Friday, August 05, 2005

Downtown Dallas & Uptown Real Estate News

Downtown Dallas & Uptown Real Estate News

Excess office space? No prob. This is Dallas
With interest rates low, developers build now and worry later

DALLAS (DallasNews.com) - About a quarter of North Texas' office space is sitting empty. Yet Dallas-Fort Worth ranks third in the country in office construction.

If you think that sounds wonky, you haven't been around here long.

Dallas developers are like car dealers – "We're stacking 'em deep and selling 'em cheap!"
Well, maybe not cheap.

But it looks like there will be plenty of new buildings to choose from.
At midyear, 2.8 million square feet of office space was under construction in the D-FW area.

A year ago, less than 250,000 square feet was going up.

Nationwide, Dallas-Fort Worth ranks behind only New York and Washington, D.C., in office building, according to statistics from McGraw Hill Construction Information Group.
Much of what's being built here is earmarked for big companies such as Citigroup Inc. and 7-Eleven Inc.

But in almost every case, those firms are leaving older buildings behind that must be refilled.
That may not be easy.

Still, don't look for a downturn in office building starts. With interest rates low, developers are likely to build today and worry tomorrow about filling the space.

That's the Dallas way.

Shiels apartments?

CWS Apartment Homes LLC, an Austin builder and investor that's already a player in Uptown, is negotiating to buy the Mary Shiels Hospital complex at Howell Street and Lemmon Avenue just west of North Central Expressway.

The developer would put a residential complex on the property.

Oak Lawn redo

The city of Dallas is considering selling a three-quarter-acre tract next to the site of the old Woodlawn Hospital in Oak Lawn.

If it decides to sell, the city's site and the historic hospital land would be combined to create an 8.25-acre redevelopment site at Maple and Oak Lawn avenues.

CB Richard Ellis has been hired by Dallas County Hospital District to advise on the sale of the Wood-lawn property.

"To date, we've heard from about 65 different people" who are interested in the property, said CB Richard Ellis' Jay Lorch.

Addison center sold

The Retail Connection has bought a shopping center in Addison from an affiliate of Dunhill Partners.

The Quorum Plaza II is on the southeast corner of Belt Line Road and Quorum Drive west of the Dallas North Tollway.

It's 90 percent leased and will be remodeled by the new owners.

The Retail Connection bought the shopping center in a partnership with Granite Properties.

T-Mobile near deal

Sometimes having a new, empty office building is the best way to land a deal.

That's certainly worked in Frisco, where developers have lured employers with affordable office space and city economic incentives.

Real estate brokers say another such transaction is in the works. T-Mobile is looking at Duke Realty's building under construction at Warren Parkway and the Dallas North Tollway.

Brokers say the pending lease – being negotiated by Staubach Co. – is for T-Mobile to occupy most of the three-story building with offices and a call center.

Pulte saves home

Pulte Homes builds almost 40,000 houses a year. So why is the big Michigan-based builder worrying about a 100-year-old home in Frisco?

The two-story, 3,000-square-foot, Prairie-style house was in the way of Pulte's new Del Webb Frisco Lakes residential development on the east shore of Lewisville Lake.

The nationwide builder donated the house to the Frisco Historical Association, which moved it to the city's Heritage Village to restore it.

Built in 1905 by Alfred Fletcher, the house was originally part of a 300-acre farm.
E-mail stevebrown@dallasnews.com