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Lucy Puniwai's Blog

By Lucy Puniwai | Agent in 76177
  • North Texas home sales up 18 percent in August

    Posted Under: General Area in Westlake, Home Buying in Westlake, In My Neighborhood in Westlake  |  September 10, 2012 8:07 PM  |  252 views  |  No comments

    By Sandra Baker

    sabaker@star-telegram.com

    Sales of existing homes in North Texas in August were up 18 percent from a year ago, according to the latest sales reports from Texas A&M's Real Estate Center.

    Last month, 7,986 homes were sold in the 29-county region. The Real Estate Center compiles numbers from the sales recorded on the multiple listing service used by real estate agents.

    Year-to-date, sales are up 16 percent. Since January, 51,280 homes were sold.

    Moreover, the median sales price was up 8 percent in August in North Texas, to $164,000.

    The report shows pending sales up 11 percent in August. It's also taking less time to sell a house. The average number of days a house is on the market is 67, down 22 percent from a year ago.

    In Tarrant County, sales were notably strong in east Fort Worth, far west Fort Worth, Benbrook/White Settlement and Trophy Club/Westlake,

    I am YOUR NORTH FORT WORTH REALTOR!

    Lucy A. Puniwai
    REALTOR®
    (214)783-6416 – Cell/Text
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    puniwai@fathomrealty.com
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  • DFW Connector, Airport SH 114 and SH 121

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Westlake, Home Buying in Westlake, In My Neighborhood in Westlake  |  May 30, 2012 9:22 AM  |  301 views  |  No comments

    In March 2009 the Texas Department of Transportation awarded the DFW Connector contract to NorthGate Constructors, a Kiewit-led joint venture. The $1.02 billion project scope includes the development, design and construction of the 8.4-mile initial phase of the ultimate 14.4-mile project. The DFW Connector is the widening of state highways 114 and 121 which sit at the intersection of the area’s four most populous counties.

    The project will reduce congestion at the confluence of two of the area’s most heavily traveled highways, and ease access into DFW International Airport. These improvements will enhance mobility and air quality through expanded roadway capacity, toll-managed lanes and continuous frontage roads. Mobility enhancements within the project limits include highway, bridge, drainage and intelligent transportation system upgrades. Ultimately doubling the capacity of the existing highway corridor, the DFW Connector will rebuild portions of four highways, two interchanges, and five bridges.

    The completed project will consist of up to 14 main lanes and four toll-managed lanes on SH 114 as well as new frontage roads and ramps. Four miles of toll-managed lanes will feature dynamic pricing to keep traffic flowing at least 50 miles per hour. Continuous frontage roads will be built along both westbound and eastbound SH 114 between William D. Tate and Northwest Highway. New direct-connect ramps will be built from northbound SH 121 to westbound SH 114 as well as from eastbound SH 114 to southbound SH 121, replacing the current surface street connection. At the widest point along SH 114, between Texan Trail and International Parkway, the highway will be 24 lanes wide.

    During construction, every effort will be made to keep motorists moving. Most lane closures are scheduled to occur during off-peak and night hours. Temporary pavement will be installed for traffic lane shifts maintain existing lane capacity during peak travel times.

  • BNSF plans $199 million on Texas projects in 2012

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Westlake, Home Buying in Westlake, In My Neighborhood in Westlake  |  May 29, 2012 10:17 PM  |  337 views  |  No comments
    BNSF plans $199 million on Texas projects in 2012

    Robert Francis
    Editor

    BNSF Railway Company plans to invest an estimated $199 million on maintenance and rail capacity improvement and expansion projects in Texas during 2012.  

    Included in the projects are two of key importance to Fort Worth: Tower 55 capacity and work to help with the expansion of the Alliance Airport runway.

    The Fort Worth-based railway announced May 23 that BNSF 2012 capacity enhancement projects in Texas include expansion of rail capacity at Tower 55 in Fort Worth, the realignment of BNSF's mainline for the extension of the Alliance Airport runway just north of Fort Worth, replacement of the Galveston Causeway Bridge, installation of wheel detectors in Galveston, improvements to BNSF's Amarillo car shop, as well as significant signal upgrades for federally mandated positive train control (PTC).

    BNSF will also continue its track maintenance program in Texas, which will include 1,341 miles of track surfacing and undercutting work, and the replacement of 84 miles of rail and about 563,000 ties.

