FORT WORTH-Hillwood has laid the foundation for a new division, a multifamily development group, to build and brand up to 6,000 units on ready-to-go zoned land in the 17,000-acre AllianceTexas. But, that’s just the first step.

Perry Wallace, a 20-year industry veteran who had been Dallas-based FirstWorthing Corp.’s director of construction services, has been named vice president to set up and lead the Hillwood division. Wallace has gained enough traction with the plan during his five months at Hillwood that details are ready to discuss.

Wallace has assumed oversight for Hillwood’s foray into the sector, the 288-unit first phase of the 130-acre Monterra Village, which broke ground in March on 22 acres at the intersection of North Tarrant Parkway and Interstate 35W. The three-phase development will have 1,026 apartments at build-out in an emerging neighborhood with a medical office park, retail and restaurants. Andres Construction Services of Dallas will deliver the first units in February 2008, with the balance on line by June.

By first quarter 2008, Wallace tells that ground will break on a 400-unit first phase to an as-yet unnamed complex on the northeast corner of US Hwy. 170 and Old Denton Road near Cabela’s along Interstate 35W. Hillwood has just hired Beeler Guest Owens Architects LP of Dallas to design the two-phase, 750-unit project in AllianceTexas’ Gateway corridor. The first units will deliver 11 months after construction begins, Wallace says.

Wallace’s third immediate challenge is to start planning a dense, urban-style project for 2,000 “for rent” and “for sale” units in Alliance Town Center at Interstate 35W and Heritage Trace Parkway. The Dallas team of Memphis-based Looney Ricks Kiss has been hired to site plan the component for the 250-acre town center, which has had its initial retail recently open in the 600,000-sf-plus power center, a joint venture project with Fort Worth-based Trademark Property Co.

Wallace says the plan is to develop a multifamily brand that eventually Hillwood can take on the road to its other major US markets. “That big ‘H’ seems to carry a lot of weight,” Wallace says. “When everyone hears ‘Hillwood’ they equate quality with that so we want to instill that in the multifamily product that we’re putting together.”

The AllianceTexas development program is aimed at designing multifamily units for a variety of resident profiles and building a portfolio for a long-term hold. Monterra Village has units averaging 1,052 sf and a projected $1.18 per sf rent. All units have direct-access garages, with 100 apartments earmarked for upgraded finish-out. “It’s a class A top-notch development,” Wallace says, citing an 8,600-sf amenities center and two lagoon-style pools to add to the complex’s charisma. The Gateway project will have units averaging 925 sf to 975 sf, with the projected rent hovering $1 per sf. Its units will have detached garages, carports and a smaller amenity center. The town center plan is still in the conceptual stage, but it will target young professionals and empty-nesters in true urban infill fashion.

Irving-based JPI will manage the properties, but its branding won’t be evident except in the quality of the oversight, according to Wallace. “We want the Hillwood branding to read throughout our properties,” he stresses.

For now, Wallace is relying on Hillwood’s bank of consultants for the division’s formative first year. “When we kick off the town center or the second phase of Monterra Village, that’s when I will need help,” he says. “The division will grow when the time comes.” But, he adds, it will grow.

“Right now we’re going to focus on Alliance,” Wallace explains. “We want to make sure this is successful before moving it into other markets. Eventually I see it becoming a very large business unit for Hillwood.”

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