By Lance Murray

Dallas Business Journal

Best Real Estate Deals 2014 cover

Some awards programs have gained prestige through many years of honoring the best in their industries.

There’s the Oscars, the Grammys, the Pulitzers, and for real estate deals in Dallas-Fort Worth, it’s the Dallas Business Journal’s Best Real Estate Deals of 2013.

For the 22nd year, we will honor the biggest deals in real estate in multiple categories. We received scores of nominations that were judged on their size and importance to the DFW market. The winners will be honored at a banquet April 29 at the Ritz-Carlton, 2121 McKinney Ave.

Urban Office Deal

Frost Tower by Harwood International

KPMG Lease at Hall Arts

Parkland Hall

The Richards Group’s new 250,000-square-foot HQ office tower

For the complete article, please visit

By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor

Global real estate developer and investor Harwood International plans to break ground on Frost Tower, a 22-story build-to-suit office project in Uptown Dallas. The naming tenant, Frost Bank, is Texas’ premier banking, investments and insurance company, with more than $21 billion in assets.

The Class AA high-rise will feature approximately 167,251 square feet of office space, including two penthouses with private balconies and more than 9,000 square feet of mixed retail and landscaped Japanese-inspired garden along the lower level.

Frost Tower will be the seventh phase within the district of Harwood, a $3 billion master-planned community that encompasses more than 17 city blocks in the heart of Uptown Dallas. The mixed-use development currently showcases more than 1 million square feet of Class AA office, residential, retail and restaurant space, with approximately 5,000 parking garage spaces as well as 6.5 acres of landscaped gardens, elaborate green roofs and public green spaces.

Frost Bank, a long-term tenant of the district, will expand its footprint and take over approximately 57,000 square feet of space in the new building. According to the developer, six typical floors of office are currently available for lease, as well as two penthouse floors consisting of 9,466 square feet on level 22 and 11,301 square feet on level 21, each with a private terrace. Each floor is 13,119 square feet and allows every tenant elevator visibility and high-rise views of the Dallas skyline.

Up to now, Harwood International has completed six phases of the 17-phase Harwood District – including the Rolex, a local landmark and Uptown’s first office building; 2728, a 10-story, 178,384-square-foot office building that houses the Marie Gabrielle Garden, an award-winning, 1.5 acre European-style rooftop pocket park with benches, a reflection pond and several small private gardens; 2828, a 20-story, Class AA office building that contains 220,661 square feet of space; Saint Ann Court, a 26-story building offering 314,361 rentable square feet; Azure, a 31-story condominium residence tower featuring 156 apartment homes; and several parks and gardens. At full build-out, Harwood District is expected to include more than 7 million square feet of condominium, office and retail space.

Harwood International is a global real estate developer and value-add investor with offices and projects in select niche markets in Beverly Hills, Dallas, Sunnyvale’s Gold Coast, Geneva, London’s West End, Paris and Zurich’s Golden Triangle.

Earlier this month, Texas Gov. Rick Perry made a quick tour of California to remind business owners that life’s a whole lot easier in the Lone Star State. Perry’s California critics called him “Governor Oops” for his miscues during the presidential debates, and Gov. Jerry Brown dismissed the Texan’s recruiting drive as “not a burp,” and barely even a certain bodily release of gas.

Laugh away, Californians. But Perry is playing the stronger hand here. Texas trounced the rest of the country our latest survey of the Best Cities for Good Jobs, with five metropolitan areas in the Top Ten, including the four best cities to find jobs in the next few years.

This year’s winner is Dallas, which shrugged off the Nov. 2011 bankruptcy of American Airlines parent AMR Corp. to rack up 2.1% job growth last year and is projected to continue adding jobs at a 2.8% rate through 2019 – more than 300,000 on top of the 2.1 million already in Dallas and its Plano and Irving suburbs.

For the complete article, please visit:

The Dallas Morning News


Real Estate Editor


Dallas’ hot Design District is getting another major development — this time with a large chunk of retail space.

