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North Texas Attracting Millions of SF of New Projects; Here's Why

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On Tuesday alone, two new projects totaling 827k SF broke ground, and a rendering for a 138k SF tower was unveiled. Why is North Texas suddenly so hot? We asked the experts.

North Texas Attracting Millions of SF of New Projects; Here's Why

Competition for preferred sites is leading companies to take more rapid actions, says JLL managing director Scott Boer (left, with JLL's Roger Staubach). His group is Toyota’s partner in building its new North American HQ. He's seeing more consideration of build-to-suit versus the historic TI fit-outs in existing properties. The issues that clients bring up with him: transportation and traffic, local amenities, distance to new residential markets, exit strategy, and master planning with the ability to expand with little resistance. The three big projects launched Tuesday are two build-to-suits: Billingsley Co’s 327k SF for CoreLogic’s DFW regional operations in Cypress Waters and Stream’s 500k SF HQ relo for Farmers Brothers Co in Northlake. Harwood International also unveiled plans for its 136k SF new Rolex building.

North Texas Attracting Millions of SF of New Projects; Here's Why

CBRE vice chairman Jeff Ellerman doesn’t see overbuilding as a factor. Demand for new product is strong and spec projects are enjoying pre-leasing. Employers are coming for the large talent pool and, in turn, more employees follow. Jeff and colleagues Scott Hobbs and Mike Scimo repped CoreLogic (groundbreaking pictured) in its build-to-suit deal with Billingsley. He tells us the firm went through a lengthy process of determining the right location and building type. Billingsley SVP Marijke Lantz says the company will break ground on another new spec four-story 215k SF office building at Cypress Waters in June. 

North Texas Attracting Millions of SF of New Projects; Here's Why

What's driving all these local build-to-suits? Cresa Dallas managing principal Susan Arledge (second from right at the NTCAR Hall of Fame event) offered up two reasons.

1) Companies can’t risk being stuck in a loser location. You have to locate your office where the talent pool wants to live, work, and play. If it’s not there, have it built.

2) Companies want to be able to redesign their space to reduce occupancy costs. The average space leased by corporations is significantly shrinking—most are reducing by 20%, Susan says. Admin workstations will be modular with low partitions and high wood or glass panels for separation, and build-out costs can be reduced with "touchdown" space/conference centers. 

North Texas Attracting Millions of SF of New Projects; Here's Why

Farmer Brothers Co CEO Mike Keown tells us the 103-year-old company hadn’t built a new facility since 1960 and needed a state-of-the-art HQ. The Torrance, CA-based company embarked on a national search with more than two dozen criteria, including access to talent, airport proximity, logistics factors and utilities. Mike says the corridor between Houston to Oklahoma City stuck out, and local government leaders sealed the deal. Stream Realty Partners will develop the 500k SF facility on 28 acres at the corner of I-35W and SH 114. Stream’s development team was led by Cannon Green, Albert Jarrell and Bob Hagewood. The land contract holder, Bill Vaughan, repped himself. The site will be developed by Stream, owned by Wells Fargo and leased by Farmer Brothers. 

North Texas Attracting Millions of SF of New Projects; Here's Why

Thirty years ago, Harwood International built the first commercial building in Uptown, the Rolex Building. Yesterday, Harwood unveiled the design for Rolex’s new owner-use build-to-suit called One Harwood. Rolex will expand its offices into the seven-story building that features 137k SF, including 56k SF of office. The building is being designed in collaboration with Dallas-based HDF and Tokyo-based Kengo Kuma & Associates. Curated environments designed by world-renowned landscape architect Sadafumi Uchiyama include a Japanese-inspired tiered garden, rampart stone walls, and reflecting pools and cascading waterfalls. A motor court is nestled, which ties the site to the gardens of Saint Ann Court and across to the existing Rolex building. Pictured: Harwood International CEO Gabriel Barbier-Mueller (between Rolex CEO Jean-Frederic Dufour and Rolex Watch USA CEO Stewart Wicht).