Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Perot’s Hillwood buying land for more development

Hillwood's AllianceTexas project north of Fort Worth already is one of the country’s biggest developments.

Ross Perot Jr.’s AllianceTexas project north of Fort Worth is already one of the country’s biggest developments.
But the project is about to grow even larger with additional land acquisitions and development along Interstate 35W.
“It’s hard to say for an 18,000-acre program we are running out of land,” Perot said Tuesday. “We are starting to look for land to grow our program north.”
Perot’s Hillwood Development Co. recently acquired a 158-acre tract from lenders at I-35W and FM 1171.
“It has very good commercial zoning ready to go,” said Perot, who met with reporters following media tours of the property.
And Hillwood is about to begin work on a 3,300-acre former ranch it owns on I-35W in Denton County.
“It’s mostly going to be residential and commercial,” Perot said. “It’s a wonderful piece of property; it’s in the path of growth.
“Our residential team is putting together plans and lining up homebuilders,” he said.
AllianceTexas — which the Perot family started back in the 1980s — is now about 40 percent developed. More than 28,000 people work in the 65-square-mile project, which is located in both Tarrant and Denton counties.
There are about 7,500 homes and apartments in the community.
And millions of square feet of warehouses, office and retail space have been built.
“A lot of our land has been developed,” Perot said. “We are actively pursing acquisitions.”
Hillwood has purchased residential community land in Austin and Las Vegas.
With the local real estate market recovering, Hillwood is first concentrating on further residential and retail development at AllianceTexas.
“We have a couple hundred apartments that are up, but we have 10,000 on the drawing boards,” Perot said. “We should be starting Phase 2 this fall.
“We are going to build as fast as the market lets us build.”
Perot is also scouting more land buys for his residential development firm, Hillwood Communities.
“Our residential guys are looking for property all over North Texas,” he said. “All of our communities are out of lots.”
AllianceTexas has been best known for the millions of square feet of industrial space, the commercial airport and the huge rail cargo facility.
But for the last couple of years, the warehouse building part of the operation has “been a little sluggish,” Hillwood Properties president Mike Berry said.
“We still have over 1 million square feet of corporate-driven construction under way,” Berry said. “We have a tremendous amount of future development in the pipeline we are going to do.
“There’s land left for 35 to 40 million square feet of industrial,” he said.
Hillwood also continues to be an owner of about 27 acres of land in the Victory Park project in Dallas’ Uptown district.
Perot said Hillwood is focusing on developing a vacant tract fronting Woodall Rodgers that’s next to the Perot Museum of Nature & Science, which is under construction.
“That’s the next development play,” he said. “We have zoning for more than 1 million square feet on that site.”