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FORT WORTH-Marking its fifth year as an AllianceTexas tenant, Motorola Corp. is looking to expand. The Fortune 500 company wants an 800,000-sf build-to-suit in its current backyard or a ground-leased site in Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

All that developers know is they are chasing a proposal for a telephone manufacturer, but has learned from reliable sources that it’s Schaumburg, IL-based Motorola, which has mandated Foreign Trade Zone-designated land for the project. Logically, the nation’s second-largest cell phone maker needs the tax breaks to park inventory for assembly and distribution of mobile device imports. The company employs several thousand workers at its existing 400,000-sf center at 4801 Westport Pkwy. and nearby scattered sites so that too is playing a critical role in the decision-making process, the source says.

In the past two weeks, Hillwood got added leverage from Keller School District when it agreed to go into a Triple Freeport pact, anteing up the tax perk for the existing Foreign Trade Zone site. A decision will have to be made soon, the source emphasizes to, because the goal is to have the distribution center ready to use in November.

Motorola leased Westport Parkway building from UPS Logistics in November 2002. The operation came on line just as Motorola was making plans to close a research and development center and manufacturing plant in Harvard, IL. In mid-March, Transpacific Development Co. of Torrance, CA bought the Westport Parkway building and its 320,000-sf neighbor. At that time, the buyer indicated one of its tenants could move.

Motorola is just one of several 800,000-sf build-to-suit projects milling about in the market. The Wilmer-Hutchins area in Dallas County’s southern sector is at the top of the list for Project Red Baron. Word is the deal could be announced this week or next. There’s also Project Sunrise, another 800,000-sf plan by a company eyeing AllianceTexas and D/FW Airport land. Market speculation is it’s the code name for the Motorola search.

Just recently, the D/FW Airport Board and Dallas County gave ground clearance to expand the southern sector’s Foreign Trade Zone. The decision rests with the feds so it’s unclear how long it will take to get FTZ status for the entire sector, controlled by the San Diego-based Allen Group. Nearly every industrial developer in the region, including Hillwood, has a land claim in the sector, which has one intermodal yard in place, a second under consideration and plans afoot to expand a municipal airport to catapult itself into competition with AllianceTexas.

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