s only a 2.6-month supply of pre-owned houses on the market. One of the things we are hearing in the market is buyers are pushing back a little bit on pricing — it’s an affordability issue. This spring we are not seeing as strong a pricing power we should see appreciation this year well above our longer trend, but not as strong as last year. In other words, if you are thinking about selling now is a great time.

Check out the full article here:

Sales of pre-owned homes in North Texas fell slightly in the first quarter — the first such decline in three years.  Pre-owned home sales were down 2 percent in the first three months of the year, a turnabout from the 16 percent rise in 2013 single-family home purchases that were handled through real estate agents’ multiple listing service.

Real estate agents sold 7,116 homes in March – down 4 percent from year-earlier totals, according to data released Tuesday by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and North Texas Real Estate Information Systems.  The Dallas-Fort Worth home market may have hit a ceiling after two years of sharply increasing sales and prices.

Real estate analysts credit the leveling in activity to a shortage of houses on the market and slightly higher mortgage rates, which have made financing a home purchase more expensive.  “With the inventory being so low, demand may not have really fallen that much — we just can’t satisfy the demand,” said Dr. James Gaines, economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M. “We’ll be very lucky to get a 5 or 10 percent increase in sales this year over last year.”  And that will not happen at all unless the supply of houses on the market improves, he said.

At the end of March, fewer than 19,500 houses were listed for sale with real estate agents in North Texas — a 12 percent drop from a year earlier. There’s only a 2.6-month supply of pre-owned houses on the market.

Gaines said investors have cut back on their purchases of properties, in part because of the shortage of houses for sale. That’s also reduced the volume of transactions.  And tougher mortgage lending standards are making it harder for first-time and moderate-income buyers.  “There were some minor weather issues in the first quarter, too,” he said.

Gaines said that in 2013, the D-FW area had the second-highest volume of home sales ever.  “This year if we can get enough inventory we’ll do better than that.”  The shortage of houses continues to drive up prices.

Median home sales prices in North Texas rose 9 percent in the first quarter and were up 8 percent in March from March 2013.  In 2013, D-FW prices jumped by almost 12 percent.  “The long-term average rate of increase is only about 4.5 percent,” said Gaines. “2014 is going to be another year of double-digit price increases.”

But sharp gains in residential prices over the last two years could become a drag on sales, analysts worry.

“One of the things we are hearing in the market is buyers are pushing back a little bit on pricing — it’s an affordability issue,” said David Brown with housing analyst Metrostudy Inc. “If you are not making more money, you can’t pay more money.  “This spring we are not seeing as strong a pricing power,” he said. “We will see appreciation this year well above our longer trend, but not as strong as last year.”  Brown said that the Dallas housing market has mostly recovered from the recession.  “Activity levels are back to where they were in 2008, but they are still below where they were at the peak of the market in 2006,” he said. “The demand from buyers is strong.

“But buyers are going out there and the product is not available or priced significantly higher than it has been.”

Freddie Mac: Doubtful Rates Will Return to Recent Lows


“One thing seems certain: we aren’t likely to see average 30-year fixed mortgage rates return to the historic lows experienced in 2012.”


There are those that hope that 30-year mortgage interest rates will head back under 4%. Obviously, for any prospective home purchaser that would be great news. However, there is probably a greater chance that interest rates will return to the greater than 6% rate of the last decade before they would return to theless than 3.5% rate of 2012.

Freddie Mac, in one of four original posts on their new blog, explained that current rates are still extremely low compared to historic averages:

unnamed (1)“The all-time record low – since Freddie Mac began tracking mortgage rates in 1971 – was 3.31% in November 2012. Conversely, the all-time record high occurred in October of 1981, hitting 18.63%. That’s more than four times higher than today’s average 30-year fixed rate of 4.32% as of March 20…rates hovering around 4.5% may be high relative to last year, but something to celebrate compared to almost any year since 1971.”


If you are thinking of buying a home, waiting for a dramatic decrease in mortgage rates might not make sense.


Should You Buy or Rent a Home?

Here is one simple chart that explains why we think buying a home makes more sense than renting one.

Cost of Renting

Make an Offer That Sellers Can’t Refuse

With shrinking inventories, many home buyers are finding only competitive offers will win them the house they want. A recent article by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance highlighted several ways that home buyers can make more competitive “irresistible” offers.

1. Be preapproved: About three or four months before home buyers even shop for a home, they should review their credit reports to make sure they’re accurate and take short-term steps to improve their credit score, says Michael Corbett, author of Before You Buy! Corbett says buyers then should get a bank’s preapproval. While that won’t guarantee they’ll get the loan, it shows sellers that a lender has verified the buyer’s income and credit score to determine that she can afford payments on a mortgage for a certain amount.

2. Don’t lowball: Buyers may only get one chance to get the home they want in a competitive market. They may not get a second try to sweeten the deal later, so a lowball offer the first time around could cause them to lose out. Buyers should use sales prices of comparable properties in the neighborhood to submit their best offer the first time around.

3. Consider an escalator clause: These purchase contract clauses are becoming more popular again. This is when the buyer agrees to increase their offer if there’s a higher bid from another buyer.

4. Add earnest money: The extra deposit can show sellers how serious the buyer is. Some buyers may even double the amount that the seller requests to show their commitment in purchasing the home.

5. Keep contingencies to a minimum: Sellers prefer no contingencies, but buyers want to protect their interests too. “Offset a financing contingency with preapproval and a strong earnest money deposit,” Kiplinger’s Personal Finance reports. “If you have enough cash, temper an appraisal contingency by assuring sellers that if the appraisal comes in lower than the purchase price, you’ll pay the difference or split it with them (up to a certain amount).”

6. Write a letter: Personal love letters about the home addressed to the sellers are winning over some hearts lately. The letters tell the seller about the buyer (e.g. “We’re relocating from …”) and what drew the buyer to the home (e.g. “We especially love …”).

Source: “Making an irresistible home offer,” Kiplinger’s Personal Finance (May 31, 2013)