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DALLAS-After an 18-month search for a new headquarters site, the Staubach Co. has signed a deal with Lincoln Property Co. for the first ground-up office project in eight years in Preston Center. As part of the estimated $40-million plan, the developer will retool the 141,000-sf building’s class A neighbor.

Developer and tenant alike had their plans in the works about 18 months, but dealmakers say it’s just been in the past “six or seven months” that talks eliminated all other contenders on both sides of the fence. Staubach has leased 119,203 sf or six of seven stories and has one year to decide if it’s picking up the second floor too. Staubach’s HQ will go up beside 8383 Douglas, a 253,712-sf fully leased structure, both of which will be owned by a Lincoln Realty Advisors’ pension fund client who’s footing the bill to renovate the old as it brings out the new at 8343 Douglas Ave.

“We’ve kept it quiet. We’ve been in negotiations for awhile,” says Elliot Prieur, senior vice president for locally based Lincoln. “We were going to build spec, but when they saw the plans they started asking questions.” He says ground will break in mid- to late July. The calendar’s penciled for a first quarter 2009 delivery, with Staubach planning a spring move-in.

Paul Whitman, Staubach’s executive vice president, says the site search went from the northern end of Addison Circle and extended south into Uptown, including Victory. He says decision to stay along the tollway turned the focus to Preston Center and weeded the short list to two ground-up projects.

“We liked the fact that we’d have the potential to control all the building,” Whitman tells about siding with Lincoln. “We think it will be a great long-term answer for the Staubach Co. and will serve our needs for many years. In all likelihood, we’ll end up taking all the building.” Staubach’s team now occupies roughly 100,000 sf in Addison Tower at 15601 Dallas Pkwy., a class A office project jump-started by the firm’s original 70,000-sf lease in 1999. The move-out will coincide with the lease expiration.

Whitman, who led the negotiating team, says Staubach’s new HQ will have three floors of below-ground parking, which weighed heavily on the final decision. In addition, Staubach gets a sign at the top of the building and, equally as important, naming rights. He says there are several options being kicked around, but the focus has been on fine-tuning the deal so the name’s still undecided. The tenant’s team included executive vice president Jeff Ellerman and vice president Jeff Staubach.

“We think we were right in line with where we had pro forma’d the deal,” Prieur says. Lincoln’s other closers were senior vice president Jeff Montgomery and Jenifer Ratcliffe with LPC Realty Advisors.

Vince Burt with Staubach Co. Design and Construction Consulting will manage completion after the shell is delivered. Owen McCrory with Dallas-based HKS Inc. is the project architect. Rogers-O’Brien Construction Co., also locally headquartered, is the general contractor.

After Lincoln delivers the shell, Prieur says renovation work will begin on the 16-story 8383 Douglas. Guaranty Bank will be moved into a new motor branch on the corner opposite Staubach’s building. The building’s lobby and exterior will be upgraded. Prieur estimates it will take four to six months to complete the renovation. And when it’s all done, the two office buildings will be connected by underground parking levels.

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