In looking at the future of real estate investment in our area, I think it's absolutely essential to understand where the region as a whole is headed both as a way to judge demand and buying trends, but also to just understand the kinds of people who are likely to be calling Austin home over the next decade. That's why I'm so pleased about the Pflugerville Solar Farm.

The ground breaking on December 15 signaled the start of the development of the 720-acre facility, which will be the largest in the nation. Yes, you read that right. The largest in the nation, with 400,000 solar panels. That doesn't just mean that enough power will be generated to light up 40,000 homes or that 350 construction jobs will be created over the next two to three years. It…

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I was surfing YouTube© and found this video clip of CBS' Anthony Mason taking "a closer look into why Austin, Texas is leading the nation in job growth."You may recall my excitement with the Texas Workforce Commission figures in my December 2nd post.Take the 5 minutes to check it out.

Unfortunately, at the request of CBS, the embedding has been disabled.Please click here to view the video.

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Werre still firmly in the season when folks are making forecasts for the coming year. Monday, Grubb & Ellis Co. released their "2011 Real Estate Forecast" and placed Austin as the 10th strongest real estate market in the nation -- for the next four years. That's 2014 if any of you are counting on your fingers.

Now, personally, I think we're going to move steadily up that ladder, but there are worse places to start than the top ten. Basically these analysts are saying we'll begin at a slow pace, but the recovery will be steady in the leasing market. That is excellent, excellent news considering all the other economic factors we've discussed over the past few weeks. (Just think how much potential there is for commercial lease space around the new F1…

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Anyone else spending the beginning days of 2011 sorting scraps of stuff that have accumulated on their desks? I'd like to think the New Year fairy will wave her wand and all these odds and ends will be perfectly organized 2 weeks ago, but I suspect it will all still be here tomorrow.

Here's something else that has been floating around in my "to be blogged" pile.

First, there's a new 12-story, 72-unit condo complex in the works at 805 Nueces St. (That's at the corner of Nueces and 9th street.) Good news! The more people who live downtown, the more people who will want to live downtown. Demand drives value. You can read the story by Jacob Dirr for the Austin Business Journal here.

And second, the TechAmerica Foundation, in its recent "Cybercities…

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Well, I regret to say we are on the sixth day of 2011 and the New Year's elves have yet to get my desk cleaned off. This has been floating around since November, but it's something I don't want to let slip by without notice. In a major economic development coup for the city, SunPower Corp. will be building its operation center in Austin. That means 450 jobs over the next four years and a $10 million capital investment in the economy of Central Texas.

In a statement issued about the move the CEO of the company Tom Wener said Texas has "great potential to become a significant solar market." That would seem to be backed up by the additional news that Hays Energy LP is bringing a $74 million solar power farm to a 136-acre tract on Francis Harris Road…

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