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GARLAND, TX-With site work and infrastructure now done, High Street Residential and USAA Real Estate Co. are starting vertical work for a transit-oriented development to add 189 apartments and 20,000 sf of retail to the historic downtown. The project, estimated at $25 million to $30 million, will start to deliver in spring 2009.

The 5th Street Crossing project will be set on 2.5 blocks along 5th and 6th streets, right on the doorstep of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s Garland Station. The five-acre project will have three residential buildings, two of which will street-level storefronts, and a 400-space parking garage. CB Richard Ellis’ Dallas team is preleasing the retail while locally based Lincoln Property Co.’s third-party management group will oversee the finished apartment complex.

“This is a catalyst project that the city hopes will spawn a lot more development in the Downtown, whether it’s us or others,” says Arthur Lomenick, managing director of Dallas-based Trammell Crow. Co. and president of wholly owned subsidiary High Street Residential. “Garland has never been a suburb of Dallas. It’s a city and its own place. It’s got a lot of character and history.”

The 5th Street Crossing is the result of a public-private partnership. Lomenick likens the development site to that of Uptown years ago, weaving together old and new space for the revitalization program.

Lomenick tells GlobeSt.com that USAA is getting first dibs on High Street’s TOD merchant-build plans, inside and outside the state. To date, the San Antonio-based USAA is on board with High Street’s $100-million Midtown Commons, a 73-acre development for Austin’s proposed Crestview Station and is considering its TOD in Carrollton. It’s also an equity backer in DeSoto’s town center project, also on the outskirts of Dallas. Lomenick says High Street has dozen TOD projects that have USAA’s eye, including ones in Atlanta, Denver and Washington, DC.

High Street’s 5th Street Crossing, all three-story buildings, was designed by James, Harwick + Partners Inc. of Dallas. Lomenick says the rental mix goes from 480-sf studios to 1,200-sf two-bedroom units. Projected monthly rents are $600 to $1,300. ICI Construction, also from Dallas, is the general contractor.

With 5th Street Crossing now going vertical, Lomenick says the next year will be spent finding a buyer for the finished product. Completion is penciled for late 2009.

The development layout puts 5th Street Crossing at the heart of a business corridor anchored by the light-rail station, community college and historic square with a performing arts center, city hall and library. High Street’s design includes internal courtyards linked to redesigned pedestrian walkways to create an urban village.

“Several years ago, the city council had the vision to create a strategy for the redevelopment of our Downtown, which was based on a market analysis of economic conditions,” Garland Mayor Ronald Jones says in a press release. And, he adds 5th Street Crossing is just the “first step toward achieving a vision.”

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