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SOUTHLAKE, TX-Terrabrook has signed the first deal for its 550-acre Aventerra, a mixed-used development in the prestigious Southlake. Dallas-based Granite Properties takes the helm as office developer while Terrabrook continues serious talks with a retail specialist who could be on board by year’s end.

The pact calls for Granite to develop a 7 1/2-acre tract, marking the 10-year-old leading office developer’s first foray into Tarrant County. Greg Fuller, Granite’s managing director, tells GlobeSt.com that the preliminary design calls for a six-floor, 150,000-sf, multi-tenant building. And, he confides, Granite has the first right of refusal for an abutting 75-acre tract for additional office development. Phil Baker and Stan McClure, both of Insignia/ESG (formerly Baker Commercial Realty), brokered the land deal.

The first spade of earth won’t be turned until mid-2002, with an eye on a summer 2003 delivery. That, says Fuller, is because “there’s still a lot of work to be done between here and there.”

That work is the infrastructure, specifically the completion of Texas 114, which is the connector between the 15,000-acre AllianceTexas and Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport. Jim Baker, Terrabrook vice president and general manager, says the strategy is to deliver Aventerra’s infrastructure and Granite Corporate Center in sync with the mid-2003 opening of Texas 114.

Aventerra’s land planner, Good Fulton Farrell of Dallas, is designing Granite’s class A office building. Aventerra’s landscape architect, TBG Partners of Dallas, will design the grounds for Granite Corporate Center at Aventerra.

Granite’s project literally will be positioned at “the front door to 114,” says Fuller. Talks are under way with prospective tenants, including one single-tenant user. Fuller says he’s not precluding that the spec building could become a build-to-suit since it’s so early in the planning game. Should a build-to-suit tenant come forward, a second office building might begin sooner than anticipated, he says. The deal was sewn up by the prospects of being close to Las Colinas, where Granite has a large presence, the DFW and Alliance airports and the demographics of Southlake, home to many high-profile metroplex figures.

The Granite signing signals a close to a lengthy process “to find the right development affiliate…and matching of corporate philosophies and then working out the logistics of working together,” Baker explains to GlobeSt.com. He says the Terrabrook team is intent on finding just the right fit in its development partners for the project that will add four million sf to six million sf of retail, hotel, office and corporate build-to-suits to the 114 West Corridor. “We see this as an eight to 10-year development. We want to do this right,” he stresses.

The under-construction artery, says Baker, is on its way to becoming a master-planned corridor of abutting mixed-use projects, with large office components. Four such developments already line the highway, touching in some spots. There’s comfort in that, he says, because it ensures “a consistent level of quality development more so than competition.”

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