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FAIRVIEW, TX-With seven years invested into the planning, officials from the City of Fairview are on the cusp of breaking ground to lay infrastructure for an 800-acre, mixed-use development while their next-door neighbor has started plying its plan for several hundred acres on its side of Collin County highway.

“We’re on the front edge of the process,” says Ron Clary, executive director for the Fairview Economic Development Corp. Infrastructure work for the commercial land will begin in the first quarter in tandem with construction on a two-mile stretch of the future Fairview Parkway, the necessary catalyst for jumpstarting development. He says the first phase will take 2.5 years to complete.

Clary says Fairview’s acreage, an assembly by three landowners, on the parkway’s northern side is platted for 3,500 multifamily units, including townhouses, 1.4 million sf of high-rise office buildings, one million sf of mid-rise office space, 600,000 sf of retail and 300 single-family lots while the southern portion is slated to hold nearly 1.3 million sf of low- to mid-rise office buildings and 800,000 sf of retail. Platting for the Allen land is still under way.

“There will be no vertical development for six to 12 months,” Murl Richardson, president of Dallas-based Richardson Properties, tells GlobeSt.com. Richardson controls 350 of the 800 acres in Fairview by virtue of a development agreement with a local family. Acting as Sloan Creek Ltd., Richardson will be selling 200 acres to mall developer, the MGHerring Group of Dallas, which also has 180 acres under contract in Allen to set up a seamless development of retail and residential space between the two cities, situated about 30 miles northeast of Downtown Dallas. The proposed open-air mall, the Village at Fairview, will be the centerpiece, but it’s far from being the only piece, Richardson and Clary point out. MGHerring is planning to deliver one million sf on both sides of the Fairview-Allen line in fall 2008.

Until now, development in the town of Fairview, with 5,709 residents, has been one- and two-acre estate lots as its northern neighbors, Allen included, have profited from the commercial sectors. Clary says officials plan to step off the sideline with “an urbanized environment” in a transit-oriented design. DART owns an idle Union Pacific tracks, which is banked for the light-rail system’s future. The rail line, like the Fairview Parkway, bisects the 800 acres. “Really, it’s tailor-made for transit-oriented development,” Clary says. The preliminary projection is it it will take until 2018 before the acreage is fully tapped out.

To date, MGHerring has secured commitments from Dillard’s, Foley’s and JCPenney. Richardson says interest in his part of the development–a town center–has spiked now that the mall plan is out in the open. As a result, he’s just held his first meeting with an architect to discuss a feasibility study for the development, which will include a new town hall.

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