FORT WORTH-The Chicago-based Rreef has grabbed its second retail deed in the region in six weeks in a “north of $14 million” deal for the fully leased, 116,000-sf Ridge Rock Plaza in southwest Fort Worth.

Dallas-based Direct Development, led by Syd Hurley and David Watson, opened behind-the-scenes negotiations with Rreef to execute a close in a 60-day start to finish. The sellers bought the asset in September 2002 and sold it Tuesday in a deviation from their normal MO as long-term holders. Declining cap rates and increased NOI allowed the seller to “realize most of the profit had we held it for 10 years,” Hurley tells “We were in the right place at the right time.”

Ridge Rock Plaza’s appeal is a 10-acre location in a multi-million-sf retail corridor that includes Hulen Mall and Cityview. The just-sold, class A plaza’s tenant roster, with long term leases and no immediate roll, consists of Pier I, Michaels, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Ultimate Electronics and a year-old, 8,000-sf freestanding building leased to Mattress Firm, a nail salon and Freebirds World Burrito, a Dallas favorite set to open the new store in January. The center at 4921 Overton Ridge Blvd., with easy access to Interstate 20, sits a half-mile east of the proposed Southwest Freeway.

Hurley says they modified an existing loan with GE Capital to achieve a 50% loan to value, the striking point for Rreef to close the deal. The assumed loan has 10 years remaining on the term, he confides.

Direct Development’s decision to sell its only Tarrant County holding didn’t come easy. “We really liked the asset,” Hurley says of the seven-year-old center. “If you’re going to own retail in Fort Worth and not be in the downtown, that’s the place to be.” The decision-maker was a CB Richard Ellis Inc. team in Dallas, Doug Hazelbaker and Larry Casey, who were courting for the listing and then one day showed up with Rreef in tow. The investment adviser’s acquisitions man on the transaction was Brad Griese from Chicago.

The closing fell about six weeks after Rreef won a heated competition for the 481,565-sf, four-property retail encircling Collin Creek Mall, sold by Hunt Properties Co., the Dallas-based general partner for the investment group seller. The final price has yet to surface, but the high number of offers and the asset were projected to yield about $50 million.

There were a cluster of top institutional bidders, says Adam T. Howells, a Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP director who brokered the transaction along with senior director James C. Batjer. A heavy-handed confidentiality clause is guarding the details. From Howells’ perspective, “it just so happens that they closed a couple of high-quality shopping centers in a six-weeks period.” Rreef’s Tim Keith ran that deal.

Retail is at the top of Rreef’s shopping list, just like other institutional buyers these days. And if word on the street is correct, the investment adviser is holding a third contract for another top retail site in town.

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