The chairman and CEO of Cawley Partners is known for his impact in the North Texas office market, especially along the Dallas North Tollway. Cawley has acquired and developed more than 12 million square feet of office space.
While much of the office market slowed during the pandemic, Cawley Partners kept deals moving forward to match the optimism of its founder, launching plans for a Class A 600,000-square-foot office campus in Frisco and a 1.5 million square foot Class AA multi-phase development with three new office towers at Grandscape in The Colony.
Cawley told us,“Dallas is thriving while other markets continue to lag.”
The Cawley Partners’ chairman and CEO is among the experts invited to share their thoughts on the CRE market for our recent DALLAS® magazine that focused on how DFW punches above its weight in commercial real estate. Here’s what the Cawley Partners’ chairman and CEO had to say in “View from the Top Tier.”
What activity are you seeing in DFW office development and leasing now?
DFW is as active as I have ever seen it. There are many companies actively looking to relocate to the market. Developers are starting several speculative office projects in the Uptown and Far North Dallas submarkets. I think we will reach pre-pandemic absorption numbers.
What are the biggest challenges and opportunities for the North Texas office market right now?
I see two major challenges. First, the disconnect between the incredible leasing activity and the capital’s willingness to invest. The market could handle more product, but it will take several buildings being leased up for capital to jump in. The second issue is the sublease space, but we are seeing lots of it get absorbed as well as being taken off the market for use by the current user.
How do you see proptech developing in the market?
Proptech is here in a big way. Technology embraced issues brought out by the pandemic, and technology will continue to lead us to solutions that make our tenants feel safe, as well as enhance their experience within our buildings.
How is the CRE industry changing?
Real estate is constantly changing. Cleanliness, building standards, safety for our customers, greater amenities, more outside gathering spaces—these things are evolving to keep up with the changing workforce environment. If you’re not changing in today’s market, you will soon be out of the game.
What are the top reasons from your perspective on why the Dallas region is now one of the nation’s hottest CRE markets?
Dallas is thriving while other markets continue to lag because of its central location in the US; you can get to either coast easily. In addition, the pro-business environment, no state income tax, and great labor pool play to our advantage. Finally, real estate is relatively inexpensive in Dallas as compared to the East and West coasts.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
A version of this story first appeared in the print edition of DALLAS® Commercial Real Estate 2022, published by Dallas Next for TREC and the Dallas Regional Chamber. Read more in the digital edition of the magazine below, and request the next print edition here.
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