West South Central Regional Forecast

Arkansas • Louisiana • Oklahoma • Texas

While hurricane recovery work along the Louisiana coast continues to pump some dollars into that state, the Texas economy dominates this region. The multi-billion dollar Motiva and Valero refinery expansions in Port Arthur, Texas, were started up this year, and T. Boone Pickens is planning a massive wind farm in west Texas that would require more than a dozen utilities to build 2,000 miles of power lines. The near-term outlook doesn’t look all that bad compared to other regions of the country. The housing market is in the doldrums, but the Houston and Dallas metropolitan areas have logged more than 51,000 building permits through August — roughly the same as the entire state of California through the same time period. While downtown office vacancy rates are up in Dallas (19%), Houston checked in with a comparatively low 11.2 percent and recently broke ground for the $270 million, 871,000-square-foot Discovery Tower, which is gunning for LEED gold certification and will have 10 rooftop turbines to help provide power.

Back to the 2009 Market Planning Guide