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ARLINGTON, TX-Work is under way on a $60-million expansion to the $200-million Arlington Highlands, a 640,000-sf assortment of lifestyle retailers with another 160,000 sf and 130-key hotel en route. The 19.47-acre expansion will deliver spaces for tenant finish-out in late spring or early summer.

The expansion, Arlington Highlands East, will build out the development partnership’s 80-acre tract. Arlington Highlands sits on land owned for decades by the Mathes family, which includes Retail Connection senior vice president John Curtis Mathes, the point man for the project’s leasing campaign. The development partnership also includes Dallas-based Retail Connection and its in-house development arm, Connected Development Services.

Developers like to promote the demand that a project generates. In Arlington Highlands’ case, the build-out phase broke ground yesterday at 80% tenancy for existing and new space and deals in the works for the last 25,000 sf of the expansion phase. And despite Arlington’s hefty retail market and the project’s proximity to the 1.5-million-sf, 180-store Parks at Arlington, at least 80% of Arlington Highlands’ retailers are new to the market, according to Mathes.

Daniel Fuller, vice president of development for Connected Development Services, tells GlobeSt.com that dirt work will take 60 days to complete, pushing the project into paving and lighting stages to allow vertical work to begin midway through the first quarter. “We’re going to be working as fast as we can to get it up as quickly as we can,” he says. “We’re expecting to deliver shell buildings in late spring or early summer.”

Site prepping includes a 2.09-acre tract that will be sold to a franchisee of Chicago-based Hyatt Hotels & Resorts Inc. Fuller says the franchisee, who’s not being identified at this stage, hasn’t set a ground-breaking date, but does plan to have the seven-story lifestyle hotel ready to open in fall 2008 along with the next wave of retailers.

The expansion phase’s anchors include a 33,000-sf Dave & Buster’s and 24,000-sf Splitsville, a Tampa-based bowling alley, billiards and dining concept new to the state. Arlington Highlands East is expected to be the first Texas opening for the Splitsville chain, which also is negotiating for an anchor spot in Cypress Equities’ West 7th, a mixed-use redevelopment in Fort Worth’s Cultural District; Park Lane Place, Dallas-based Harvest Partners’ $100-million-plus project near NorthPark Mall in Dallas; and Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group’s Domain in North Austin. The Retail Connection is handling Splitsville’s site search and contract talks. Splitsville’s typical location features 12 bowling lanes, six billiards tables, full-service dinner lounge and several bars.

Arlington Highlands East’s lineup also will include freestanding Houlihan’s, Red Robin and Bone Daddy’s, a Boudreaux restaurant in an inline spot and a spa, another name that’s being kept under wraps for now. Many of the expansion phase’s tenants were on a waiting list from Arlington Highlands, which opened last May with its shop spaces practically full. At build-out, the entire development will sport 115 retailers in 800,000 sf.

“Demand has been overwhelming. We have more demand than what we have room for,” Fuller says. “It will be a seamless addition to Arlington Highlands.”

Good Fulton & Farrell Inc. of Dallas designed the entire project. Spring Valley Construction Co., also from Dallas, is the general contractor and Mycoskie, McInnis & Associates of Arlington is the landscape architect.

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