Joey Condon

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Joey Condon

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After the Debris Falls: Implosion of the University Plaza Hotel in College Station, Texas

When I woke up on Thursday, May 24th, to watch the University Plaza Hotel implosion, I had expected to drive up to the Bonfire Memorial on Texas A&M Campus. There I would find a remote hill that overlooked the campus’ border tree-line so I could see as much of the building as possible without being caught in the crowds. Things didn’t work out how I had planned.

The streets were blocked off. Traffic was insane. And all of Bryan, College Station had woken up that hour earlier to watch the exciting spectacle. Thousands of city residents lined Texas Avenue, flooded the fields of the Bonfire Memorial, piled upon the beds of pick-ups and roofs of distant houses. Entire families had arrived to watch. I witnessed parents being dragged by excited children, hardly aware of the time or the reason they had driven all this way to fight through the crowd. Students leapt into trees for a better view (only to return to land, discovering the flourishing leaves completely impeded their vision). Droves of individuals, all ages and ethnicities, were flowing forward, as if being pulled to the base of that sight surrounding the Plaza Hotel. And then right at 6:30am, the crowds came to a halt. Everyone found their respective position, and all eyes gazed up. Nobody wanted to miss the spectacle set to start right at that moment.

Of course when 6:42 rolled around I was actually watching a triad of kids pushing and tackling one another in the manicured grass, rooting for the smaller child in a dragon-flame black hoodie. Then the cannon shot ripped through the air like victory at Kyle Field. It echoed along the silent, expectant streets of College Station, grabbing the attention of every onlooker. Then another explosion, flashing sparks of light and puffs of debris shooting out along the length of the buildings core. And the whole thing came crashing down.

[youtube width=”425″ height=”344″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKrm2Q6XwNw[/youtube]

It almost looked like dominos set horizontally, collapsing upon one another from one end to the next. The explosion ripped through, and the left side of the structure simply sagged, sending a rippling collapse along the length of its frame. A tower on the right seemed to linger, obdurate, but then receded into the rising haze of dust. And then it was over. Billowing clouds of debris rose steadily into the air, reaching up like wings on either side of where the structure had stood, and then drifting slowly with the morning breeze. A mad rush to beat the traffic ensued immediately after.

Driving by the site thirteen hours later would show little evidence of a recent demolition. You might see a thin, black fence lining the corner of Texas Avenue and University Drive, a large poster reading “Precision Demolition” stretched across its frame. As you passed the length of University, through the cracks of buildings and construction machines you might glimpse a pile of concrete rubble about two stories tall, weighing heavily on the earth. No outside clutter, no stray blocks of concrete littering the surrounding streets or sidewalks. Just a clean, perfectly orchestrated  implosion, designed by none other than College Station’s own civil engineers.

So what happens next?

First of all, the engineers are going to have to remove all demolished materials and debris, amounting to over 70,000 tons. Fortunately, this is not going to end up as wasteful as might be expected. Veronica Morgan, a leading Engineer of the Plaza Hotel demolition project, was quoted saying, “It’s not going to the landfill. It is not all garbage.” In fact, the materials from the Plaza Hotel are intended to be recycled. And that same concrete and asphalt is going to be used right here, in the Bryan, College Station area.

The materials are being sent to Brazos Paving, Inc. who plans to use the concrete and asphalt into usable road materials, after being finely crushed. So the same concrete that served as the walls and frame of the building which blemished your beautiful city skyline might now be the very material you drive over every day commuting to work along Highway 21(or at least once in awhile when you make a trip to Austin). Appropriate? I’d say so.

Civil Engineer Veronica Morgan informed the public that it might take a few weeks to remove the material from the implosion. However, there appears to be no rush since the future plans for this site of prime city real estate is still unclear. KBTX stated simply that the demolition is making way for “a new development at Texas Avenue and University Drive.” Similar ambiguous accounts make it clear that the future for this potentially thriving business location has not been released: but city officials have made clear their priority of converting this pivotal location to a development with promising economic returns. There has been speculation of student housing, a food and business market area, as well as additional bars or nightclubs. Whatever the future holds, let us hope the developers will find greater success than the locations previous owner.

