DALLAS–Dallas-based developer Harwood International has reached a lease agreement with Kansas City-based law firm Polsinelli, which will move its offices from one Harwood property, Saint Ann Court, to another this spring: Frost Tower.

The lease was represented by Jihane A. Boury and David O. Roehm of Harwood. Tom Tunnicliff and Scott Shelbourne of Cushman and Wakefield Chicago, Mike Wyatt, Bill McClung and Robbie Baty of Cushman and Wakefield Dallas, and Jeff Schwarz of Polsinelli.

“Our District is known for having the highest standard of care and exceptional amenities,” said Boury, vice president/ director of leasing at Harwood, told GlobeSt.com. “Polsinelli wanted to stay in our district and we were able to accommodate their growth and increase their brand visibility with a brand new space and building signage.”

“Polsinelli is excited to be partnering with Harwood International again.  We are thankful for the marketplace’s support of our efforts and our continued growth in Dallas,” says Jon Henderson, managing partner at Polsinelli. “We started in 2011 with three attorneys and the intent to expand based on demand and being optimally positioned to serve our clients’ needs timely and efficiently both in Texas and nationally. With strong leadership and a culture of developing a partnership with our clients, we have attracted key lateral attorneys in Dallas who share the firm’s vision and commitment to serving clients with enthusiasm and high energy.  We expect our approach to continue to be attractive to lateral attorneys and those clients we have the privilege of advising in their important legal matters.”

Since opening a Dallas office three years ago, Polsinelli’s business has increased ten-fold. The firm’s Dallas office now provides clients with corporate, employee benefits, financial services, health care, labor and employment, intellectual property, real estate, nonprofit and litigation capabilities. Polsinelli has committed to six floors (16-21) and 77,000 square feet with the penthouse on level 21. The private outside terrace will feature more than 1,500 square feet of panoramic views of the downtown and Uptown areas.  Turner Construction Inc. will serve as general contractor and 360 Architecture will design the space.

Designed by HDF LLC, Frost Tower is scheduled to open this spring, and it will be the seventh phase within the district of HARWOOD. The 22-story class AA office tower will feature approximately 167,000 square feet including two office penthouses with private balconies and over 9,000 square feet of mixed retail (including a café and an Italian restaurant) and landscaped gardens along the lower level.

See the complete article here: http://www.globest.com/news/12_964/dallas/office/Polsinelli-to-Take-Six-Floors-in-Frost-Tower-351342.html


By Steve Brown

The Dallas Morning News


A new Uptown office tower has landed an important business tenant.

An international family investment firm has leased the top floor of the new Frost Tower, which is being built on McKinnon Street near the south entrance to the Dallas North Tollway.

The Rochon Family Office has rented almost 9,500 square feet on the 22nd floor of the new highrise, which will open next spring. The tenant also has an option to take additional space.

Rochon joins Frost Bank as the first tenants in the 167,000-square-foot office project being built by developer Harwood International.

John Rochon Jr. said the new Uptown location will support the family firm’s long-term growth. Its office is now located in Plano.

“Our world headquarters is going to reflect not only what we have built over the last 25 years but even more importantly what we are in the process of building now and for generations to come,” Rochon said. “We want our company to attract the very finest professional talent, especially in specialized areas such as finance and accounting.

“We know that having our headquarters located in the heart of the city is tremendously appealing.”

The privately-held Rochon firm has holdings in multiple business interests and operates in the international market. The family’s best know for Richmont Holdings and CVSL.

The company also has primary business interests based in Luzern, Switzerland.

Rochon looked a multiple locations before picking Frost Tower.

“While various well-known companies have moved to Dallas, here is an example of a dynamic company that has not been in the public eye moving its headquarters,” said Randy Cooper, vice chairman with commercial real estate firm Cassidy Turley.

Cooper and Charlie Morris of Cassidy Turley negotiated the new office lease with Jihane A. Boury and David Roehm of Harwood International.

Dallas-based Staffelbach has been hired to design Rochon’s new office.



French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte will bring his modernist style to Dallas’ upscale Uptown District. He has designed Harwood International’s Bleu Ciel condominium tower set to begin construction there later this year.

Mr. Wilmotte, who is based in Paris, is best known for redesigning parts of the Louvre Museum and the headquarters of luxury-goods conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA.

The 33-story Bleu Ciel is designed to be a lighted tower recognizable within the Dallas skyline. The design calls for huge terraces that total about a third of the space in each unit. The 7,500 square-foot penthouses come with an additional 7,500 square feet of outdoor space.

Units, which are being priced now, will range from the high-$600,000s to several million dollars. The building is stacked with luxury services like a resident-only spa and a gourmet grocery store on the ground floor.

