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(For more retail coverage, click GlobeSt.com/RETAIL and the multifamily market, click here.)

ALLEN, TX-One of several developers, working the Collin County market, is following through on a 9.2-acre option to expand its mixed-use development to 900,000 sf on roughly 54 acres. The extra land comes just as Fort Worth-based Trademark Property Co. has finished site work to allow vertical construction to begin in 30 days on Watters Creek.

The land deal will close in two weeks, upsizing the mixed-use development by 30%, Terry Montesi, Trademark CEO, tells GlobeSt.com. The vertical work will get under way with 50% of its retail space preleased or pre-committed in 29 letters of intent for Watters Creek, renamed from Market Street-Montgomery Farm, a development with a half-mile of frontage along US Highway 75 at its intersection with Bethany Road. He says the team opted to rename the development because the final version is so different from Trademark’s Houston project.

Montesi and his joint venture partners, Coventry Real Estate Advisors of New York City and Cleveland-based Developers Diversified Realty are battling against several other developers for retail leases. Watters Creek will be the first of the mega-plans to come out of the ground in the Fairview-Allen pocket.

Trademark is jumpstarting construction with a 71,600-sf Market Street anchor, a gourmet-grocery concept of Houston-based United Supermarkets Ltd. At its side will be Ann Taylor Loft, taking 5,800 sf; Eddie Bauer, 5,500 sf; Francescas Collection, 1,499 sf; Origins, 1,007 sf; and PF Chang’s, 6,672 sf. The first spaces will turn at midyear 2007 for tenant finish-outs. Montesi says there are 23 more letters of intent in the pipeline to seal off another 144,880 sf.

Montesi says the crew will dig into the extra site work as soon as the deed changes hand. The land, being primed for a second phase, is earmarked for a nine-screen theater and 135-room hotel. The Watters Creek building assembly has street-level retail and upper floors with 100,000 sf of office and 260 residential units and 3,000 parking spaces in structured garages along with an equal number of surface spots. Montesi estimates the all-in development cost will hover $180 million, but the total build-out value will exceed $200 million.

“Our development is much denser than what is being proposed by our competitors,” Montesi says, adding the plan also calls for LEED-certified space. “This is a true vertical, mixed-use development.”

Its biggest competitor is MGHerring Group of Dallas, which has a 200,000-sf Dillard’s and 150,000-sf Macy’s as its anchors for the Village of Fairview, also a mixed-use development in the same neighborhood. The Village of Fairview and its sister, the Village of Allen will have a 100,000-sf third anchor and 500,000 sf of shop space, 200,000 sf of office, 700 residential units, 275-room hotel, 75,000-sf convention center and 100,000 sf of schools. MGHerring is teaming with Newark-based Prudential Financial Inc. on the 400-acre development, which has yet to break ground. The JV, though, is still planning to bring it on line in fall 2008.

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