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DALLAS-Playing the dealmaking close to the vest, Trammell Crow Co.’s corporate chiefs say a marriage is at hand with a new institutional partner to develop office product in select markets. If yesterday’s earnings call is any indication, the partner’s name and the program, being seeded with $200 million of equity, will make it to the marketplace in the coming months.

Until then, information is sketchy, but TCC’s executive team made it clear to stockholders and analysts that it’s continuing to lay groundwork for a 2006 development pipeline that will only get larger “in future quarters,” said Matthew S. Khourie, president of development and investment in the Central US. The in-process pipeline contains more than 200 projects. Just in the first quarter, work began on $200 million of development in US markets. The pipeline and in-process projects bear a $6.9-billion value, up 9.5% from a year ago.

In the ING Clarion Industrial Program, the in-process inventory totals $400 million and another $100 million is in the pipeline. Partners Health Trust has amassed $140 million of assets since its launch last year; it has $60 million in its pipeline. Wholly owned affiliate, High Street Residential, accounts for $500 million of residential and mixed-use projects.

With a full pipeline, the company has pushed to hire key investment sales professionals on the East and West coasts. The top team at TCC is admitting that this year, unlike 2005, it plans to start harvesting the portfolio, with the sales push certain to continue into 2007. Two years ago, TCC ended the year with 17 sales for a net aggregate of $121.4 million. In contrast, 2005 ended with seven sales for $41.7 million.

“We expect the lion’s share of project sales to occur toward the end of the year,” Khourie said. In an SEC filing, TCC indicated it’s ready to redevelop, lease and then sell assets bought with Fund V while plans are finalized to launch a sixth discretionary fund.

TCC’s brain trust has taken steps in the past four years to repackage the company from a dominant geographical field network to a centralized system in which a core of seasoned professionals lead select initiatives like capital raising and purchases. “It allows us to accumulate portfolios instead of one-offs,” said Robert E. Sulentic, chairman and CEO. “We’re very bullish on that strategy.” Likewise, it delivers more control over the exit strategy.

TCC’s strongest suit for the first quarter was corporate advisory services, which beefed up revenues 86% in the year-to-year analysis of first-quarter results. Brokerage revenue rose 46%.; facilities management, 18%; and project management, 17%. Overall, global services totaled $208.2 million in Q1 or 23% higher than 2005′s initial reporting period. The segment includes income from unconsolidated subsidiaries Savills plc, JJ Barnicke, Crow Meghraj and Trammell Crow Co. Krombach Partners, an affiliate in the St. Louis area.

Market watchers are in tune to TCC’s stock buyback, which has reclaimed $28.9 million and 862,000 shares since late February. The board of directors authorized a $50-million buyback. Its SEC paperwork, though, is cleared for up to $100 million of repurchases through Dec. 31. Since the repurchasing began, a week has yet to pass without an exchange. The buyback launched with 36.88 million shares of outstanding common stock.

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