ACRES May 8th 2019 Guest Speaker: Gary Farmer
Click the audio file at the bottom of this page to listen to Gary Farmer speak about Real Estate demand in Austin, Texas.
Please see the below summary written by Jan Buchholz from ATX Real Estate News:
A special thank you to Helen Jobes of Capella Commercial, who invited me as one of her guests to ACRES — Austin Commercial Real Estate Society. This was my first visit to this invitation-only crowd, which meets regularly at County Line Barbecue on Bee Caves Road.
That was the noon hour Wednesday when the wild and wooly thunderstorm rolled in, but it didn’t stand a chance of upstaging the guest speaker — Gary Farmer, president of Heritage Title and the face of Austin economic development.
He shared some compelling real time information about real estate demand: Austin still doesn’t have enough office space, even with everything that’s underway.
“We’re supply constrained in every (sub) market,” Farmer said.
Let this sink in — there are 166 active prospects at the Austin Chamber of Commerce. Of those, 80 are office users and one-fourth of those prospects are seeking 50,000 square feet or more. A dozen of those 20 prospects need 100,000 square feet or more. At a minimum, Austin needs 3 million square feet of additional office space — but that’s my calculation.
Here’s another eyeopener. Since Jan. 1, Austin has welcomed 71 new companies. Those are done deals. They have arrived in the past 4.5 months.
“We are not losing any momentum,” Farmer said.
Two industries new to Austin are driving a lot of unprecedented interest — healthcare/medical tech and national defense. What propelled that diversity beyond Austin’s strong tech core and government services?
The opening of the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas and the federal government’s decision to base the U.S. Army Futures Command division — taking advantage of the area’s deep pool of young talent.
Farmer believes an even more diverse economic base is possible, and is now drumming up support for between $2 million-$3 million to fund a new economic development program focused exclusively on foreign recruitment.
“Sixty four foreign companies have come to Austin without us even trying,” Farmer said. “Just think if we could cast the net wider.”
All of the numbers are impressive, and Farmer doesn’t miss a beat when reciting all the stats. My note-taking couldn’t keep up with him, but you get the picture.
So which cities are Austin’s top competition? There are just four, Farmer said:
Denver, my hometown.
Phoenix, my last career stop and one of my favorite places.
Raleigh-Durham, N.C. — never even been in that area of the country.
And Nashville, which has many similarities to our cool capital.
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