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DALLAS-After two years of massaging the plan, NorthPoint Properties is poised to start site work on a $30-million retail gateway for the Pleasant Grove neighborhood in southeast Dallas. Ground will break by year’s end on the 105,000-sf Buckner Crossing I, with its second phase not too far behind.

Dallas developer David Carter will plant the project on two corners at the junction of Buckner and Samuel boulevards near Interstate 30. Buckner Crossing I will sit at 5620 S. Buckner Blvd. on 12 acres, bought from Buckner International with the Baptist Foundation as its representative. A 19-acre tract is under contract, with a yearend closing in the works. Each phase’s all-in development cost is expected to hover $15 million, excluding the build to suits, according to Giovanni Palavicini, founder of Fronteras Commercial Real Estate in Dallas.

Palavicini tells GlobeSt.com that NorthPoint will deliver phase one by late summer 2009 and phase two in first quarter 2010. Palavicini has been leading the preleasing charge, targeting mainstream retailers now aligning with Hispanic consumers after recognizing the depth of their purchasing power. Buckner Crossing is the first ground-up retail to rise in five years in a diverse ethnic pocket with 324,432 residents in a five-mile radius and an annual average household income of $54,842.

“The biggest hurdle has been, in all honesty, not Pleasant Grove or the demographics,” Palavicini says, “but it’s been the proximity to Mesquite.” The 4.5-mile distance to a larger retail corridor has created some problems for junior anchors, he says.

But, Palavicini says preleasing has now reached a level that site work can begin. Bucker Crossing is a design of O’Brien & Associates Inc. of Dallas. Its general contractor is Westwood Contractors Inc. of Fort Worth.

Buckner Crossing I will come out of the ground with a 27,689-sf Ross Dress for Less on a 10-year anchor lease. Palavicini says deals are working with Payless Shoe Source, Anna’s Linens and Rainbow Shops. Quotes for inline space are $20 per sf to $24 per sf triple net, with junior anchor spaces in the $12 per sf range.

Bucker Crossing I will be flanked by four pad sites, all to be delivered by the end of this year. Three pads are earmarked for Resource One Credit Union, Dunkin Donuts and a 5,000-sf building with Panda Express and T-Mobile in line for the space. The pad site development will add about 14,000 sf to the 91,000-sf first phase. Ground leases are carrying 10-year terms, except for one and that’s a 15-year pact now under negotiation with a bank for phase two, according to Palavicini.

Buckner Crossing II will be anchored by a 45,000-sf LA Fitness, which has inked a reverse build-to-suit deal for five of the 19 acres. Palavicini says the second phase will add 25,000 sf to 35,000 sf of inline retail space to the project. Pad site deals also are working with Carl’s Jr. and Blue Wave Car Wash.

“We’ve gotten a lot of mainstream names, but their target is truly the spending power that the Hispanic market has,” Palavicini says, citing the $686 billion that comes from the sector each year. Retail analysts predict Hispanic consumers will be spending $1.2 trillion annually by 2011.

Palavicini formed Fronteras in November 2007 specifically to tap into the Hispanic retail marketplace. Since then, he’s picked up assignments from Vista Properties, Margaux Development Co., Charter Holdings, Component Capital Group and NorthPoint, all Dallas-based development and redevelopment firms eyeing real estate plays tailored to the Hispanic marketplace.

Palavicini’s strategy has been to amass three to five listings in a submarket “so we’ve got a penetration,” he explains of the 1.5 million sf that his firm now leases. “All retailers are seeing how quickly the market’s growing and mainstream retailers have started to see that spending power.”

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