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IRVING, TX-In a fierce competition for the deal, Meritage Homes Corp. has given its nod to MacArthur Ridge II, inking a 42,000-sf lease with a seven-year term for the class AA office space. The company, gaming out a consolidation, will get its keys in September.

“We chased it like crazy,” Joel Pustmueller, partner in Dallas-based Peloton Real Estate Partners, tells GlobeSt.com. “We put a very attractive deal on the table for them.” He says the Scottsdale, AZ-based Meritage plans to keep an office along the Dallas North Tollway and roll all others in Dallas and Fort Worth under one roof at 909 Hidden Ridge Dr. in Las Colinas. Based on tax records, the company has 12 locations in Dallas and Tarrant counties.

Pustmueller says negotiations for the stair-stepped pact went full circle in two months. Meritage is taking 20,000 sf at street level and the 22,000-sf balance of the fourth floor in the six-story building. The street-level space is earmarked for Meritage’s design center, title company and mortgage brokerage services. The just-leased space is in shell condition, allowing Meritage to build from scratch.

The Meritage win bumps occupancy to 55%, a 25% climb in the past few months since Peloton moved into the driver’s seat to lease the 246,664-sf landmark building. Pustmueller says there are a couple deals working that could push occupancy to 80% by summer for its owner, Houston-based Hines.

MacArthur Ridge II is on the rebound from losing EMC Mortgage Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of New York City-based Bear Stearns Cos. Inc., to a headquarters build-to-suit in Lewisville. Hines has added some spec suites of 1,200 sf to 3,000 sf to help with the find-and-sign campaign by Pustmueller and Peloton vice president Grant Sumner.

Pustmueller says Dallas-based Staubach Co.’s executive vice president Brad Selner and associate Andy Leatherman scoured Las Colinas and the Texas 114 corridor before Meritage settled on the MacArthur Ridge II space. In today’s leasing climate, the building’s deals are being bed down in the $23.50 per sf range.

Meritage is one of the largest homebuilders in the Southwest and ranked 11th nationally. Last year, there had been talk in Phoenix brokerage circles that the company was planning to move its headquarters to Dallas.

Las Colinas is corporate America-driven so the 42,000-sf win is particularly significant because leasing has slowed in tandem with the economy. “It’s a quiet period. It’s the smaller deals that keep Las Colinas ticking,” Pustmueller says. “When you have a chance to snag a deal in this market, you have to be all over it.”

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