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DALLAS-It’s a sign of the times. Two long-time owners, with assets on opposite sides of the spectrum, decide to follow the money that’s made selling office assets so lucrative for the past two years.

The value-add that’s up for grabs is the 250,963-sf Park Stemmons at 8700 Stemmons Fwy., one of the largest opportunities of its type on the market in Dallas. The crown jewel that’s been piquing buyers’ interest these days is the 147,008-sf Preston Sherry Plaza at 8201 Preston Rd., one of the most recognizable anchors in Preston Center.

“The dynamics of the market are appealing right now,” stresses John Alvarado, managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle. He and JLL managing director Jack Crews are steering the 8700 Stemmons Fwy. sale. Preston Sherry Plaza is being run by CB Richard Ellis executive vice presidents Gary Carr and Russell Ingrum.

The starkly contrasting office listings show just how far the market’s come in two years. “With several consecutive quarters of positive absorption, the buildings coming to market are more stabilized and higher quality as opposed to two years ago when it was mostly value-add,” Alvarado tells GlobeSt.com. “We haven’t seen too many value-added deals like Park Stemmons.” Both listings are certain to corner a large stack of offers despite the differences in their dynamics.

Houston-based Spire Realty LP bought Park Stemmons in the early 1990s. “We felt like we created some value,” explains Jon Ruff, the seller’s vice president. “With the market conditions as they are, it seems to be a good time to sell.” The call for offers is set for the end of this month.

What’s being offered is a four-story, class B building on 8.3 acres in a corridor transitioning into a primary link between Las Colinas and the Downtown. Spire pumped nearly $3.5 million into upgrades in the past five years. The value-add lies in the 20-tenant building’s occupancy: 74.3% with a dip coming in October when Centennial, CO-based Verio Communications Co., the second-largest tenant at 36,503 sf, moves out. The lead tenant, though, is key to the deal because it’s the state of Texas, which is tied to nearly 100,000 sf or 42% of the space through 2014.

“There are a few smaller tenants rolling this year,” Ruff says, “but nothing substantial. And there’s no indication that anyone else is going anywhere.” CBRE leases the building; Spire manages it.

Preston Sherry Plaza has been owned by a Dallas-based investment group, PS Plaza Inc., since 1998. The 94.1%-leased asset has two floors, totaling 49,522 sf of class A retail, and five floors, totaling 97,486 sf, of office space. The marketing picture of its quoted lease rates tells the story of its value: $31 per sf to $32 per sf triple net and some at $28 per sf to $29 per sf plus electric.

Carr and Ingrum couldn’t be reached for comment, but Dallas dealmakers say the listing has put a glint in many would-be buyers’ eyes. According to the flyer, 70% of the building is leased until 2010 or longer. The top space-taker is Remington Oil & Gas, which has 25,056 sf through March 2012, while another five tenants, with a combined 38,247 sf, are in place nearly as long or longer. The roster includes 13 tenants that have been in the structure at least 10 years.

Equally enticing is the asset’s location: 1.7 acres at the corner of Preston Road and Sherry Lane. Built in 1986, the property includes a 543-space parking garage and 51 surface spaces.

Preston Center not only leads the city in occupancy and rates, but its properties historically deliver top-of-the-market prices on the sales front. The Los Angeles-based BentleyForbes Group had been testing the market with a package that include the 418,584-sf Preston Commons, a trio of mid-rise buildings within a block of Preston Sherry Plaza, but it’s reportedly no longer up for sale. Still, Preston Commons and the 303,000-sf Sterling Plaza at 5949 Sherry Lane commanded $135 million when they were bought in May 2005. Preston Sherry Plaza’s assessment alone has the prize hitting $198.81 per sf. In contrast, office trades in the Stemmons market have been yielding $80 per sf on average in the past year.

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