HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – Davis Commercial, a Montrose-based firm led Mark Davis, is a boutique firm with strong roots in Houston’s Inner Loop.
Davis was a guest on THE RALPH BIVINS PROJECT, a new podcast published by Realty News Report. Davis discussed some of the key properties in Houston’s Inner Loop.
Here is an excerpt of Davis’ appearance on THE RALPH BIVINS PROJECT:
Ralph Bivins: The most prominent corner in Montrose is Westheimer and Montrose Boulevard. Skanska just purchased just under three acres at that corner for $27 million. Right now, there’s a strip center on it with spec’s and a bookstore. But if Skanska paid $27 million for the site, you know they are going to build something really fantastic.
Mark Davis: Yeah, it will be more than just a food truck parking area. I am really excited they got a hold of this property. It is the epicenter of the whole market area. Skanska really cares. They are not in a hurry. They care about the neighborhood. They plan to raze the strip mall in Q-1 this year. They are going to put temporary uses up for a year and a half to two years and let the market percolate, then see what the best use is. They have a couple of really cool, temporary ideas. One is a farmer’s market. But the other idea is really awesome – it’s a drive-in theater.
Ralph Bivins: That is cool.
Mark Davis: What Skanska has planned after that is a big, mixed-use project with a lot of retail. Maybe a boutique hotel. You know, Houston is the third largest city in the country, and it doesn’t have a boutique hotel. Then, they want to do some new office construction, catering to high tech. This could piggyback with the old Ion development. I can’t think of anyone that’s better to do this. And they have paid $230 a foot for this. That’s a record for this area.
Ralph Bivins: Skanska is a Swedish firm with a lot of money. They usually finance internally so they don’t have to go begging to a bank.
Mark Davis: I have talked to them about keeping the tenants they have now on a month-to-month rent basis, but they want to clear the area now. They’ve talked about possible difficulties if tenants don’t want to move out at a later time. They have deep pockets. They can do that. But they have some cool temporary projects.
Ralph Bivins: Mark, I see your signs on a lot of properties. I know you’ve done a lot of work with restaurants which are the primary tenants there. With the pandemic, it’s been tough to stay open. What’s going on with the restaurant sector?
Mark Davis: It’s interesting; it’s sort of a case of the haves and the have-nots. I think for the restaurants that were struggling before COVID, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. That’s true of retailers in general. These folks probably won’t come back. But in the past six or seven months, several restaurants have signed leases in the Montrose area. A lot of them moved into second generation spaces, which is cheaper for them to move into. The Acme Oyster House is one big deal. At Montrose and Hawthorne where the Starbuck’s is, a Chinese restaurant from Chicago moved in. We’ve also signed a lease for Seafood Connection on Montrose east of Westheimer. There’s the Southern Yankee Brewery which serves craft beer and specialty foods. It moved into the old Good Dog on West Alabama. And Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, a high-end ice cream store. It’s interesting. It’s been tough for some people. But it appears the strong survive. Prices have gotten a little better. There are opportunities for people to come in and take advantage of that.
Ralph Bivins: How about the owners of those retail properties? Are there delinquencies in rent payments? How are they doing?
Mark Davis: During the first few months of the pandemic, a lot of people were uncertain and frightened. Landlords were deferring rent and forgiving rent to keep people afloat. In the past few months, people have been saying that things have stabilized. Most people feel the worst is behind them. There is leasing activity now; calls and inquiries. No one knows down the road what is going to happen. But right now, people are feeling better than they did three or four months ago — unless something comes out of left field. You know how it is with restaurants and retailers. Once they sign the lease, it can take four to nine months to open.
Ralph Bivins: Anything else?
Mark Davis: One other thing. You know I am on the board of Covenant House, the homeless center for youth in Houston. If you want to donate to Covenant House, you can log in at www.CovenantHouse.org.
Mark Davis has spent more than 28 years in the commercial real estate business and has handled hundreds of transactions. Prior to forming Davis Commercial in 2001. Mark worked at the Trammell Crow Co. He received his MBA from Rice University and Bachelor of Science in Management from Tulane.
Jan. 25, 2021 Realty News Report Copyright 2021
File: The Fate of Montrose’s Epicenter
File: The Ralph Bivins Project