Real Estate Round-up
How do you follow Houston's $325 million real-estate deal? By doing it, again
Goddard Investment Group just smashed the biggest grand slam home run in the history of Houston real estate.
So what can Goddard do for an encore?
The answer is simple.
Come back to Houston and do it again.
First of all, let’s take a moment to review Goddard’s big score in Houston real estate investment. Goddard, an Atlanta-based firm, came into town in July 2005 and bought one of Houston’s most visible downtown trophies — the 53-story Heritage Plaza building.
Everyone recognizes the building. It’s the photographic centerpiece of almost all of the skyline shots of Houston. The top of the building is patterned after a Mayan temple.
Goddard paid $128 million for the 1.2 million square-foot building, located at 1111 Bagby, on the western edge of downtown. So here at the end of 2010, Goddard sells the building for $325 million (with CultureMap the first Houston outlet to report the sale on Nov. 10). At $283 per square foot, it’s one of the highest prices ever for a Houston office tower.
The bottom line: Goddard sold the building for $197 million more than it paid for it in 2005. Sure, Goddard paid a few million to build a new parking garage and do some renovations. But any way you slice it, Goddard paid an exceptional investment — the kind of deal they should make into a case study at Harvard Business School.
Selling a $128 million investment for $325 million five years later? Not too shabby. Especially when you consider that the nation’s economy has been sickly and conditions are still a little shaky.
Needless to say, Goddard is pretty pleased with the Houston real estate market and the firm is interested in buying more properties here.
“We are very bullish on the Houston market and are looking for new investment opportunities in the city,” says Bill Deyo, an executive with Goddard.
Goddard has one Houston building remaining in its portfolio, the modest 801 Travis building in downtown. A case can be made that Houston’s office market is on the upswing since developers haven’t started many new buildings lately, giving demand a chance to catch up with supply.
Our city should also enjoy gains from higher oil prices and positive job growth in the economy.
Goddard is also scouting around other major Sunbelt cities, looking for deals in Dallas, Denver, Atlanta and Miami, Deyo says. Goddard is looking for what Deyo calls “value-add” buildings — properties that have a lot of vacant space that can be leased or renovations that can be completed to boost the value of the buildings.
The deal also makes the Heritage Plaza buyer, New York-based Brookfield Properties, one of the largest owners of office space in the city. Brookfield owns over nine million square feet in downtown Houston, including One, Two and Three Allen Center, 1400 Smith and KBR Tower. Brookfield purchased the downtown abandoned Sheraton Lincoln Hotel, 711 Polk, earlier this year and is expected to tear down the old hotel and build a parking garage there.
A Final Salute
One of the nation’s finest real estate editors has passed away. Dick Turpin died in his sleep at a nursing home in Receda, Calif. last Friday. He was 91.
Turpin became real estate editor at the Los Angeles Times in 1967. At that time, the Times’ real estate section was not much more than an advertising supplement. But Turpin was a real newsman and had been part of the team that won the paper a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the 1965 Watts riots.
Turpin transformed the real estate section into a strong editorial section with serious news coverage of the real estate markets, architecture and environmental issues. Under his leadership, the Los Angeles Times real estate section won numerous awards, and getting named the best in the country three times by the National Association of Real Estate Editors.
Turpin became president of the National Association of Real Estate Editors and journalists around the nation were influenced by the standards he set.
And the journalists who worked for Turpin loved him.
“In my 44 years of journalism, I can't think of a more generous, gracious person than Dick Turpin,” says Dave Kinchen, a Port Lavaca writer who worked for Turpin for years. “Everybody who worked under his supervision benefited from the wisdom and experience of a master and a true gentleman.”
Ralph Bivins, former president of the National Association of Real Estate Editors, is editor-in-chief of RealtyNewsReport.com.