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[IMGCAP(1)]PLANO, TX-With the $146-million first phase of its campus nearing completion, Children’s Medical Center is in the process of master planning a 155-acre foothold in a northern tier city with one of the fastest-growing “under-18″ populations in the nation. The goal for its Legacy Business Park land is to amass the largest possible concentration of pediatrics outpatient services.

The board of Children’s Medical Center Dallas has hired FKP Architects Inc. of Houston to develop a plan that, if it comes to fruition, could add high-demand specialties like a pediatrics nursing school, research facilities, school of allied health, school of pharmacy and therapeutic aquatics or equestrian centers to the under-construction campus, which has three-eighths mile frontage along Preston Road and one-quarter mile along Hedgcoxe Road. The master plan is to be done by June so it can be reviewed and ready to go to the board in September, Lou Saksen, vice president of facilities for Children’s Medical Center Dallas, tells GlobeSt.com.

“These are dreams right now,” Saksen stresses. “We haven’t pursued them yet.”

Although planning is in the early stages, he says it’s not unrealistic to envision a groundbreaking in 2010. He also says future plans most likely will include more partners than just UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. “But, we will talk to them to see if they’re interested in taking our research space,” he adds.

As the master plan takes shape, the most likely second phase will be two more inpatient towers in the next few years for the $120-million hospital. [IMGCAP(2)] Set to open in the fall, the hospital will have 72 beds to start and the infrastructure for 240 beds. The four-story hospital will sport 38 examination rooms for emergency room services, an intensive care unit, four operating rooms and on-site transport to the main campus at 1935 Motor St. in Dallas.

The first space of Children’s Medical Center Legacy will come on line in March, with the delivery of a 127,000-sf ambulatory care pavilion. The master plan will include a twin building, according to Saksen.

The $26-million, four-story pavilion, which will include imaging and laboratory services, is replacing the 8,000-sf Preston Hedgcoxe Plaza at 7800 Preston Rd. Saksen says there are nearly six years left on the lease so decisionmakers are weighing options like a pediatrics sleep center or urgent care center. The hospital operates a 4,000-sf sleep center in the area, also a leased site, but there are just a couple years left on the term.

The pavilion and hospital were designed by PageSoutherlandPage LLC of Austin and Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects LLLP of Portland, OR. Newman Jackson Bieberstein Inc. of Dallas is the landscape architect. Austin Commercial’s Dallas division is the general contractor.

Saksen says it was never envisioned in 2001 when the initial 68.7 acres were bought that the plan would have evolved from a regional facility into a full-fledged campus with research and medical training components. The reality is 30% of inpatients at the main campus come from far north Dallas, he says. Also, 30,000 outpatient visits per year are credited to residents from Collin, Cooke, Denton, Fannin and Grayson counties plus the northern tier’s children’s population growth rate currently is eight times higher than the national average and will be 11 times greater by 2010, according to hospital research.

“It’s pretty obvious we’re playing to a population we already have and a rate of growth,” Saksen stresses. “We really need to be in that market.”

Saksen says the future campus, though, won’t include any medical office space because there is plenty on the ground or on drawing boards. But one day, his vision could add administrative and daycare space.

Children’s Medical bought its land from a joint venture of Dallas-based Trammell Crow Co., New York City-based Morgan Stanley and locally based EDS Corp. The JV was formed in October 2006 to develop the 404-acre balance of EDS’ 2,660 acres, which were amassed in the late 1970s by Ross Perot Sr. To date, 10 million sf of corporate offices have been built and more is on the way to support ongoing developments of retail, residential and hospitality space surrounding Legacy’s 150-acre town center. It can cost $8 per sf to $25 per sf to rope off a piece of Legacy’s land.

David Reed, senior vice president on CB Richard Ellis’ Dallas team, markets the acreage. “The Children’s Medical Center has really been a catalyst here for development,” he says. One developer has placed a contract on nearly 25 acres while other would-be buyers are negotiating deals for another 80 to 100 acres. Capital One holds a 25-acre option to expand its 50-acre corporate headquarters campus and Legacy’s multifamily property developer Robert Shaw of Dallas-based Columbus Realty Partners Ltd. has another 15-acre option at his disposal.

“We have had a lot of really good activity,” Reed says. Last year, 113 acres were sold, which included the pediatrics hospital’s decision to exercise its 52-acre option. Since the JV took over, 120 acres have been sold.

Reed says the JV initially thought it would take eight years to sell all the land. “We’ve been in an up cycle. We’ve been surprised by the reception,” he says. “And, we’re continuing to have inquiries from companies and their representatives. There are a number of inquiries from medical office users.”

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