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PLANO, TX-In a 30-day look and 30-day close, Dunhill Partners Inc. of Dallas has bundled a 300,000-sf footprint at a top suburban corner, paying more than $25 million for the 169,834-sf Preston Towne Crossing and rolling the cost into one loan in a refinance of its abutting property. Now, the buyer’s in pursuit of a second hard corner at the crossroads.

Dallas-based Dunhill faced down at least 20 other would-be buyers of all types for the 18.4-acre shopping center, abutting its 130,000-sf Berkeley Square, at the northeast corner of Preston Road and Park Boulevard in Plano, says Doug Hazelbaker, first vice president for CB Richard Ellis Inc.’s Dallas office. Not only was Dunhill sporting the top offer, but it pulled off the closing on time even though the game plan was to seal the deal with a refinance. “One of the reasons Rreef picked Dunhill Partners,” he tells, “is it has a good reputation for closing.”

In a world where timing is everything, Preston Towne Crossing was 69% occupied at sale time, but a 27,000-sf lease with the Sumner, WA-based REI closed in sync with the acquisition, William L. Hutchinson, Dunhill’s president, says about a catch of a junior anchor to fill an empty TJ Maxx box and take occupancy to almost 85%. “We’ll have Preston Towne Crossing 100% leased by summer. I’ll guarantee it,” he says. Meanwhile, the deal closed just as Dallas-based Clearview Investments opened doors on a neighboring 105,000-sf shuttered Kmart, bought 45 days ago and re-tenanted with the Vineyards, bringing the first antique mall to that side of the city.

Timing was equally important with the refinance. Hutchinson confides the buy side took a pre-payment penalty hit to retire debt from the August 2003 acquisition of Berkeley Square and structure a master loan for a Dunhill-led partnership that includes Kimco Realty Corp. of New Hyde Park, NY, and the Dallas-based investment groups of Petro-Hunt Corp. and Infomark Corp. Randy Fleisher, a director in Dallas for LJ Melody & Co., arranged the cross-collateralized loan through CIBC Inc., an affiliate of CIBC World Markets Corp., the investment banking arm of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, getting a seven-year term at a 5.87% fixed-rate interest, according to Hutchinson.

“There was no extension and no re-trade,” Hutchinson stressed. “We wanted Rreef to be proud they picked us….It’s the best corner in Plano and one of the best in the metroplex in the commercial retail field.”

Hazelbaker says the San Francisco-based Rreef brought the asset to market after a six-year hold on behalf of the Massachusetts Pension Reserve Investment Management Board. Preston Towne Crossing, he says, was the pension fund’s only asset in Texas. CBRE senior vice president Larry Casey and associate Ryan Shore helped to broker the sale.

With the deal done, Hutchinson says the next step is to build a road linking Preston Towne Center at the hard corner to its backyard neighbor, the 97%-leased Berkeley Square. Dunhill’s toehold at the northeast corner adds 1,290 feet of frontage along Park Boulevard and picks up 1,440 feet of frontage along Preston Road.

Now, Hutchinson has his eye on the southwest corner, owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The Bentonville, AR kingpin is making plans to move a mile to the west and across the street from a Super Target. That decision has the investment crowd already taking positions at the gate for the chase. “Dunhill Partners is going to make an aggressive move to get it,” Hutchinson vows. The other two corners are controlled by the Jacksonville, FL-based Regency Centers Corp. and Whole Foods Market Inc. of Austin.

Preston Towne Crossing’s 63,983-sf anchor, a Kroger Signature store, was not part of the sale. The value-add play has been turned over to Dunhill’s leasing director, Jeff Coleman, and Jill Fisher. Hutchinson estimates 5% to 8% of the leases roll each year. He says the going-forward rent quotes will range from $20 per sf to $30 per sf, triple net.

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