Uptown, a dense, mixed-use area full of bars and restaurants and pedestrians, sits directly north of Dallas’ downtown. Dallas-based Harwood’s Swiss-born chief executive, Gabriel Barbier-Mueller, has been a driving force behind the area’s development: The Harwood District, a master-planned community within Uptown, currently has five office towers, one condo tower and plans for 12 more buildings.

–Conor Dougherty


The Bleu Ciel tower will be built on a vacant block its developer calls “the highest vantage point in downtown and Uptown.”

One of Uptown Dallas’ biggest developers plans to break ground later this year on a 33-story residential tower.

Harwood International’s project will be the first high-rise condominium building started in Dallas since the end of the recession.

Called Bleu Ciel, the building will be constructed on a bluff at the end of North Harwood Street.

“This is the highest vantage point in downtown and Uptown,” said Harwood International CEO Gabriel Barbier-Mueller. “It’s going to be a 400-foot-tall building on top of the highest vantage point.

“Driving down Stemmons Freeway toward downtown, this will be the first thing you will see.”

Harwood International built the 31-story Azure condo tower starting in 2005. With the success of that building and growing demand for luxury housing in Dallas, Barbier-Mueller says the timing is right for another high-rise.

“I’m getting calls all the time from people wanting to buy,” he said. “We’ve spent a year working on pricing and preparations for this building.

“We are taking everything we learned with Azure and are taking it to the next level.”

The local housing market has gone through major changes since Harwood International built Azure.

Speculators who bought up high-end residences have mostly been shut out of that game by tougher lending and investment standards.

And supplies of housing in the area are the tightest in decades because of a lack of construction and the booming North Texas economy.

Emily Ray-Porter, a residential agent with Dave Perry-Miller & Associates who handles high-rise condo sales, said demand is there for another large building.

“We are getting very low on new inventory,” she said. “The Ritz is almost sold out.

“And with the increasing interest in high-rise living, now is the time to start new construction.”

Few vacancies

The only significant vacant inventories of high-rise condominium available are in Museum Tower in downtown Dallas and the Residences at the Stoneleigh off Maple Avenue.

“The high-rise residential market in Dallas is becoming more mature,” said housing consultant Mike Puls of Foley & Puls. “Dallas homeowners are seeing appreciation.

“And when they sell their current house, they now have money to invest in a new home.”

Puls said the location Harwood International has chosen has become more attractive with growth in Uptown.

Construction on Bleu Ciel is expected to take almost two years, so luxury condo inventories could be even tighter by the time the building opens.

“We are breaking ground in the fall and will be opening in the winter of 2016,” Barbier-Mueller said. “Some people have been patiently waiting for us. We know quite a few people who want to buy.”

158 units

The smallest of the 158 units at Bleu Ciel will be about 1,300 square feet and will sell in the high $600,000s.

Harwood International’s architectural team is designing the building.

Built on top of an underground parking garage, the tower will have retail on the lower floor including restaurants, a small grocer with take-out foods and a bike rental shop.

The building will have two swimming pools with gardens and outdoor public areas on the north side of Wolf Street. It’s also adjacent to the Katy Trail.

360-degree views

“The homes will have 360-degree unobstructed views,” Barbier-Mueller said. “Every home will have a terrace.

“The building will be fairly transparent — almost like a beacon.”

The developer is building a large marketing center for the project at the northeast corner of Wolf and Harwood, just across the street from where construction is underway on Harwood’s 22-story Frost Bank Tower, which will open next year.

Since 1984, Harwood has constructed six office projects in its 18-block Uptown project, with more than 2 million square feet of space.

“We will have 7 million square feet ultimately,” Barbier-Mueller said. “It will be between $4 billion and $5 billion of real estate.”

Follow Steve Brown on Twitter at @SteveBrownDMN.


By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor

Jihane Boury joined global real estate developer and investor Harwood International in 2003 and is currently responsible for pre-leasing new developments, build-to-suits, national accounts leasing and overall marketing of spaces for lease for Harwood International in Dallas. She is also involved in the master-planning of the district of HARWOOD, encompassing 18 city blocks in the heart of Uptown Dallas.

As a registered interior designer in the state of Texas, Boury brings 15 years of experience in programming, master planning and all phases of space planning and interior architectural design. Prior to joining Harwood International, Boury was a principal at one of Dallas’ most renowned architectural and interior design firms, where she directed the design and development of major corporate headquarters nationwide, including several pre-eminent Dallas law firms and international advertising companies.

Pairing a background in interior design and expertise in commercial real estate is quite rare, and Boury is able to deliver design options while leasing space. This sets her far apart from her peers, making it easier on the client to find and plan their space more effectively.