    "BNSF's investments will improve our ability to provide rail freight services to Texas businesses and communities, and will expand opportunities to create more jobs and growth for the Texas economy," said Matthew K. Rose, chairman and CEO in a news release.  

    The planned capital investments in Texas are part of BNSF's total 2012 capital commitment of $3.9 billion. The largest component of the capital plan is spending $2.1 billion on BNSF's core network and related assets. BNSF also plans to spend approximately $1.1 billion on locomotive, freight car and other equipment acquisitions, many of which will serve Texas, according to the company. The program also includes about $300 million for federally mandated positive train control and $400 million for terminal, line and intermodal expansion and efficiency projects.

    BNSF Railway operates 32,000 route miles of track in 28 states and two Canadian provinces. 

  • Westlake Academy designated Gold Medal School

    Posted Under: Schools in Westlake, Home Buying in Westlake, In My Neighborhood in Westlake  |  May 20, 2012 9:14 AM  |  432 views  |  No comments

    WESTLAKE - Westlake Academy, Texas' only municipally owned and operated open enrollment charter school, has been designated as a Gold Medal school in the U.S. News and World Reports' 2012 Best High School rankings.

    The academy is ranked no. 37 in the nation, no. 5 in Texas and no. 6 in national charter schools, out of the more than 22,000 public high schools evaluated in 49 states and the District of Columbia.

    The rankings in the report are based primarily on data from the 2009-2010 school year.

    Westlake Academy Superintendent Tom Brymer said the school is "thrilled" to have received top rankings in the report.

    "We very much appreciate this recognition and are thrilled for our students, faculty and parents," Brymer said. "It is very rewarding and very important to see this positive acknowledgement of their hard work and team effort as they work together to inspire each student with the rigorous [International Baccalaureate] curriculum."

    To produce the rankings, U.S. News teamed with American Institutes for Research, which used U.S. News's rankings methodology "based on the key principles that a great high school must serve all of its students well, not just those who are college-bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show the school is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators," according to the U.S. News website.

    The "Best High Schools" are determined based on a three-step process. The first two steps use students' performance on state proficiency tests as the benchmarks to make sure the schools serve all their students well, while the third step assesses the degree to which schools prepare their students for college-level studies, the website explained.

    At Westlake, 100 percent of the students were determined to be proficient in both math and reading. And of the 96 percent of 12th grade students who took the International Baccalaureate exams, 92 percent posted passing grades.

    Schools were awarded gold, silver or bronze medals, based on how they measured up to state proficiency standards and how well students performed on college preparedness exams, among other standards. Schools must receive a national gold or silver medal to be eligible for a state ranking.

    Of the more than 400 Texas schools included in the 2012 Best High Schools rankings, Westlake Academy was one of only 46 to receive a gold medal. Of the remaining schools, 123 received silver medals, and 233 received bronze medals.

    Of the 28 students set to graduate from Westlake Academy this year, 51 percent have been accepted into their top choice school, and 15 percent were accepted into "highly selective universities," according to school officials.Three of the graduating seniors are National Merit Commended Scholars. Westlake Academy graduates, to date, have received more than $3.5 million in scholarships and grants, school officials said.

    Ginger Awtry, director of communications for the town of Westlake and for Westlake Academy, said that the academy first opened its doors in September 2003 as a charter school offering grades 1 through 6. In 2004, the school added classes for kindergarten and for 7th grade, and added an additional grade level each year until reaching 12th grade.

    The 2012-13 school year will be Westlake Academy's 10th year, Awtry said.

    Westlake Academy will hold its third graduation ceremony on Saturday, June 2, at 2 p.m. at Hurst Conference Center, 1601 Campus Drive in Hurst. Special guest speaker will be Matthew Rose, chairman and CEO of BNSF Railway Company.


    Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/05/14/3958934/westlake-academy-named-gold-medal.html#storylink=cpy

  • Vaquero Club approves $4.5M capital improvement plan

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Westlake, Home Buying in Westlake, In My Neighborhood in Westlake  |  January 11, 2012 12:39 PM  |  1,751 views  |  No comments

    Members of the private Vaquero Club in Westlake have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a $4.5M capital improvement plan to improve services and amenities, including enhancements to the golf course and clubhouse.
    Last year the club, working with the Tom Fazio Design Team, approved a long-term master plan for the golf course that includes a complete renovation of all greenside and native bunkering, several strategic hole changes and the planting of hundreds of trees.

    Tree planting will begin in early 2012, with golf course construction scheduled to start around June 1, 2012. Expected completion of the project is mid-September 2012, with an additional 4-6 week grow-in period.

