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FORT WORTH-A little more than two years after acquiring 279 acres to build the $300-million Champions Circle, Fine Line Diversified Development has completed dirt work and is actively marketing the first phase of the mixed-use, master-planned project. Partner developer Interra Development Group LLC will break ground on Champions Circle Business Center, a two-building, 120,000-square-foot office project, when a lead tenant is found.

Jim Vanderslice, senior vice president with Grubb & Ellis Co.’s Dallas office tells GlobeSt.com that the Champions Circle master plan’s pro-forma shows a tenant would need to take at least 80% of the space for construction to begin. “But we’re flexible,” adds Vanderslice, who has the marketing assignment with Grubb & Ellis managing director Kathy Permenter and senior vice president Chris Wright. “If we had a company come along and say they needed only 60,000 square feet, we’d build a 60,000-square-foot building.”

Though eight acres of the project on Interstate 35 West and State Highway 114 has been allocated to the first phase, Vanderslice says if a tenant is looking for an office campus, 20 or 30 acres could be allocated to build something on the development’s west side. “We’ll consider those who want to lease, or who want buy and own their own building,” Vanderslice says, adding that the goal is not to create a heavy multitenant market. “I think our flexibility offers things that may not be available in other locations.”

William D. Boecker, Fine Line Development’s president and CEO says the office product is Champions Circle’s first phase because the area represents one of Fort Worth’s strongest submarkets when it comes to office leasing. Furthermore, the project’s proximity to Texas Motor Speedway provides a natural fit for potential NASCAR sponsors that might want to office nearby, Boecker says. The quoted lease rate is $20 per square foot, plus electricity, though rates are negotiable, depending on required tenant improvements.

Fine Line Development is also in conversation with potential retail developers, but given the economic realities, Boecker acknowledges nothing much is moving forward on the retail side. “We’ve had quite a bit of advancement on the overall site development, and we wind up in today’s economy,” he says. “But we can continue moving forward on the office component.”

Boecker adds that Fine Line Development isn’t too concerned about economic times pointing out that the company also tackled horizontal site development for the 328-acre, mixed use La Frontera in Round Rock, TX, near Austin, TX. While Fine Line was proceeding with horizontal site work on the project, the economy was battered by the tech bust and 9/11. But Boecker says it was ultimately completed and is a thriving center today.

“We’ve been through periods like this before, and understand these projects evolve over a period of time,” Boecker explains. If a particular site or project is in the right location, waiting out a recessionary economy comes with the territory. “We’re sold on this particular site being such a crosshair of growth in Fort Worth,” he adds.

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