January 12, 2010 Comments Closed

New business park hopes to lure offices to site near new Hillcrest

Posted by:Adam Voight onJanuary 12, 2010

Original article by Mike Copeland of wacotrib.com

Greenway Business Park will join the bustle of economic activity near West Loop 340 and Interstate 35, where the new Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center and Legends Crossing are making their marks.

A group of investors wants to develop 27 acres between the Wal-Mart return center and the Tractor Supply Co. distribution center on Corporation Parkway.

Sources say the developers envision medical, professional and office uses and possibly retail, with land priced at $6.50 to $10.50 per square foot. Buyers would have to take at least 2 acres or could buy the entire lot.

At those prices, an acre would range in cost from $283,140 to $457,380.

The property has utilities available, and site development could begin by late summer “if commitments come in like we hope they do,” said Brad Harrell with Keller Williams Commercial, which is marketing the site.

Harrell said he has prepared fliers and a detailed marketing package he will make available to prospects. He also is creating a Web site.

Harrell said he came across the property even before the local investment group bought it from the Waco Industrial Foundation. He was working for an out-of-town prospect interested in placing a medical-related facility near the new Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center, and the 27-acre site looked appealing.

“But the economy was still doing what it was doing, and there was a lot of uncertainty over the future of health care, so everybody put the brakes on,” said Harrell, who now is pushing the accelerator.

He said he met last week with an out-of-town prospect.

The investors who bought the land love its proximity to the new Hillcrest and to Legends Crossing, where the Chuy’s Mexican food chain just opened a restaurant that is setting sales records.

Harrell said he envisions doctors’ offices and other medical-related uses springing up at the site near Hillcrest, just as they have near Providence Health Center at 6901 Medical Parkway off State Highway 6.

He said the 27-acre site also benefits from the presence of Central Texas Marketplace, which has an array of restaurants and stores on the opposite side of Highway 6 from Hillcrest.

The investment group declined to say how much it spent to acquire the 27 acres, but Harrell estimated it would spend “upwards of $1 million” to build streets, drainage and an entryway, and to prepare the site for subdividing.

Investors in the project are Waco businessmen Don Moes and Donal Sharp, retired executives with Equipment Depot and Big Red, respectively; attorney Steve Beard; and businessman Jim Turner.

Turner is a former Baylor University regent and longtime Baylor benefactor who built the nation’s largest independent soft-drink bottler, primarily through the Dr Pepper brand.

“I think the project will do well if they think broader than just medical, which I believe they are doing,” said Waco real estate agent Jon Spelman, who is not involved in the project.

A New York-based company called Seavest owns two medical office buildings adjacent to the hospital with 155,000 square feet of space available. Lillibridge Properties manages the facilities, and local spokeswoman Julia Long said she expects them to be 100 percent occupied by midsummer.

Spelman said he knows several doctors who left office space in the Hillcrest Medical Tower across town to lease space in the office towers next to the new Hillcrest.

He added he thinks the office park would be an ideal location for an assisted-living center.

Waco builder Andy Horn bought a 38.9-acre site near Hillcrest for office development. So far, he said, he has sold 10 lots in his Central Professional Park and has 14 left to sell, with one under contract.

“They sold real fast at first, like gangbusters, then things slowed down,” Horn said. “Now, things are picking back up because people are realizing this is a fantastic location.”

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