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ARGYLE, TX-A Dallas businessman is banking on his investment savvy, buying 35.6 acres in a Denton County suburb to bring the first retail to Robson Ranch, a 2,700-acre senior living community.

E.W. Switzer paid $2.2 million for the corner tract at the junction of Robson Ranch Road and Interstate 35, confirms the seller’s broker. Switzer’s normal fare–service station, convenience store and restaurant–will be mated to plans of a considerably larger magnitude. Talks already have begun with Bentonville, AR-based Wal-Mart, national grocery chains and vehicle dealerships, Robert Dryden, one of two Switzer brokers, tells GlobeSt.com. “Wal-Mart is interested,” Dryden confides. He also has fielded calls from other brokers looking to snag retail pad sites for fast-food clients. Switzer has mapped out 20 acres for “a full-blown shopping center,” says Dryden, who found the available land and took the deal to Switzer.

Right now, retail is practically non-existent between the Texas Motor Speedway and the City of Denton: roughly 20 miles without fast food, grocery stores and places to shop. The acreage lies six miles north of the speedway in the Argyle city limits and fronts Robson Ranch Road and the interstate. The sweet positioning coupled with Denton’s growth to the south makes it a pretty sound investment. “Southwest Denton is going to be a real hotspot for residential growth,” Dryden predicts. That growth got a real jumpstart in May with the opening of the 2,700-acre Robson Ranch, the first retirement community outside Arizona for developer Robson Communities Inc.

It will be at least three years before dirt is turned, Dryden says. Everything at this stage is preliminary. Switzer has started looking for partners or a retail developer to steer the project since his usual undertakings are considerably smaller in size.

The Dallas businessman owns in the neighborhood of 17 service station-convenience store combos within a 100-mile radius of Dallas-Ft. Worth, according to Dryden. He holds franchise pacts for Texaco, Shell, Chevron and Dickey’s Bar-B-Q. Switzer’s newest operation–a Chevron station, convenience store and Dickey’s–opened in November at the intersection of Texas 190 and Coit Road in Dallas.

Dryden of the Robert Dryden Co. in Dallas and Brandon Rutledge of Dallas-based Stratford Co. represented Switzer. Max W. Lindsay of Henry S. Miller Commercial in Dallas negotiated the deal for the seller, Gelia Estes Coleman of Ft. Worth.

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