Hillwood reveals game plan for another Dallas Victory DALLAS - Hillwood Development Corp. has huge plans for a 48-acre site surrounding the future sports arena downtown. The Fort Worth-based developer is poised to transform an industrial site east of Stemmons Freeway into a 6 million sq. ft. master-planned, mixed-use development called Victory.

Hillwood and city officials are hoping Victory - which will comprise 4 million sq. ft. of office, 600,000 sq. ft. of retail and 1,000 residential units - will serve as a catalyst for the continued revitalization of downtown Dallas. The development will create taxable improvements to the land valued at more than $550 million, according to a tax-increment financing proposal submitted to the city. "Victory is a great model of a private-public partnership," Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk says. "Hillwood shares our vision of the continued revitalization of downtown, and I applaud their commitment to investing in the future of Dallas."

The developer also looks forward to the opportunity of transforming the large tract in the heart of Dallas, Hillwood Chairman Ross Perot Jr. says. "Working with the city of Dallas and the community at large, we have a chance to create something extraordinary that will bring new life to downtown Dallas to create a model for urban development across the nation," he offers.

The mixed-use development will create a new "front door" to downtown, the developer says. Victory also will bridge the gap between some of Dallas' most thriving areas including the historic West End entertainment district, the Market Center, the Arts District, Uptown and the Design District. Victory's own entertainment district will feature open plazas with an 80,000 sq. ft. theatre and street-level retail shops. The area is expected to draw 2.5 million people annually. The residential area will feature multi-level apartment buildings and apartments located above street-level retail shops.

Isaac Manning, Hillwood's senior vice president of strategic services and head of Victory's master-planning team, says the development will be a highly popular destination. "We traveled the world in search of the best concepts and designs to incorporate into this once-in-a-lifetime project," he says. "We envision Victory as a pedestrian-friendly place where people live, work and play - a quintessential urban neighborhood."

Construction of the Victory project is set to begin after an environmental remediation of the property, which had been owned primarily by TU Electric and Union Pacific Railroad. The Victory site plan has not been finalized, and no tenants for any part of the development have been announced.

Hillwood Development Corp. used the ULI Fall Meeting in October as the stage to reveal its development plans for a 6 million sq. ft. master-planned, mixed-use development. Hillwood will develop office, retail and residential space on the 48-acre tract pictured above. The Victory project will surround the new sports arena (shown in rendering) in downtown Dallas.

CarrAmerica forms urban development unit in D.C. WASHINGTON, D.C. - More proof that an urban renaissance is under way here came with the recent announcement by local operator CarrAmerica Realty Corp., that it has formed a new hometown urban development group to focus on D.C.'s constricted downtown area.

Headed by Robert Carr, the new affiliate, CarrAmerica Urban Development Inc., has heralded its arrival with a groundbreaking at 1201 F Street. The new development, a 227,000 sq. ft., 12-story, Class-A office building, is located in what the company contends is a growing submarket for law firms and other service sector companies.

"This affiliate complements our existing development affiliate and allows a group of urban development professionals to focus exclusively on those opportunities," Carr says, explaining that the new office building will be one of several the company plans to develop in the tight Class-A downtown office market.

A major player in the D.C. area for the past 36 years, the company has developed more than 37 buildings, most notably, the Willard Hotel and Office Building and Metro Center downtown.

Simon Property Group completes merger with CPI INDIANAPOLIS - Mall developer, Simon Property Group Inc., the nation's largest publicly traded retail real estate company, has just gotten bigger. The self-managed real estate investment trust has officially joined forces with Corporate Property Investors, a New York-based owner of regional shopping centers throughout the United States. The merger pushes the Group's property count up to 241, accounting for nearly 165 million sq. ft. of leasable retail space in 35 states.

The new company, formerly known as the Simon DeBartolo Group, will be headquartered here, and its stock will continue to be traded under its existing ticker symbol.

"Over the past several years, we have increased the size of our portfolio and business ventures," explains David Simon, CEO of the Simon Property Group, who says the new name change is part of the company's strategic direction to leverage a national branding effort to increase shopper loyalty.

Constellation buyout finalized for $178 million PHILADELPHIA -Corporate Office Properties Trust, a local real estate investment trust, has finalized a deal to acquire Constellation Real Estate Group, a unit of Constellation Enterprise Inc., which itself is a wholly owned subsidiary of Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. Upon completion, the deal will total more than $178 million in cash, stock and the assumption of nearly $60 million in debt.

As part of the buyout, Constellation will become Corporate Office Properties' single largest investor, owning 41.8% of the company's Common Shares. Constellation also gains two seats on the company's board of trustees.

The transaction will increase Corporate Office Properties' portfolio by 55% to 48 properties primarily located in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and suburban Washington, D.C. - totaling more than 4.5 million sq. ft.

In addition, Corporate Office Properties acquired Constellation's 75% ownership in Baltimore's largest commercial property management company, Corporate Realty Management LLC.

Portman enters talks to build 800-room hotel in N.C. ATLANTA - In a unanimous decision, the city of Charlotte, N.C., has selected Portman Holdings L.P. as its choice to develop, design and finance an 800-room four-star hotel adjacent to the Charlotte Convention Center in downtown. The two sides are currently in negotiations to finalize the deal.

