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February 18 , 2004

Retail Center Set for N. Dallas

February 18th, 2004 - Developers propose massive complex to replace apartments By STEVE BROWN Real Estate Editor Developers are promoting a plan to tear down one of North Dallas' biggest apartment communities and replace it with a shopping center. Provident Realty Advisors, a Dallas-based real estate investment and development firm, is soliciting tenants for the 42-acre retail center to be constructed at the northwest corner of North Central Expressway and Walnut Hill Lane. The huge complex would replace the Lakeside at Walnut Hill apartment community, formerly known as Willow Creek. The new retail center would include more than 600,000 square feet of shops constructed in a series of one- and two-story buildings, according to plans circulated to retailers and real estate brokers. Officials with Provident Realty - which has done several North Texas redevelopments - could not be reached for details about the project. But word about the deal is widespread among retailers and shopping center brokers. Because of its prime North Dallas location, the site is a strong draw for retail tenants, said Mickey Ashmore with United Commercial Realty. "There are lots of big-box retailers that want to get into the North Dallas market," Mr. Ashmore said. "They are always looking for sites up and down North Central Expressway." Some potential tenants negotiating for space in the Walnut Hill project include Kroger, Ross, Old Navy, Bed Bath & Beyond and Ultimate Electronics, according to marketing materials Provident Realty has distributed. Architect O'Brien & Associates designed the complex to include a parking deck and two-story buildings fronting the expressway. The shopping center would be one of the largest additions in decades to Dallas' North Central corridor. About 800 apartments in about five dozen buildings would be razed to make way for the development. The community was built in the mid-1960s by a joint venture of Dallas developers Trammell Crow and Mack Pogue as one of Dallas' first large-scale rental communities. Over the years Lakeside at Walnut Hill has been plagued by a series of fires, and parts of the original project have been demolished. Provident Realty transformed the former North Town mall in North Dallas into an office complex. It also redeveloped a defunct outlet mall in North Richland Hills and a shopping mall in Houston. But while those projects created new office space, today's emphasis in the commercial real estate market is on retail. "I've never seen so many new projects and deals in the market," said Jill Tiernan, senior vice president with the Retail Connection. "The retail market is incredibly hot now." The Walnut Hill redevelopment is just one of several in the works along North Central south of LBJ Freeway. Another developer, Harvest Partners, is seeking tenants for a large retail strip to be constructed at the southeast corner of Park Lane and North Central across from NorthPark. That development, on part of the NorthPark East property, would contain about 400,000 square feet of shops. And farther south on North Central near Knox Street, developer Shafer Property Co. has broken ground on its Knox Street Promenade shopping center.
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