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PLANO, TX-In a triple play, AmREIT and JPMorgan Asset Management have boxed 396,272 sf of class A retail, amassing a 40-acre stronghold at the city’s top retail crossroads. Key to the dealmaking, factoring out to at least $60 million, was getting a 101,441-sf bridge piece in an off-market transaction.

AmREIT and its first-time JV partner from New York City have acquired the 169,844-sf Preston Towne Crossing at 2342 W. Preston Rd.; 124,987-sf Berkeley Square at 4601-4757 W. Park Blvd.; and a former Target box in the process of being redeveloped at 4817 W. Park Blvd. “Our plan is to put some capital into the project to give it all the same look and feel,” says Steve Hefner, vice president and managing director for the Houston-based REIT. He says that $4.5 million will go into upgrades, excluding tenant improvements.

Dallas-based Dunhill Partners sold Preston Towne Crossing, which it bought for more than $25 million in December 2004, and Berkeley Square, acquired in August 2003. Majestic Texas Properties LP–in reality Clearview Investments Ltd. from Dallas–sold the empty Target, purchased for nearly $6.2 million in September 2004 from Indianapolis-based Kite Realty Group Trust.

Hefner tells GlobeSt.com that the deal closed with a loan assumption for the Dunhill-traded assets. The CIBC Inc. financing, bearing a 5.87% fixed-rate interest, has roughly five years left on the term of the cross-collateralized properties, according to a previous GlobeSt.com article.

Hefner says the deal is laced with upside due to the soon-to-be-filled box and 3.5 acres of developable land behind Berkeley Square. The plan is to flip the piece to an office or residential developer. “We’ve had preliminary discussions with a buyer,” he confides.

CB Richard Ellis’ senior vice presidents Doug Hazelbaker and Larry Casey and first vice president Ryan Shore had the Dunhill assets on the market while Clearview came to AmREIT with an offer to sell the former Target. “It was just a good synergies opportunity,” Hefner says. “It made sense for us to acquire it.” AmREIT’s stake takes up the northeast corner of a crossroads shared with New Jersey-based Prudential Real Estate Investors and Woodmont Co. of Fort Worth on the southwest quadrant; Jacksonville, FL-based Regency Centers on the southeast; and Nash Bros. of Dallas with Whole Foods on the northwest corner.

Hazelbaker says a dozen offers rolled in from private and institutional investors coast to coast for the Dunhill listing. “The location at Preston and Park really drove the interest. That’s 40 acres at one of the best corners in the country,” he says. “There are very institutional owners at the corner, which provides a lot of stability.”

Hefner says AmREIT closed on the 101,441-sf box about two weeks ago, immediately jumping into the demolition. The building is being retooled for a 25,000-sf Chair King, 50,000-sf Gold’s Gym and 17,000 sf of storefront retail. The new owner’s in-house leasing team has several deals in the pipeline. In mid-2007, construction will begin on the 20-year-old neighboring centers, running the gamut from facades to signs. AmREIT Realty Investment Corp. will manage the retail block, earning a one-time acquisition and redevelopment fee in addition to the property management stipend.

Dunhill bought Preston Towne Crossing at 69% occupancy; sold it at 96%. “He had done his job,” Hazelbaker says. Berkeley Square was pushing 94% leased at sale time. The 60,000-sf Kroger Signature store was not part of the Preston Towne Crossing hand-off. The high-draw retail roster is a mix of nationals, regionals and locals, with no near-term rollover in leases.

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