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Ground broken on 7-story Rockwall office tower

ROCKWALL – About 70 Rockwall City Council members, City staff, Rockwall Economic Development Corporation staff, Chamber of Commerce members and more celebrated the groundbreaking of a seven-story office tower May 25 to be built on the 74-acre hillside known as PD-32 above The Harbor District in Rockwall.

The tower will be just the beginning of a multi-million-dollar, mixed-use commercial and residential development known as Harbor Heights, which outgoing Rockwall Mayor Bill Cecil said could add $750 million to City tax roles once completed. The project has been in the planning stages for several years by Rockwall Council members and City staff.

Developed by Heath-based Sterling One Properties, owned by Heath residents Russell Phillips and Joey Howell, the corporate tower will be the first and only Class A office building between Downtown Dallas and Texarkana, providing 110,000 sq. ft. of office space, a bank, a five-star roof-top restaurant and other retail opportunities.

According to Phillips, who conducted the groundbreaking ceremony, the tower is expected to be completed by July, 2012. The tower alone is expected to add over $16 million to the City of Rockwall’s tax roles.

Phillips told the group that the building will be something special, like nothing done or experienced or created before that everyone in the community will benefit from.

“Groundbreaking also means to produce something like nothing done or experienced or created before.”

“Three years ago our community leaders had a vision for this hillside and began work on an overlay district to provide for the development of this important piece of property.”

“We all know it to be something special. It had to be something special. Again something like nothing done or experienced or created before.”

“Take a look behind you and you can see our canvas that we’ve had to work with. Lake Ray Hubbard, the Dallas skyline, immense blue sky.”

“Harbor Heights will have the opportunity to take advantage of that canvas and it will have office space with incredible views, the first tower of which will have a restaurant on top, we’ll also have other restaurant pads and other amenities that everyone in the community will be able to benefit from.”

Philips then introduced Heath resident Dan Bobst, the owner of Rockwall-based human resource outsourcing company Trend HR, which will be the anchor tenant in the Trend Tower. It is one of the fastest-growing companies in the nation.

The Harbor Heights partner expressed his enthusiasm for the project and thanked past and current City officials for their foresight in planning it. He compared it to Northpark Mall in Dallas, where hundreds of millions of dollars of redevelopment has occurred in the past few years, and contrasted it with other projects started in East Dallas 20 years ago that are no longer thriving.

“The Trend Tower at Harbor Heights brings to fruition the dream I’ve had for over ten years to be able to develop this hillside into something very special.”

“Now we’re getting the development in Rockwall.”

“What I can guarantee you is HH project will sustain and grow in value over the next 20 years.”

“The majority of this development money will stay in Rockwall, from the engineering to construction and even to the end user, this is truly a community project.”

Outgoing Rockwall Mayor Bill Cecil explained that the 74-acre hillside was probably never developed before because it has been a patchwork of large and small parcels owned by 55 different owners, which is now down to about 20.

“That was a challenge to us but I believe the challenge is achievable. We’re working on it pretty hard and so is the development community.”

To pull the project together, Sterling One purchased portions of the land from 14 different landowners to ensure the total development standard for the hillside.

“We now have a philosophy,” said Cecil. “We have for someone to come in and develop. Sterling One has decided to be the first.”

“What a great opportunity to have some of our own involved in this at first.”

“We’ve got it started, we’ve got an opportunity to make it the ‘Diamond on the Hill’ that we talk about.”

“We have the opportunity to add about $750 million to tax roles when this is complete and one of greatest developments this side of…San Francisco.”

Incoming Mayor David Sweet thanked all those who helped, saying,“The thing I’m most excited about is the opportunity this provides for the future. This is going to set the standard for development here and I think every citizen in the City should be excited about this.”

Land-clearing began immediately after the ceremony and infrastructure work on streets, water and electricity will begin shortly.

For information about office space or retail pads, contact Russell Phillips or Joey Howell at Sterling One Properties, 972-772-9400, or visit www.sterlingoneproperties.com.

By J.J. Smith, Publisher

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