HURST, TX-An Oak Brook, IL-based developer, with long-time eyes for Dallas/Fort Worth, has grabbed a vacant dealership site as its inroad. The 8.25-acre tract, sitting on the Hurst-Richland Hills line, will be scraped and redeveloped with an LA Fitness, restaurant and hotel.

Dmyterko & Wright Partners has acquired the former Freeman Toyota-Mazda dealership site at Northeast Loop 820 from Dearborn, MI-based Ford Motor Credit Co., which had it listed for $4.5 million. Bob Ginsburg, vice president in Dallas for CB Richard Ellis, tells that he’d known for awhile that Dmyterko & Wright wanted to break into the market, so he put his listing on the partners’ desks after he mapped out a retail redevelopment plan with LA Fitness International LLC as the anchor.

Ginsburg says talks are underway with several national restaurateurs for the one-acre pad site and a hotel developer with a national flag for a 2.25-acre tract. The broker says Dmyterko & Wright’s plan is to own the LA Fitness building and restaurant pad and sell the hotel site.

The dirt’s new owner will scrape three buildings, totaling 55,000 sf, grade the site and upgrade utility lines for the redevelopment, according to Ginsburg. Site work gets underway in 30 days. The dealership relocated three years ago.

LA Fitness and its broker, John Zikos with Dallas-based Venture Commercial Real Estate LLC, worked out a 15-year lease for a 45,000-sf build-to-suit. “We should see the LA Fitness open in first quarter of ’08,” Ginsburg says. “In marketing the site, we knew we could not utilize it as a dealership. We needed to look at alternative retail uses. I thought it would make a good location for LA Fitness.”

The fitness chain has built several large-format centers to anchor new retail developments in Dallas/Fort Worth since it moved its headquarters to the region. As for the hotel, Ginsburg says a survey showed the Loop 820-Pipeline Road land was a good candidate because it’s situated in a business-retail corridor with the closest competition about one mile away. Bert Stevens, a first vice president in CBRE’s hotel group in Dallas, sourced the hotel developer. According to Ginsburg, the land flip will close within 60 days.

With the redevelopment speeding ahead, Ginsburg has several more “opportunities” pending before Dmyterko & Wright. And, he’s scouting for more to hit the developer’s sweet spot: five- to 15-acre retail sites for national credit tenants.

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