ALLEN, TX-Trademark Property Co. has added 18 acres to the 50-acre Watters Creek, a 1.1-million-sf development with a build-out value in excess of $200 million. With the first phase now going vertical, site work has already begun on the extra dirt, earmarked for a nine-screen cinema, 135-key hotel and another 100,000 of retail.

Jump-starting the second phase is 40,000 sf in eight new leases and progress in talks for a nationally-branded hotel and theater. Terry Montesi, CEO of the Fort Worth-based Trademark, tells that the next two weeks will bring a final signing by the theater company, allowing its name to be released, and a decision by Trademark and its partners as to whether or not they will joint venture with a hotel developer or ink an outright sale of the site. Also coming up soon is the decision regarding the residential developer for Watters Creek, which sports a half-mile of frontage along US Highway 75 at its intersection with Bethany Road.

Watters Creek, being developed with Coventry Real Estate Advisors of New York City and Developers Diversified Realty of Cleveland, is a three-phase project with 550,000 sf of retail, 100,000 sf of office and 260 apartments above the retail. The overall project is 65% preleased and the first phase at least 75% committed, according to Montesi.

To date, 135,000 sf of retail and restaurant space has been leased. The latest to join are Mi Cocina, Brio Tuscan Grille, Jos. A. Bank, Devon Seafood, Village Jewelers, Naan Restaurant, Sweet and Sassy and Wachovia Bank. The project anchor is a 125,000-sf, three-story building, with the retail preleased by gourmet-grocer Market Street, a concept of Houston-based United Supermarkets Ltd. and topped off by office space. Market Street and a 6,672-sf P.F. Chang’s China Bistro will open in the fall.

Montesi says the preleasing is producing one of, if not the, densest concentrations of high-quality restaurants in the northern tier. He expects “12 or 13″ restaurants, many as newcomers and second locations, will end up on the roster. “A powerful restaurant collection is more important to specialty retailers than a department store,” he explains, adding good dining mixes can easily generate a $35-million to $40-million sales volume.

Montesi says the team has 22 more tenants, totaling 146,000 sf, with committee-approved deals now under negotiation. “We’re gaining momentum,” he says. “A lot of people are announcing projects, but they haven’t started yet. We’ve got walls going up and leases signed.”

Watters Creek’s first phase will be fully delivered in spring 2008. The second phase will come on line in late 2008 or early 2009.

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