The project will be operated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts, owner of Westin Hotels & Resorts, and will include a 1,750-car parking deck, a conference center, a trolley station, an on-site daycare center and a 250,00 sq. ft. office building that will be developed in Phase II if market demand justifies the construction. The total cost of the 30-story project is $134 million, with the city contributing $16 million from food, hotel and motel taxes.

The development team includes Gateway Centers Partners, Portman Holdings and Starwood Hotels & Resorts. The group says the project could be open as soon as 2001. John Portman & Associates will design the hotel. Atlanta-based Portman Holdings has designed and developed more than 25,000 hotel rooms, most notably the Marriott Marquis in Manhattan.

First Security Commercial Mortgage lays off 20 workers CHICAGO - In an update about First Security Commercial Mortgage, which NREI profiled in October, the company has just laid off about 20 workers due to the turmoil in the capital markets.

"It's no secret that market volatility has created a new lending environment during the past several months," says David Jackson, First Security president and CEO. "Accordingly, we have reduced our employee levels to 80, which is still more than double 1996's level."

First Security will continue to originate loans, Jackson adds, but the company will scale back its closing projections due to decreased demand for CMBS loan products. The company also has reorganized in an effort to focus more attention on typical real estate products. Under the new structure, First Security has created business groups for its commercial, self-storage, hotel and manufactured housing loan categories, with underwriting and closing teams committed to each of the different niches.

Meanwhile, First Security has gone ahead with plans to open new offices on the West Coast. The company still expects to open offices in Los Angeles and Sacramento, Calif., and has hired regional directors for each new location. The company also signed a new lease for 3,800 sq. ft. of office space in Brentwood, Calif.

"We have said all along that we expected consolidation among CMBS lenders, and the recent market volatility has perhaps accelerated this process. We'll continue to be a player in the CMBS marketplace," Jackson says.

Pan Pacific buys seven Portland shopping centers SAN DIEGO - Pan Pacific Retail Properties Inc., a locally based real estate investment trust, recently agreed to buy seven shopping centers from Portland Fixture Limited for approximately $70 million, with the option to acquire two additional centers in the future.

The seven properties encompass nearly 1 million sq. ft. of leasable area located in Portland, Ore., and surrounding areas. The acquisitions will increase the company's Pacific Northwest portfolio to 22 properties, totaling more than 3.4 million sq. ft.

The seven properties combined are currently 89% leased, and each is located in a submarket near a prominent intersection. Five of the properties are anchored by supermarkets, drug stores or a combination of both. The addition of these centers increases Pan Pacific's retail base to more than 1,100 tenants.

"Since these are in-fill locations, there is very little possibility of new construction having any impact on these centers," predicts Jeff Stauffer, executive vice president and COO for Pan Pacific. He adds that the purchase price of nearly $70 per sq. ft. was below the cost of new construction.

The acquisitions will be financed through the issuance of approximately $18 million worth of downREIT units at $21.13, nearly $27 million under the company's line of credit, and about $24.8 million in assumed debt. The company already has closed on three of the properties, with the remaining four scheduled to close during the fourth quarter.

"The Portland retail market has remained one of the strongest markets in the country due to high barriers to entry, and healthy unemployment and population growth," says Stuart Tanz, CEO and president of Pan Pacific.

JLW, LaSalle Partners agree to merge operations CHICAGO and LONDON - LaSalle Partners Inc. and Jones Lang Wootton have reached a definitive agreement to merge their operations into a fully integrated real estate services and investment management company known as Jones Lang LaSalle. The combined company will have more than 650 million sq. ft. of office, retail and industrial space under management, approximately $20.3 billion of assets under investment management, and more than 6,000 employees in 34 countries. The transaction is scheduled to close in early 1999.

TechCity unveils new website for N.Y. property KINGSTON, N.Y. - TechCity, an area computer services firm, has unveiled www.techcity.net, which will showcase a local 2.5 million sq. ft. office building, home to such tenants as Fleet Bank, IBM and Hunter Panels. The site features different information about the property for interested tenants and realtors, including data on the building's water and power resources. The property features 30 to 50 watts of power per sq. ft.( the typical standard is 5 watts per sq. ft).

The website also will include information on the Hudson Valley's numerous educational facilities, cultural venues, historic landmarks and tourist attractions.

Users can navigate 18 full-color pages of information, including surveying the available square footage by using a mouse to point over a specific space on the "buildings" page. The area is highlighted and a pop-up window appears with a profile of the structure's features.

The website's content includes a profile of the region's available work force, demographic information, state and regional building resources and tax incentive programs. There also is an archive of news stories about the region and an overview of lifestyle issues, including housing costs in the Hudson Valley.

Links are provided to six other state and regional websites, including the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce and the Empire State Economic Development Agency.

Submitted to more than 100 search engines, www.techcity.net is linked to real estate and relocation websites around the world. Internet users who are interested in visiting the Hudson Valley property can access the airline and car rental companies available at Stewart Airport, as well as Amtrak's website.