How some Houston commercial properties fared amid Harvey floods

As rainfall from Tropical Storm Harvey slows a bit, Houston-area property managers are starting to get a feel for how many of their properties incurred damage.

Roadway flooding is preventing companies from dispatching maintenance workers and engineers to a significant chunk of properties, so any assessment of damage is only a partial glimpse of the situation.

Mark Nicholson, senior managing director of CBRE's asset services in Houston, said it's too soon to say how its property fared amid the storm.

CBRE manages 54.81 million square feet of commercial properties in Houston, per Houston Business Journal research. It's the city's largest commercial property manager.

"CBRE's property managers in Houston are working diligently to ensure onsite staff, property management staff and personnel are safe," said Mark Nicholson, senior managing director of CBRE's asset services in Houston. "We are keeping a constant eye on how Houston's properties are faring."

Chicago-based JLL's Houston office said most of their properties are still closed out of safety concerns for their tenants.

JLL manages 9.48 million square feet of commercial properties throughout Houston, per HBJ research. The company manages roughly 10 office buildings and another 10 to 12 industrial buildings in Houston, said Peyton Collins, JLL's managing director of property management in Houston.

Jay Nowlin, director of portfolio management for Houston-based Boxer Property, said they've so far found one leak in one building's parking garage. A couple of other buildings along State Highway 290 have incurred minor power outages, Nowlin said.

"We've been very, very fortunate," Nowlin said. "Words can't really describe what a huge event this is."

Boxer Property manages around 6.8 million square feet of commercial properties throughout 60 properties in Houston. Of those 60 properties, Boxer Property owns around 50 of them.

Tanglewood Property Group manages around 1.4 million square feet throughout four office buildings in the Galleria as well as one building in Sugar Land and one along Beltway 8. So far, no water has entered any of the buildings. Some water has flooded the parking garages.

Tanglewood Property Group's working to pump that water out of the garages.

Henry Hagendorf, president of Tanglewood Property Group, said the company rented hotel rooms at Hotel Icon in downtown Houston for its maintenance staff. As flooding allows, the company is dispatching workers to continue monitoring its buildings.

Hagendorf said there's been no shortage of group texts between Tanglewood Property Group's employees.

"The only thing I wished I would've done is rented a truck," Hagendorf said.

Jacques LeGrand, senior chief engineer and manager of JLL's Houston regional disaster team, spoke to the importance of a multifaceted emergency preparedness approach.

A realistic emergency plan shouldn't just account for surviving the storm, he said, but for weathering the following weeks and having vendor relationships that'll carry on through a natural disaster.

"My big thing is that you have to have those vendors and relationships in place before the event happens," LeGrand said. "If you do, it makes your operation seamless even though you might be in emergency mode."

Cara covers commercial real estate and construction for the Houston Business Journal. Follow her on Twitter for more.
Posted by Cara Smith Reporter Houston Business Journal on 9/13/2017 8:57:15 AM


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