Wednesday, May 25, 2016

More of "how much is too much"

....said the guy who had a bunch of tower cranes for lease.

Every time the economy flushes down the toilet we all bitch and moan, "When will this recession end?  BooHoo!  We need better times, NOW!"  I said it myself more than once a few years ago.  Now here I sit in 2016 in North Dallas (& suburbs) and I have to admit, too much of a good thing has a downside, too.

I've seen these boom-and-bust cycles many times in my life, but I have to tell you I've NEVER seen things this overheated before.  Here's what I was able to photograph within just a short drive around my immediate area (within a mile of where I live):

Yes, this a good thing, and so are the 4,000 new permanent jobs that come with it.  But this 2,000,000 square foot / seven-building campus is only the tip of the iceberg.  Along with this come dozens of Toyota suppliers who need their buildings, too.

It seems like everywhere there was an open green space six months ago now has one of these mid-rise buildings going up on it.  There are at least a dozen of these.  Lots of jobs for sure....the Chamber of Commerce guy is no doubt smiling ear-to-ear!

But not all are Toyota related.  One of those new glass-and-concrete monuments, maybe this one, is the new Liberty Mutual Insurance Company campus.  Another four thousand new jobs, which means....


....more apartments, and condos, and new homes are needed to house all these new worker ants.  Except there is very little land in the immediate area that can accommodate the development.  Oops!  And what land there is is going for more than even Warren Buffett could scrape together!  *slight exaggeration*

Drive once around the block and when you come back you'll find even more multi-family units going up.

This is the artist conception of the Legacy West project now underway.

And don't forget about Dallas Cowboys HMFIC Jerry Jones and his new practice stadium and office tower(s), or as we locals call it, "the Pimple on the Plains."

Jerry-Land II as seen from my balcony.  Immediately north of this is another giant hotel / condo / apartment / boutique shops / entertainment development.

And if you'll drive just a few miles further east you'll find....

....the new State Farm Insurance four-tower campus and loads of nearby new apartments to house their 6,000 paper pushers. They're adding new lanes to two major North Dallas highways right now, and I can almost guarantee by the time those new lanes open, they'll be announcing yet another desperately needed new road-widening project.

As it is right now, sitting through two or three traffic-signal cycles is common, and all those new jobs / people are just now starting to show up.  Just wait!  DOH!

OK, OK, enough bragging, I get it.  But here's my point:  All this is too much, too fast.  I can call today to order 300 yards of concrete for next Tuesday and the concrete companies just laugh at me.  "Listen up pal.  I've got six commercial jobs already scheduled for next Tuesday, at ten-THOUSAND yards each.  *Holy smokes...that's a lot of Jimmy Hoffa final resting places* Take a number.  And that bid you got last week....hahaha....fugetaboutit!" 

It's about the same with lumber and steel and practically every other building material, too.  One of the big residential housing surveys (Case-Shiller?) recently said Dallas housing prices were 15% overvalued.  They said renting here today is a much better choice than buying.  Remember, it's "buy low, sell high", not the other way around.

And now to add insult to injury, yesterday the news reported that local property tax other words, people's tax bills....are up 13% in just the past year.  Ouch!  (Actually they're limited to a maximum 10% tax hike per year, but they'll get the rest of their windfall next year I'm sure.)  Is this a new property price bubble building?  Call me paranoid, but after what I saw in 2008-2009, housing bubbles scare me!

If I had had a spare couple of million dollars three years ago (in other words, if I had won the lottery three years ago), I could have bought up land and tower cranes and concrete pumper trucks, etc, and parlayed that three-mil into.....umm....carry the four....A LOT!  

Careful what you wish for.  Gluttony bites!



  1. Progress and growth has its downside, but recession is even worse. Still, the traffic...ugh! That boom must be sporatic, not seeing it in this area, we are not yet back to a pre 2008 economy in this area.

  2. Yeah, I agree Joe. Given my druthers, I guess I'd take the boom, too. I'm in the process of moving a few miles further east to get away from this madness.

  3. All those jobs "created" by office buildings usually come from somewhere else, like when Comerica moved its headquarters from downtown Detroit to Dallas. I assume for the tax benefits.

  4. It's not nearly as crazy here (in fairly rural central Florida), but we see subdivisions going up between here and Orlando and here and Tampa. I wonder about the traffic, too. Our governor voted down the high-speed train (because it was free...federal "Obama" funds), so the solution seems to be private toll roads. The rich can get there fast, the poor will be stuck in traffic.

    But you are beats being in a recession.

  5. Houston is the same way. The number of cranes arouond downtown is staggering, and we've been building downtown office buildings for the first time since the eighties.

    They can't build more townhomes just outside of downtown fast enough. With the recent oil company scare and layoffs, I'm not sure how they're selling so many million dollar townhomes, but I guess that's none of my business.

    Houston is on fire.

  6. Progress. It's gonna make your life easier. Right? RIGHT?
    (I think Steve Jobs might have said that.)

  7. Things are hopping here as well. Volvo plant, Boeing growing, everyone complaining about traffic.

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