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[IMGCAP(1)]DALLAS-Officially ringing the starting bell, Granite Properties and Gables Residential Trust are under way with a $200-million, two-tower project in Uptown. The double play will come on line in 2010.

Economic concerns sweeping the nation have been taken into consideration, but the long-term outlook is driving the development partners to forge ahead with confidence on the 2.14-acre project at 1717 McKinney St. and 1700 Cedar Springs Rd., according to Greg Fuller, COO of Dallas-based Granite Properties. “You really have to have a five-year horizon window. There definitely are going to be areas that see economic downturn, but real estate fundamentals in that area [Uptown] are not going to go away,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “You’ve got to look long term, past this rocky bubble. Great real estate in great locations will always survive in good times or bad.”

The class AA office tower is a 19-story design, with 361,524 sf of rentable LEED Silver-certified space. It will sit on top of six levels of parking and retail, with a one-acre “amenity” deck that connects to its neighbor, a 26-story residential tower with 292 units, also being designed for LEED certification. It will have 20 residential floors and six floors of parking and retail. The towers will have 15,000 sf of street-level retail and restaurant space plus room for a bank with drive-through lanes. [IMGCAP(2)]The deck will sport a 4,000-sf fitness center and infinity-edge pool in a park-like setting overlooking Victory Park and Downtown, with the Calatrava Bridge as part of the view from the balconies of upper-bank office tenants.

Granite will own its tower and the Atlanta-based Gables will own its tower too, with the land tract secured by condominium interests, according to Fuller. “We decided to develop as one for economies of scale,” he explains. “We are getting a 7% to 10% reduction in pricing than if we had built them separately.” Leading Gables’ project is its senior vice president Doug Chesnut.

Fuller says the developers are still weighing their projects’ names. The office tower is tentatively dubbed 17Seventeen McKinney for its address, but Fuller says naming rights are in play if a lead tenant comes along. The upcoming trophy space is being quoted at $35 per sf plus electric. Fuller says “no less than 10 proposals” from 15,000 sf to 100,000 sf already are working through the system. Granite’s leasing director Jim Kirchhoff and leasing manager Robert Jimenez are leading the search for office and retail tenants.

The office tower’s skin will be outfitted with thousands of LEDs and designed for color changes. “At 22 stories tall and 38 feet wide, the effect when the building is lighted each night will be hard to miss,” says Fuller, whose company was named developer of the year by NAIOP’s North Texas chapter.

Good Fulton & Farrell Inc. of Dallas designed the entire project. TBG Partners of Austin is the landscape architect. Austin Commercial Inc.’s local team is the general contractor.

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