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A Bit of European Flair



When Jeffory Blackard was looking for his next big project, he was lucky to find a site for his latest “village” in Westlake, a town known for being selective with development.  Westlake Entrada, a European-influenced mixed-use project expected to cost $500 million, sits on an 85-acre tract at the northeast corner of Davis and Solana boulevards near the Solana Business Park.

By building Entrada next to an office park, Blackard and North Texas developer Mehrdad Moayedi, his partner on the project, will benefit from thousands of workers who may be attracted to the village-type setting, said Blackard, real estate developer, philanthropist and CEO of McKinney-based Blackard Group.

“No other developer is trying to create a village, but we want to get as close as we can to a village,” Blackard said. “If you look at a village, people go out to work, and people will be able to walk to work in this village.”

It’s all about shedding the typical development grid and creating a project designed around how people live, said Blackard. He conceived of a similar European-inspired project, Adriatica Village in McKinney, modeled on the Croatian fishing village of Supetar.

Blackard has teamed up with Moayedi, who is known for developing much of Trophy Club and recently starting construction on The Riverwalk at Central Park. Though friends for 30 years, this is the first time the pair have worked together.

“Westlake is one of the richest towns in our state, and the professionals that live there need housing,” Moayedi said. “Along with housing, we are also bring a hotel, more retail, restaurants and an entertainment component.”

Westlake isn’t alone. Dallas-Fort Worth developers and landlords are placing multi-million dollar bets on amenities surrounding the workplace. Ultimately, the design of supporting restaurant, retail and living projects recruits new tenants, retains existing tenants and allows property owners to command a premium on rent.

“The office market is moving more into that live-work-play concept,” said Jonathan Landau, CEO of Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Fortis Property Group, which has recently upped its investment strategy in Dallas-Fort Worth.


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