‘Extend and pretend’ strategy won’t avoid the inevitable

Office building values have plummeted in value as much as 50 percent since their 2007 peak. The factors causing this decline were many. Fully cognizant of the real estate value implosion and the general economic malaise, office tenants wonder, “Why haven’t rental rates come down more?” Good question. Unlike past downturns in commercial real estate,…

Read More »

Parker should start at beginning to improve public safety

J.W. “JAY” WALL III and STAN BURTON Police matters An open letter to Parker: Start at the very beginning Every city, no matter what the size, has certain obligations it must meet before it spends money on nonessential things. As in any household, a family must pay for essentials like rent and food before splurging…

Read More »

Ugly picture will get uglier before improvement sets in

Three or four times a week, I meet with office tenants to talk about their business, macroeconomics and how they relate to the Houston office market. Just the facts: Last year, oil gyrated from a speculation-driven $140 per barrel, to a low of $32 per barrel and is now approximately $78 per barrel. Most important…

Read More »

Is Houston Undercounting Murders?

In 2008, I suggested that the Wall Street Journal’s Carl Bialik look into the under-reporting of murders by the City of Houston: Houston has been undercounting its murders in recent years, according to a local television-news investigation. The developing story, which this week raised the ire of a Texas Congressman and former judge, has illustrated…

Read More »

Start by reinventing HPD top to bottom

What does HPD truly need? It needs re-engineering from top to bottom, ultimately perhaps a wholesale change in leadership. When NYPD implemented CompStat, in its first year more than 75 percent of its precinct commanders retired, were demoted or were reassigned. You either got with the “crime control” (CompStat) program or you “got gone.” However,…

Read More »

Shake HPD blues with NYPD savvy

CRIME STOPPER The Big Apple’s innovative CompStat policing system took a big bit out of crime. It can happen here, too. ALAN HELFMAN, JAY WALL and WILLIAM A. WOLFF The time has come for Houston to adopt a fundamental change in policing similar to programs implemented in New York City and Boston, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Baltimore,…

Read More »

Houston: You have a very real problem…a crime problem!

By ALAN HELFMAN, J.W. “JAY” WALL III and WILLIAM A. WOLFF Based on the 2005 FBI Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), one can compare crime in Houston to New York City on a per capita basis: In the category of “Violent Crime,” you are: 2.28 times more likely to be murdered; 2.52 times more likely to…

Read More »

In Houston, a Spreading Sea of Empty Offices

After the Enron collapse, Houston office vacancy rates soared to 15.5%. Barron’s covered the collapse: “The vacancy rate will go higher as the providers [lawyers, accountants, other professionals] that serviced the energy traders cut back, or as in the case of Andersen go out of business,” says Jay Wall, a vice president with the Houston office…

Read More »

Houston’s energy industry impacts office rental rates

Office rental rates in Houston are about to skyrocket. In Houston, those rates correlate with oil prices almost perfectly, and recently oil prices have skyrocketed themselves. Although that’s good news, companies should still use caution when signing leases as more affordable office space becomes available. That indicator has resulted in some significant real estate indicators….

Read More »