Monthly Archive March 2018

Real Estate Firm Forecasts Even Faster Growth for West Plano, Frisco

Real Estate Firm Forecasts Even Faster Growth for West Plano, FriscoA commercial real estate firm is forecasting thousands of new office workers for an approximately ten square mile area in West Plano and Frisco. (Published 57 minutes ago)

The commercial real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle is forecasting thousands of new office workers for an approximately ten square mile area in West Plano and Frisco.

Officials with the firm said the Greater Legacy had an employment base of approximately 88,000 employees two years ago. JLL’s projections anticipate another 46,700 new jobs will be added over the next three years.

“In Plano, there’s probably 60 percent of people who have some sort of college degree,” said JLL Managing Director in Dallas Steve Thelen. “There is a good strong labor base. Companies like coming here and recruiting people.”

Thelen said the demand for office space has gone up dramatically, which is why more vertical construction is being built in the area which has typically seen sprawling corporate campuses. Demand for houses has also gone up and Thelen anticipates a continued movement to DFW’s far northern suburbs.

“These new people, they’re going to move to Celina, Prosper,” said Thelen. “They’re going to move north along that 380 corridor.”

Thelen says the business district in this part of Collin County is becoming its own market, where people live, work and use amenities without having to travel south of the PGBT.

“Interestingly, we are net importers of jobs during the day,” said Plano’s Mayor Harry LaRosiliere. “There’s about fifty or sixty thousand people from cities to the north that drive into Plano to work so we anticipate to see that continue.”

LaRosiliere says the city established a transit management association in the Legacy business park, where businesses are coming up with solutions like encouraging ride sharing or staggering start times in offices.

“We did a study that said 40 percent of the drivers are willing to do something different. So if we could accomplish even half that, we would make a significant dent in the congestion,” said LaRosiliere.

“Our problem is other people’s envy,” LaRosiliere added. “We’ll take that with the idea that we’re creating jobs and providing prosperity to the entire community.”

Along with corporations like Toyota, smaller companies are moving in too, drawn by Fortune 500 groups creating a footprint in Collin County.

“We’re a smaller company. We’re growing, but we do business with big business and I just don’t see a slow-down. I don’t see it,” said Jeff Bay-Anderson.

Bay-Anderson is Vice President of Business Development for Zenergy Brands, which works with other companies and organizations to reduce energy costs. It moved from an office space in Dallas to the We Work building in West Plano six months ago.

Nathan Lenahan, General Manager for We Work in Texas says Plano is We Work’s first foray into setting up a suburban co-working space.

Lenahan says Plano offers a unique intersection of smaller and large businesses, while managing to attract large Fortune 500 companies.

Within sixty days of opening, Lenahan says it was at capacity and had to expand to a second floor. To meet demand, it’s now adding office space in a third location. It’s also in west Plano.

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Study: Tax rates not impacting North Texas homebuyers, but interest rates might

While newly-enacted federal tax laws mean Americans will experience fewer tax benefits associated with being homeowners, that’s doing little to deter home buying in North Texas, according to a study by Apartment List.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, enacted in December, reduces caps on borrowing subject to the mortgage interest deduction from $1 million to $750,000. Property tax deductions on state and local taxes have also been capped at $10,000.

However, 48 percent of potential homebuyers in Dallas polled by Apartment List said the changes have had no impact on their homeownership plans. Another 38 percent said the laws will have a positive impact on their plans.

Only 14 percent said the laws have had a negative impact.

Nationally, 56 percent of respondents say the laws will have no effect on their decision. More than 25 percent said their decision was negatively impacted, while 16 percent said it was positively impacted.

Chris Salviati, a housing economist at Apartment List and author of the report, said the results show potential homeowners factor their political leanings into their buying decisions. Texas is a largely Republican state, and many see the cuts as an overall positive step for the country.

Regardless of partisanship, the laws are less likely to have an effect on many Dallas-Fort Worth homes. Real estate markets with higher home prices, such as coastal areas, will bear the brunt of the tax act, Salviati added.

