FLOWER MOUND, TX-Direct Development of Dallas, coming off the success of a 322,376-sf retail project, is zeroing in on a closing date for another corner of the crossroads as a sister proposal scores a double win with the City of Flower Mound and Lowe’s Home Improvement.

Developers Syd Hurley and David Watson tell GlobeSt.com that, if all goes as planned, a 35-acre closing for the east side of FM 2499 will take place at the end of January. The plan is to immediately spin off acreage at the “regional intersection” to Lowe’s for a 130,000-sf anchor to an estimated 300,000-sf project. In recent days, Flower Mound officials approved the concept plan for Highlands Ranch and Lowe’s signed for the anchor spot, the duo confirms of a plan that’s been brewing for seven months.

In a related move, the six-year-old Direct Development hired Derek Ferrim, previously with Hopkins Commercial Real Estate, as its first in-house leasing director. His first assignment: lease Highlands Ranch. Other properties in the developers’ portfolio will remain tied to third-party leasing contracts.

Hurley and Watson are hoping to duplicate the success of the $32-million Highlands of Flower Mound, a Super Target-anchored development that leased in about 13 months. Hurley says Highlands Ranch already is attracting interest from a handful of national retailers who didn’t get into the first project. Driving the hype is an intersection at the epicenter of a five-mile trade area with a $100,000 annual household income and aggressive growth patterns, explains Watson.

Designed by Gary Johnson of Dallas-based EnviroPlan, Highlands Ranch will have about 145,000 sf for three big boxes, two junior anchor positions and small shop space plus some outparcels for banks and restaurants. The Chattanooga-based EMJ Corp., one of Lowe’s preferred builders, has cornered the general contractor’s award as Direct Development looks at Highlands Ranch as a relationship builder in its first signing with the home improvement store from Mooresville, NC.

At this stage of the planning, the developers plan to begin infrastructure construction as soon as the land is acquired from a California investment group. When the projects will begin to go vertical hinges on the market and development process. Brett Blakey, an independent broker from Dallas, and Todd Weaver with JCV Ltd., also from Dallas, are steering the land transaction.

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