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[IMGCAP(1)]TERRELL, TX-After keeping the land under contract for two years, Oakridge Investments Inc. has moved forward on the development plan for an 89-acre tract in Kaufman County. The Dallas-based developer is keeping 36 acres for a 200,000-sf power center and has flipped the balance to Baylor Health Care System for a medical center campus.

Oakridge’s Justin Allen tells GlobeSt.com that nearly $6 million of infrastructure work will get under way in the summer on the entire site, which is bound by Interstate 20, Spur 557 leading to US Hwy. 80 and FM 148. The infrastructure is expected to take 18 months to complete, including widening the local road to four lanes.

Allen says it’s conceivable that ground will break in spring 2009 on Terrell Market Center, which has a projected all-in cost of $80 million to $100 million. The Oakridge team has a firm handle on its part of the plan, but Dallas-based Baylor has yet to decide what it will build. Insiders, though, say talks have included both in-patient and out-patient facilities.

Terrell Market Center will be courted to national retailers, with an emphasis on restaurants, according to Allen. The focused approach is tied to the site’s positioning at a “double diamond” freeway interchange and the lack of dining options in the corridor. Meanwhile, talks have begun with possible anchors for the project, now being designed by Hodges & Associates Inc. of Dallas.

“It’s a key submarket interchange that’s destined to be a regional destination,” Allen says. “For us, it will be a five- to 10-year build-out. Long term it will be good for Terrell. Baylor really validated the site.”

Allen says Oakridge and Baylor were in talks for other sites in the metroplex when its Terrell option came up for discussion. “It was just one of those things where the site they selected came together with our site selection,” he says.

[IMGCAP(2)]Terrell Mayor Hal Richards says local officials are intent on developing a self-sustaining city rather than be just a bedroom community to Dallas, which is 30 miles to the west. “We are courting anyone and everyone who’s got the kind of jobs we think will fit with our future,” he says, adding Baylor can do just that. The city’s employment base already includes three companies with workforces exceeding 500 employees each.

Although Baylor won’t confirm what it’s eyeing, the city’s door is wide open to a new healthcare facility and expanded services for a fast-growing county population that’s up to 98,350 residents and 1,300 annual housing starts. A Baylor-affiliated clinic at 200 N. Virginia St. is a 17,225-sf building that’s serviced the city nearly two decades. The clinic is operated by HealthTexas Provider Network and the real estate’s owned by HRT Properties of Texas Ltd. of Nashville. Less than three miles to the south is a 102-bed hospital built in 1977. In February 2007, Houston-based Renaissance Healthcare Systems rescued the facility at 1551 Hwy. 34 South from being shut down and renovated it. Also, the state operates a 316-bed hospital at 1200 E. Brin St.

It has been confirmed that Baylor and Renaissance have discussed their future plans for Terrell. There is speculation that it could lead to a division of services so as not to tread on each other’s territory.

In any event, the medical sites and Terrell Market Center are part of a 500-acre tax increment financing district that was recently put in place as a development seed. Richards says to date there’s been no discussions about tax abatements with either new property owner in town.

CB Richard Ellis team of managing director Jeff Cox and senior associates Scott Head and Stroud Arthur represented Baylor. Oakridge bought the dirt in a deal with a local family, who had Ray Utley, president of the land division for Henry S. Miller Commercial in Dallas, negotiating its terms.

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