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Last updated: March 3, 2008

Vista Property Lays Out Plans for Retail Buys
By Connie Gore


DALLAS-The six-month-old Vista Property Co., chasing deals in the Hispanic retail market, has planted its flag on two properties in challenging Dallas neighborhoods and picked up a prime development site in Central Texas. Vista's veteran team is holding a mixed bag of properties and a binding letter of intent on yet another to jump-start its niche play.

"Sure it's challenging, but we don't look at it that way," veteran developer Syd Hurley, president of the Dallas-based startup, tells GlobeSt.com. "That's what we chose to take on when we focused in this area."

In Dallas, Vista paid about $5.6 million for a 52,000-sf building, leased to Famsa, at 425 W. Jefferson Blvd. in Oak Cliff, and $3 million for a nearly vacant 147,000-sf shopping center, now being primed for an estimated $10-million redevelopment at 10201 Lake June Rd. in the Pleasant Grove area. Hurley's also in talks to joint venture on a redevelopment of a 6.8-acre center, European Crossroads at 2829 W. Northwest Hwy. in the Bachman Lake neighborhood.

In Central Texas, Hurley acquired 70 acres at the Interstate 35-Texas 195 junction from a local family in Georgetown. He says the land won't be tilled for at least three years, but he's planning to build 350,000 sf to 500,000 sf of retail when the time is right. It has 2,000 feet of frontage along Texas 195 at the city's northern edge, with additional frontage on the I-35 access road.

The Vista team's first hard push will be in Dallas, specifically the redevelopment of Lake June Plaza, which was 20% occupied when it was bought last month. The center is being renamed to Campana Vista.

Hurley says four retailers are now vying for Campana Vista's two key spots to kick off the full-body makeover. "If any one hits, we'll start on the redevelopment phase," he says. Two grocers are pitted against each other for a 46,000-sf spot and two soft-lines retailers are jockeying for the 20,000-sf junior anchor opening. "We are on pace to begin construction at the end of June or early July," Hurley says.

Hurley explains that he looked at the nearly empty shopping center and saw another Sierra Vista, which was a 140,000-sf inroad into the Hispanic market that he and his former partner developed in Oak Cliff. "Everybody looks at these as challenges. I see them as a 'Sierra Vista' in waiting," he says.

As for European Crossroads, Hurley says he expects to have all joint venture terms ironed out with a private investor from Fort Lauderdale by late third quarter. Plans are still being fine-tuned, but he expects the shopping center will be about 75,000 sf when the redevelopment is done.425 W. Jefferson Blvd.

The Famsa buy fits Vista's strategy in that it creates another bond with the Hispanic retail sector although it's a single-tenant, net-leased asset and not tied to Hurley's specialty, which is development and redevelopment. Hurley says its ranking as the 37-store chain's leader in gross sales and "no big field of parking" was the drawing card for the infill buy.

Underwriting the purchase from locally based Lincoln Property Co. is Famsa's 20-year lease with 18 years left on the term, Hurley says. "That was just bought for investment purposes," he adds.

To help advance Vista's growth, veteran Marion Hicks has been brought on board as director of acquisitions and project financing. The hire pushes Vista's team to nine, all "cornerstone-type people in each of the principles," Hurley says. "Our plan is to build a substantial portfolio and when we're done, then we'll look at what's the best thing to do [hold or sell]."


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