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ARLINGTON, TX-After two years of working the plan, a local developer has penciled a mid-May groundbreaking for a 41-acre development to transition an infill neighborhood into an upscale international mixed-use market. The $30-million plan is just part of the buzz for the East Arlington pocket.

Kelvin Hoang, president of Equity Co. will build 113,000 sf of retail, 30,000 sf of office and 82 townhouses on a large block of land with frontage along Pioneer Parkway, Arkansas Lane and Sherry and Carter drives. Hoang’s vision–Uptown Market–will be anchored by a 32,000-sf international specialty grocer, a mix of ethnic retailers and restaurateurs for inline space and 16 pad sites as well as townhouses starting at $135,000.

Hoang will roll out Uptown Market at 2445 Carter Dr. as work proceeds on a nearby 57,741-sf dark Tom Thumb grocery store, which was subleased last fall to Fiesta Super Mercado. The mercado has yet to open at 2430 E. Pioneer Pkwy., but word from the inside is the work has at last begun. The mercado operator from Dallas initiated the deal with Lincoln National Group of Fort Wayne, IN, which was represented Taylor Le Master with the John Bowles Co., also in Dallas.

The shuttered Tom Thumb was an anchor for Pioneer Crossing as was a now-retooled Kmart, which houses a Floor & Decor and Dollar Tree. GlobeSt.com has confirmed that the mercado is not affiliated with the Fiesta grocery store at 1300 E. Pioneer Pkwy., which some locals had thought was prepping for a relo.

“The corridor is going to step up,” Hoang says. “We feel confident it’s going to go really well.” He tells GlobeSt.com the 16-building Uptown Market already is 50% preleased. It will deliver in first quarter 2008.

Hoang began mapping the plan in 2004 when he bought the 41-acre tract, one of the largest undeveloped tracts in an area laced with Oriental, Middle Eastern and Hispanic retailers and just blocks from ramps to Interstates 20 and 360. Designed by GMA International Inc. of Dallas, Uptown Market’s townhouses, ranging from 1,300 sf to 1,600 sf, will back up to a creek with office and retail components fronting the main thoroughfares. Graham & Associates Inc. of Arlington is the landscape architect. Hassen Construction Services of Fort Worth got the general contractor’s nod. Equity’s vice president Robert Rivera is leasing Uptown Market, quoting $14 per sf to $16 per sf for inline space and $8 per sf to $10 per sf for pad sites.

Uptown Market is Hoang’s largest development in Arlington for the four-year-old company, which has completed 14 shopping centers to date in the metroplex. This month, he plans to break ground on the 28,000-sf Vista Ballpark on a 2-.7-acre tract at the corner of Green Oaks Boulevard and Ballpark Way. The three-building project will have 10,000 sf of office and 18,000 sf of retail. It was designed by Burson & Williams Architects Inc. of Dallas and it will be built by Hassen.

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