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May 19 , 2005

Key Players Head to Connected Development

May 19th, 2005 - By Connie Gore DALLAS-Well-known developer James Ziegler has taken a seat as senior vice president and development partner for Connected Development Services, an affiliate of The Retail Connection. The powerhouse assembly of brokers and clients also snared the construction director from the same ranks that they excited about 18 months ago. Ziegler is transitioning from a principal’s role of the Dunning Co., a 22-year-old firm that he’s been with since its inception. The other new teammate is Mark Fawks, who just started three days ago as Connected Development’s vice president of construction after a 13-year stint in the same role for Cencor Realty Services, the management and development affiliate of Dallas-based Weitzman Group. Ziegler’s partner, David Dunning, didn’t return a telephone call by publication time to comment on backfilling the position. Ziegler, though, says the firm’s disposed of the bulk of the portfolio and has been buying and banking retail land that’s “in front of the curve,” so the time isn’t quite right to develop it, particulary since several tracts are earmarked for grocery-anchored development. “I was ready to go build some new centers," Ziegler tells about the motive for the move. “There is a possibility that some of those sites will be developed through The Retail Connection.” The locally based Dunning Co., in which Ziegler retains a partnership interest with a back-seat role, has 47 tracts in its Dallas/Fort Worth land bank. Connected Development’s pipeline pushed the team to search for another development partner and a construction executive. Ziegler’s availability was just a matter of good timing, but the team had launched a comprehensive search for a vice president of construction, according to Steve Lieberman, The Retail Connection’s co-chairman and CEO. “Mark made a significant contribution to our construction and development objectives,” Marshal Mills, President and COO of Cencor and the Weitzman Group, says in a prepared statement about Fawks’ move. “We wish him the best in his new endeavor.” David Wilson, president of Connected Development, says Ziegler’s first project has yet to be identified, but Fawks is facing a pipeline with 2.5 million sf of new construction in a half dozen groundbreakings this year and 300,000 sf to 400,000 sf of redevelopments. “Nothing is speculative,” Lieberman says. “It’s all in response to direct assignments so that’s the reason we can hire into it.” Ziegler developed more than 4.5 million sf and steered Dunning Co.’s disposition program of two million sf in 16 centers. In 1988, the principals formed the United Cos., a trio of affiliates set up to develop, manage and lease. The leasing arm eventually was sold and the development partnerships wound down, for now. But, the management group remains intact, Ziegler explains. “We weren’t looking to fill a title. We were looking for a development partner,” Wilson says. “We were pleased when Jim came to the table.” Fawks and the heads of The Retail Connection and Connected Development teams spent nearly 11 years together. “When he surfaced, he was a natural for us.” Lieberman says.
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