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SUNNYVALE, TX-In a partnership buyout, a San Antonio-based land man has 195 acres in hand for a mixed-use development with a physicians-owned hospital as part of the anchor lineup. Sunnyvale Crossing, with 77 acres earmarked for big-box retail, has been mapped out to be the front door of an emerging city on the eastern shore of Lake Ray Hubbard.

Rick Sheldon, owner of Rick Sheldon Real Estate, has bought back 17 acres that he sold in July 2001 to Williamsville, NY-based Eastbourne Investments Ltd. in addition to buying out his partners in a land bank that they’ve owned since 1991. To make the site whole, he has paid $3.5 million to Eastbourne for the hard corner at Interstate 80 and Texas 352. The site, with nearly 700 feet of frontage along the freeway, is 15 miles due east of Downtown Dallas.

“We just decided to move on,” Frank Egan, president of Eastbourne, says about the sale. The land pass was Eastbourne’s last asset in Dallas/Fort Worth. David English, executive vice president for Colliers International Inc. in Dallas, brokered the sale.

With the corner in hand, Sheldon has taken his plan to Sunnyvale’s elected officials and economic development corporation. Jon Foulger, vice president of acquisitions for Dallas-based Cottonwood Partners, has nearly 25 acres working through escrow to develop Texas Regional Medical Center, a 104,500-sf hospital and 56,600-sf medical office building at the corner of Wheatfield Drive and Texas 352, better known as Collins Road.

Sheldon tells GlobeSt.com that he’s now ready to market the rest of the entitled dirt to developers of retail and medical facilities. “I’m just a land guy,” he says. “We’re just now bringing it to market and we’re working on recruiting who our developer’s going to be.”

Sheldon says Sunnyvale, with its existing demographics, closely mirrors Southlake, a Tarrant County city with a high-end profile, as it was 20 years ago. “It’s the new Southlake,” he says, citing demographical information to support the claim.

Within a three-mile radius of Sheldon’s land, the average household income is $69,842 per year and steadily climbing. Within the town’s 16 square miles, the average single-family house is $250,000, situated on one-acre, estate-style tracts. “It’s very selective,” says Pamela J. Mundo, Sunnyvale economic development coordinator. “Sunnyvale Crossing is exactly what this selective community has been looking for.”

Sheldon’s land had been earmarked for an industrial park. “The town has always wanted it not to be industrial, but to be retail. And, Rick Sheldon is accommodating the town,” Mundo says. “It’s the first major retail for Sunnyvale.”

Sunnyvale Crossing will be the town’s gateway, positioned at the doorstep of a “signature” bridge, which breaks ground in 2008 to widen the four-lane interstate to six lanes. Mundo says she expects the hospital project, the first medical space for the community, will get under way about the same time. And, roughly 300,000 sf of retail conceivably could be close behind on the development schedule.

Sunnyvale Crossing, designed by Hodges & Associates of Dallas, takes up the southwest corner. The 18-acre southeast corner is owned by Fry Street LP, led by Robert Paredes of Dallas, who plans to break ground soon on a first phase with 10,000 sf of retail and 10,000 sf of office.

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