DALLAS—RealShare Dallas began yesterday morningwith its first of four panel discussions, “Institutional CapitalMarkets.”

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Moderator Steve Pumper, executive managingdirector at Transwestern, led a five-member group,which explored what makes Dallas/Fort Worth such a top investmentmarket.

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“Dallas trophy-type assets are beginning to appear here and drawinterest,” said Greg Kraus, managing director,Invesco.

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In fact, business is so great in the local market thatconstruction costs are going up.

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“As construction prices have increased, [there's a 20 percentpremium on finding a crane],” said Lange W. Allen,executive director for U.S. industrial and logistics development atUSAA Real Estate Co.

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Other logistical factors have conspired to make the areaappealing for investors: The city is located in the Central timezone, the quality of life is high, the cost of living is low andthe impact of D/FW International Airport.

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For Allen, it's inverted his early-2014 business model. Duringthe question and answer period, he admitted that at the beginningof the year, he had 80 percent build-to-suit vs. 20 percent specprojects. Now, he says it's “flip-flopped.”

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As Pumper summed up: “I'm optimistic.”

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Other panelists included Robert Geary, directorof Bank of America Merrill Lynch Real Estate StructuredFinance and Kevin Westra, regionaldirector, Northwestern Mutual.

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