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DENTON, TX-A decade-long mothballed plant finally gets a taker in a likely high-ticket closing between Dallas-based Texas Instruments Inc. and the University of North Texas. A $22-million asking price was levied on the idled Javelin missile factory, but no one’s saying just what the university paid for the 553,000-sf building and 277 acres at 3940 N. Elm St.

For years, the university talked off and on about the acquisition, but never got serious until May, J. Holmes Davis, Philadelphia-based Binswanger/CBB’s vice president in Dallas, told GlobeSt.com. From that point, negotiations, due diligence and the closing came about quickly for the work that needed done to get to a signing. Repeated courting of the university most often resulted in a “maybe some day,” Davis says. “That some day came.”

The factory was built in 1989 specifically for Texas Instruments, then a defense contractor, to manufacture the Javelin missile. Word on the street is that it cost $40 million to $50 million to build and equip. The contract was lost in 1991 and forced the plant’s shutdown. Davis says Texas Instruments kept the plant in mothballs in anticipation of additional Department of Defense contracts. The contracts never materialized and Texas Instruments was ultimately bought out in the late 1990s by Raytheon Corp., which turned its back on the asset. “They said they didn’t need any more real estate,” Holmes said.

The property had gone under contract several times during the lengthy marketing effort. Binswanger/CBB’s Davis and Dallas-based Trammell Crow Co.’s Steve Zimmerman were the co-listing agents for the property and handled the sale to the university.

The university is eyeing a multitude of possibilities, including the relocation of some administrative operations that can readily be separated from the main campus positioned four miles away. Another plan calls for moving the bulk of classes for several academic programs, specifically technology-related programs, to the campus-like setting. It also might serve as an expansion to the institution’s research and development activities and provide needed space for business incubators.

Minimal retrofitting would be needed for any of the university’s plans at this stage, says Davis. The property has been maintained and has the look and feel of an office campus, in keeping with Texas Instruments facilities nationwide. From the road, it more closely resembles an office building than a manufacturing site. The structure is designed with 350,000 sf of flex office and tech space plus has a high-capacity power system and cafeteria. “It’s a good match for the University of North Texas,” says Davis.

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