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IRVING, TX-Washington Mutual has handed an edge to Dallas/Fort Worth in a battle with San Antonio over a plan to develop a one-million-sf campus. Working an off-market deal, the financial giant is buying a 123,750-sf, class A call center that abuts 46 developable acres that could support its long-range plan.

“We really haven’t made a decision on San Antonio yet,” a WaMu corporate spokeswoman tells GlobeSt.com. “You could say it levels the playing field for Dallas.” After spending just one month as a tenant, the Seattle-based WaMu has decided to exercise an option to buy the build-to-suit at 3929 W. John Carpenter Freeway from CarrAmerica Realty Corp. The sale is scheduled to close before the month ends. CarrAmerica declined to comment on the deal.

Neither side’s talking about the price, but it’s a safe bet that the building’s poised to change hands for far more than the replacement cost, which sources peg at $120 per sf to $130 per sf or $14.85 million to $16 million. Given WaMu’s credit and guaranteed long-term lease, the building most definitely would have fetched top dollar on the open market, industry sources say. Senior vice presidents Patrick O’Keefe and Anthony Bolner with CB Richard Ellis Inc. in Dallas represent WaMu in the off-market talks, which reportedly began a year ago.

In San Antonio, it’s no secret that WaMu’s negotiating for the three-building, 275,000-sf campus of the Clinton, MS-headquartered WorldCom Technologies Inc. The campus has 65 undeveloped acres along Stone Oak Parkway. For previous story, click here.</A

When CarrAmerica finished the build-to-suit in Royal Ridge, WaMu consolidated several sales offices in Irving and got extra room for its national operations center, which also takes up 50,000 sf at 555 Dividend Dr. in nearby Coppell. The WaMu spokeswoman says the decision to buy is tied to “the expansion opportunities of up to one million sf.”

The Washington, DC-headquartered CarrAmerica’s 91-acre Royal Ridge contains four other buildings: 501,556 sf of class A space that’s 98% occupied, according to the North Texas Commercial Association of Realtors’ database. The seller’s website shows the 46 open acres are platted for 747,707 sf, but obviously WaMu believes there’s room to play with the density. Nonetheless, there’s some market speculation that the street-savvy WaMu is using Royal Ridge as leverage to get a heftier incentive package from San Antonio’s economic development chiefs.

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