Baker Ahles & Kaskovich

May 18, 2014

Broadcast Hill property transferred to city of Fort Worth

NBC Universal agreed to deed its 26.5-acre former station property in east Fort Worth as part of a tax abatement deal for its new facility near DFW Airport.

As promised, NBC Universal has deeded its 66-year-old KXAS/Channel 5 facilities on Broadcast Hill in east Fort Worth to the city.

The 26.5-acre land transfer took place March 28, and the deed was filed on April 1. The station agreed to convey the land, located off Interstate 30 near Oakland Boulevard, to the city as part of a tax abatement it received to build a new studio near Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.

The land and building were conveyed “as is,” “where is” and “with all faults,” the deed states.

Last fall, the television station moved to a new 75,000-square-foot facility on Amon Carter Boulevard in the CentrePort Business Park.

The old station was built in 1948 with the launch of WBAP, the first TV station in Texas and the Southwest. WBAP was owned by Amon G. Carter Sr., the late publisher of the Star-Telegram.

NBC 5 is owned by NBC Universal, which also has 17 Telemundo stations.

The city has been assessing the property but learned last fall that there was little commercial interest in redeveloping Broadcast Hill. The city has also been looking at using the building itself.

The Tarrant Appraisal District appraises the Broadcast Hill property at $2.3 million.

Graduate degree in

construction management

This fall, the University of Texas at Arlington expects to begin offering a master of construction management degree with an option to take courses online to help meet industry demand, the university said.

The new degree program will require 30 credit hours, including courses in architecture, accounting, business and management. The program is designed for those with undergraduate degrees in civil engineering, science and mathematics, architecture, engineering technology, construction management and business.

“The UT Arlington College of Engineering is expanding rapidly, and our faculty and students are rising to meet the needs of our region’s dynamic economy,” said Khosrow Behbehani, dean of UTA’s College of Engineering.

The degree will focus on management of construction projects in three main categories: heavy, which includes highways, pipelines and infrastructure; residential and commercial construction; and general construction.

Final approval for the program by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is expected by August and must be received before students can apply and be admitted, the university said.

The program will offer courses either in an on-campus, all-evening classroom environment or through a distance-learning platform.

Ali Abolmaali, chairman of the Civil Engineering Department, said the degree program is the only one of its kind in North Texas and predicts it will draw about 400 new students within the next five years.

Yellow Pages publisher

shifting to digital sales

Dex Media, a leading publisher of Yellow Pages directories, is showing some progress in transitioning its struggling business to the digital age, Bloomberg News reports.

The company, formed last year by the merger of two directory publishers and based at DFW Airport, is bundling advertising sold to small businesses in its high-margin printed Yellow Pages with its rapidly expanding though less profitable online offerings, Peter McDonald, its chief executive officer, said during a conference call with analysts on May 6.

Dex Media reported 8.5 percent digital advertising sales growth in the first quarter, following a 5.1 percent gain before that, even as print revenues tumbled 20 percent, according to a company statement.

The company’s stock (ticker: DXM) has jumped 30 percent in the past month, to $9.71 a share.

“The Yellow Pages industry has been so beleaguered and the market has been so critical and skeptical that these green shoots are being met with optimism,” Greg Sterling, a San Francisco-based analyst at Opus Research, a market-research firm, told Bloomberg. “This is an undervalued company that may be starting to turn around as it announces digital gains. That’s the message that the CEO is communicating.”

Standard & Poor’s is taking a more conservative view, cutting its rating on the company’s bonds to CCC+ from B- last week, owing to a “vulnerable” business and increasingly likely restructuring.

But S&P’s Minesh Patel said that improving performance by the company may lead to lenders willing to waive problematic covenants, to roll over maturing debt and permit investment in new areas.

The company was created by the merger of Dex One, formerly based in North Carolina, and DFW-based SuperMedia, formerly known as Idearc Media, which was spun out of Verizon Communications in 2006. The deal was done in bankruptcy court.

— Bloomberg News

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