Kevin Marple

Commercial Real Estate

CRE Opinion: Food as an Indicator of Growth

When we hear about sluggish growth across the country, we cannot relate.

Call it a gut instinct.

One of the staples of major cosmopolitan cities is an extensive array of international food establishments. Think New York, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami—all places where there is extensive international representation in its restaurant population.

This past weekend, I stumbled onto proof that Dallas is closer in its evolution into an international hub. In this case, I am referring to the Cuban food inspiration, The Latin Pig. If you live inside the Interstate 635 loop, this might be out of your comfort zone. It requires driving to The Colony, where along the way up the Dallas North Tollway and west on Texas 121 you will see what growth looks like. If you haven’t been in this part of Dallas-Fort Worth, prepare to be amazed.

Of course Dallas already had a good representation of international cuisine in its restaurant base, but the growth of the city brings with it an increasing sophistication to its palate. I readily admit this revelation may have been induced by the delicious and generously sized sangrias. So, if you require more than my culinary experience and observations as evidence, you may refer to the recently published Americas Investor Intentions Survey 2018 by CBRE Research, in which Dallas ranked as one of the top two target markets for real estate investors—second only to Los Angeles. The reason? Growth!

The pace of growth in Dallas has been the envy of many cities. When we hear about sluggish growth across the country, we cannot relate. We see construction cranes, new roads, out-of-state license plates and larger crowds everywhere. Those who viewed the most recent growth cycle in the city as a fluke or unsustainable, missed out on over 30 percent in rental rate growth and more in capital appreciation in building values.

This is the second year in a row that Dallas ranks as the number two destination in the country for real estate investors. I see evidence of the interest every week, when we meet with new investors seeking to learn about the city and understand why growth occurs here. I am bullish about the city and its future growth prospects, particularly now that we have Cuban food too!

John Alvarado is a Senior Vice President with CBRE’s Capital Markets Institutional Properties practice.

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