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PLANO, TX-CMC Commercial Realty Group finalized a lease with Cigna Corp. for a 204,000-sf building the Dallas-based developer will build at the Dallas North Tollway and Plano Parkway, just north of State Highway 190. Brokers say it is likely to be one of the largest office transactions in the Dallas market for 2008.

The 13-acre project will mark the official launch of a 43-acre master-planned development CMC has had in the pipeline. Ultimately, the project, which has been renamed Cigna Pointe, will include two additional office buildings of 160,000 sf each and some support retail. The site is also zoned for a hotel.

According to CMC partner Jesse Pruitt, the two companies have been negotiating for the past eight months. He says the Philadelphia-based health insurance company looked at a number of sites and approached several other developers before settling on CMC. “Initially they preferred another site,” he tells GlobeSt.com, “but we were able to convince them this was the best location. It will give them a lot of exposure and easy access for clients and employees.”

An existing relationship between Cigna and CMC also played a role in the insurer’s decision. The developer built a 140,000-sf call center for Cigna in Dennison, TX that opened last year. “They trust us in what we can do, based on their experience with the call center,” says Pruitt. “That’s why they picked us over much larger developers.”

In addition, he continues, Cigna was impressed with CMC’s decision to build to structure to LEED silver standards. “I think this is where corporate America is headed today,” the executive observes. “If they’re going to lease space, it’s going to have to be a green building.”

The building, which is set to begin construction in August, is being called Cigna Pointe I. Pruitt says Cigna Pointe II and III will be built to the same standard, and notes the company is in discussion with potential tenants for the second building, which he hopes to get out of the ground by Q1 of next year. Like Cigna, other potential tenants are also attracted to the development’s green-building commitment. “The corporate people we’re talking to have been pretty excited about it,” he remarks.

No budget has been announced for the project. CMC has properties throughout Texas and in eight other states.

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