Though Fort Worth, much like Dallas, its neighbor to the east,hasn't been immune to the economic issues plaguing the U.S.throughout 2009, local experts tell GlobeSt.com that the city, andTarrant County, didn't enter the economic downturn with as manyproblems as Dallas.

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"Fort Worth didn't get as overbuilt as Dallas. We didn't see themassive commercial development here that Dallas saw, particularlyin North Dallas," comments Jim Harris, founder of real estatedeveloper James R. Harris Partners.

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"We came into the downturn with a commercial market that wassteady, but not overbuilt by any means," adds Ben Loughry, managingdirector of Integra Realty Resources DFW LLP. "Likewise, ouroccupancies dipped some, but haven't dipped to the extent that ourneighbor to the east has."

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This is not to say, however, that the recession hasn't taken abite out of Cow Town's commercial real estate. At the recent"Tarrant County Outlook – 2010" presentation, Hillwood Properties'Mike Berry pointed out that the Tarrant County deal flow on theindustrial side increased slightly during Q4 2009, though overallabsorption in 2009 was well below the historical average, standingat negative 1.8 million square feet compared to a positive 4.4million square feet in 2008.

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Meanwhile, on the office side, Jones Lang LaSalle's ToddBurnette pointed to a vacancy of close to 16%, with concessions upand effective rents down by 20%. Still, he pointed out, the goodnews for Fort Worth and Tarrant County was that with the financialcrisis averted, equity markets would likely improve, though it'sstill too early to celebrate good fortune. But most Fort Worthlandlords were likely to remain stable, he noted.

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According to Transwestern's year-end report, Dallas showed 238million square feet of office space with a vacancy of 18.7%,compared to metro Fort Worth's 46.4 million square feet inventoryand 12.5% vacancy. The total industrial space in Dallas is 455million square feet with vacancy standing at 12%, while FortWorth's 245 million square feet had a vacancy of 10.8%.

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Furthermore, Harris says, the likelihood of any kind ofconstruction in the near term is slim to none, except forinstitutions such as hospitals, schools or government buildings. "Iwouldn't want to build an office building today, when the oneacross the street might be owned by Bank of America or Citicorp,and might be put on the market at a lower rate," he explains.

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This hasn't stopped corporations from other parts of the nationfrom considering Fort Worth as a place in which to do business.Loughry says. The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce is working withseveral interested companies, and while the industrial sector hasthe space to accommodate such moves, office space is a littletight, though there is some available.

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"The main thing now about the area, is those corporations are aswilling to look at Alliance, north of Fort Worth as they areanywhere else in Dallas," he adds.

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