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FLOWER MOUND, TX-After a yearlong search, a leading regional retailer has packaged a long-term lease with an option to buy the 379,700-sf Lakeside Trade Center 2. The deal is the firing pin for the furniture icon’s expansion and Hillwood to add more spec space to the park.

If all goes according to plan, Rick Stacy, founder of Stacy Furniture, says he will be holding the deed to the 21-acre asset before the year ends. For now, the plan is to start moving in early May to 709 Enterprise Dr., shifting inventory from four local warehouses while continuing to ship orders to customers. Stacy says the move will take about three months to complete. At the end of the day, he’ll have a 30,000-sf retail outlet and all distribution space under one roof with room to grow in the building’s balance.

“We’ve grown so much that we couldn’t grow any more till we had more warehouse space,” Stacy tells GlobeSt.com. And, he’s definitely on the hunt for more store locations in the metroplex. Stacy Furniture’s main store, headquarters and three warehouses are situated in nearby Grapevine. The retailer also has a store in Allen and an affiliate, Dorian’s Interior Designs, in Fort Worth, which is the only leased site.

Stacy says his original warehouse, about 85,000 sf at 280 Commerce St. in Southlake, is under contract. He’s still weighing what to hold and what to fold from his existing stack of warehouse deeds, totaling roughly 140,000 sf. Stacy started in the business in the 1970s as a wholesaler and entered the retail arena in 1989, first in Southlake.

Stacy says the search for a new distribution center was triggered by an upcoming five-year road project in front of his Grapevine complex. “I thought it would be smart to get all my trucks out of Grapevine,” he says, citing daily deliveries of 500 to 600 pieces of furniture as the cause for concern.

Owning the real estate was a primary consideration as was a location within the coverage area for his familiar prime-time TV ads–the main driver in his hunt for more store sites. With the extra warehouse room coming on line, he’s already looking in Southwest Fort Worth, South Arlington, Rockwall, Granbury, Weatherford, Denton and the Colony.

Stacy says Lakeside Trade Center 2′s central location in his sales territory helped to narrow the options. Its front-row seat along FM 2499 at the front door of the Hillwood park added leverage. But, it was Hillwood’s decision to sell the building that was the dealmaker.

Stacy’s broker, Steve Shrum with Glacier Commercial Realty in Dallas, inquired about the building in October 2006, shortly before it delivered. “We spent the most amount of time trying to figure out if we would sell the building or not,” says Dan Tatsch, senior vice president of Hillwood Investment Properties. “The people at Stacy’s made it clear they wanted to own or at least have the option to own.” Once that was settled, it only took a few months to get the deal done. Hillwood’s team included NAI Robert Lynn president and principal Mark Miller and associate Adam Curran in Dallas.

“I don’t think having separate ownership of that building hurts the other buildings,” Tatsch says. Besides, there are covenants in place in the event of a future sale.

With 1.4 million sf in three Lakeside buildings now filled, Tatsch says it’s time for Hillwood to build more. Dirt work began yesterday; it will take two months to complete.

For the next month, the team will be weighing whether to add one spec warehouse or two to build out the park’s 62-acre balance. The drawing board is holding a front-load 333,372-sf Lakeside Trade Center 4 and cross-dock 456,950-sf Lakeside Trade Center 5. Tatsch says the goal is to have more spec on the ground in October or November, with preliminary quotes of $3.15 per sf to $3.25 per sf triple net right in line with the market. And if he would be making a bet, he says he’d bet the decision will be to go for the build-out.

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