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DALLAS-With retail developers knocking on its door, the commercial team for Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is interviewing consultants to assist in land planning for the 600-acre Passport Park. The mixed-use acreage includes up to 150 acres for the first off-terminal retail development in the 18,000-acre airport.

To date, John Terrell, the airport board’s vice president of commercial development, and his team have met with a half dozen developer-consultants and are scheduled to interview “three or four more” in the coming weeks. He tells GlobeSt.com that all in the mix are well-known nationally, with one common attribute–an established office in the metroplex. He won’t say which ones, but has confirmed that the opening is attracting the likes of Chicago-based General Growth Properties Inc., Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc. and Cleveland powerhouse Forest City Enterprises Inc. Likewise, the best of the breed of high-profile locally based developers are part of the discussions. With board approval, the hired hand will assist in design criteria, covenants and interior infrastructure planning.

Meanwhile, Terrell has “had discussions” with two big-box retailers and their preferred developers for a piece of the prized land, which will be commercially developed with 40-year ground leases just like airport industrial tracts. “They are very interested,” he says.

Not only is the intensity of the interest driving the consultant’s search, but it’s serving as a measuring stick for the development quality of the 125 to 150 retail-earmarked acres, bounded by US Highway 183, Valley View Lane and International Parkway. “I believe the location that we have is what is attracting all the attention from the national and local developers,” Terrell says.

Before the search kicked up, Terrell says the commercial group had to pinpoint locations for all future gas wells. He says the land plan will be completed in late November and presented to the board in December or early January.

As soon as the land plan passes muster, the next step will be to hire the retail consultant. Still to be decided is if the hired hand will be exempt from joining into the development play. The board has yet to decide if it will fee develop or joint venture with a retail partner. “We will fine-tune what we’re looking for over the next couple of months,” Terrell stresses.

If design and engineering phases go smoothly, Terrell says infrastructure construction could get under way by fall 2007. Passport Park, located at the southeastern edge of the airport, has 150 acres earmarked for low-rise office product and 200 to 300 acres ticketed for light industrial and showroom development.

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