DALLAS-Before the month’s out, Boulder, CO-based English & Continental will hit the 60% pre-leased mark for a soon-to-start $6-million retail project in East Dallas. For the developer, it’s the first–but not the last–Dallas development.

Jack Walker, English & Continental’s principal, tells GlobeSt.com that he and Tom Rohde of NAI/Rohde, Ottmers & Siegel of San Antonio, are checking out the Dallas-Fort Worth terrain. No other tracts are under contract at this time, but the scouts are definitely out. “We see Dallas as a good market,” Walker adds.

For now, the team is focusing on Buckner Commons, a shadow retail project that will go up on 6 1/2 acres at the intersection of Interstate 30 and Buckner Boulevard. The land is sandwiched between big boxes, including a Wal-Mart Supercenter, most often a must-have criteria for English & Continental. Walker explains that the idea is to complement Wal-Mart and feed off its customers as a revenue source.

Ground will break in late September. The retail project will deliver 50,000 sf to 60,000 sf, with tenants getting the keys in April 2003. San Antonio’s Villa Park is the project architect. KeyBank in Denver provided the construction financing. Walker says the firm put up all cash for the land, bought in late June.

James Weir of Fort Worth-based Woodmont Co. is handling the leasing. To date, he has signed Shoe Show to 5,000 sf and Dot’s, a women’s apparel retailer, to 4,000 sf. In two weeks, he reels in another shoe store and women’s apparel shop plus an electronics retailer.

Weir says the area’s advantage, aside from 300,000-plus sf of big box neighbors, is that smaller retail shops are on the thin side in that part of town. In addition to Wal-Mart, there is a Sam’s Club and Staples and a dark Super K, positioned on the hard corner.English & Continental, a low-profile private company, has land banked about 90 acres, of which 50 are in the Texas cities of San Antonio and Harlingen. Walker was a founder of the London-based English & Continental Property Group and has been plying his trade from Boulder for nearly two decades.

The US English & Continental also has retail properties in Arizona and Colorado. “The emphasis,” Rohde, in charge of development and project coordination, says in a prepared statement, “is on developing centers in lower and middle-income areas…traditionally underserved by other chain retail stores.” In East San Antonio, the developer is wrapping up a 60,000-sf project beside a Wal-Mart Supercenter along Rigsby Road while talking to possible anchors for similar developments on the city’s far west side and the far southwest. The Rigsby project, standing at 90% pre-leased, delivers in late September.

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