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North Dallas Suburban Developments Field Office Inquiries In Wake Of Pandemic

Inquiries for office space at developing mixed-use centers inside far North Dallas suburbs rose in the past two months as companies have adjusted their workplace strategies and considered relocation in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

One Bethany Campus in Allen

"Having two major projects with office [product] in Plano and Allen, [I can say] demand for corporate users slowed in March," Thakkar Developments CEO Poorvesh Thakkar said while speaking at Bisnow's Future of DFW's Northern Suburbs event.

That turned around in August.

"In the last two months, I have had an influx of inquiries coming in; there is a movement happening, and there are interested corporations that want to be in the North Dallas region in general," Thakkar said.

Thakkar Development is behind one of four large mixed-use projects going up around the 121 Corridor in Allen. Known as The Avenue, Thakkar's project is slated to have 1M SF of office, 65 single-family homes and 1,600 apartments off Highway 121. The firm also is developing Mustang Square at State Highway 121 and Rasor Boulevard in Plano, a site that will eventually house 100K SF of office, a hotel, retail and residential. 

The 121 Corridor also contains 230 acres of contiguous land in Allen, known as Monarch City, bordering U.S. 75 and State Highway 121. The site is owned by Howard Hughes Corp., but is up for sale, offering prime office, retail, entertainment and residential development sites. 

"We have met with a number of different qualified groups that are looking at either a joint venture with Howard Hughes or an outright purchase that we think will really propel that area forward," Allen Economic Development Corp. CEO Dan Bowman said. 

The pandemic also has done little to stall developer JaRyCo's plan to transform 135 acres of farmland in Allen into The Farm, featuring 1.6M SF of office, 142K SF of retail, a luxury hotel, townhomes and urban apartments. 

JaRyCo President Bruce Heller said activity picked up again in the past few months, and his firm is about to sign another 18K SF office lease at another site in Allen.

"We are still talking with potential tenants for The Farm," Heller said. "The business community realizes you are never going to control the virus, you have to learn to live with it. So, we have never stopped. We are going to push forward with making something happen."

Kaizen Development Partners CEO Derrick Evers agrees demand for North Dallas office remains strong despite the strange market conditions created by the coronavirus. 

Kaizen hosted Bisnow's first live event since the pandemic outbreak inside the firm's One Bethany West office building. It's the third luxury office development of its kind in Allen's Watters Creek district. 

The 200K SF office building is arriving on the scene just as Kaizen's neighboring office tower at Watters Creek reaches roughly 90% occupancy. 

Despite some uncertainty around the economy, Evers expects Kaizen to stay the course when it comes to North Dallas office development. 

"Everyone is dealing with the ripple effects associated with COVID and trying to figure out how we move forward," Evers said. "In our mind, we love to move countercyclical to conventional thinking. Many people would be pulling back in times like this, but we actually think this is the time to move forward."