REOC San Antonio
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Kim_Gatley
Kim Gatley
S
enior Vice President & Director of Research at REOC San Antonio

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CREW San Antonio 2012 Real Estate Forum recap

In an effort to help the real estate and business community navigate the current market, the San Antonio chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) hosted its annual Real Estate Forum.  Some 400 attendees gathered at the JW Marriott Resort and Spa on April 3rd to hear what the panel of speakers had to share.  Moderator Misty Mayo, Vice President, San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, pointed out that this year’s panel offered four different perspectives. 

Offering corporate perspectives, Marsha McCombs Shields, CEO of Koontz McCombs Construction, Ltd. pointed to Eagle Ford Shale activity as one area of growth but said in-fill projects were also important as we celebrate San Antonio’s unique cultural environment in which we live, work and raise our families.  Like many others, she shares the concern over recent the downzoning of properties because it could deter investors from looking at projects in San Antonio.    

Chuck King, Partner, Travis Commercial Real Estate Services, echoed that sentiment with his brokerage perspective adding that rules pertaining to land use need to be consistent and reliable in order for investors to take the risks inherent in commercial real estate projects.  Chuck noted that there is a discreptancy between the rather soft citywide occupancy and the much healthier occupancy rates among newer product.  He pointed to roughly 250,000 square feet of office space that has been recently filled by oil & gas companies.  He also acknowledged some of the challenges that the market still faces but was optimistic that those challenges can also create opportunity.   

Trey Jacobson, Managing Director-Government Affairs, Golden Steves Cohen & Gordon LLP, offered his perspective on the local economy.  Trey believes that the Eagle Ford Shale activty has not yet been fully exposed and that more growth will result but pointed out that oil & gas isn’t the only game in town.  The city has also benefitted from growth in other industries citing the recent relocations of several green energy companies.  Trey predicted that managing city growth will be a focus in the future and he expects to hear more about annexation in the coming year, particularly in the unincorporated northwest region of the San Antonio area which contains roughly the same population as the city of Waco.

Finally, Sally French Tyler, First American Tital Insurancy Company, said that from a national perspective San Antonio is still largely perceived as a tourist town but that the recent push in alternative energy could attract new attention.  She encouraged San Antonio to formulate a cohesive and coordinated plan to rebrand the city to capitalize on all its strengths and opportunities.

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