Texas-Sized 2,500-Acre Spread to Become a Huge Mixed-Use Development in Frisco

In an off-market land deal, Hunt Realty Investment Inc. and its lead investment partner Chief Partners LP just acquired the 2,544-acre Headquarters Ranch from the estate of Bert Fields Jr. for an undisclosed amount, according to the Dallas Business Journal. The Karahan Cos. and CrossTie Capital Ltd. are additional investors.

Located on the north side of Frisco, the sprawling Texas-sized spread extends all the way from Preston Road to west of the Dallas North Tollway and north to U.S. Highway 380, and it’s the largest contiguous land site left to develop in the city, according to the Dallas Morning News.

"We are fortunate to have the opportunity to purchase such a coveted piece of land that has been under the stewardship of Bert Fields," Chris Kleinert, president of Hunt Realty Investments Inc., said in a statement. "We see extraordinary development potential for the site, alongside our capital partners, and look forward to creating the next exciting chapter in the history of Frisco.”

Led by Fehmi Karahan, who developed most Legacy projects in Plano, Hunt Realty is master planning this iconic land tract into a mixed-use development, which is projected to fuse commercial, office, retail, and restaurant space with new single-family homes, multifamily residences, and education facilities. Development is slated to begin in 2019, and build-out is estimated at 10 to 15 years.

Between the land’s elevation changes, creek corridors, rolling terrain, and miles of visibility, Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney describes the site as “some of the most beautiful, unique landscape in our city.”

“To be able to work with a team of this caliber is an exceptional opportunity for the city of Frisco,” Cheney said in a statement. “It's not every day we get to help master plan more than 2,500 acres holistically.”

How Big is Texas-Sized?

The Fields property is epic on every level. From a “size matters” perspective, the 2,544-acre land mass is 10 times larger in acreage than the $3 billion Legacy West development in Plano that Karahan just finished.

In North Texas, mammoth chunks of undeveloped land are mostly found in growing rural areas transitioning to suburbs. Since many landowners in the Dallas metro opted to cash-in early on the building boom, developers in the hottest urban communities, like Frisco, have already scarfed-up most large parcels of land that were once ranches and farms.

But the estate of Bert Fields Jr. resisted selling Headquarters Ranch until this offer came along. Between timing, acreage size, and the contiguous configuration of the property, the recent acquisition is nothing short of a Texas-sized deal. Under normal circumstances, purchasing 2,544 acres in Frisco could require dealing with 30 or more land sellers and then fitting the tracts together like pieces of a puzzle. 

According to the Dallas Morning News report, the property will be the largest zoning case in Frisco history and probably one of the biggest in Texas.

It will likewise play a pivotal role in the shaping of Frisco’s future in the northwest area. Notable projects in the works are a branch of the University of North Texas, a 77-acre Lesso shopping and mixed-use development, and an industrial park that Jerry Jones’ Blue Star Land LP is projected to buy for a Dallas Cowboys merchandising center.

Frisco is still trying to lure the PGA of America headquarters from Florida. Though nothing has been announced, the Fields property would be a prime headquarters location, which is also large enough to accommodate two 18-hole championship courses, a nine-hole course, and a practice area.

Who Was Bert Fields Jr.?

Bert Fields Jr. was a bigger-than-life Texas oilman, banker, and rancher who died in 2015 at the age of 76. As a boy and young man, he followed along and took every step his dad, Bert Fields Sr., took while making rounds in the oilfields, at the bank, and on the ranch. Though Fields Jr. was only 23 when his father died, he stepped into his dad’s shoes and began running the family business. In 2011, the family’s North Dallas Bank and Trust had more than $1 billion in assets when it celebrated its 50th  anniversary, and it’s still among the largest and oldest privately held banks in Texas.

When Fields died, his land holdings exceeded 7,000 acres in Collin and Denton Counties. According to the Dallas Business Journal, real estate sources estimated the market value at between $350 million and $630 million, depending on location and zoning.

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