PS – Susan Hilton is Bryan College Station, Texas’ real estate specialist in foreclosure sales and real estate agent career building so if you need help – CALL! 979-219-3970

 

Posted by Susan Hilton | Discussion: No Comments »

College Station Plaza Hotel – Demolition today!

[youtube width=”425″ height=”344″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kbfn9iXi_hk&feature=em-share_video_user[/youtube]

 

College Station Plaza Hotel coming down!!

Joe Ferreri’s Ramada Inn built in 1960 ended as the Plaza Hotel today! Many years of financial troubles and dilapidated buildings adjacent to the Hotel, contributed to the eventual demolition of the hotel.  Many Aggies have walked the halls in the last 50+ years.  Weddings, ring dunk parties, and many other gatherings walked the halls and corridors of the once 17 story addition to the College Station skyline.  Being from the nearby city of Caldwell, I grew up passing by the hotel to go to Piggly Wiggly and Taco Bell on Texas Ave.  I always knew we were close to Taco Bell when I could see the bottom half of the hotel from the back seat on FM 60 coming from Snook.

I can’t wait to see construction start on the new (rumor) student housing, shopping/eating center and night clubs.  The College Station local economy will see a boost once the new structures are in place and open for business, so Aggies get ready!

My daughter, Hailey, was the videographer and I can’t find a better video online anywhere!!  She did a great job!

Posted by Joey Condon | Discussion: 10 Comments »

Promising Prospects for the Market of Home Real Estate in College Station, Tx

For the past few months the nation has been hearing how the market is stabilizing. In fact, articles on evidence for the steadiness of the economy have become almost redundant. We get it. Unemployment rates are lower than they’ve been in years; businesses are once again growing and being created; the stock market (despite its occasional, but predictable vacillations) is growing slowly and steadily; and jobs are being created. Hurray, the economy has been saved. Life in the Brazos Valley can go back to what it once was. But there remains one minor question to be answered: when are we going to start seeing that reality reflect in the real estate industry?

The reality is that the unexpected plunge of real estate in Florida around 2009 sparked a nationwide real estate crisis. This, in turn, was one of the major flames to ignite our nation’s most recent recession. So it would appear only appropriate that the real estate industry suffer long after the recovery of every other aspect of our nation’s economy. The cause of our recession’s drought would inherently outlast the seemingly stable, progressing aspects of our pre-recession economy. Therefore, despite the various other regions of America’s economy now flourishing and returning to full vigilance, the market for selling and buying homes is supposed to linger in the arid economic desert until all signs of a healthy economy have been brought to light.

Which brings us to our next question: how much longer until the real estate market stabilizes as well? The answer, to the great enthrallment of homeowners still squatting in a vacant market, is not much longer. In fact, we might not have to wait at all. The economy is healthy, banks are recovering, jobs have been made, and homes are once more looking to be purchased.

Actually, little statistical evidence shows that the housing market is back on track. But for those hoping to get a head start, that doesn’t quite matter. Instead, the significant change has been the mood of potential buyers and sellers. That’s right: the attitude toward the housing market is changing, which is all the foreshadowing necessary to predict an upswing in the market for real estate. Think for a moment: with the economy stabilizing and the nations markets growing once more, people are anticipating that the housing market is going to bounce back as well. And rightly so. It’s a fact that it will only be a matter of time before the real estate industry recovers, and for potential home buyers looking to get the best deal on a selling home, now is the last chance to buy cheap.

But this isn’t just the biased perspective of a real estate blogger throwing out ideas. The Vice President and Chief Economist of Fannie Mae, Doug Duncan, claims that “conditions are coming together to encourage people to want to buy homes.” Duncan’s speculation comes from his understanding that “Americans’ rental price expectations for the next year continue to rise, reaching their record high level.” From these projections, Duncan predicts that some of America’s home renters might find home ownership as a more compelling option due to the rising rent prices.

Fannie Mae conducts a real estate survey every month, and the vibe emanating from the respondents are suggesting some interesting things. To start, the percent of respondents who think that it is a good time to buy has reach a high of 73%. To accompany this compelling statistic, the number of respondents who claimed it is a good time to sell also rose. This coupling suggests the market is ready to expand, as buyers and sellers come closer to reaching an agreement on the negotiated and offered prices. With more people looking to sell and more looking to buy, the market automatically grows. From there it’s only a matter of processing statistics to show that home sales are finally recovering.

