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KATY, TX-In a first-time joint venture, Dallas-based PNL Cos. and Shelton Development today will close on 747 acres, one of the largest land exchanges in several years in the West Houston corridor. Some $35 million to $40 million will go into prepping the land for resale to commercial and residential developers.

The joint venture’s “Tamarron Lakes” is projected to take five years to build out. Bought from local seller 700 Deerfield Katy LP, the acreage is sandwiched between the proposed extension of the Westpark Tollway and Interstate 10, off FM 1463.

“There’s been a tremendous amount of growth in western Houston over the past 10 years. We’re very excited about the prospects going forward and think the land is in the right spot at the right time,” says John Willingham, vice president with PNL Cos., which owns and controls multifamily assets in the Greater Houston area. For its partner, it’s the first time that Shelton Development has ventured into the region.

The land, under contract since January, has a municipal utility district in place. Preliminary engineering and site plans are complete. The next step is to finalize costs for the infrastructure, divvy it into developable tracts and sell to homebuilders and commercial developers. “We’ve had quite a bit of builder demand in the property,” PNL’s COO John Gilbert says, “and are hoping to have some exciting news within the next 90 days or so about this.”

The JV has set aside 25 acres on the western boundary for the commercial component, which will be the second phase of development. The commercial land is positioned near the proposed Westpark Tollway extension as it turns north. Gilbert tells GlobeSt.com that the commercial acreage could support 350,000 sf to 450,000 sf.

“We’re looking at neighborhood services and retail,” Willingham says, “and maybe some small office use to support residential in the area.” In addition to Tamarron Lakes, he says there are two more nearby subdivisions that add to the commercial demand. “There isn’t much retail servicing any of those,” he adds.

PNL is a national investor, but Willingham and Gilbert say they are seeing great opportunities in their home state right now. PNL and Shelton Development, led by Robert Shelton, currently are working on a second potential acquisition in Houston.

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