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ARLINGTON, TX-After spending decades building high-profile projects for others nationwide, Alley & Alley Co. will undertake its first ground-up development for itself. The local firm is mapping out 7.2 acres in the Entertainment District for hotel and restaurant space.

Co-founder Troy Alley, whose construction management firm Con-Real Inc. has had a hand in ground-ups like American Airlines Center in Dallas, tells GlobeSt.com that he expects to nail down the hotel’s flag and operator within a couple weeks for the 2170 E. Lamar Blvd. site. He says the plan is to build a 130- to 150-key hotel and two or three restaurants on the ready-to-go zoned land.

Greg Morris, senior vice president for Dunn Commercial LP in Arlington, and associate Aaron Stalberger had marketed the site for $18 per sf for Arora International DFW LLC, a hotelier based in Middlesex, England that bought the land in December 2002 and opted to part with it because “it didn’t fit their market.” Morris says Alley & Alley Co. put the land under contract in March, besting several offers that came in during a three-month run on the market. All he’ll say about the final price is “we got reasonably close.”

The site sits about a half-mile from the Texas Rangers’ home diamond and the under-construction, $800-million Dallas Cowboys stadium. Alley says he’s interviewing architects while he negotiates with the hotelier. If the plan stays on track, he expects construction will start in mid-2007 on a hotel with at least five stories and meeting space.

Alley says he recognizes the competition is stiff in the Entertainment District. “I think a new brand plus, looking at the hotels around us, I think we will fit very comfortably in the market,” he says. “I think with the types of uses that ours will be that that the competition is not as great as it appears. We will be new on the block.” The competition includes flags like Studio Plus, Marriott, Hilton, Fairfield Inn & Suites and Wyndham.Alley says it’s undecided at this point if it will be a merchant build or long-term hold. “That site has a lot of upside to it,” he says.

Alley and his brother Gerald founded the firm in the late 1970s. Since then, the design-build and construction management arm, Con-Real, has built a portfolio of high-profile projects of all product types. Its hotel development includes the renovation of the Wyndham Miami and design-build for Bristol Houston.

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