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FORT WORTH-Unveiling its retail component for the $200-million City Place, PNL Cos. is courting the market with 150,000 sf of street-level space in Downtown Fort Worth. The goal is to complement Sundance Square’s 20-block, top-shelf retail mix by adding more restaurants and entertainment concepts, many envisioned to be new names for Texas.

The Dallas-based developer has tweaked the City Place plan since November 2007 when it seated Stream Realty Partners LP and the Retail Connection to lease the office space and shop space. The initial focus was to fill the 312,000 sf of class A office in the 19-story, 320,000-sf tower at 300 Throckmorton St. With the office space now 65% leased, the developer and its Dallas-based teams are ready to lob a full-court press for the retail line-up. The Shops at City Place will be front and center at the International Council of Shopping Centers’ annual showcase in Las Vegas.

“There are going to be some great concepts coming to this. We’ve had a much better response than I thought we were going to get,” PNL president David Porter tells GlobeSt.com. “They see the whole thing coming together. They can see the quality and the nature of the overall development.”

Porter says the first hard push is aimed at the central block, which is being gutted for 106,000 sf of retail and topped off with parking levels for 435 spaces and two more decks to the north garage. The central block’s date with a wrecking ball was canceled. “We looked at it and said ‘that corner’s way too good,’” Porter says. “It really creates a more improved streetscape in the Downtown.”

Retail Connection senior vice presidents Chris Thomas and Ross Golman are quoting $32 per sf to $34 per sf, triple net. Thomas says there are nine proposals out, all restaurants and entertainment concepts. “We’re going to try to make it an extension of Throckmorton’s restaurant row,” he explains. “Once we get through ICSC, we’ll be able to talk more about who we have.”

Thomas says there is a limited amount of space for bi-level shops in the central block, the former 500,000-sf Fort Worth Outlet Square and skating rink. The “new look” will be storefronts for upscale lifestyle retail, wrapped around the base of the twin towers in the four-block landmark, once known as the Charles D. Tandy Center, headquarters to the Tandy Cos. and RadioShack Corp.

“We are merchandising the project in the right way so we don’t end up with something that doesn’t have the right energy for the project,” Thomas stresses.

The 150,000 sf will be readied in phases, with the initial focus on the make-ready process for the 106,000 sf in the central block. “We are gutting the first floor of the outlet mall to shell and putting in storefront glass where there used to be tilt-wall,” he says. He estimates the make-ready process for the retail component will take nine months to complete.

As the team digs in for its next hard push, Chris Wright, Stream’s senior associate and point man on the project, says the twin One City Place at 100 Throckmorton St. is going to stay mothballed, except for the retail, longer than anticipated. The office tower is to be converted into 156 condos, but the delivery’s been pushed to 2011 instead of 2010. Stream’s team also is the construction manager. St. Louis-based HOK Group Inc.’s Dallas team is City Place’s architect.

Wright is quoting $25 per sf to $29 per sf plus electric for the last 113,000 sf, spread across four full floors and parts of three multi-tenant floors. “We expected a good amount of momentum with the office market in Fort Worth having the strength it does, but we’re pleasantly surprised,” he says. “We’re definitely seeing activity that will fill up that 113,000 sf.”

One City Place originally was ticketed to remain office. “The idea is condos. We have the ability to deliver One City Place as office and we could turn it in 12 to 14 months,” Thomas says, pointing out that the decision would be tenant driven. “We’re looking passively. We could certainly accommodate a large user that comes our way, but we’re not actively marketing it as an office tower.”

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