By Bill Bowen As the Tarrant County economy gets back to business as usual, the northern half of Tarrant County is getting back in gear like it’s 1999: land sales, lot development, commercial construction and new retail going up. North of Saginaw a 180,000-square-foot Wal-Mart is going up at Hunter Crossroads, on the corner of U.S. 287 and Haslet-Avondale Road. Developers are soon to start construction in a strip center portion of the development and McDonald’s has signed on for a pad site at the 160-acre development. Real estate industry observers say that it is the largest retail project to launch construction this year. The retail will join other users planned for the site, which includes office, medical facilities, a hotel and restaurants. The project is designed to serve the Sendera Ranch retirement community and negotiations with several restaurant chains are in the works, leasing agents for the property said. The project is among those put on hold to await utility and road improvements when the economy turned south in 2008 and 2009, developers said. It will serve a region that has seen fast growth of housing for more than a decade. “Those markets are so good that the demand is still there,” said Steve Williamson, managing director of retail services for real estate firm Transwestern’s North Texas region, which stretches into Oklahoma. Transwestern is representing the developers to seek retail tenants. Transwestern is also representing the developers of Landmark Quebec, at the corner of North Loop 820 and Jacksboro Highway. Starplex recently opened a 14-screen digital theater in the center and Texas Health Resources has purchased land for a regional hospital there. The 300,000-square-foot center is being marketed to national restaurant chains, entertainment outlets, medical services and hotels. Landmark Quebec is set to go up next to Landmark Lakes, a neighborhood center anchored by 24-Hour Fitness, Best Buy and Lowe’s. Landmark Lakes is 98 percent leased with two pad sites available, but already boasts IHOP, Buffalo Wild Wings, Logan’s Roadhouse, In-N-Out along with a mix of national and regional retailers like Verizon Wireless, Mattress Firm, Genghis Grill and Schlotzsky’s. Up I-35, Hillwood is beginning to stir again. The Perot real estate and development company last month announced a new industrial park to go up alongside the freeway, starting with a 1.2 million-square-foot warehouse and industrial building. But Hillwood also sold four pieces of land for retail development at various intersections near its existing developments. Those included 10 acres at the corner of U.S. 377 and North Tarrant Parkway; 4.4 acres at Golden Triangle Boulevard and Beach Street; and two 1-acre sites at Heritage Trace Parkway and Beach Street, near Hillwood’s The Bluffs at Heritage. Representatives with Venture Commercial, which represented Hillwood in the sales, said that the parcels are for retail and medical office uses. Construction of new retail space shriveled during the downtown. Since 2008, the U.S. has seen construction of retail space only equal to half of the amount built in 2006 alone. Still, Dallas and Fort Worth remain among the top 10 metro areas for retail development in the nation.