Hines in line for Las Colinas buy

. . . $120M deal could help make Irving community a ‘sexy city,’ consultant says

Houston-based Hines is closing in on its bid to buy about 700 acres of highly sought-after land in Las Colinas.

The developer is engaged in complex negotiations with seller Las Colinas Land Limited Partnership, a group controlled by New York-based Teachers Insurance & Annuity Association. The partnership is aiming to wrap everything up before year’s end, real estate sources say.

The deal, believed to be worth close to $120 million, could be put under contract as early as Nov. 4.

If everything goes as planned, Hines would assume control of the bulk of the undeveloped land left in Las Colinas, a 12,000-acre masterplanned city within a city in Irving. All but a few small parcels lie within the area’s so-called Urban Center, the project’s commercial core.

Mark D. Gibson and Todd W. Savage of Holliday Fenoglio Fowler L.P., along with Robert S. Grunnah and Darrell Hurmis with Henry S. Miller Commercial, are representing Las Colinas Land Limited Partnership.

“Negotiations are going on fine, and the deal is expected to close by the end of the year,” said Hurmis, executive vice president at Miller.

“At this point, we cannot confirm or deny our interest in the Las Colinas land,” said Kim Jagger, a Hines spokeswoman. Hurmis and the other brokers declined to confirm Hines’ involvement as well.

Other sources say Hines is the selected buyer and it’s going it alone, without a capital partner.

The developer’s strategy will be to sell off most of the land to residential developers over the next three years, the sources say.

The package includes 29 separate tracts ranging in size from 1 to 104 acres, along with various outparcels. Of the roughly 700 acres of developable land, 90 acres already are under contract to other buyers.

The Las Colinas property attracted numerous suitors who were required to submit offers by Sept. 16. Among those vying for the package was real estate investor Gene Phillips.

“We were very interested in the land and are probably in the best position to understand the challenges involved with it,” Phillips said. “The parcels are in fragmented pieces. There are also soil and environmental problems. Still, it would have been a good fit for us because of what we already have here.”

Phillips’ Las Colinas property holdings include 150 acres at Belt Line Road and State Highway 114, and another 125 to 150 acres spread across various sites. The investor has been an active buyer in the Las Colinas market of late, paying nearly $180 million for two big office buildings there in September.

That’s in addition to Mercer Crossing, Phillips’ 1,050-acre mixed-use development inside the Farmers Branch triangle created by interstates 35-E, 635 and State Highway 190 — and adjacent to one of the parcels Las Colinas Land Limited Partnership is selling.