Perhaps the dramatic increase of respondents looking to buy is an effect of projected rising home sales. In fact, regarding respondents’ expectations of home price increases over the next twelve months, the highest amount of respondents from this entire year claimed home prices would climb. Also, coinciding with Vice President Doug Duncan’s understanding, almost 50% of respondents are anticipating rental prices to go up.

For further encouragement regarding the real estate market, 66% of the respondents of Fannie Mae’s survey claimed that, if they were to move within the next year, they would buy a home. This is a strikingly encouraging prospect (assuming the opinions of Fannie Mae’s respondents are reflective of the overall population), and owners with homes on the market can certainly look forward to a steadily growing pool of potential home buyers.

All in all, Fannie Mae’s survey shows us not that the market for home real estate is already recovering, but rather that the opinions and attitudes of the public are gradually shifting in the favor of the real estate market. Rising renting costs are causing people to shift their interest back to home ownership. Low prices for homes, likely only to rise over the next years, are also encouraging prospects for potential home buyers. And the overall stabilization of the economy is assuring potential home owners that the value of their purchase will not plummet the moment after they purchase their new home. So while the statistics are showing very little in the means of a growing market for the real estate industry, it is clear that America is ready to trust home ownership once more. And because of this, the market for real estate will begin steadily restoring itself.

PS – Susan Hilton is Bryan College Station, Texas’ real estate specialist in foreclosure sales and real estate agent career building so if you need help – CALL! 979-219-3970

Posted by Susan Hilton | Discussion: No Comments »

Demolition and Renewal: a History of the Plaza Hotel in College Station

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Almost every Bryan/College Station resident would admit to driving past the abandoned Plaza Hotel occasionally in their weekly routine, if not daily. The seventeen story concrete shell stands at the intersection of Texas Avenue and University Drive, arguably the two busiest streets in the whole city. And after 6:30am on Thursday, May 24th 2012, this once pivotal structure will be reduced to nothing more than a pile of shattered concrete and useless rubble.

If you’ve driven through the city of College Station in the past few weeks, it’s likely that you’ve noticed the unusual vacancy of the Plaza Hotel. Not that you would be expected to notice a parking lot or diminished business: instead, it is the actual building itself which you would’ve noticed. The windows of various apartments and hotel rooms appear to almost open up to the sky behind the structure. I myself have viewed this spectacle on a few sunset evenings, when the sky behind the Plaza Hotel was painted with the various colors of sunset, the different tones of orange, pink, or Easter purple leaking through the hollowed frame of the seventeen story structure. It’s more than evident then, peering up through the cracks in the concrete frame, to understand how completely abandoned the Plaza Hotel had become. And to hear now that the building will be imploded this upcoming Thursday, you might not be entirely surprised.

But how did this pivotal structure, the hotel that has had such a powerful presence in the history of our growing city, come to such an abrupt end? In such instances as this, it is sometimes important to understand the buildings past in order to appreciate the present circumstances.

What we know today as the Plaza Hotel actually began as a Ramada Inn, the first foundations of which were laid in the late 1950s. Joe Ferreri, the constructor of the Ramada Inn, was approached in the 1950s by Earl Rudder of Texas A&M. Attracted to Ferreri’s success as a drive-inn restaurant owner, Rudder approached Joe with the proposition to construct a badly needed hotel on the Corner of Texas Avenue and University. After appearing hesitant about the project due to his lack of experience in the hotel industry, Rudder encouraged him forward, getting the young businessman to wonder how much different it could be than the food industry.

So Joe began to build. By 1960 the Ramada Inn opened, looking far different than the Plaza Hotel that we know today. The Ramada had been a quaint, two story Inn with an Olympic swimming pool, faculty club, banquet hall, and just over 150 rooms. But this quiet corner served as a focal point for the College Station and Texas A&M community.

The Ramada Inn had immediate success and was consistently pushed to over 90% of its overall capacity. In fact, the hotel had such great business that Ferreri was pressed to expand. In 1980 he began the construction of a new high-rise for his Hotel, and in just one year an additional seventeen story tower was built: making the shell of the structure that you see today.

