Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Downtown Dallas & Uptown Real Estate News

Downtown Dallas & Uptown Real Estate News

7-Eleven's plans send Uptown prices across the freeway

DALLAS ( - For years, Woodall Rodgers Freeway has been a great divide.

On the north side of the concrete and steel canyon, land prices soared in Uptown.

To the south of the highway, property values snoozed.

Not anymore.

The announcement that 7-Eleven Inc. is moving its corporate headquarters to the Arts District and plans for more than $300 million in additional cultural facilities have caused prices just south of Woodall Rodgers to jump.

"Six months ago, you could buy development sites down there for $40 and $50 per square foot," said real estate broker Newt Walker.

"Now it's all $70 and up."

Indeed, prices for some choice sites are now rumored to be $100 and up – a level the area hasn't seen since the go-go days of the 1980s.

"It's because of all the hoopla from the 7-Eleven announcement," Mr. Walker says.

The convenience store giant announced in April that it would be the lead tenant in a $100 million office, retail and residential complex to be built near the intersection of Woodall Rodgers and Routh Street.

At the opposite end of Woodall Rodgers, the forest of construction cranes at the Victory project is catching the eye of other builders.

Since the availability of developable land in adjacent Uptown is shrinking, who wouldn't go a couple of blocks farther south to save money and find a good development tract?

The folks that are said to be looking near the Arts District include developer ZOM Texas and other residential builders.

But they'd best hurry.

In the area between Ross Avenue and Woodall Rodgers – the new gold coast for in-town development – all but a handful of sites are already in the hands of developers or the public sector.

Nothing like a lack of building sites to push prices even higher.

EDS manager?

Real estate execs are expecting an announcement soon about whom Electronic Data Systems Corp. has hired to run its real estate operations.

For the last few months, the Plano-based information services giant has been interviewing real estate companies about managing its real estate needs – which it now does in-house. The job would include overseeing the 2,600-acre Legacy business park in Plano.

Brokers familiar with the deal say that EDS has decided on Trammell Crow Co. to handle its property. The two firms are reportedly still working on the contract.

EDS representatives had no comment about the deal.

Crescent tenants

Uptown's anchor Crescent complex is getting some new office tenants and hanging onto others.

Crescent Real Estate Equities said this week that it has signed a handful of office leases in its namesake project.

Credit Suisse First Boston USA Inc. leased 17,227 square feet in the Crescent, relocating its offices from J.P. Morgan Chase Tower on Ross Avenue. CB Richard Ellis negotiated the lease with Crescent.

Stanford Group Co. leased 10,301 square feet for its office, which was formerly in Las Colinas. CB Richard Ellis also handled that lease.

Bear Stearns Cos. – represented by Staubach Co. – renewed its 34,396-square-foot lease in the Crescent for 10 years.

And law firm McKool Smith PC renewed its 88,249-square-foot lease.

McKool Smith has been in the Crescent for 14 years. Staubach handled its lease, too.

"We are 95 percent leased, and one reason we are doing very good with this project is because of our tenant list," said Crescent senior vice president John Zogg.

The Crescent's tenant rolls include more than 70 financial services firms.

Behringer Harvard deal

Investor Behringer Harvard has purchased a Plano office building.

The Addison-based real estate firm acquired the Parkway Vista Building at 5072 Plano Parkway. Built in 2002, the two-story property has 33,467 square feet and is 97 percent leased.

Tenants include American Express Financial Advisors and SouthTrust Mortgage Corp.

Trammell Crow Co. has been hired to manage the property.