Howard Hughes Corp. partnering with city of Allen on 270-acre development


Monach City is being developed on 270 acres. HOWARD HUGHES CORP./JLL

The property will have a 2-to 3-block main street with retail and restaurant options.

HOWARD HUGHES CORP./JLL

Currently, plans call for roughly 4.25 million square feet of office space.

HOWARD HUGHES CORP./JLL

Monarch City was designed to be walkable for office tenants and residents who visit the property.

HOWARD HUGHES CORP./JLL

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Allen’s population growth, access to major employers and top-ranked schools have attracted a 270-acre master-planned project to the corner of the Sam Rayburn Tollway and U.S. 75.

The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC), a Dallas-based developer, is partnering with the city to construct Monarch City, which will span 8.7 million square feet of office, retail, residential and green space. The project will be centered around a more than 20-acre park featuring ponds, water features and hike and bike trails.

“We’re planning and designing this to respect and honor the topography of the land and there are water courses already flowing through the development,” said Mark Bulmash, senior vice president of development with Howard Hughes. Show Full Story

The developer is working with the city of Allen to create a flexible plan for Monarch City. Currently, plans call for roughly 4.25 million square feet of office space, 300,000 square feet of retail space and 4,000 multifamily residential units, as well as two hotels. But that could change, depending on market demand.

“We’re going to work with the city to create a plan that can accommodate a lot, but is also flexible enough to adapt to changes over time,” Bulmash added.

The retail space will be configured into a 2- to 3-block main street in the development’s urban core. Howard Hughes wants to attract a number of shops and restaurants that will attract office tenants during the day and nearby residents during the evenings and weekends.

While much of North Texas’ office space is being absorbed by companies outside of the region, Howard Hughes wants its office space, which will be spread out over multiple buildings, to also attract a mixture of large and small tenants.

As for its residential plans, which call for some townhouse units, they will be geared toward millennials and residents moving from the East and West coasts.

“This project will be appealing to millennials as they get married and have kids and want homes that reflect that point in their lives. In many cases, they’ve lived in urban places and have loved the amenities, and they can find that out here,” Bulmash said. “I think the same could be said for those who are coming from the East and West costs and want to find those lifestyles in the Dallas area.”

Howard Hughes will apply this year for zoning for the development. If it garners interest from viable users, it could begin construction on Monarch City within the next two years and spend the next 7 to 10 years building it out.

The developer inherited the land for Monarch City when it was spun off from real estate investment trust General Growth Properties in 2010. Originally, GGP had planned to build a mall on the site.

As it planned what to build on the acreage, Howard Hughes found that the area was known among Texas’ early settlers and farmers for its large population for Monarch butterflies, which symbolized the land’s fertility.

Howard Hughes tapped into the area’s heritage as it came up with the Monarch City name. But the moniker is also a metaphor for Dallas’ rapid growth and fertile land for booming business.

“It’s symbolic of what’s happening to Dallas with people relocating here for jobs from all over the U.S.,” Bulmash added.

The company sees the same growth in Allen, which has grown in population from less than 20,000 residents in 1990 to nearly 100,000 residents today.

“We’re on the path of development,” Bulmash said. “If you look at how developments heading east and how they’re pushing north along 75, we’re right in that path.”

JLL is handling marketing and office leasing for the property.

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