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DALLAS-Wilcox Development Services, based here, will break ground in two weeks on an estimated $150-million, 750,000-sf expansion of its 13-acre Chase International Plaza, situated in the Far North Dallas submarket along the North Dallas Parkway in Farmers Branch.

“This is the largest project developed speculatively in Dallas since the mid-1980s,” Steve Platt, Wilcox president, tells GlobeSt.com. It also represents the largest undertaking for the development group in its five-year history. “We’re not necessarily trying to do larger and larger projects, it’s just that this tract of land lent itself to that kind of development,” explains Platt.

The property is owned by BCK & Partners LP, a German investment group that bought the site in 1992, subsequently entering into a joint venture with Wilcox for its development. The project is being developed for the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio. Bank of America is providing the financing for the two buildings–one with 15-stories and 400,000 sf, the other with 13-stories and 350,000 sf–that are being designed by HKS Architects of Dallas. The structures will closely resemble the existing 350,000-sf Chase International Plaza I, which has been fully leased by the Global Services Group of Chase Manhattan Bank since its completion in 1999.

When completed in first quarter 2002, the three office towers will represent an investment in excess of $200 million, says Platt. Wilcox has retained rights to name the new buildings to reflect lead tenants’ identities, but each structure will carry the formal title of Chase International Plaza.

The buildings, being built by Centex Construction Co. of Dallas, will be concrete frame architecture with pre-cast panels and glass. The structures will feature 27,000-sf to 28,000-sf column-free floorplates, granite entries and lobbies with floor-to-ceiling windows plus eight passenger elevators and separate freight elevators. The project’s centerpiece is a courtyard designed by SWA Landscape Architects, also of Dallas. The courtyard will be heavily landscaped, sized larger than a football field and feature a reflection pool and four ornate fountains.

“We were extremely fortunate that we were able to keep our same development team in place from the development of Chase International Plaza I,” says Platt, noting that the group includes the original architect and project manager. Wilcox Realty Group leases and manages Chase International Plaza, with John Conger, president of the realty group, and Buddy Tompkins, vice president, overseeing the complex’s leasing. Conger says the delivery time is right, given that all of the class A projects in this particular submarket is leasing so rapidly.

“The two new buildings that will complete Chase International Plaza will have a dramatic impact on the corporate landscape in Farmers Branch as well as the North Texas area,” says Farmers Branch Economic Development Director Norma Nichols.

Farmer’s Branch is a 10-minute drive into downtown Dallas and ideally situated along a primary artery. The development, says Mayor Bob Phelps, represents a major infusion into his community’s growth as “a major center of business and industry in North Texas.”

Wilcox Development Services has developed more than 1.5 million sf of office properties in the past three years and currently has over 2 million sf of projects in various stages in Texas and California.

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