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FORT WORTH-Hillwood, with an eye on 2003, says it’s time to get some product on the ground for the rebound. Two of three buildings in a 989,100-sf spec industrial plan for Northeast Tarrant County and Flower Mound are rising while the third gets under way next month.

Less than 3% of Hillwood’s inventory in AllianceTexas is vacant, Bill Burton, senior vice president, tells GlobeSt.com. He emphasizes that the extra product won’t saturate the market by any means since industrial leasing, which tapered off in Q3, is again tracking north.

“We’ve got to have product available,” Burton emphasizes. “It’s a lot easier to move forward.” Anyway, Hillwood wasn’t sidelined like some of its peers, breaking its all-time record this year with 4.4 million sf of done deals in Dallas-Fort Worth.

In Alliance Gateway, Hillwood is working on a 273,000-sf Gateway 58 on 19 acres while ramping up to start on the 450,000-sf Gateway 53 on 23 acres. In Flower Mound, the team is under way with the 266,100-sf Lakeside Trade Center I, which is going up on about 14 acres. The smaller buildings will deliver in first quarter 2003. Gateway 53, the only one with intermodal access, will be finished in second quarter 2003.

Burton says lease-up should be relatively easy to accomplish since the trio is situated in areas with tax rates that are low and projected to stay low and carry a per sf rate that is competitive. Gateway 53 will come out of the ground with a clear-cut advantage, he says, because there just aren’t that many new buildings of that size with rail and freeway access.

In the past 18 months, Alliance Gateway has proved to be a favorite landing ground for large users. Hillwood is building a 670,000-sf structure for General Mills in the Fort Worth section of AllianceTexas; a 608,322-sf build-to-suit for Bridgestone/Firestone in the Roanoke quadrant; and a 600,200-sf structure leased to Best Buy and Maytag at Lakeside Trade Center.

This year, 2.8 million sf leased in the 13-year-old AllianceTexas, nearly one million sf more than its record year in 1998. In North Texas in general, the developer’s best year was 2000 when 3.28 million sf was leased–until this year. The 15,000-acre, multi-municipality development is home to more than 100 companies, 20,000 employees, 21.4 million sf of commercial space and 300 single-family homes.

“A strong speculative building program has been a big part of Hillwood becoming one of the top commercial developers in the country,” Ross Perot Jr., Hillwood’s chairman, said in a press release. “Spec buildings were a key catalyst in the mid-1990s…and have been equally vital in the 7.2-million square feet Hillwood has developed outside of AllianceTexas since 1999.

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