“Throughout the country, it will really be the most expensive homes that see the impact,” he said. “Then there’s the fact that home buying is a complicated decision and many of those factors go beyond the purely financial. There are personal preferences, and in places where homeowners could lose a couple of thousand, it doesn’t seem that it’s going to swing the needle away from home ownership.”

But while tax changes may not impact local homebuyers, rising interest rates might. The Federal Reserve Bank on Wednesday bumped interest rates for the sixth time since the Great Recession, reported the New York Times, from 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent.

The potential of continued increases may be what encourages more North Texans to consider buying a home.

“That could serve as an incentive for people to purchase sooner to take advantage of lower rates,” Salviati added. “Home values have really been increasing at a strong clip and outpacing income growth.”

Largest North Texas Homebuilders

Ranked by # of Local New Home Closings in 2016

Rank Business Name # of Local New Home Closings in 2016 1 D.R. Horton Inc. 4,320 2 Highland Homes- Dallas LLC 1,456 3 Lennar Corp. 1,321 View This List

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Russia to Expel 23 U.K. Diplomats as Spy Row Intensifies

MOSCOW—Russia ordered the expulsion of 23 British diplomats in response to a similar move by the U.K. government, which blames Moscow for the poisoning of an ex-double agent and his daughter in southern England.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador to Moscow on Saturday morning and told him that the diplomats had one week to leave Russia. It said in a statement that the measure was “in response to the provocative actions of the British side and unsubstantiated accusations” against Russia.

Permission for the U.K. to open a general consulate in St. Petersburg, Russia, would be revoked and the British Council, a cultural and educational organization, would have to cease activities, the ministry said.

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The move caps a week that has seen relations between the U.K. and Russia reach their lowest point since the end of the Cold War. Britain’s top diplomat on Friday accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering the nerve-agent attack that left Sergei Skripal and his daughter fighting for their lives. In response, the U.K. government said it would expel 23 Russian diplomats and called off high-level contacts with Moscow.

A spokeswoman for the U.K. Foreign Office said Britain had anticipated Moscow’s response. She said ministers and security officials would meet early next week to consider further steps.

“Russia’s response doesn’t change the facts of the matter—the attempted assassination of two people on British soil, for which there is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian State was culpable,” Prime Minister Theresa May said Saturday at the ruling Conservative Party’s Spring Forum.

On Thursday, the U.S. joined the U.K., France and Germany in condemning the attack as “an assault on U.K. sovereignty,” saying it constituted a breach of international law and calling on Russia to explain its role in the poisoning in Salisbury, England.


President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel shared the U.K.’s assessment that it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for the attack—the first use of a nerve agent in a North Atlantic Treaty Organization country.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has condemned the use of the poison, saying it “has no place in a civilized world.”

Saturday’s move by Moscow comes after the Trump administration issued its first sanctions against Russia for meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, as well as for its role in the NotPetya cyberattack and in the nerve-agent poisoning.

Russia has denied any interference in the U.S. election, while Russian President Vladimir Putin, who runs for re-election Sunday, has steered an increasingly confrontational course with the West.

The Kremlin previously expelled some U.S. diplomats in 2017 after Congress passed a Russian sanctions bill.

—Wiktor Szary, Thomas Grove, Ian Talley and Jason Douglas contributed to this article.

Write to James Marson at

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New England Gears Up for March’s Third Major Winter Storm

Winter-weary New England is gearing up for yet another major storm that is expected to dump heavy snow starting Monday night.

A large swath of the region is expected to get more than a foot of snow, with Boston bracing for up to 18 inches. The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for the Massachusetts coast as the storm neared.

“It seems like this one s going to be a big one,” Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said Monday. The city closed schools for Tuesday while the mayor urged employers to let workers stay home.

“Travel will be very difficult to impossible, including the morning commute on Tuesday and possibly the evening commute” as well, the weather service’s Taunton, Mass., office said.

