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BEE CAVE, TX-Lincoln Property Co. has at least one letter of intent in hand for the 2.3-million-sf Hill Country Galleria that’s ticketed for the Village of Bee Cave on the outskirts of Austin.

Wes Babb, Dallas-based Lincoln’s vice president of retail leasing in Austin, confirms letters have been turned in, but won’t say how many. Word on the street is he has two of his five department stores lined up. Still, that’s just the street talk. Babb did confirm, as did GlobeSt.com’s outside source, that national retailers’ interest is running particularly high for the proposed center.

Babb emphasized “nothing is written stone” with regard to the letters. “We’re still working with anchors,” he added. “We’ll announce when we can.” There is no timeframe in place for a final signing.

Simon Property Group, headquartered in Indianapolis, reportedly is trying to block Lincoln’s retail effort, but seemingly hasn’t been successful. Simon owns if not all at least the vast majority of all Austin-area malls. Its Barton Creek mall is stacked up as a direct competitor to the proposed Hill Country Galleria. GlobeSt.com’s source says the Hill Country Galleria is one of the most high-profile proposals now being floated in the US on the national retail circuit.

Milam International Development Management Corp., based in Austin, and Lincoln are partnering on the 114-acre project, which got a green light on its zoning plan in late June. Under the terms, Bee Cave village will allow the project up to $25 million of sales taxes over 20 years if it signs two high-end stores. If Neiman Marcus is one of those retailers, the tax break goes up to $30 million. Those breaks are in effect only if development occurs, says the village counsel.

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