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BIG FIRMS BYPASS DOWNTOWN

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You wouldn’t know it by looking at the crane-studded skyline in downtown Dallas, but Central Business District boosters are openly worried about the inroads made by Las Colinas, an upstart Irving development less than 10 years old that is challenging downtown for office space leadership.

Las Colinas won the latest battle in the struggle with downtown’when giant Caltex Petroleum Corporation announced last month it would occupy 275,000 square feet of office space in the Las Colinas Urban Center on Carpenter Freeway rather than in downtown Dallas.

“People are worried that all the major companies that are moving here are ignoring downtown,” says one real estate broker. Of all the giant firms that have relocated in Dallas in recent years, only Diamond Shamrock has of-ficed downtown.

Since its first tenants arrived in September 1976, more than 13 million square feet of office space have been constructed or are under construction. About 10 million square feet of office space have been built in downtown during the same period, bringing the downtown total to more than 31 million square feet of office space.

Even more troublesome to Dallas boosters than the Las Colinas location of giants like Caltex, the Boy Scouts of America, and IBM is the defection of homegrown companies from Dallas to Irving. Zale Corporation recently announced the sale of its decade-old building on Stem-mons Freeway for a campus-style office complex in Las Colinas.

Caltex, owned by Standard Oil of California, and Texaco, is moving to the Dallas area from Manhattan sometime next year. When Caltex occupies its new offices being built by developer Trammell Crow, the Las Colinas Urban Center will be geographically larger than downtown Dallas.

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