Boston’s transit agency said subway, trolley and commuter-train lines would run on reduced schedules, while Amtrak suspended Tuesday trains between Boston and New York until at least 11 a.m.

Airlines, meantime, had canceled nearly 1,100 Tuesday flights to, from or within the U.S. by Monday afternoon, according to

The region has already been hammered by two major nor’easters in March. The first caused major coastal flooding in Massachusetts while the second caused particularly severe power outages, knocking out service for hundreds of thousands of New England customers last week, when heavy, cement-like snow coated tree limbs and power lines.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation said it may need to deploy all of its equipment—including more than 3,400 plows—for the first time this year because the storm is expected to blanket the whole state.

There is at least one silver lining for the region, as Tuesday’s snow is forecast to be much drier than last week’s batch, which means widespread tree damage and power outages aren’t expected, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said. Still, wind gusts up to 65 miles an hour in southeastern Massachusetts could stress tree limbs, said Kim Buttrick, a local National Weather Service meteorologist.

Because spring really is nearing, with days growing longer and temperatures in the 40s on the horizon, the snow should at least melt fairly quickly, Ms. Buttrick said.

“We’re not going to be embedded in a winter prison,” she said.

The storm is also expected to dump heavy snow on Long Island, where Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said the county’s eastern end could get up to 10 inches. The federal courthouse in Central Islip, N.Y., will close due to the snow, delaying the public-corruption trial of Ed Mangano, a former Nassau County executive accused of bribery and other crimes. Opening statements had been expected Tuesday.

In Rhode Island, Gov. Gina Raimondo said state offices will remain closed on Tuesday .

—Corinne Ramey contributed to this article.

Write to Jon Kamp at

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Body found near Washington state bunker was decapitated

CAMANO ISLAND, Wash. – A Washington state sheriff says the body of a woman found near a gun- and ammo-filled bunker last weekend had been decapitated, and a man sought in the case is on the loose and possibly headed for California.

The Island County coroner identified the victim as 26-year-old Katherine Cunningham. Detectives found her body Saturday on an undeveloped parcel of land on Camano Island, north of Seattle.

Nearby, investigators discovered a bunker dug into a hillside containing supplies, guns and ammo.

Island County Sheriff Mark Brown said Wednesday that police are looking for 34-year-old Jacob Gonzales, whom he called a person of interest.

Gonzales is believed to be armed and driving a green 1990 Mitsubishi Montero, with Washington license plate AYE2639.


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50 Cent Wipes Up Rick Ross W/ Savage Hospital Reaction & Poo-Poo Rumor: “Who Gonna Clean That Up”

New York rapper 50 Cent is reminding fans just how ruthless he is these days. The hip-hop veteran has hit up social media with a hard-hitting reaction to rap rival Rick Ross‘ publicized hospitalization.

Fif went to Instagram Friday (March 2) to react to a The Blast report about Ross possibly making a mess on himself prior to receiving medical attention.

A few hours ago, a report surfaced about Rick Ross getting rushed to the hospital.

We’re told Rick took ill in the Miami area at his home. Someone from the home called 911 at 3:30 AM Thursday and said the person in distress was breathing heavy and unresponsive. The caller said the man in distress had a history of seizures — something that has plagued Rick — and they were trying to wake him up but he was “slobbing out the mouth.” (TMZ)

Additional details have surfaced including sources saying the issue is possibly related to a heart issue.

According to law enforcement the person in distress came to and became combative. We’re told Rick went to a hospital by ambulance and is receiving a respiratory treatment, possibly for pneumonia. One person connected to Rick says the medical issue is heart-related. (TMZ)

Despite the seriousness, Ross’ Instagram page has continued to post new content.

A post shared by The Boss Rick Ross (@richforever) on Mar 2, 2018 at 8:46am PST

A post shared by The Boss Rick Ross (@richforever) on Mar 1, 2018 at 7:15pm PST

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