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GRAND PRAIRIE, TX-Opus West is getting ready to come out of the ground with a $12-million first phase to a 27.9-acre, all-spec project with a front-row seat along the interstate. The I-20 Crossing in Grand Prairie signifies the first project in Texas under the Opus West moniker instead of Opus South.

The plan is to break ground in six weeks. Opus West is awaiting permits for the project, approved in mid-July by a council that stuck to a 10-year zoning classification and overrode neighborhood opposition. Since then, Opus West has bought the land from Blackhawk Partners I Ltd. and fine-tuned a schedule that sets a second quarter 2003 delivery.

Steve Chilton, Opus West’s director of real estate, says he’s not concerned about hitting the ground running with an all-spec project in today’s economy. “We’ve seen and tracked six million sf that’s been signed in the last 90 days. We think our timing is right,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “I would hope to have some significant pre-leasing by the end of the year.”

Dave Anderson of CB Richard Ellis Inc., who will be marketing I-20 Crossing, negotiated the land sale. Gary Lindsey and Robert Fulford, both of Grubb & Ellis Co.’s Dallas office, represented the seller.

Chilton says talks began in February for the southwest corner of Interstate 20 and Matthew Road, just a half mile east of the Great Southwest Industrial Park. Freeway frontage, interstate access and Triple Freeport were the deciding factors to jumpstart the talks. The “done deal” does not include options for any abutting land, according to Chilton.

The Opus team isn’t riding on its laurels with the premier land catch, but rather is in hot pursuit of a few build-to-suit opportunities now out in the office and industrial markets. In a month or so, Opus West could have more news to spread.

In mid-July, Texas was shifted from Opus South’s jurisdiction to Opus West, which is based in Phoenix. Chilton says the change will open up opportunities to develop retail and multifamily in Texas in addition to its traditional office and industrial products. In keeping with Opus projects, the I-20 Crossing design and general contracting are being handled by in-house crews.

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