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Granite's David Cunningham Talks Burbs Vs Core

Dallas-Ft. Worth
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Despite the returning allure of Downtown (which we told you about Friday), not everyone is moving their offices, says Granite Properties development and construction director David Cunningham (right, with Ridgement Commercial Construction’s Jeff Stucker) at Bisnow’s Dallas Construction & Development event Thursday at The Berkshire at Preston Center. The bulk of Granite's portfolio is in the 'burbs, where David says 77% of US office space is located. It's a stat he doesn’t see changing soon. Granite offers its 950 tenants across its portfolio a corporate-campus-like atmosphere with amenities. Granite aims to provide its users--mostly 5k to 7k SF--with the same environment  major corporations have: fitness centers, restaurants, casual gathering areas in the buildings, and nearby restaurants.

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Designing flexibility into building plans is crucial, says KDC EVP Don Mills (right, with LA Fuess Partners’ Caleb Duncan). Don says most of KDC’s projects have raised flooring for cable management, are rectangular-shaped, and have manageable size floor plates (usually around 40k SF). That way clients can adapt the product as their business evolves. Plus, if someone vacates (like Encana), accommodating another tenant (or multiple tenants) isn't a problem; it gives investors options for repurposing a building, Don says.

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Transwestern project management principal Marc Allen (right, with GL Barron Co’s Stephen Gebren) says looking at budgets, tech continues to grow. People can do without a lot of things, but if the Internet goes down, everyone at the office goes home. Going forward, Marc says offices will have more mobility and more fluid space (as opposed to static space). Tenants today seek a building that represents their brand and helps with employee recruitment.

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GL Seaman & Co’s Mary Miano (here with Avison Young’s Michael Kennedy) moderated two panels at our event. She tells us her firm’s modular construction walls can create customized office spaces in less than a week on-site. The firm has had 49% growth from the previous year. Because of rapidly changing tech and the speed of people going to market, it’s important for companies to be agile in their spaces, and the modular designs can move real estate from one position to the next.

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Here’s event sponsors Chicago Title’s Clark Pulliam and Dennis Noebel bookending Cadence McShane Construction’s Jessica Smith. Chicago Title’s national commercial services office is HQed in Dallas and is one of the largest and most experienced title and escrow organizations in the US, operating independently, but in concert with parent Fidelity National Title Group’s nationwide organization, Dennis tells us. 

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Event sponsor Prosper Economic Development Corp CEO Robert Winningham shows a map of Prosper developments. Robert tells us Matthews Paradise (partnership between developers Jack Matthews and Mitch Paradise) is developing a three-building 275k SF office project at the northwest corner of the Dallas North Tollway and US Hwy 380. Construction should started in 2015 with a 2016 targeted opening.