Developer Harwood International, one of the biggest builders in Uptown, is about to break ground on the mixed-use project at Oak Lawn Avenue and Dragon Street.

The five-story urban-style development will replace an old showroom building along the east side of Dragon.

Harwood plans to build 46,000 square feet of restaurant and shopping space on the ground level, with 224 apartments on top in the project it calls District 1444.

“We see this as an extension of what Uptown has to offer,” said Alexis Barbier-Mueller, director at Harwood International. “The Design District is an area of Dallas that in the last five to 10 years has transformed into an environment that deserves this type of quality.”

Developed mostly in the 1950s, the area northwest of downtown Dallas started out as a gritty industrial district. Then in the 1970s and 1980s, the neighborhood between the Trinity River and Stemmons Freeway began attracting large numbers of design firms.

About six years ago, builders and investors who had seen property prices jump in Uptown started looking at redevelopment opportunities in the Design District.

Since then, developers have constructed three major apartment projects with almost 1,500 high-end rental units.

Michael Ablon, who’s been marketing properties in the Design District since 2007, said most of the large apartment development sites are gone in the area.

“Any remaining apartments in the district will be built closer to Riverfront Boulevard,” Ablon said. “Everything that has been built has leased extremely well.”

Knocking down all the low-rise design industry buildings to construct residential or office space would be a bad idea, he said.

“If you tear everything down, you lose it,” Ablon said. “You want to keep the designers and what made it special in the first place.”

The newest Design District apartment building, the 1400 Hi Line tower, opened last summer and is almost half full.

“The project is going good,” said Bryant Nail, PM Realty’s senior development officer. “We did a focus group with the residents and heard overwhelmingly that they loved the fact they were close to Uptown but not in the middle of it.”

Harwood International’s project a few blocks away will bring more residents to the neighborhood and add to the retail and restaurant base.

“We’ve already pre-leased three out of five restaurant spaces, which shows that the demand is strong,” said Jihane A. Boury, Harwood’s director of leasing and vice president.

She said the developers hope to attract a small grocer to their project.

“We would love to do an urban-size grocery,” Boury said. “We want to bring a 24/7 environment to all the people who live in the neighborhood.”

Harwood International has owned the Design District property since 1996. The tract is now occupied by two large showroom buildings, which have been occupied by design and commercial businesses.

The developer will demolish the west side of the complex to make way for the new buildings. A remaining showroom will be used for a second phase.

“We’ve had this property for a very long time and played with the idea of building several times, but we feel now is the right time,” said Barbier-Mueller. “We will break ground in the spring, and it will take about 18 months to construct.”

Harwood International is one of the biggest players in Dallas’ booming Uptown market.

The developer has constructed five office buildings in its Harwood project along McKinnon Street. It’s preparing to start work on the 22-story Frost Bank Tower on Wolf Street.

Harwood International also built the 31-story Azure condo tower near the entrance to the Dallas North Tollway.

Barbier-Mueller said the firm is using its experience with the luxury Azure project on the Design District apartments and similar developments.
The apartments will feature a pool deck lounge with cabanas overlooking the city skyline, a fitness center, game room and gardens.

“It’s part of a new wave of products we want to bring to the market,” he said. “We’d like to build more of these and have started looking for more locations in Dallas and the state.”

The growth of global money transfer firm MoneyGram International continues to pay dividends in North Texas. A few months ago, the Dallas-based company signed a lease for up to 40,000 square feet for its compliance group in Frisco. Now it’s expanding its Uptown headquarters as well.

MoneyGram is adding 9,127 square feet in Harwood International’s 2828 office building, bringing the total to about 55,000 square feet. The deal takes the 220,661-square-foot office tower to 99 percent occupancy, said Jihane Boury, vice president and director of leasing for Harwood.

Built in 2000, 2828 is the fourth phase in the Harwood District, which is now 96 percent occupied.

Jeff Staubach and Brooke Armstrong represented MoneyGram International in its lease expansion. For more information on MoneyGram, see D CEO’s profile of CEO Pamela Patsley.


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