United Commercial Realty
Alamo Ranch 2007 Best Retail Development - Best in Commercial Real Estate
Alamo Ranch Retail Center - Anatomy of the deal7.2.2007- Mike W. Thomas - San Antonio Business Journal
Archon Group of Irving had been looking for a place to build a retail development in San Antonio in late 2005 when Dan Watson, their director of retail investment, found some property for sale near the intersection of Loop 1604 and Culebra on the far West Side.
"We have been very positive on San Antonio for sometime," Watson says. "There are a lot of positive economic factors in play there right now - big corporate headquarters, lots of job and residential growth - we are attracted to the outstanding real estate fundamentals."
This Irving-based Archon Group's first large scale development in San Antonio. About four years ago, the company acquired a portfolio of 10 former grocery stores from Albertsons when the grocery chain decided to pull out of the San Antonio market.
"Our hope is that this will be the first of many projects for us in San Antonio," Watson says. After studying different cost estimates and growth rates for the area, Archon was able to put the property under contract in November 2005 and closed on the sale in April 2006.
Lance Taylor, development manager for Archon Group, says the size and scope of the project has presented some challenges alon gthe way, but nothing that was insurmountable. After the initial land purchase, Archon had to deal with the fact that 39 acres of the property fell outside of the San Antonio city limits. City Council was approached about annexing the 39 acres from Bexar County. Once this was accomplished, Archon had to request a zoning change to have the 39 acres match the rest of the property. While this process was time consuming, Taylor says, it was not impassable.
During the interim period, Archon concentrated on finding tenants for the new development. The company hired United Commercial Realty of San Antonio to lease and market Alamo Ranch. So far, the project, which is expected to open in July 2008 is about 50 percent pre-leased. Some of the major tenants already signed on include Best Buy Co. Inc, Dick's Sporting Goods, OfficeMax, PETsMART, Ross Dress for Less, Marshalls and Parade of Shoes. There will also be separate , stand alone projects by Target Corp., Lowe's and JC Penney Co., which all plan to build their own facilities.
Taylor says the location of Alamo Ranch is ideal for retailers because it places them in the midst of an area that is exploding in population.
"This is a natural fit for retailers to make their next move," Taylor says. "It literally fill in a hole for them."
Taylor notes that the nearest retail center to Alamo Ranch is about five miles away at Loop 1604 and Bandera. "Residents will be able to get everything they need in one location without having to drive five miles," he says.
Watson notes that a five mile spacing between retail developments is a good rule-of-thumb in the industry. He says the the new Alamo Ranch development will reduce some of the congestion and overcrowding at the Bandera shopping center.
"This will eliminate the need for residents to drive up Loop 1604 to Bandera or in to the Loop 410 corridor," he says. "Hopefully, this will reduce some of the traffic congestion at those intersections by giving shoppers some fresh alternatives."