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DENTON, TX-With the final leg of construction underway, Hunt Properties Inc. and Orix Real Estate Equities Inc. have sold their firstborn, Denton Crossing, to Inland Western Retail REIT Inc. for north of $60 million. The 334,659 sf of class A retail fielded at least 15 offers in a four-month marketing run with a no-minimum ask.

“I have no complaints,” Ben Hummel, vice president of Dallas-based Hunt Properties, tells GlobeSt.com. “It took a few weeks longer than anticipated, but Holliday (Fenoglio Fowler) did a good job for us. Inland was a good buyer…and we all jumped in to get it done.” He says the $60-million-plus deal retired all debt against the 1800 S. Loop 288 property and cleared Hunt to start work on a 500,000-sf retail project in Owasso, OK, and 180,000-sf center in Conifer, CO.

The Oak Brook, IL-based Inland, one of Texas’ most active buyers these days, was “the highest offer with a pack of credible buyers right behind them,” Adam T. Howells, a director in Dallas for Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP, tells GlobeSt.com. He and HFF senior director James C. Batjer steered the sale for the Hunt-Orix JV. Inland’s Mark Youngman negotiated its interests.

Inland, a double-digit buyer in North Texas, closed the all-cash sale for the 55-acre power center with a multi-phased earn-out on the unfinished work. A 5,400-sf building will deliver in 30 days and 45,000 sf more will come on line in first quarter 2005. The sale does not include the Cincinnati-based Kroger Co.’s 62,000-sf Signature store.

Denton Crossing, selling with a one-acre pad site, was 96% leased at closing, including the yet-to-deliver space. In 60 days, the power center’s occupancy will hit 100%, Howells says. Dallas-based Princeton Partners leases the asset while Cencor Realty Services is the property manager. Inland, though, always puts its own team on the ground.

Howells says the marketing-to-close process took six months in a listing predominately aimed at institutional money. “There were a few private buyers, but because of its size it was mainly institutional,” he says.

Denton Crossing started to rise in late 2002 beside the Golden Triangle Mall, positioned at an Interstate 35W exit in a trade area bolstered by two universities. The latest construction is the third phase to an all-national lineup.

Hunt says the sale to Inland closes the books on its Denton plan and the JV with the Chicago office of the Tokyo-based Orix. “If another opportunity came up with Orix, we would strongly consider it,” he says.

As for Inland, it’s not done shopping in Texas by any means. It’s been turning one deed a month all year and there are 18 more signed or verbal agreements for retail properties and select net-leased assets in Texas. The Inland Western Retail REIT has yet to reach the halfway mark on the one-year-old, $1-billion buying pool. The REIT’s Texas portfolio now totals two million sf, of which 1.5 million sf is in Dallas/Fort Worth.

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