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ROCKWALL, TX-Florida-based Regency Centers has its eyes on the Dallas suburbs, buying 16.3 acres for a 122,661-sf retail center in Rockwall. The project cost is pegged in the ballpark of $12 million.

“It’s a going home corner,” James Buis, Regency’s managing director for the Southwest region, tells GlobeSt.com of the land acquisition in a suburb 22 miles east of Downtown Dallas. But that’s not the only reason it caught Regency’s eye for its first development in that corridor. Rockwall is situated in one of the fastest-growing corridors in North Texas and is the county seat of Rockwall County, which boasts the state’s second highest per capita income level.

“What makes this site so appealing is that when they (commuters) exit to go home, they’ll go right past this property,” Buis says. It’s a surefire plus for Regency’s first stab at the market, bringing with it the town’s first Tom Thumb grocery.

Regency and Tom Thumb’s parent, Randall’s Food & Drug, bought the prime corner at the intersection of Ridge and Horizon roads from Quorum Horizon Ridge LP. Quorum is in the process of developing infrastructure, in which Regency will play a hand.

The land buy carried simultaneous closings, with Quorum acquiring 40 acres and then selling the 16.3 acres to Regency and Randall’s, according to Buis. Matthew Kiran of Rex Real Estate Inc. in Dallas brokered the land sale for buyer and seller.

The center’s groundbreaking is more than a year off to allow for additional residential growth. In the last decade, the population rose about 28% and is now riding at 15,500, according to city stats.

Buis says not to look for a groundbreaking until January 2003 and delivery a year later. Tom Thumb’s anchor spot totals 62,000 sf. A junior anchor of 20,000 sf to 30,000 sf will be lined up to complement roughly 20,000 sf of inline space. The center has been patterned after Regency’s award-winning Trophy Club project, which was named the best designed center in the US in 2000. O’Brien & Associates of Dallas is the architect. The awards for general contractor and landscape architect have yet to be made.

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