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DALLAS-After six months of fine-tuning the fine print, Coca-Cola Enterprises has stamped a 119,000-sf, class A lease to seize the lead as the largest tenant in Centura Tower in Dallas. The final pact has delivered a 10-year lease for the building owner and a big-ticket finish-out for the topnotch tenant.

The Atlanta-based soft drink giant’s plan for Dallas is to sell a 236,000-sf facility at 6011 Lemmon Ave., a 12-acre property with office buildings, bottling plant and distribution center, and vacate 25,000 sf in the Galleria North Tower II at 13727 Noel Rd. A Nov. 1 move-in is penciled for Centura Tower at 14185 Dallas Parkway.

Coca-Cola is getting shell space in a four-year-old building that’s been on a “slow, long road to recovery” as the office market finally makes headway, says Scott Porter, asset manager for Transcontinental Realty Inc. of Dallas. The 412,526-sf, 15-story building was 65% leased until Coca-Cola signed the final document to bump the bottom line to 95% and push this year’s total deal-making to 150,000 sf. In another new deal for Centura, the New York City-headquartered Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. will move from 3811 Turtle Creek in Uptown into a 3,500-sf office, signing a 10-year lease just like Coca-Cola. That move will take place in 30 to 60 days, Porter says.

Porter tells GlobeSt.com that Coca-Cola’s final contract came close to the $23 per sf plus electric quoted rent, but brought more than the usual $20 per sf finish-out allowance. “We gave them a higher finish-out and concessions,” he says of an agreement that puts the corporation’s name on the parking garage and a monument sign in front. The building’s lead tenant until now, Publicis with 103,000 sf, holds exclusive naming rights on the building.

Coca-Cola’s regional office, staffed by 400 employees, will take over four floors: seven, 13, 14 and the penthouse. It also took part of the 12th floor.

The win didn’t come quickly or easily. Centura Tower was up against all available product in the Central Expressway and the Dallas North Tollway, a hunt that got under way in fall 2003. “We were willing to do whatever it took to do a lease with Coca-Cola,” Porter says. That attitude put Porter, an associate, attorneys and the Jones Lang LaSalle team of Malcolm Ross and Dale Ray on a plane to Atlanta. Bargaining began at 8 a.m. and ended at 3 p.m. with a handshake all around. The building quietly got the nod in November, but it took until now before it was stamped as done, Ray says.

“This deal is like the marketplace,” Ray says. “There are thousands of points of interest.” He says it boiled down to persistence paying off since Centura Tower wasn’t on the initial dance card pulled together by Coca-Cola’s broker, Stuart Smith with Equis Corp.’s Dallas office and Robert W. Farrar & Associates of Atlanta. “I wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer,” he says. “We were market aggressive.”

Coca-Cola handpicked the architect and finish-out contractor, with Transcontinental hiring the team, according to Porter. Nathan McConnell AD&G Services is putting the finishing touches to the build-out plan, with JR Thompson Co. of Dallas waiting in the wings for the sign to start.

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