But despite the initial success of Ferreri’s expanded hotel and the overall consistent business he was receiving from the community at large, only a few years after the construction of the Hotel’s new high-rise, Joe Ferreri was forced to sell the Ramada Inn. In the early 1980s there was a major economic recession, much like the most recent economic events of the late 21st Century. Rising interest rates on the debts incurred from Ferreri’s construction, along with the overall state of the economy and slowing business, forced Ferreri out of his prized construction. The result was a loss of over 32 million dollars in assets and personal funds. Ferreri was left only with his home, a single car, and his family.

Since then what began as the Ramada Inn has switched ownership several times, becoming most recently what it is known as today: the Plaza Hotel. And it would appear that a similar fate befell the success of the Plaza Hotel’s business, the inevitable slip to bankruptcy that caused the hotel to close its doors for the last time in 2010.

Unfortunately, the story does not end there. After the abandonment of the Plaza Hotel, the twelve acre site of prime real-estate has become a hot-spot for crime, vandalism, and drug use. Criminals have been simply unable to avoid the alluring pull of an abandoned, seventeen story shelter full of furniture, walls, and glass. Security has been gradually increasing over the past few months, but authorities have become hard-pressed for the funds to support the coverage of such a broad area when the use of civil authorities is generally looked for elsewhere. So what is the result? Demolition.

The demolition project has been delegated to the local Civil Engineering Company, Mitchell and Morgan. Veronica Morgan is the lead Civil Engineer in charge of the implosion, which is currently set to occur around 6:30am this Thursday, the 24th of May. The event will be free and open to the public. Veronica Morgan herself hopes the implosion “will be an event for the community.” Many are certainly looking forward to the removal of the towering Plaza Hotel, which has been described by as an ‘eyesore’ to the community at large.

While future construction in the Plaza Hotel area is still unclear (there has been speculation about student housing, shopping/eating centers, night clubs, etc.), it is obvious and in popular demand that the archaic, outdated shell of the 1960s Ramada Inn be destroyed and replaced with a more aesthetically appealing structure. While the overall value of the land has decreased 28.7% from 2008 to 2010, it is still located in a prime location with an excellent promise of prosperous business. The city allegedly has had multiple propositions processed over the past several months, and the entire community is excited to find out what the future will hold.

PS – Susan Hilton is Bryan College Station, Texas’ real estate specialist in foreclosure sales and real estate agent career building so if you need help – CALL! 979-219-3970

Posted by Susan Hilton | Discussion: No Comments »

Would You like Some Lemonade? Help Our Brazos Valley Kids!

Driving through the twin cities a couple weeks ago, Bryan and College Station, it was not unlikely that you ran upon a lemonade stand or two. These small makeshift stands littered the city and were stationed upon many street corners and in front of numerous bigger businesses. Star wars characters greeted some customers, while enthused young girls in yellow shirts and bows sold lemonade to others. There were kids who chose to blow bubbles to draw in his customers, while other kids opted for large booths with loud music to draw in attention. And of course, there was the always traditional modest sized lemonade stand and signs operated by some.

When kids were asked what they were going to do with the money they earned, some replied they were going to “spend it!” Others decided to give the money they raised to their church. The main point is that the children learned how to work for money and learned that they had the freedom to decide what they were going to do with the profit they earned. They were allowed to feel grown up and allowed a taste of the real world. This type of experience excites children and allows them the freedom to make decisions for themselves.

Sunday May 6 was Lemonade Day in 31 cities across America and Canada, including Bryan and College Station. When Lemonade Day first began, it included about 2,700 kids. Now, more than 120,000 kids across these 31 cities participate in the day. Lemonade Day was started as a program to give experience to children, teaching them entrepreneurship skills. Kids learn to plan, start, and operate a business through their experiences with Lemonade Day.

Kids were offered the chance to mark their lemonade stands on a map online that would be available to the community on Lemonade Day. The stand locations were given the opportunity to be published not only to the online map, but also to Facebook, Twitter, and via email.

The goal is to prepare children to be empowered future citizens. Upon registering, each child received a backpack that contained an Entrepreneur Workbook, teaching them 14 lessons that are a central part of Lemonade Day. They learned how to create budgets, how to set profit-making goals, how to serve customers, how to repay investors, and how to give back to the community. In addition to learning how to perform these skills, they also learned the value of the skills. The children are also taught how to set goals for themselves, how to problem solve, and how to gain self-esteem which will aid them in their future endeavors for success.

