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MESQUITE, TX-Transwestern Commercial Services and Buchanan Street Partners have mapped out a $29-million spec industrial project as their first joint venture in North Texas. Site work begins today on the 555,200-sf, three-building project.

The Mesquite Business Park trio, ranging from 40,000 sf to 256,000 sf, will be planted on a 32-acre tract at the corner of US Highway 80 and Big Town Boulevard. “We have a lot of appeal for various size users,” says Henry Knapek, senior vice president of development in Dallas for the Houston-based Transwestern. “It’s a cafeteria for all sizes.”

The Fort Worth-based Hillwood, Atlanta-headquartered International Development Inc. and Denver’s ProLogis all are building, most spec in the Mesquite submarket. Knapek tells GlobeSt.com that only reinforces the decision to forge ahead on a project that’s been on the drawing board six to nine months. “When you get the giants building big projects, they obviously have done their research,” he says. “It makes us feel good about the area. It’s an outstanding opportunity for us to develop.”

But unlike the mega-box developers, Knapek says the design team’s drummed up a layout with two smaller buildings at the park’s entrance, sporting more than 1,000 feet of US Highway 80 frontage. “Semi-retail,” Knapek says.

Mesquite Business Park will deliver in May 2007. The marketing has yet to begin. “You’d take all the fun out of it if we were preleased,” Knapek quickly says. The space will be tagged at $3.25 per sf to $6 per sf; tenant-improvement allowances will range from $3 per sf to $8.75 per sf. The Transwestern team of John Fulton and Todd Jones are in charge of leasing.

Across the metroplex, the delta between old and new space is starting to spread due to construction costs. Some industrial brokers are speculating that an increasing number of tenants will be looking harder at second-generation space to save on the bottom line. That doesn’t faze Knapek either, likening the decision to driving an old car or ponying up for a new one. “The new buildings have more amenities, higher clear heights, better sprinkler systems and larger truck courts,” he says. “And, they’re better looking.”

Transwestern and the Newport Beach, CA-based Buchanan have partnered in other regions, just not in Dallas/Fort Worth. “I think they liked the location. They believe in our development team. They believe in our marketing team,” Knapek stresses. “It was a great fit for them.”

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