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2014: The Year of Development

Dallas-Ft. Worth

New office construction dominated the crystal ball gazing yesterday at Bisnow’s DFW 2014 Forecast at The Tower at Cityplace with the latest about Granite Park IV’s newest lease and the latest on Victory Park’s redevelopment timeline.

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More than 450 gathered on the 42nd floor of The Tower at Cityplace (with a stunning view at sunset) to hear Trademark Property chairman/CEO Terry Montesi explain Trademark’s efforts at Victory Park. Starting from the ground level (literally), items on the to-do list include converting the traffic around the development (specifically Houston and Victory Avenue) into two-way. The idea is to make it feel more like a neighborhood with slower traffic and more pedestrian friendly. (To quote Midnight Cowboy: "I'm walkin' here!") Trademark will also add a bike line on Houston to help the Katy Trail keep going instead of fizzling into the AAC platinum garage.

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“We’re adding all the warmth and conveniences it doesn’t have today, from potted plants to benches and more outdoor seating. We want wider sidewalks to provide a visual cue,” Terry says. Another change to try to save the project, which never reached its lofty goals, is to create unique storefronts--instead of the sterile one-size-fits-all current style--in the new retailers or restaurants that come on board. Construction starts in a few months and most will finish by year’s end. Next up: a 70k to 80k SF office tower over retail on the site of the old Mandarin garage. That should start in the next four months and be completed in 2015.

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Granite Properties director of leasing Robert Jimenez (left, with Sarofim Realty Advisors’ Matt Leyrer) tells us that the first lease for about 26k SF has been inked at 300k SF Granite Park IV, which is the latest Granite property under development along with a 300-room Hilton hotel. Fun fact we learned about Robert: he held a state swimming record for two years while in high school.

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Panel moderator Mohr Partners chairman & CEO Bob Mohr jested (we hope) regarding his opinion of the media, using our DFW reporter Tonie Auer for demonstration purposes. Bob tells us Mohr Partners handled about 2,200 transactions in ’13. His latest hobby: highmarking. Snowboarding at Telluride on a recent trip was apparently not exciting enough, so he hopped on a specially designed snowmobile and started traveling up the mountain to see who could go the highest and leave a mark without tumbling back down the incline. 

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Uptown’s 1.3M SF The Tower at CityPlace hosted the event yesterday. The 42-story tower features a DART stop within the building, with millions allocated for building enhancements. Nearby are many projects under construction nearby, and the property’s new owner, Parmenter, is considering development opportunities for the property around the building. One of its best features: flexible leasing opportunities, with space from 2,000 SF to 200k SF available. We particularly liked the view of downtown. (We don't work for the NSA, we promise.)

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Event sponsor The Real Estate Council prez/CEO Linda McMahon (left, with Cushman & Wakefield’s Mark Dickenson) tells us TREC has big events on the horizon. Tomorrow, TREC’s speaker series features Points of Light Foundation chairman Neil Bush at the Belo Mansion. Next comes TREC’s annual membership meeting on March 3, and then the biggie: Fight Night. The annual black-tie event featuring professional boxing and Vegas-style entertainment will be April 24 at the Hilton Anatole

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Event sponsor Alliance Tax Advisors: Kristi Lazo, Mark Wood, Jennifer Keierleber, and Mike Fritz. Mike tells us ATA reps about 90M SF of industrial properties in Dallas. The firm’s goal is to help clients lower their property taxes on commercial real estate. Now’s the time to prepare, he says. Come back on Monday for a second day of event coverage. If you'd like to see who was at the event, you can check out the event photo gallery.