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HOUSTON-Bailey, Banks & Biddle has become the latest tenant to commit to retail space in the $500-million CityCentre at Town and Country. The jeweler will sign an agreement this week to take 7,000 sf for 10 years, bringing retail preleasing to 30% in the 1.1-million-sf project.

Shawn Merecki, vice president of leasing for Houston-based developer Midway Cos., says more retail deals should be secured within 30 to 90 days. He says the project’s 539,319-sf retail component most likely will be 70% preleased by the grand opening in April 2009.

To date, tenants include Lifetime Athletic in a 140,000-sf anchor space, Studio Movie Grill, Norris Conference Centers, Sur la Table and Eye Couture. CityCentre also is getting several restaurants new to Houston: Brio Tuscan Grill, Yardhouse and Eddie V’s. Other eateries in the lineup are RA Sushi, Potbelly, Jamba Juice, Chipotle, Wine Loft and Como Se Dice.

Midway Cos. is handling leasing in-house. Typical retail asking rates are about $40 per sf, triple net in the submarket.

GlobeSt.com previously reported the retail component would be about 90% occupied, which was to be in late 2008. Merecki acknowledges the economic slowdown has changed Midway’s expectations, including a push on its delivery to second quarter 2009. “Retailers are a little hesitant so there’s been some slowdown in that regard,” he says. “On the flip side, Houston is kind of a port in a storm with tremendous job growth so we decided to move ahead full throttle with the development.”

Also under construction is the project’s 475,000-sf office component. Merecki tells GlobeSt.com that the three-building office collection is already 60% preleased, adding the office space could be 90% committed by the grand opening. Colvill Office Properties of Houston is handling office leasing for the 250,000-sf, 125,000-sf and 100,000-sf buildings. Midway Cos. will be one of the office tenants. Others are Structure Consulting Group LLC, Regus Group, McGriff Seibels & Williams of TX Inc. and Amegy Bank. Office space in the western submarket can run from $27 per sf to $30 per sf.

Also under construction are the 245-room Hotel Sorella, 250-unit Lofts CityCentre, 375-unit Domain at CityCentre and 40-unit Brownstones at CityCentre. The hotel is being developed by Valencia Group of Houston and will include 22 executive condominiums on the top floor. Local companies Chancellor Property Management Co. and Simmons Vedder & Co. are working with Midway Cos. to develop the lofts and multifamily units, respectively, while McGuire Homebuilders Inc., another local firm, is building the brownstones, which have a starting price point of $800,000.

CityCentre’s architects are Gensler and Kirksey Architecture, both from Houston, and Los Angeles-based Peter Remedius. Burton Construction Co. of Houston is the general contractor.

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