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IRVING, TX-Legacy Partners Residential Development Inc. is closing on a 4.3-acre site to develop its first project in Texas: the 258-unit Delano. The $30-million-plus development, being funded Friday, will have a front-row seat for a planned light-rail station in the Las Colinas Urban Center.

“This was the best site left in the Urban Center,” says Garry Gibbons with Prime Income Asset Management Inc., who brokered the land sale to Legacy’s Texas partner, Spencer Stuart Jr., a veteran developer with a longstanding penchant for Las Colinas projects. Bought for roughly $12 per sf, Legacy’s site is bounded by Lake Carolyn Parkway, Riverside Drive (formerly Rochelle Drive) and O’Connor Boulevard.

Stuart tells GlobeSt.com that the general contractor, Andres Construction Co. of Dallas, will be pulling permits Monday so site work can begin. The Delano will deliver in late winter or early spring 2007.

The Delano has been designed by Dallas-based Humphreys & Partners Architects LP with many of the same upscale components as those that Stuart used in projects for another company, including the Grand Treviso at 330 E. Las Colinas Blvd. which has been converted to condos. Stuart’s added a new twist to the Delano–resident garages inside a parking structure, with private accesses to air-conditioned interior corridors. “No one is doing this in the Dallas market,” he says, crediting his long-time business associate, Michael Puls of Foley & Puls Inc. in Dallas with helping to game out the special amenity.

“It was technically challenging, but we found a way to do it,” Stuart says. “It added a lot to the cost, but it added quite a bit to the value.” He estimates the all-in cost will exceed $30 million. The Delano’s interior designer is the Atlanta-based Des-Syn Inc. and landscape architect, Enviro Design Inc. of Dallas.

Stuart says the Delano has been designed “to reach for the gap in the market” that’s been created by the Grand Treviso’s conversion. “We are going to backfill the space created by the removal of those units,” he says. The Delano’s units will average 1,044 sf and rent for $1.39 per sf or a range of $964 to $2,420 per month.

Stuart says the plan is to build, lease and then the Foster City, CA-based Legacy and its New York City equity partner will decide whether or not to sell the Delano, a four-story, art deco building patterned after high-end product in Miami. The Las Colinas Architectural Control Committee has cleared the design and colors so that the Delano “can look different from other projects in the area,” says Stuart, who with Legacy’s vice president of development Richard Brownjohn has built nearly 1,000 units in Las Colinas.

Stuart says he is in discussions with other Las Colinas landowners for more land, a large enough tract for another 300-unit rental property. Meanwhile, he’s under contract to buy development sites in Plano, Austin and Richardson.

Stuart, who opened Legacy’s Texas office in November 2004, spent most of this year building the pipeline. According to Gibbons, the Urban Center tract has been under contract practically since Prime Income bought it and 30 abutting acres a year ago. “They stepped right up and paid our price,” Gibbons says, citing the location as the lure, particularly since the Dallas Area Rapid Transit board plans to extend the line to the Urban Center and the Delano’s doorstep within five years.

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