DALLAS — As the Dallas Market Center ramps up construction of its new home for fashion, a group of sales representatives is still working to establish an alternative wholesale mart downtown.

Leases have been sent to about 60 companies for space in Southwestern Plaza, a five-story building less than three miles from the DMC.

“Everybody who has a lease is interested and we don’t need every single one of them, but we need a good percentage,” said Federico Mariel, a sales representative who has led the effort. “We really think we will have enough.”

At press time, 12 leases had been signed, Mariel said.

John Sughrue, who owns the building and is a principal in Brooks Partners, has said he must lease 50,000 square feet before he will begin construction. He has proposed investing $4 million to $5 million to create a hip fashion center in the downtown Arts District.

A fashion center would buttress on-going efforts to revitalize the city’s center, but some sales representatives and buyers have questioned the wisdom of splitting the market.

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