(For more retail coverage, click GlobeSt.com/RETAIL.)

DALLAS-In an off-market deal, Houston-based AmREIT has grabbed control of the 34,250-sf Uptown Plaza, a 1.9-acre infill development that’s just now opening its doors. With retail rents running $35 per sf to $70 per sf, the chic retail piece undoubtedly fetched top dollar based on cap rates, the McKinney Avenue location and the rarity of the buying opportunity.

Local developer Shafer Property Co. has the center at 87% occupancy. Potbelly Sandwich Works just opened Monday. Others in the 2222 McKinney Ave. line-up are Pei-Wei Asian Diner, Grotto, Century Bank and the Kevin Charles Salon. If comps tell the story about the size of the deal, a nearby retail building has been quietly tagged at roughly $415 per sf, but it’s not as new or as well-rooted in tenancy as AmREIT’s newest portfolio member, a source explains.

AmREIT couldn’t be reached by publication time for GlobeSt.com comment on the acquisition. In this morning’s press release, Steve Hefner, vice president of real estate and managing director in Dallas/Fort Worth, says “the Uptown area has been on our short list for quite awhile.”

The reality is Uptown is on the short list of all investors with deep-enough pockets to enter the high-stakes game. Uptown Plaza is the only piece of McKinney Avenue retail to trade in a long time and it’s the newest of its type on the prestigious blocks. Its “Main and Main” location fits AmREIT’s buying strategy to build a portfolio of irreplaceable retail corners. Sitting practically at the doorstep to the Crescent, Uptown Plaza’s tract backs up to Hotel ZaZa.

“Uptown Plaza is located on one of the finest retail corners in the state of Texas,” Kerr Taylor, AmREIT’s CEO, says in the release. “We plan to continue steady acquisition and development of irreplaceable corners, such as Uptown Plaza, which is consistent with our long-held philosophy that the best locations can create sustained long-term value for shareholders if intensely managed and developed.” AmREIT took the leasing and management reins along with the deed.

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