On Lemonade Day, children are allowed to keep all of the money that they make and are encouraged by adults to spend some of their money, save some of it, and share some of it with others less fortunate.

Lemonade Day teaches kids a very special and specific set of skills from financial literacy and economics, to college readiness and career, to life skills and personal development, and of course academics. The financial literacy and economics that the kids learn include subjects like capital equipment and consumables, supply and demand, credit, debt, gross and net income, marginal utility, return on investment and compound interest. To prepare kids for college, they are exposed to critical thinking and collaboration, interest in attending college, civic responsibility, customer service, teamwork and problem solving and presentation skills and design. Children also learn life skills and personal development such as leadership, the belief that attaining goals is within reach, personal productivity, self-direction and time management, social responsibility and charity, high order thinking and social skills and self confidence. The day also increases the kids’ academic capacities such as math calculations, reading and interpreting data, and oral and written communication.

Lemonade Day offers an online website for kids to register and sign up on. Lemonade Day sponsors and partners include many businesses and individuals in the area, including Dick and Linda Lester, Lenae Heubner, Atmos Energy, Double Dave’s Pizzaworks, James and Paula Lancaster, Research Valley, Len and Nancy Berry, Mathnasium, Caldwell Companies, AgniTEK, Wells Fargo, Research Valley Funds, Blue Baker, Documation, Copy Corner, Kroger, Ecolyse, Brazos Valley Small Business Development Center, College Station ISD, Bryan Broadcasting, The Eagle, Chamber of Commerce, Bryan ISD, Sideshow Creative, the City of College Station, KBTX Media, Brazos Monthly, KAMU, Mays Business School, AbouTown Press, KAGS, and the City of Bryan.

If you like to help out with and work with children, then you may want to consider becoming a volunteer for Lemonade Day. Volunteers are necessary to run Lemonade Day and are needed to stuff backpacks that are given out to the children to teach them entrepreneurship, spread the news about Lemonade Day by distributing materials to local schools and youth organizations, register youth to participate at special events going on in the community, and lastly you can help out by blogging, tweeting, or sharing information about Lemonade Day online or through Facebook!

PS –  Susan Hilton is Bryan College Station, Texas’ real estate specialist in foreclosure sales and real estate agent career building so if you need help – CALL!             979-219-3970

 

Posted by Susan Hilton | Discussion: No Comments »

Federal Fair Housing – Aggies Don’t Discriminate!

Federal Fair Housing is something that has been forgotten about by many because the act prohibiting discrimination in housing was passed many years ago; in 1968. However, discrimination in housing because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status and disabilities still exist today.

Housing and lending discrimination is something common that occurs when an individual attempts to buy or rent a home, but also when they try to buy homeowner’s insurance or a mortgage. Millions of complaints are still filed each year through nonprofit fair-housing agencies and other local and state agencies.

Housing discrimination isn’t always obvious, and is something that is still prevalent today in our society.

Sarah, a young mother, in Toledo, OH, was searching for a house where she and her daughter could live for a reasonable price. After searching for months, she found a two-bedroom condo that they could live in. When she called the rental office, her excitement grew as she listened to the description of it. However, this anticipation was quickly killed when she was informed that children were not allowed in the complex. Sarah, who worked for Toledo Fair Housing Center, knew that the “no kids” policy was illegal. After a testing investigation and discovered the rental company was illegally discriminating. Sarah filed a formal complaint and the rental company is negotiating a settlement.

Joseph had lived in his apartment in Takoma Park, Maryland, for over five years when the management was turned over to a new company. All of the tenants in the units were African American. Shortly after the turn-over, the new management evicted all tenants except for one who was allowed to live in a basement and was limited to building access from a side entrance to the apartment complex. Though the landlord claimed massive renovations, leading to increased rent, these renovations were completed within a week and new tenants moved into the building, none of whom were African American.  Joseph’s local fair housing center Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by David Whitener | Discussion: No Comments »

Using HomePath to Purchase Foreclosed Real Estate

There is no great wonder regarding the effects of the nation’s latest mortgage crisis both in Bryan College Station, Texas and the nation as a whole. Loans were left unpaid, and homes were abandoned as banks and the government foreclosed on them. The question is: what became of all those homes that various banks confiscated? With all the lost finances and the economic downturn, there has got to be a stockpile of these homes just waiting to enter the market at steal prices. Fortunately enough for Realtors and home-buyers, even those in the Brazos Valley, there is such a stockpile. And, through a new program instigated by the great mortgage giant Fannie Mae, these homes are now available for inspection and purchase online.
That’s right. As if the web wasn’t growing fast enough, now prospective home-buyers can evaluate and even place offers on homes via the world wide web (through a licensed Realtor, of course). But first, let’s consider Fannie Mae and how this program came to be.