    Dining space in the clubhouse also will be expanded by about 2000 square feet, the club said. Construction is estimated to start in the spring of 2012, with services continuing during construction.

    The 525-acre Vaquero Club was originally developed in 2001 and was turned over to the membership in September of 2009.

  • Deloitte opens high-tech training facility in Westlake

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Westlake, Celebrity Homes in Westlake, In My Neighborhood in Westlake  |  October 21, 2011 11:26 PM  |  2,234 views  |  No comments

    WESTLAKE -- Not one detail was overlooked at Deloitte University's gleaming new $300 million "high-tech and high-touch" training facility in Westlake that officially opened this week.

    The 712,000-square-foot, five-story building stretches a quarter mile from one end to the other. Packed inside are 35 classrooms -- four are termed "tele-classrooms" -- 36 team rooms, a 176-seat amphitheater, 800 guest rooms, a 20,000-square-foot ballroom, 12,000-square-foot fitness center and all sorts of touch-screen technology to foster the best learning environment worldwide.

    What Deloitte University offers for employees of the nation's largest accounting and consulting firm rivals even the nation's top universities, company executives said during a media tour Tuesday. Deloitte conducts about 4 million hours of training a year and about 1 million will now take place at the campus in Westlake, located just off Alliance Gateway and Texas 114. For example, a new hire can expect to attend Deloitte University within the first 90 days of employment. Classrooms can be set up to tackle even the most challenging of client issues, executives said.

    "Almost all the training that goes on here at Deloitte University is simulation-based or experiential-based training," said Bill Pelster, a managing principal of Talent Development. "Long gone are the days, at least at this particular facility, where you're going to have a single person standing in the front of the room, giving a very long lecture on a topic and people sitting there taking lots of notes."

    Six weeks ago, the firm's 100 newest partners were at Deloitte University for training, but the company's U.S. CEO couldn't make it. Didn't matter. He was able to be a part of a training session from Miami, appearing on the amphitheater's large screen, Pelster said.

    But at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, the amphitheater turns into the region's best movie theater. Popcorn is popped and guests can watch a movie to relax.

    Deloitte University is the vision of Barry Salzberg, Deloitte's global CEO, who was serving as the firm's U.S. CEO when the idea for the facility was launched. Construction at the 107-acre site began two years ago, and in July, it started to operate, ramping up to its official opening this week.

    Salzberg, who spent his first night at Deloitte University on Monday, called the center "fabulous," and said his expectations were exceeded.

    He pushed for the center's completion, even in an economic downturn, as a way to compete for talent.

    Deloitte will still do training at its local and regional offices, and at other large venues when necessary, but Deloitte's 50,000 U.S. employees will likely attend training in Texas every couple of years. Training and other sessions are already booked for the next 18 months. Guests will stay from a couple of days to as long as two weeks, and as many as 45,000 people will stay at the facility annually.

    About 55 Deloitte employees work at Deloitte University and another 400 are employees of Benchmark Hospitality, which operates the facility. The firm is considering two more universities, one in Europe and another in its Asia-Pacific region.

    Pelster said it's easy to see how impressive the facility is, but it goes beyond the physical plant, located on the rolling green pastures at Hillwood's Circle T Ranch near a Fidelity Investments complex.

    "The other part of the transformation that's been occurring for the last several years is really a fundamental rethink of how we train professionals in the 21st century," he said. "It's a combination of high-tech and high-touch. Everything about this facility is really designed to be the heartbeat and soul of the Deloitte culture."

    The classrooms have no front; rather each room has three large screens to view. There is a lot of natural light and no power cords to trip on because laptops plug into outlets under the table. Instructors use iPads for their training manuals. The tele-classrooms can connect to other Deloitte training facilities, including one in India.

    Guests have plenty to do once training ends. Bistros and snack stations are dotted throughout the main floor and guest floors; there are soccer and baseball fields as well as a two-mile running/walking trail. A social venue called The Barn has pool tables, a 14-foot screen television and an outdoor fire pit.

    "The learning here is just better," said Diana O'Brien, a managing principal. "The physical campus is beautiful. We think we've done all things right. When our people are here, they feel they are part of something bigger than themselves."



    Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/10/18/3454468/deloitte-opens-high-tech-training.html#ixzz1bUOOuQ4l
  • Mayors:Haslet,Justin,Northlake,Westlake,Trophy Club and Roanoke speak!

