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June 04 , 2009

Buy Buy Baby moving into former Home Depot Expo spot on Dallas North Tollway

Thursday, June 4, 2009

 By STEVE BROWN / The Dallas Morning News

 A retailer expanding to the Dallas area has snapped up a prime shopping location.

Buy Buy Baby – a fast-growing offshoot of soft goods retailer Bed Bath & Beyond – has tied up the former Home Depot Expo Design Center store on the Dallas North Tollway for its first local location.

In January, Home Depot said that it was closing its Expo stores and put the Far North Dallas location up for sale.

The children’s superstore plans to occupy the vacant home goods and hardware location along with a new Bed Bath & Beyond, said Steve Lieberman, CEO of real estate broker Retail Connection which represents the two retailers. “They will take about two-thirds of the Expo building, which allows them to consolidate their operations,” Lieberman said. “Obviously being close to the Galleria is exceptional.” The 125,000-square-foot vacant Expo store is located on the east side of the tollway, just north of Alpha Road. The building sits on almost 12 acres and was built in 1995.

The property is valued for taxes at $16 million. In January, Home Depot said that it was closing its Expo stores and put the Far North Dallas location up for sale. New Jersey-based Bed Bath & Beyond has contracted to buy the building, Lieberman said.  “It’s some of the best real estate in the City of Dallas for power retailers,” he said. “There were more than dozen contracts coming in on that property.”

While some retailers have closed locations and cut back operations because of the economic slump, others that are still expanding are looking for choice sites.  “They’re saying if there is an irreplaceable real estate opportunity, let’s jump on it,” Lieberman said.

Retail Connection has already signed a lease for a Buy Buy Baby store in Austin and is working on two Dallas-area locations..  “Their commitment to Texas is huge,” he said.

The stores will average just over 30,000 square feet. Bed Bath & Beyond – which now has a location at the tollway and Belt Line Road – plans to shift operations into about 55,000 square feet in the old Expo store. “It will leave them about 40,000 square feet for an additional anchor to join them,” said Lieberman, whose firm represents the retailer in real estate deals in the Southwest.  Buy Buy Baby has more than a dozen locations in the eastern half of the country.
Bed Bath & Beyond has more than 900 stores nationwide.
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