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Hillwood Urban SVP Bill Brokaw: Shortage Of Land, High Office Demand Led To Victory Commons Office Project

Not far from where Hillwood Urban and USAA Real Estate's 365K SF Victory Commons office project broke ground near American Airlines Center this past summer, Westdale Real Estate Investment and Management is prepping for Deep Ellum's The Epic to become home to hundreds of Uber employees.  

Victory Commons rendering

Uber's decision to move into Westdale's The Epic is proof to Hillwood Urban Senior Vice President Bill Brokaw that speculative office in Dallas' urban core is a winning proposition; and it is one Hillwood Urban and USAA Real Estate intend to emulate with their Victory Commons initiative. 

"I think Uber has been a huge win for Dallas because it really reinforces and puts on the map the Dallas urban area and [brands it] as being a great relocation [destination] for these groups from the West Coast or East Coast," Brokaw said.

Brokaw also will be speaking about Hillwood Urban's latest office development at Bisnow's State of Office event Oct. 8. 

Designed by BOKA Powell, Victory Commons is Hillwood Urban and USAA Real Estate's answer to growing demand for office space in the Uptown and North Downtown Dallas markets. It is a significant real estate maneuver that utilizes Hillwood's remaining stash of developable acreage in the landlocked urban core markets of Uptown, Victory Park and North Downtown Dallas.

"What we are seeing is a very scarce amount of land opportunities [in the urban core], and we are very fortunate to have 11 acres in Victory, and we bought a site at Woodall Rodgers Freeway and Field Street, catty-corner from the Perot museum," Brokaw said. 

Hillwood Urban also has three sites around the Turtle Creek area that the firm previously purchased when expecting office demand to eventually outpace land supply in the urban core, Brokaw said. 

Hillwood Urban and USAA Real Estate see Victory Commons as a dream destination for national companies relocating to Dallas-Fort Worth in the future.

It is also a prime landing spot for regional companies or law firms looking for desirable Class-A office space near Uptown, Brokaw said. 

Victory Commons, when open in the fall of 2021, will be a 365K SF, 15-story office development at 2601 Victory Ave. in Victory Park. 

Before building the development on spec on an 8.5-acre site, Brokaw and Hillwood Urban surveyed the nation to see what relocating companies and modern-day workforces really want in their buildings.

The verdict?

View of Victory Commons Office Development from Interstate 35

Companies want urban core properties with green spaces and access to public transportation. 

Tenants at Victory Commons will enjoy a lounge, a coffee bar, a rooftop terrace complete with balconies, Downtown Skyline views and direct access to the adjacent Victory DART/TRE Station.

A 1-acre public plaza designed by TBG landscape architects with planned green spaces will offer a dose of walkability in the urban development. 

The site has room to build more than 1.5M SF of office space in three phases in a three-building urban campus setting. 

Even with construction just beginning, Hillwood Urban is receiving bites from across the country.

"Whether it's a Fortune 1000 company or a regional expansion — or law firms that have continuously sought to move out of Downtown into Uptown for recruiting purposes and to define their new cultures — that's what we're seeing," Brokaw said. 

Brokaw has no doubt the development — which HFF arranged the equity for to secure construction financing through QuadReal — is in a prime spot to generate pre-leasing activity. 

"If you look at the last nine buildings that were delivered in this cycle [in this area], they are all kind of in the same range of anywhere from 150K to 400K [SF]," Brokaw said. "Those buildings right now are approximately 92% leased."