Fannie Mae is in fact the largest lender throughout the United States. And the current exponential growth of their real estate ownership is primarily due to the incredible number of recent foreclosures. It is a reality of the market that when a bank forecloses on a house, businesses like Fannie Mae stoop in to relieve the Bank of their loss, while turning a small profit of their own in return. However, with the drastic quantity Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Susan Hilton | Discussion: No Comments »

Sidewalks of Castlegate

This might be one of the most overlooked amenities in the Castlegate Subdivision.  If you, live there and have not utilized them, you are missing out.  These sidewalks cover most of the neighborhood and provide a shortcut to Forest Ridge Elementary.   Dogs, kids, and runners love them.

You have seen them, dogs and their owners.  Dogs love the the sidewalks as they lead the way on their leashes.  Most dog walkers have real doggy bags on their leashes.  It is exciting to see and know that the sidewalks are clean of debris for everyone.  The sidewalks are wide enough for dogs and their owners can walk and still give way to other pedestrians.  If you have a beagle, like me, you know that having a wide sidewalk helps.  I promise, my beagle Riley-Puppy, does not lift his nose from the ground the whole time we are on a walk.   Sometimes I think he is hunting for a beagle that smells just like him.  He will always leads the way around the 2.25 mile sidewalk straight to our front door.
Kids love the sidewalks because it leads them straight to Forest Ridge in the morning.  It is thrilling to see all the parents that ride their bikes next to their kids every morning.   Kids need sidewalks to ride bikes.  Recently, I saw that the sidewalk was cleared of all the underbrush that was between the sidewalk, fence and Forest Ridge.  This way kids can be seen. Thank you, city of College Station and Castlegate HOA!

You may not know this, but the sidewalk changes in elevation more than you realize.  You do not notice the hills in the car, but when you are running your legs will not miss them. These sidewalks are so much better  than running on  graded street.  There is a half mile downhill, and you guessed it, a half mile uphill around the northeast sidewalk.   There are flats, curves, wooden bridges and lots of turn offs that lead to other streets in the neighborhood.  Read some of the shirts people are wearing while running.  You will see several people with running event shirts while training on these sidewalks.  5K, 10K, ½ marathons and marathons shirts are running past you all the time.

Hopefully, if you have not utilized the sidewalk in Castlegate, you will now.  Spring is among us so get out there and walk your dog, ask your kid if they want to be a bike rider today or go for a 10 K run.

Keep them clean and keep it classy.

Steve Santos “My REALTOR”

 

PS – I’m Steve Santos, I do what I say I will do, some times more just never less

Posted by Steve Santos | Discussion: No Comments »

First Friday in Downtown Bryan Includes Arts Council & Great Restaurants

Soft music playing in the air, the buzz of the local people around you, artists on corners of the street, antique shops, modern art galleries, and family entertainment mix together on the first Friday of every month in downtown Bryan.

From 5-10 p.m. downtown Bryan offers First Friday, an event for the cities of Bryan and College Station and surrounding areas to join together and have an enjoyable evening. Whether your evening consists primarily of dining out and visiting with friends or bringing the kids along for a carriage ride and movie, the choice is yours.

Madden’s Casual Gourmet is a popular favorite spot for dinner. All of their food is made from scratch, including every soup and mayonnaise on the menu. Chef Madden is constantly seeking to widen the variety on his menu and challenging himself to find additional flavorful combinations for customers. Madden’s uses top quality products and their presentation of food is nothing short of artistic. The restaurant strives to provide only the freshest ingredients for their customers. Relationships with local producers and manufacturers, as well as a garden of their own, provide Madden’s with top quality food. Madden’s also hosts a movie night for families on First Friday. Movies such as Alice in Wonderland, Thumbelina and the Blind Side have been played in the past.

