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ADDISON, TX-In a full-court press to beef up its business, Cross Development Co. has added another prime site to its retail land bank and a leasing group for company jobs and third-party assignments. As its other projects take shape, plans are being shored up for a $24-million development on a just-bought 16.6 acres in Frisco.

Cross Development, led by Casey Shires, already has architecture and construction in house so the move for a leasing team was a natural progression. Marking his third week on the job as leasing director is Scott Rose, who spent the past seven years as a senior vice president with Dallas-based Weitzman Group. Cross Leasing Group has hit the streets with 10 third-party listings totaling 282,000 sf in addition to a pact with Oak Brook, IL-based Ace Hardware Corp. to run its deals in Dallas/Fort Worth. Plus, the team has Cross Development’s stack too, which includes another upcoming project in Prosper as soon as the land buy closes.

Rose, who plans to hire three brokers within six months, was preleasing the developer’s 46-acre Regent Cross project when talks began with Shires to launch an in-house group. The ramp-up comes within three weeks of ground breaking on 40,000 sf of inline space at Regent Cross and its neighbor, an Element hotel on three acres bought from Cross.

Regent Cross takes up two of four corners at the junction of Interstate 635 and Belt Line Road in Irving. The retail space will deliver in October, with developer SAVA Ventures of Irving, TX bringing its hotel on line in 2008 as one of the first to open for the White Plains, NY-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. brand.

Rose tells GlobeSt.com that Regent Cross’ shop space is 50% preleased and six of 10 pad sites are under contract for the 10- and 36-acre development sites on opposite corners. Preleases have been inked by a Subway franchisee, Samurai Sam’s, Maui Wow, LC Donuts and Big Tom’s Ice Cream. Rose also is negotiating with other hotel developers and some in the office sector for the balance of the land. “There’s more demand for offices and hotels out there because we’re so close to the airport,” he says.

As the team preps to break ground on Regent Cross, architects are now gaming out their design for a 120,000-sf specialty center and five pad sites on the 16.6-acre tract at the corner of Preston Road and Hickory Street in Frisco. The $24-million Preston Place should break ground within six months, according to Rose.

Given the amount of retail in the city, Rose is trying to carve a niche for Preston Place. “We are definitely talking to big box furniture retailers,” he says, “and that’s kind of what we’re trying to do niche-wise.”

The developer’s newest site, bought from Lloyd Investment Co. Ltd. of nearby Plano, abuts a proposed 200,000-sf Wal-Mart Supercenter. And, it’s just north of yet another new development with a Sprout’s Farmers Market, Mardel Christian & Educational Supply and Hobby Lobby.

Rose says Preston Place, with five pad sites eyed to line Preston Road, already has piqued interest from banks and restaurants. “We expect to break ground as soon as we get one or two anchors,” he says, adding the courtship has begun for national and strong regional retailers.

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