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As Platinum Corridor Reaches Critical Mass, Now Is The Time To Rethink Development

The Platinum Corridor is a hotbed for mixed-use developments. From an investor standpoint, Invesco managing director Greg Kraus said that means there are not any missing elements to the area's real estate. But from a development standpoint, it makes him wonder. 

Jamba Juice's Josh Nicosia, Transwestern's Randy Garrett, O’Brien Architects' Mike Granlund, Hall Group's Kim Butler, Invesco's Greg Kraus, Newcrestimage Management's Mehul Patel, WeWork's Adam Wacenske

"How many mixed-use urban communities are truly supportable?" he said at Bisnow's Big Platinum Corridor event Tuesday. It is time to look carefully at the proportion of these developments and how supportable they are long term, he said.

His fellow panelists agreed Plano and Frisco are in a sweet spot. The cities have all the amenities and lifestyle offerings of a big city, but have retained their suburban feel. 

"This is just the beginning because we have critical mass now," Newcrestimage Management CEO Mehul Patel said. With critical mass, residents and developers can demand certain developments and real estate options, not just receive them, he said.

Patel looks for mixed-use hubs like Frisco Station to develop big brand hotels. "We want somewhere with conferences, shopping, weddings and restaurants. We typically look for 1M SF of office, 10 or 20 restaurants and household users."

CallisonRTKL's Sarah Fox, NewcrestImage Management's Mehul Patel and CallisonRTKL's Paul Wilmarth

But if other hoteliers do not have such strict criteria in developing, the Corridor could quickly become overbuilt in hotels, and the properties could cannibalize each other. Patel thinks many of the announced hotels in the area will deliver not in the next 24 months as scheduled, but more like 36 or more months. 

"I think it's a balanced approach," he said.

Appropriately, as soon as the Bisnow event ended, Patel headed to Frisco Station to break ground on a dual-brand AC Hotel and Residence Inn. 

With Toyota and others opening this year, Hall Group leasing director Kim Butler thinks office leasing will pick up. She expected to see more leasing to 10K SF companies that service Toyota. 

"I thought we would have seen that a little earlier," she said. "In talking to my counterparts, many of them have signed several leases directly related to Toyota, and I think we'll see that pick up." 

Now that some of the original developers such as Craig Hall and Ross Perot have established the area, the fundamentals cannot be misconstrued, Transwestern principal Randy Garrett said. Of the 12M SF of office Transwestern tracks in the Platinum Corridor north of Sam Rayburn, absorption last year was 1.3M SF. 

Those additional office tenants would add to the area's critical mass.  

The future of Prosper, Celina and surrounding cities looks similar to Frisco's growth in the previous cycle. 

Jamba Juice's Tom McCord and Jamba Juice's Josh Nicosia

"When you go north of tollway, there’s a lot of dirt that hasn’t been pushed yet," Jamba Juice chief compliance officer and head of real estate Josh Nicosia said. If developers and investors do not get ahead of development, it is hard to have the foresight to build the right kinds of projects, he said.

Celina and Downtown Dallas are equidistant to the several access points on the Platinum Corridor, including Hall Park, Butler said. Celina is opening up to residents and that will play a role in office tenants' ability to recruit and retain different pools of talent. When the Corridor offers many of the same urban amenities as central Dallas, many employees will choose to live north of their offices.