(For more retail coverage, click GlobeSt.com/RETAILthe multifamily market, click here.)

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KATY, TX-With its first retail phase 60% preleased, VistaEquities Group and its Denver-based partner, Amstar Group, willbreak ground on an $80-million second phase for LaCenterra at CincoRanch. In May, work will start on 160,000 sf of retail and 230residential units, all planned for completion in fall 2008.

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The development partners are in the process of wrapping up workon the $60-million first phase for LaCenterra, where 170,000 sf ofretail and 90,000 sf of office space is delivering at 23501 CincoRanch Blvd. The 34-acre, 700,000-sf development got under way inlate January 2006.

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Woody Mann Jr., president of Houston-based Vista Equities Group,says the plan has been to develop LaCenterra in two phases, oneright after the other from the beginning rather than trying for amarket-driven strategy. "Phase two was in the plan all along," Manntells GlobeSt.com. "We felt like it would be needed to create acredible mass for the area and we knew phase one wouldn't be largeenough to do that."

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Mann says the first phase is on track for its retail leasing asis the office component, which is 30% preleased. "Office tenantsare different from retail tenants. They need to be able to see,smell and feel something before they commit," Mann explains. "We'refortunate in that we have the Katy Area Chamber of Commerceofficing there. That will help drive a lot of traffic through thedevelopment."

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Mann says that the first phase's retail rates range from $26 persf to $60 per sf net, with office space starting at $26 per sf,gross. Lease rates for the second phase have not beendetermined.

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Hermes Architects Inc. is the architect of record forLaCenterra. Hoar Construction, headquartered in Birmingham, AL, isthe general contractor. Page Realty Partners Ltd. of Houston isleasing the retail space while CB Richard Ellis is overseeing theoffice.

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