Trump pushes up D.C. hotel; Portland's proposed makeover; Memphis's downtown boom; and Austin home sales breaking records

National market report

Mar.March 01, 2016 10:00 AM

Washington D.C.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Should he actually win the U.S. presidency, Donald Trump will have a swanky place to put up family and friends for the inauguration. The Trump Organization has moved up plans to open a $200 million, 263-room hotel in Washington D.C. during September as opposed to late 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported. Plans for the hotel, which involve the conversion of Washington’s landmarked post office building, have been in the works since 2013, when the Trump Organization won a bid to lease the property from the government for 140 years. Under the terms of the agreement with the U.S. General Services Administration, which owns the post office, the renovation must be completed by August 2018. Thus far, Trump has spent $42 million of his own money on the redevelopment. Room rates have not been announced but luxury rates in the city range from $320 to $425 a night and should be “achievable” for the new Trump hotel, CBRE’s managing director, Kannan Sankaran, told the WSJ.

Portland, Oregon

A prominent family property owner in Portland is trying to spearhead a makeover of the city’s downtown with a $1.5 billion development proposal that would add 11 new buildings to the skyline. The Goodman family, whose Downtown Development Group has owned prime real estate in the city’s downtown for more than 50 years, has proposed a mix of office and residential buildings to be built on surface parking lots it owns. “There’s very few cities in the country where one property owner has this much development opportunity,” Greg Goodman, co-president of Downtown Development Group, told The Oregonian. The project, called Ankeny Blocks, would bring mixed-use towers ranging from 10,000 square feet to 38,000 square feet built across five acres. Five of the Ankeny Blocks buildings could rise as high as 460 feet, which would rank them among the tallest in the city. The Goodmans will not build the project. Instead, they intend to enter into long-term land lease agreements with developers and investors once an agreement for the project is reached.


Portland, Oregon

Memphis, Tennessee

The birthplace of the blues has been in the throes of a development boom. In downtown Memphis, which overlooks the Mississippi River and is home to the famed Beale Street entertainment district, there is $1.3 billion in development projects underway. But the city center is not the only area attracting developers. In East Memphis, about 18 miles away, DB Development is vying to build a $200 million mixed-use residential development near Shelby Farms, a 4,500-acre park that is one of the largest urban parks in the country. The development includes up to 1,200 apartments, plus retail and office space, according to The Commercial Appeal, a daily paper in Memphis. However, the project, called Parkside at Shelby Farms, has raised concerns about traffic congestion and its potential encroachment on the Greenline, a prized seven-mile urban trail connecting midtown Memphis to the park. The development is “one of a kind for Memphis,” co-developer Bob Turner told Local Memphis, a local television station. The plan is awaiting approval from the Shelby County Commission and the Memphis City Council.

Austin, Texas

Austin’s home sales broke new records last year as demand for housing spiked. Single-family home sales reached 29,068 in 2015, setting a record for the fifth straight year in a row, according to the Austin American Statesmen, the city’s local newspaper. For the fourth year in a row, the area’s median home sales rose to a new high, that of $263,900, which represented an 8.8 percent jump over last year. The hot buying market, however, has stoked concerns. “House prices have increased a lot in recent years, and our own indicators (including house-price-to-income ratios) imply that the market is becoming overpriced,” Ed Friedman, a director with Moody’s Analytics who follows the Texas economy, told the paper.

Montecito, California

Oprah Winfrey has shelled out $28.85 million on Seamair Farm, a 23.26-acre horse ranch in Montecito, California, that features a 4,750-square-foot main house with four fireplaces and a horse trainer’s house, and show horses to boot. The coastal property almost entirely borders a landscaped 42-acre spread Winfrey acquired in 2001 for around $50 million. Another perk of the estate is its homegrown produce — there is a two-acre avocado grove and plentiful citrus trees.


Memphis, Tennessee

Napa Valley, California

The Napa Valley home and vineyard that beloved comedian Robin Williams built in 2003 has finally sold for $18.1 million after multiple price cuts since 2012. Williams, who committed suicide in 2014, initially asked $35 million for the 639-acre property, which includes a villa with five bedrooms, eight baths, a library, a pool room, an elevator and a screening room. The buyers are the Tesseron family, who are French winemakers. They are reportedly planning to make wine from the property’s 18.4 acres of vineyards.

Nashville, Tennessee

Country crooner Miranda Lambert has paid $3.4 million for a 400-acre Hickman County property just outside of Nashville. The scenic property, which features a 3,544 square-foot main house and two cabins, includes a lake stocked with fish, a boathouse, a horse barn and 75 acres of fenced pastures. Lambert, who was formerly married to “The Voice” judge Blake Shelton, can even put on a private show at the 60-seat open-air pavilion that’s also on the grounds.

Dallas, Texas

Number one golfer in the world Jason Spieth has put his 7,378-square-foot French-style home in Dallas on the market for $2.8 million. The five-bedroom pad was considered a a starter home for the Masters and U.S. Open champion. It features a 288-bottle wine closet, media room and golf-simulator room. In January, 22-year-old Spieth bought fellow golfer Hunter Mahan’s mansion, also in Dallas, for $7.1 million.

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