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DALLAS-Solidifying its business with Fortis Property Group, Jones Lang LaSalle’s local team has cornered leasing rights to the 731,736-sf Harwood Center in the CBD and proposed 288,000-sf Galleria Tower IV in North Dallas. In recent months, the JLL team has racked up nearly six million sf of office leasing assignments in compete and no-compete scenarios.

The New York City-based Fortis hasn’t had a brokerage team in place since May 2006 when it acquired the 36-story, class A Harwood Center at 1999 Bryan St., according to J. Dale Ray, JLL’s senior vice president and regional leasing director. The outsourcing decision comes just weeks before Fortis is faced with a 90,000-sf vacancy, of which 73,929 sf is direct space of leaseholder, Novato, CA-based Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. and the balance tied to a sublease tenant. When the dust settles, Harwood Center’s occupancy will be 80%.

“There’s a need for a group to work on the vacancy that’s coming and position it to land the next tenant,” Ray says. The 25-year-old Harwood Center underwent a renovation in recent years so that part of the heavy lifting is done. The marketing push will focus on a 130,000-sf contiguous block–part due to Fireman’s Fund loss and part attrition. The hook is being set with a $20-per-sf-plus electric rate.

Picking up the preleasing rights to the 18-story Galleria Tower IV is an expansion of the JLL-Fortis relationship, which got under way in February with the 1.4-million-sf assignment for Galleria I, II and III. The fourth tower is planned for a 1.5-acre tract at the corner of Montfort Drive and Alpha Road, where the Galleria mall’s parking garage will act as a breezeway between the office space and the upscale retail mix.

Ray says he’s chasing several 100,000-sf to 150,000-sf deals for a lead tenant to jump-start the last tower. The preleasing strategy is aimed squarely at existing tenants in the 95%-leased class AA trio and the immediate neighborhood. “The lower tollway occupancy is very tight right now,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “This could be an opportunity for tenants to continue to operate here and get the growth they need.”

As JLL chases would-be tenants, Ray says Fortis is pursuing a development partner to joint venture on Galleria Tower IV. If all goes as planned, ground could break in late fourth quarter or early 2008, bringing the class AA office space on line in early to mid-2009. HOK Architects Inc.’s Dallas team crafted the design.

Ray says there is no plan to start the building on a spec basis. “We’re optimistic,” he says. “And, we’re ready for any tenant.” The upcoming product is being marketed at $32 per sf plus electric versus the $27 per sf plus electric quote for its sisters.

The Fortis assignment is JLL’s third leasing win since mid-July. “We’re being recognized as a can-do group,” Ray says, “with savvy and hard-chasing leasing.”

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