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Plano’s $3 billion Legacy West is being built in less than half the time expected

Developers building Plano’s $3 billion Legacy West project say it has happened in less the half the time of their most optimistic projections.

“When we started, our aggressive forecast was six years, moderate was seven and the conservative was nine or ten years to build it,” said Steve Van Amburgh, CEO of developer KDC, one of the partners in the 255-acre project.

“We have 11 acres left in less than 2.5 years.”

Legacy West’s developers on Wednesday  showed the project off to commercial real estate exec from around the country in Dallas for a meeting of the Urban Land Institute, the industry’s largest trade group.

The mixed-use development at the southwest corner of the Dallas North Tollway and State Highway 121 is the biggest real estate project under construction in Texas with more than 5 million square feet being constructed at once..

New corporate campuses are being developed for Toyota, JPMorgan Chase and Liberty Mutual Insurance.

“Legacy West if it is not number one in the U.S., it’s somewhere up there,” Van Amburgh said. “This is truly a unique, unusually large and successful project.

“It just so happened at the time we put the venture together, a lot of big companies were looking,” he said. “It doesn’t happen very often.”

Developers Karahan Cos., KDC and Columbus Realty kicked off development on Legacy West just over two years ago.

The first business – FedEx Office – has already moved into the development.

“There will be 21,000 people working in Legacy West by the end of next year,” Columbus CEO Robert Shaw said.

He’s already begun leasing the first of 800 apartments sunder cosntruciton in the project.

“We are killing it – knocking it out of the park,” Shaw said. “We are having a great lease up already and the jobs are not there yet.”

The first shops and restaurants will open in March.

The developers say they almost totally redesigned the huge project when Toyota decided two years ago to relocate its North American headquarters from southern California to Plano.

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