Icon Midtown

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"It's not just another shopping center. We're creating anauthentic urban experience," says Paris Rutherford, president ofDallas-based Icon Partners. "It will become an authentic place, adistrict in the city."

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Rutherford says the project's name reflects the positioning inthe metroplex, the sweet spot between the far northern suburbs andthe heart of Downtown Dallas. Rutherford, Icon chairman DanielRobinowitz and three architectural firms huddled over the designabout 18 months. The planning began with the parking component andtook six months to complete. "Weaving that parking into the projecthas been a science," Rutherford says, adding each component farexceeds city requirements. "It truly has been a collaborativeeffort."

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[IMGCAP(2)]Rutherford says Icon Midtown's 20-acre first phasewill rise in one fell swoop: a 715,000-sf office tower, 500residential units, 525,000 sf of retail and entertainment space,50,000-sf food district with eclectic culinary shops, boutiquehotel and destination spa. Rutherford says negotiations are underway with a hotel developer, theater chain, out-of-state Italiangrocer, New York deli-bakery and a famous cooking school, whichintends to include a TV studio in its space.

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"Many are new to Texas," Rutherford says, adding deals are beingnegotiated for about 40% of the retail space. "The guts of whatmakes the commercial side work is what we're negotiating rightnow." He says construction financing is in the process of beingsecured, now that preleasing is far enough along.

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Rutherford says the first wave of tenant announcements will beready to parade in 90 days. United Commercial Realty/ChainLinks ofDallas is preleasing the retail space. CB Richard Ellis' local teamhas reeled in the office assignment. Icon's team is taking on theresidential component.

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[IMGCAP(3)]Rutherford tells GlobeSt.com that it's undecided ifthey will ground lease or sell select sites. "It comes down to thecaliber of the tenants for any sales," he says. Likewise, it'sundecided if Icon Midtown is going to be a long-term hold ormerchant build. "The four components have been put together for theflexibility to hold or sell," he says. "If there's a compellingreason to carve a piece out, we can do that too."

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The Icon Midtown site has roughly 600 feet of frontage alongInterstate 635's access road. There are two vacant structures fromShowcase Chevrolet that need to be razed and a dozen or soapartment buildings that need to be scraped. Rutherford says sitework isn't ticketed to start until January 2009, but it could getunder way sooner. The bricks-and-mortar construction will take twoyears to complete.

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Rutherford says the vision is to create a district with thevibrancy of the Grove. Food district tenants will be required tohave outdoor displays like vendors' carts and cookingdemonstrations to create an open-air street fair. He says IconMidtown's interior streets will be reserved on weekends forpedestrian traffic and no vehicles allowed, which is why so muchplanning was needed for parking. The office tower and hotel willhave shared valet parking. The residential component calls forlofts and apartments over retail in addition to luxury unitsattached to the hotel so residents can have direct access toamenities, according to Rutherford.

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Icon Midtown's 34-story office tower was designed by notedarchitect Ross Wimer of Chicago-based Skidmore Owings Merrill.Other components were crafted by Development Design Group ofBaltimore and Gromatzky Dupree & Associates of Dallas.

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"There are a lot of great development areas, but the foundationof this location works," Rutherford says. "It's the rightdevelopment at the right time."

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