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DALLAS-Duke Realty Corp. has designated the Dallas office as a regional headquarters for a newly created South Region. The Indianapolis-based company’s decision to add a fifth region to its network carries a round of promotions for a team responsible for building a 14-million-sf portfolio in North Texas and sets up a Central Texas office.

Jeff Turner, with more than two decades of experience, is promoted to executive vice president of the South Region. Jeff Thornton, vice president of industrial leasing, takes Turner’s place as senior vice president of Dallas operations. With 14 years in the business, M. Blair Oden, who joined the team in April 2005, becomes vice president of office development and leasing. Curt Hefner, joining Duke in July 2004 as a leasing representative, is named senior industrial leasing representative. Duke’s newest hire in Dallas, 23-year veteran Randy Wood, is vice president of industrial leasing. And in Central Texas, Alex Castano, former CEO for Castano Ventures LLC, is vice president of the Austin/San Antonio Group. There are no shifts in play for the Houston team, led by David Hudson, who has four projects under way to further stoke the South Region’s development fires.

Turner credits his team and its solid relationships with delivering the momentum that was needed for Duke to create the new region. “By doing business the right way, you really build a lot of momentum,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “Our intent is to leverage that in the new region.”

Turner opened the Dallas office in 1998 for the former Atlanta-based Weeks Corp., with marketing assistant Amy McCandless at his side and “zero” space on the ground. A 1.3-million-sf acquisition rolled in first and then Turner started showing his development mettle to his competitors. Since then, he’s built the team to 60 and the portfolio to 10 million sf of practically full ground-up space and has four million sf under construction.

“Jeff’s built a brand in Dallas and that brand’s worked,” Thornton says. “Duke has made the decision to promote people internally who have been there through the building process to maintain that brand.” A Texas native whose father was a developer, Thornton is marking his 11th year in the business and his sixth year with Duke.

Turner and Thornton confide the plan’s been quietly brewing at least one year, but they wanted all the backfilling done before the public launch. Castano was the last piece of the puzzle. A month ago, he came to Dallas to find an equity partner for a 100-acre tract in Austin that he wanted to buy and develop and left with Turner’s offer to join the Duke team, according to Thornton.

“It was kind of happening in pieces. It was a very big step for Duke to create the South Region,” Thornton says. “We wanted to make sure all the pieces were in place. It was important for Jeff to know this Dallas office was going to continue to function as it always has.”

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