“We design our buildings from the inside out,” Jihane told Commercial Property Executive, further stating that the client comes first and in essence they are the ones who build the culture and character within each building. Her passion to deliver perfection and continue making Dallas a better place are her driving forces.

In addition, Boury keeps her Lebanese roots alive, as she is fluent in Arabic, French and English. She has served on the board of the International Red Cross in Beirut and was also involved in the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Hearts and Hammers, and Habitat for Humanity. Boury holds a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from the University of Texas at Arlington.

CPE: What are your current goals at Harwood International?

Boury: We have reached our goal of leasing out the entire district of HARWOOD. The demand for leasing in HARWOOD is higher than ever, and with the opening of Frost Tower next spring we are negotiating to bring the building to 80 percent leased.

Frost Tower will be a 22-story build-to-suit located in the district of HARWOOD. The Class AA office tower will feature approximately 167,000 rental square feet, including two office penthouses with private balconies and over 10,000 rental square feet of mixed retail and landscaped European-inspired gardens along the lower level.

This is a true success story about the ongoing partnership between Frost, a long-term tenant in HARWOOD (since 1996), and the developer, Harwood International, which continues to build as the tenant’s needs grow.

Phase Five is another office development and ready to accommodate up to 320,000 rental square feet.

The district currently has a Walkscore of 92, one of the highest walk scores in the area, and will continuously improve as new developments arise. HARWOOD is a mix of commercial, retail and residential, resort-style mid-rise and high-rise buildings—a place to work and a place to live within an urban oasis of parks and art-filled spaces.

CPE: When did you start working on the Harwood District, and what’s its current status?

Boury: I started working on Azure in HARWOOD in 2003. This year marks 30 Years of HARWOOD, which is a huge milestone for us. Our corporate headquarters are located in the district, and is Uptown Dallas’ fastest-growing district.

Home to such companies as Amegy Bank, The Boston Consulting Group, Emirates Airlines, Frost Bank, HollyFrontier Corp., Jones Day, MoneyGram International, Prologis and Rolex, the six-building development by Harwood International currently showcases more than 2 million square feet of premier Class AA office building, residential multi-family living, retail space and art-filled lobbies. In addition, the campus features Marie Gabrielle Restaurant and Gardens, Mercat Bistro, Saint Ann Restaurant & Bar, and The Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum: The Samurai Collection.

Now an 18-city-block district, HARWOOD will grow to include over 7 million square feet of high-rise and mid-rise office, retail and multi-family residential developments. Coming soon are new phases: cafes and retail.

CPE: Are there any major obstacles to overcome when starting off such an expansive project?

Boury: Uptown is not typically seen as a potential campus location, so it’s important to market that it is in fact the most prime location in the area. We have additional buildable rights of over 5 million square feet and are marketing to Fortune 500 companies that would like to house their offices in Dallas. Dallas is landing corporate relocations and new branch offices more than ever as companies are seeing the advantage to being centrally located in an economically viable city.

CPE: The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is currently experiencing a construction boom. How do you strive to differentiate your product from the competition?

Boury: We have developed a community where our tenants, residents and visitors can enjoy a stimulating environment filled with restaurants, cafes, gardens and artsy spaces. People are seeing the benefit to being part of a community rather than just one building.

In addition, having our own architecture firm is a unique advantage, as it makes for a more cohesive way of designing and creating a vision all under one roof. HDF L.L.C. is our full-service architectural firm dedicated to delivering the best in world-class design, sustainability, planning and construction solutions. Building on the successes of Harwood International in creating exemplary developments by aligning with world-renowned architects such as James KM Cheng, Michael Graves and Richard Keating, HDF’s talented team of architects and designers from around the world has more than a century of cumulative experience in design and construction of commercial and multi-family residential mid-rises and high-rises.

CPE: Tell us more about your upcoming projects. What are your goals for 2014?

Boury: Our plan is to focus on build-to-suit opportunities as well as lease out the remaining space at Frost Tower.

CPE: Where else have you invested, apart from the Metroplex?

Boury: Harwood International has prime offices and projects in select niche markets in Beverly Hills, Dallas, Geneva, London’s West End, Paris, Sunnyvale and Zurich. The full-service real estate company covers every aspect of real estate acquisition, development, construction, design and management of both commercial and multi-family residential mid-rise and high-rise properties.

CPE: What’s one challenge that you’ve overcome on your path to success?

One challenge we faced was showing potential tenants the economics behind building efficient floor-plate plans. For instance, we had a high-profile client in downtown and they had a hard time justifying moving into a newer space with a higher price per square foot. Once I was able to show them how they can be much more efficient and in Dallas’ prime location with HARWOOD’s amenities and services, they realized that they could have the best of everything and were sold.



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