Wine bars and coffee houses are hotspots at any time in downtown Bryan but take on a certain quaintness on First Friday. The Village Downtown Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Steve Santos | Discussion: No Comments »

Recent Growth of Real Estate Sales in the Brazos Valley

The recession hurt our nation’s real estate industry. There’s no way around it but thankfully the Bryan College Station market has not been hurt anywhere near the rest of the country.  Unpaid mortgage loans were a large cause of the recession, and echoes from the plummet of real estate values following this crash are still being felt nation-wide. So, perhaps an infrequently asked question in recent months: how have Real
Estate Agents
been faring? The answer is, surprisingly — quite well. With the turn of the economy and the gradual climb of home sales, Real
Estate Agents are returning to the top. With Texas, and particular areas in the Brazos Valley, spearheading this recovery.

US News has rated Real Estate Agents as one of the best jobs of 2012, with high flexibility and a high employee satisfaction rate. And, if this isn’t surprising enough, the market for positions as a real estate agent is expected to grow at an unusually high rate of 12.2% over the next eight or so years. Luckily for up and coming employment seekers, obtaining a license has never been more simple. The only real requirements are a high school diploma, and a passing grade on a state administered written exam (although a college degree will assuredly help agents to move forward in their field). So we can be sure to see the expected growth in this industry over the next several years.

But how is all of this happening?

To begin with, the economy is recovering. In fact, recently revised employment data for Texas suggests that the State economy is undergoing
“a more solid economic recovery than before.” Unemployment rates in Texas are down to 7.2%, a full 2% decrease from the National average
just one year ago. And to top it all off, the annual growth rate of non-agricultural jobs in Texas increased 2.6% from last year (compared
with only a 1.6% increase across the nation). Texas’ economy is in good shape, and improving.

What myou can optimistically take this to mean is that the economy in Texas (and across the nation) is more stable than it was in the spring of
2011, when the first real signs of recovery started (ending in another brief market collapse). This only means good things for the real estate
industry: but, in laymen’s terms, it means there’s more money out there for people to buy homes. More money to buy homes means more homes sold.  And more homes sold means more business for Real Estate Agents.

However, this prospect does not only suggest that the market for real estate is returning to its previous state. Instead, research shows that the
industry is growing, making room for thousands of new positions over the next few years.

So let’s rationalize for a moment.

Over the span of the recession, and the several months before, the market for selling houses did not slow. Only the market for buying houses came to an abrupt halt, as people began conserving cash and deciding it in their best interest to postpone home ownership (as well as the process of obtaining loans became more difficult). Neglecting the percentage of investors who took full advantage of the reduced home sales, most homes have remained on the market since, as more homes have joined the market over the past few years. And now, as the economy climbs back to stability, people looking once again to own homes have entered a vast market. This means extra business for Real Estate Agents.  And as Texas’ economy is performing well above the national average, it is no wonder that the market for real estate agents has reached the Best Jobs list of 2012.

But, of course, homes are not the only aspect of real estate that agents thrive off of. Business real estate, as well, is a heavy factor of an agent’s success. And Texas, particularly the Brazos valley, is not short on business growth. For instance, College Station’s business district, Northgate, is experiencing a prime period of development as old business and real estate make way for new opportunities. New student housing complexes are leading the way, the first of which, called “The Stack,” being immediately followed up by a second new high-rise to be constructed just feet away. This second complex will be 18 stories tall, housing over 175 student apartments, as well as a grocery store in the
ground level and a 400 space parking garage. Construction for this new development should begin over the next few weeks, and marks only one aspect of a real estate explosion which is occurring all over the state.

In fact, evidence shows that all but four Texas Metropolitan areas have increased in the number of jobs available over the past year, and several of the lowest unemployment rates across the nation are in Texas cities. Exciting things are happening for the real estate industry,
especially in Texas: and real estate agents are (and will be) reaping the benefits. So when you are ready for a career in real estate…. CALL SUSAN HILTON!

PS –  Susan Hilton is Bryan College Station,
Texas’ real estate specialist in foreclosure sales and real estate
agent career building so if you need help –
CALL!             979-219-3970

 

 

Posted by Susan Hilton | Discussion: No Comments »

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