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The Top Commercial Real Estate Projects in Dallas-Fort Worth

And the key players who made them happen in 2012.
Courtesy of Corgan

Courtesy of Corgan



When the regional headquarters for Encana Oil & Gas got under way in the heart of Plano’s Legacy Town Center in early 2011, it was one of the few highrise office projects in the works in North Texas. Designed by Corgan and built by KDC, the 12-story building totals 318,500 square feet and includes an adjacent seven-level parking garage. Encana’s 500-person Mid-Continent Business Unit took occupancy in May of 2012. When KDC put the trophy asset up for sale a short time later, it didn’t take long for it to attract a long list of suitors. According to Gary Carr of CBRE, who marketed the property on behalf of KDC, the building garnered interests from both institutional and W private investors from around the globe.

In the end, the asset was sold to Phoenix based Cole Real Estate Investments for $120 million, or $377 per square foot—the highest per-square-foot price of any office property in the history of Dallas. The deal was finalized in November 2012; it required a quick turnaround, as KDC wanted a year-end close. Boyd Messman, senior vice president acquisitions, was the in-house representative for Cole.

42 Deep Elum
Turnpike/Valwood Portfolio

State Farm

call it state farm’s own version of the bank bailout. Last fall, the Bloomington, Ill.-based insurance giant leased 400,660 square feet of former Citigroup space along Interstate 635 in Las Colinas for a new catastrophic operations center. It also leased 290,000 square feet of former Bank of America space in Richardson’s Galatyn Park and later added another 311,000 square feet of B of A space in the same four-building complex. Those two short-term deals “clearly show that State Farm is getting ready for a much larger presence here,” says Bill Sproull, president and CEO of the Richardson Chamber of Commerce.

And indeed it is. State Farm has signed on for a recordbreaking 1.5 million square feet of offi ce space in a massive new mixed-use development KDC is planning near the intersection of State Highway 190 and U.S. 75. The 186-acre, $1.5 billion development “will be a huge economic stimulus for our economy and pay dividends for a long time,” Sproull says. All told, it adds up to a whopping 2.5 million square feet in North Texas office leases for State Farm. The company was represented in its deals by Randy Cooper and Craig Wilson of Cassidy Turley.

Christus Health
Frost Tower
Neiman Marcus

Photography by Cord McPhail

Ross Perot Jr.

Selecting a Developer of the Year in a talent-laden market like Dallas isn’t easy. But this year, Hillwood, led by Ross Perot Jr., emerges victorious. Last year marked Hillwood’s most successful year ever in all three of its primary divisions: Hillwood Properties, Hillwood Communities, and Hillwood Investment Properties. Its impact on the region has been profound. In 2012, Hillwood inked 5 million square feet in leases at AllianceTexas, its signature 17,000-acre project in North Fort Worth, including a new 1.1 million-square-foot fulfillment center for Amazon. (It’s building another 1 million-square-footer for Amazon in Coppell.) It also was instrumental in securing funding for transformational changes to Interstate 35-W.

On the residential front, Hillwood Communities acquired more than 1,000 acres, developed more than 500 lots, and began the development of 600 more. It also broke ground on Harvest, a $1 billion, 1,000-acre mixed-use project in Northlake/Argyle. Conceived by its Innovation Hillwood think tank, the progressive development features an “urban agrarian” lifestyle. Hillwood Investment Properties, which manages industrial projects outside of Alliance, acquired nearly 10 million square feet of space in 2012, developed 4.2 million square feet, and leased 4.1 million square feet.

The key to Hillwood’s success? Continuity of strong divisional leaders, says Perot. He takes seriously the responsibility of providing opportunities for employees to grow—and doing what he can to help drive the economy: “It’s important for large companies like ours to put speculative projects on the ground and develop lots, to lead by example and help get markets going again.”

Steve Van Amburgh, KDC
Adam Saphier, Trammel Crow Co.

Prime Point Tract

the sale of 337 acres on Pleasant Run Road in South Dallas to Prime Rail interests stands out not only because it was the largest land transaction of 2012, but because it is an integral part in completing the rail infrastructure for the southern part of the International Inland Port of Dallas. It also completes assemblage for a 3,000-acre development called Prime Pointe. Designed for a heavy concentration of manufacturing and rail usage, it will be the largest industrial park in North Texas outside of Alliance in North Fort Worth. When complete, it’s expected to have an economic impact of $6 billion and create 7,500 jobs in southern Dallas.

The deal was put together by Tom Pearson, Chris Teesdale, and Ward Richmond of Colliers International. American Bank of Texas was the seller. Prime Rail Interests, led by Mike Rader, “has the commitment, the vision, and the capital to transform the area into a major distribution hub,” Pearson says. “It offers another reason companies will find it easier to locate here in North Texas.” Teesdale says he expects the demand for rail-served sites to grow significantly in the coming years: “Our market is so well-positioned nationally and internationally already. The timing for this park couldn’t be better.”

Forest Park Medical Center

In less than five years, Neal Richards Group, led by CEO Derrick Evers, has built a $1 billion real estate empire by creating a new industry sector: healthcare mixed-use. Its upscale Forest Park Medical centers evoke a five-star hospitality experience and are supported by both retail and medical office amenities.

The brand was particularly active in 2012, with three new North Texas projects. They include Forest Park Medical Frisco, a fourstory, 137,000-square-foot surgical hospital and 90,000-square-foot mixed-use building located within Frisco Square. Within the specialty hospital, 14 patient rooms include a separate family room and sleeping quarters. Forest Park Medical Center at Southlake, off State Highway 114, is comprised of a 142,000-square-foot hospital with 88,000-square-foot medical office building. The complex is being built with expansion in mind; the master plan calls for up to 500,000 square feet of acute care hospital space and four medical office buildings. Forest Park Medical Center Fort Worth is being developed on about 8 acres along the Trinity River within the Clearfork mixed-use project. It includes a 150,000-square-foot acute care hospital and 80,000 square feet of medical office space. All three Forest Park Medical projects are pursuing Silver LEED certification and include myriad energy-efficiency features.

Methodist Richardson Bush/Renner
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Alliance