FORT WORTH-In a “shock and awe” announcement, Sundance Square has put its first office properties on the market in the famed 35-block mixed-use redevelopment. And, it’s not just testing the waters to see what the core 1.5-million-sf towers will draw.

Sundance Square isn’t granting interviews about the market run, but has confirmed for that it’s “a genuine offer” to buy a pair of class A towers on the northeastern side of the Bass Family-controlled blocks. Up for sale is the 33-story Wells Fargo Tower at 201 Main St. and 38-story D.R. Horton Tower at 301 Commerce St. The towers, connected by a parking garage, were designed by the late Paul Rudolph, a renowned architect of cubist designs and complex floor plans.

Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP’s executive managing director Mark Gibson, senior managing director Andrew Levy and director Todd Savage have won the marketing nod. “The assignment we have given HFF in no way signals a reduction in the Bass Family’s commitment to Sundance Square,” says Johnny Campbell, president and CEO of Sundance Square. “The family will remain a major stakeholder in Downtown Fort Worth as evidenced by the current construction of the Carnegie.” The under-construction 280,000-sf Carnegie will open in June 2008.

Fort Worth, in the past two years, has surpassed Dallas in national rankings on several fronts, including the prestigious “best city” roster. And, it’s likely to do the same on pricing with the offering being the first opportunity to buy something other than vacant lots, which is all that the Bass Family has sold from its CBD inventory to date.

The Bass Family’s long-standing devotion to the CBD, spanning nearly three decades, in terms of capital infusion and redevelopment has made Fort Worth one of the toughest markets for outside investors to crack and one of the most successful draws for locals and tourists alike. It’s widely known that office buildings have been practically full for the past three years, a driver for the Carnegie and Dallas-based PNL Co.’s City Place redevelopment of RadioShack Corp.’s former Tandy Center headquarters. The “for sale” towers’ occupancy has exceeded 96% for two consecutive years.

“We are both admired and emulated as one of the most successful downtowns in America,” Edward P. Bass says in the press release sounding the call for the marketing campaign to get under way. “While class A office space has played and will continue to play an important role in our mixed-use urban environment, the ownership of these two towers should have little influence on our ongoing efforts and success.”

The 679,491-sf Wells Fargo Tower delivered in 1982; the 820,509-sf D.R. Horton Tower, formerly City Center Tower II, was completed in 1984. The marketing campaign “is going to be a short period of time,” Gibson tells, citing the buying opportunity’s drawing power as the reason for the short fuse. The record sales price to date was the $220-million deal in December 2005 with PNL for the 1.2-million-sf Tandy Center, now City Place, in a 20-year sale-leaseback agreement.

“Assets of this quality, which are highly integrated into the fabric of a city, rarely are offered for sale,” Gibson says in the release, “and therefore we are expecting a very competitive process from the national real estate community.”

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