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DALLAS-An insider close to Comerica’s headquarters relocation plan tells GlobeSt.com that the site search has started for one floor in the 25,000-sf range. But the door is open for up to 250,000 sf.

Studley’s preliminary calculation for tenant net effective rent is $21.75 per sf for class A CBD space. To seat a deal like Comerica, it’s a safe bet that the effective rate will be shaved considerably more.

The inside source says Downtown is a must–not an option–for Comerica, which now occupies six million sf in its headquarters city of Detroit and 12 million sf in its US offices. In Dallas, Comerica leases 60,000 sf on floors one, two and four after 20 years in the 1.4-million-sf Thanksgiving Tower at 1601 Elm St. Word is there’s term on the lease, but it’s only short term. Nonetheless, the deal runners know just how aggressive the new owner, Younan Properties Inc. of Los Angeles, can get when it wants to hold onto a top name tenant with long-term expansion capabilities. Comerica’s decision will bring 200 corporate jobs to Dallas, the same number it plans to phase out in Michigan in the next three years. Comerica now employs 1,300 workers in its local office and 71 branches in the state.

In an unusual move, Comerica has teamed CB Richard Ellis and Staubach Co. to prune the field and come back with a deal for its future headquarters so it can settle in during the third quarter. Leading the Dallas teams are CBRE managing director Phil Puckett and Staubach executive vice president Larry Toon.

The insider says the most likely options are Bank One at 1717 Main St., Lincoln Plaza at 500 N. Akard St., 2100 Ross and Thanksgiving Tower. Not totally out of the picture, though, are landmarks like Renaissance Tower at 1201 Elm St. and 1700 Pacific.

As trite as it might sound, the deal landed in Dallas because it’s in the middle of the US, with easy-to-schedule, non-stop flights to all major corporate America hubs. The insider says Comerica only considered California, Florida and Texas due to their top-growth markets.

According to Site Selection magazine, Dallas is fourth for corporate relocations in US metros with more than one million residents. The stats, which came out March 2, show the region logged 106 corporate-type projects in 2006, basing the ranking on research from affiliate, Conway Data New Plant Database, which also includes industrial moves. The Greater Dallas Chamber also doesn’t isolate shifts from out-of-state corporations or industry types, but its latest count shows 400 business relocations and expansions in the market last year.

One local researcher says the deal puts Dallas on the map as a financial hub. Comerica, with $58 billion in assets, will be the largest bank headquartered in Texas when the move is done. In rolling out the red carpet, the state has ponied up $3.5 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund and the city, if the measure passes, would kick in a 10-year package valued at $500,000 in grants and incentives.

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