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

DALLAS-In its first major move since its CB Richard Ellis merger, Trammell Crow Co. has inked a retail development deal with MetLife Inc. The program mimics initiatives that TCC has under way for office and industrial development with other partners.

Matt Khourie, president of Dallas-based TCC’s central operations and national leader of its retail development business, tells GlobeSt.com that both sides are kicking in equity to fund a co-investment program with no ceilings on the funding amount or build side. “We are committed to do as many good deals as we can find,” he says. “We didn’t want to be constrained by caps or ceilings.”

The TCC-MetLife initiative will fund 10- to 100-acre land purchases for urban and suburban developments weighing in, on average, at 250,000 sf to 400,000 sf. The program relies on TCC’s development network in major metros in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Oregon, the Northeast US and naturally, Texas and Florida. As for the rest of the heavy lifting, Khourie says “we’re likely to hire our CB brethren to do the leasing on these projects.” The development demographics are community, power and open-air lifestyle shopping centers in single and phased build-outs.

The first project breaks ground in March on 53 acres just south of Disney World in Orlando. The 430,000-sf Posner Commons, set to open in second quarter 2008, has won nods from several big-box retailers, but the names won’t be aired for another three months.

Khourie says talks began about six months ago with the New York City-based MetLife. All he can about the details is it’s “a multi-year development program” like it has with Des Moines-based Principal Real Estate Investors for office development and New York City’s ING Clarion Partners for industrial projects. In spring 2006, the industrial JV had an in-process inventory totaling $400 million and another $100 million in the pipeline.

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