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Westlake, Home Buying in Westlake, In My Neighborhood in Westlake  |  October 21, 2011 9:53 PM  |  801 views  |  No comments

    TROPHY CLUB -- From new highways to booming residential and commercial developments, mayors of six Tarrant and Denton County cities proudly touted their communities' accomplishments and future aspirations at this month's Northwest Metroport Chamber of Commerce.

    Mayors from Haslet, Justin, Northlake, Roanoke, Trophy Club and Westlake participated in the exchange at Trophy Club Country Club.

    Haslet: growth with low taxes

    High growth and low tax rates is information Haslet Mayor Bob Golden shared with Chamber members.

    "With outstanding accessibility, Haslet is one of the 10 most notable high-growth areas," Golden said. "Best of all, we have one of the lowest tax rates in the DFW area."

    Golden talked about projects that are under way including commercial development known as the four corners project at Farm Road 156 and Avondale Haslet Road, and library and roadway improvements.

    Justin awaits road expansion

    With fewer than 3,000 residents, Justin Mayo Greg Scott said his community is a step behind the growth being experienced by neighboring cities.

    But, that didn't stop Scott from boasting about the eminent widening of Farm Road 156, a major byway in Justin, to six lanes.

    "That's the most exciting thing coming to the county," he said.

    That's not all, Scott said.

    Justin also has a new sanitary sewer plant, new ball fields and other amenities at the community park and several new businesses, he said.

    Economic development a priority for Northlake

    "If you're a business looking to expand, call us," said Northlake Mayor Peter Dewing.

    Touching nine municipalities, Northlake is a direct link to business growth and one of the fastest-growing towns in North Texas, Dewing said.

    Dewing said economic development is a priority in Northlake with highlights including Belmont's 1,000-acre master-planned community spanning into Argyle, Canyon Falls with 630 acres and Chadwick Farms with 600 acres of master-planned community.

    Also, Hillwood recently purchased 158 acres and Speedway Town Center at Northlake will bring high-quality retail to the area.

    Dewing said other accomplishments include recent hiring of a new public works director, more police and municipal staff.

    Roanoke sees job growth

    New business and future development were the focus of Mayor Carl "Scooter" Giersch's presentation on his growing community of nearly 8, 000.

    More than 3,000 jobs were created by new corporations, Giersch said, and the city is close to approving a 346-acre planned development on the largest portion of the legendary golfer Byron Nelson's Fairway Ranch.

    If approved by the City Council next month, the development eventually would include more than 500 homes valued at $250,000 to $600,000 plus parks, retail and office space, he said.

    Expansion of the city library is also under way, without raising the 37.5-cent tax rate the city has had for 15 years, Giersch said.

    Historic Oak Street also continues to thrive, now boasting 300-plus parking spaces to accommodate restaurant goers, he said.

    "Downtown continues to evolve," Giersch said, noting that the city has won several awards for its renovations.

    Trophy Club residents like quality of life

    Mayor Connie White was excited about a community survey unveiled the night before to the Town Council. That survey revealed that 98 percent of the residents questioned were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of life in Trophy Club, she said.

    The consultant who conducted the survey told town officials that, "most towns would kill for these results," White said.

    Town services and the residents themselves bear that out, she said.

    Thirty percent of the homes sold in Trophy Club are to people who already live here and want to stay, White said. The community pool and splash pad drew more than 18,000 visitors through July, despite the fact that Hawaiian Falls had opened in nearby Roanoke, she said.

    Coming developments include a roundabout to manage traffic at a major intersection, a 26-acre mixed-use development at the town entrance and several new restaurants and liquor stores, White said.

    "And, we're working on a new logo and website to brand ourselves as a great place to call home," she said.

    Development updates in Westlake

    Westlake Mayor Laura Wheat shared highlights of the town's theme "Investing in Our Future" with an update on Deloitte University, one of the largest private developments located on 107 acres on the Circle T Ranch.

    Wheat shared a video showcasing the soon-to-open $300 million facility that will serve as a training center for employees of Deloitte LLP and its 45,000 affiliates.

    Westlake also is investing in the community with several road projects under way, Wheat said.

    "If it seems every road in Westlake is under construction, you are probably right," she said.

    Projects include construction on Texas 114 around the Trophy Lake Drive bridge, a $33 million Texas Department of Transportation project.



    Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/10/17/3451170/mayors-tout-citys-attractions.html#ixzz1bTvQ5ySd
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