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May 09 , 2005

Retail Team Options 17 Acres

May 9th, 2005 - GRANBURY, TX-The Retail Connection's development arm has 17 acres under contract in a lakefront community that's transitioned into a hotspot for retiring Baby Boomers and second-home buyers. The plan is to add 150,000 sf of retail in a mix of boxes for junior-anchor nationals and pad sites for restaurants and banks. Granbury Meadows conceivably could end up a prototype for secondary and tertiary markets for the firm when all is said and done, Chris Thomas, senior vice president for the Retail Connection, tells But for now, the focus is on coming up with the right mix of "small-town retailers" to reach a preleasing level to take down the land and begin construction in first quarter 2006 at the hard corner of US Highway 144 and South Meadows Drive, he says. David Wilson, president of Connected Development Services, is leading the development. Thomas, estimating construction at $10 million, says the plan is to close on the land between September and January 2006. The City of Granbury, positioned 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth, has a 95% occupancy in its 1.2-million-sf retail inventory, according to Thomas. A three-year lull for sizable commercial construction has been broken by Home Depot and Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse. "When Home Depot and Lowe's are opening within 100 yards of each other, that's a great indicator there's a lot of growth," Thomas says. The population of the Hood County seat is 128,448 year-round residents and scores more who've picked up second homes in the past two years. Still, Thomas says the market still isn't mature enough for many of the national names that the Retail Connection usually brings to the table so the challenge is to develop a lineup and connections to retailers with "small town" appeal and secondary-market expansion plans. Junior-anchor space is quoted at $10 per sf; inline space, $17 per sf to $18 per sf; and pad sites, $14 per sf to $16 per sf. Thomas says proposals are out for about three-fourths of the 150,000 sf, none of which will be grocery store space. "There's very high interest in that market," he says. "Now, we're picking the direction of the tenant mix. If we can come up with a good tenant mix, we'd like to find other markets."
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