(For more retail coverage, click GlobeSt.com/RETAIL.)

FORT WORTH-After a two-year wait, a local retail developer has closed on a seven-acre tract in North Fort Worth. The finished deal means ground will break in January.

RLand Properties, led by Kipp Whitman of Colleyville, is in final negotiations with a video store retailer to sell a pad site and talks with two other nationals to take pads in a 30,000-sf development, planned for the southwest corner of North Beach Street and Timberland Road. Whitman tells GlobeSt.com that he has a pipeline of similar $4-million to $8-million projects on the construction docket after buying and banking an estimated dozen tracts for nearly six years in and around Fort Worth. The sites are slated for development within 18 months.

Whitman plans to start the Springs, like others on his work docket, with pad site sales and spec inline space. The key to the project is the design, he explains. “It’s like taking a giant lifestyle center and shrinking it,” he says, adding the tenant mixes will be blends of nationals and “unique” local retailers and restaurants with at least one other location in the metroplex.

Lester Day of NAI Huff Partners LP in Fort Worth says the Beach Street tract was never on the market, allowing Whitman to pick it up in a direct deal with One Prairie Meadows LP, an affiliate of Centurion American Custom Homes Inc of nearby Saginaw. The land sits at the gateway to Centurion American’s Villages of Woodland Springs, a single-family development along Timberland Road. Day says the take-down closed as “soon as the road was completed.”

Day says the Beach Street corridor is getting rates on the front end and resale from $5 per sf to roughly $20 per sf for a prime corner. “Beach Street is the spine road for retail in that area,” he adds.

John Franz with FJLC Architects in Fort Worth designed the Springs. Whitman’s plan is to deliver the retail center by fall 2007.

Whitman’s other retail centers range from 20,000 sf to 32,000 sf. His sites encircle the city, with a concentration in the northern quadrant along Texas 114. He recently bought a 14-acre tract to expand a soon-to-start project, River’s Edge, in his favorite development corridor. The 30,000-sf center will double in size with Whitman’s plan to add pad sites for 10,000-sf or larger boxes. River’s Edge will deliver in fourth quarter 2007.

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