News Article | 7/13/2012

Two new office buildings latest in AllianceTexas buildout

Developers of Alliance Town Center plan to open hundreds of thousands of square feet of new high-end office space next year, according to a recent announcement from Hillwood Properties, yet another of the company’s indefatigable efforts to build up and out the North Fort Worth master-planned community.

Hillwood is still working on designs for the two spec buildings along Interstate 35W, the first located just north of Heritage Trace Parkway and the second nestled further south in the heart of the Alliance Town Center’s retail footprint.

Bill Burton, a Hillwood senior vice president who has spearheaded much of the Town Center development, said he anticipates that the first office building, designed primarily for variously sized corporate leases, will contain between 120,000 and 150,000 square feet of Class-A office space across two or three stories. The second building, this one designed for smaller, boutique office tenants, should feature somewhere between 50,000 and 70,000 square feet of Class-A offices, also across two or three stories.    

Office demand has remained robust in the AllianceTexas corridor, which has leased out all 2.8 million square feet of its existing office space. Burton said that fact, combined with the ever-growing retail and residential spread of the development, makes the Town Center a solid bet for additional office space.

“You’ve got a tremendous amount of employees,” he said about the growing residential base of the area, which is located in a Fort Worth city council district with a 2010 population of 150,000 people, “so it’s inevitable that over time, we think, companies will take advantage of that and move to where the employees are.”

Burton expects the two newest office buildings to precede additional office construction further down the line. In other words, these two buildings could be the beginning of a much larger office expansion in both the Alliance Town Center and the broader AllianceTexas corridor.

But Alliance planners continue to focus on developing the area as a unique master-planned community full of amenities and offerings Fort Worthians won’t find elsewhere in the area, he said. That means jogging trails and pocket parks blended seamlessly with big-box retail and hospitals such as the 262,000-square-foot facility that Texas Health Resources is expected to open this fall just north of Alliance Town Center.

“The worst thing that could happen to us is if we woke up in 10 to 15 years and we look like any other highway in America,” Burton said.

That’s why savvy, far-sighted planning factors so heavily in the fate of the 17,000-acre AllianceTexas vision, which first sprouted up as an industrial hub around Alliance Airport 20 years ago. Retail and residential buildings began to arise in the surrounding landscape in more recent years. Burton said the corridor won’t take its final shape for decades, probably toward midcentury.

“As we continue forward, this is not a 5- or 10-year development program,” he said. “This is a 40- to 50-year development program. Look, we are vested. We’re vested and invested.”