Thursday, June 21, 2007

Uptown Building Sold - Across From Ritz

A California investor has bought an Uptown office building. KBS Realty Advisors just purchased the 2525 McKinnon building, which is a block from the Crescent.
The eight-story, 109,810-square-foot office project was acquired from developer Seneca Investments. Terms were not disclosed.
With its location next to the new Ritz-Carlton Hotel, the stone-and-glass office building provides “a unique opportunity to capitalize on the high demand in the Uptown submarket,” KBS Realty's Walter Foster said Thursday in a statement. “This property’s central location and Class A amenities are exactly what tenants in the market are seeking.”
The building opened in 2003 and is about 61 percent leased. Tenants include Sterling Bank and The Retail Connection. Transwestern Commercial Services, which negotiated the sale, will handle leasing.
KBS Realty owns 2.5 million square feet of real estate in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The Newport Beach, Calif.-based company was founded in 1992 and has properties throughout the United States.
By STEVE BROWN / The Dallas Morning News

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

33 Acre Design District Redevelopment Acquisition


A Houston investor, Lionstone Group, has contracted to purchase a large stake in the Dallas Design District.
In February, owner Crow Holdings said that it was hunting a partner to redevelop almost two dozen properties it owns in the Dallas Design District near Oak Lawn.

Crow has plans to create a mixed-use development in the former industrial district next to the Trinity River.
But first the Dallas real estate investor wants to find someone to team with.
Real estate brokers say that Lionstone Group has stepped up to the table on the deal. The private company has already invested in properties in Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Seattle and Nashville, Tenn.
Officials with Lionstone were in meetings Monday and could not be reached for details. Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP has been marketing the property for sale and says it's under contract, according to the company Web site.
In Dallas, the company owns the Exchange Park office complex near Love Field.
The Dallas Design District deal includes almost 33 acres, with about 1.4 million square feet of buildings.
Many of the former warehouses have been renovated into wholesale showrooms, artists' studios, retail and office space.
Development plans call for building more residential, retail and office space in the area.
The Trammell Crow family, which founded Crow Holdings, has owned real estate in the area since the 1950s.
In 2005, Crow Holdings sold a major stake in its nearby Dallas Market Center complex to outside investor CNL Income Properties.
Crow Holdings is redeveloping the historic Parkland Hospital complex on Maple Avenue just blocks from the Design District.
Lionstone Group was founded in 2001 by a group of executives formerly with Houston developer Hines. The firm has created a series of funds to purchase real estate with money raised from investors.

By STEVE BROWN

Monday, June 18, 2007

Farmers Market Downtown - Mixed Use Development

A Dallas homebuilder is working on development plans for two vacant blocks next to downtown's Farmers Market.
Builder Jim Moore – who already has one project in the neighborhood – recently bought another 4.5 acres along Pearl Expressway.
Mr. Moore said he plans to build more townhouses or condos on the property, which previously housed plant nurseries.
"We are going to do something with a lot higher density than we originally planned," he said. "The city has asked me to put in some retail there. I've had to change my plans."
The retail space would be located on the ground floor of the buildings with homes above.
Mr. Moore's current project at Pearl and Canton Street is called 2100 Downtown and will contain 28 townhouses. The three-story homes start at over $390,000.
"We've already sold one, and we haven't really done anything yet," he said.
Paving and utility work has been completed on the triangular block, and construction is about to begin on the townhomes.
A couple of blocks away, another builder – Perry Homes – is constructing a block of townhouses that start in price at $387,900.
Housing analysts say that the Farmers Market area is a logical follow-on location for builders who previously worked in Uptown and along Turtle Creek.
"When you look at areas that have been the traditional locations for townhouses and condos, what you find is its pretty much gone now," said Ted Wilson with Residential Strategies. "In Oak Lawn, what is left is so terribly expensive that it's forcing developers to look at new areas.
"The Farmers Market is quickly becoming an area of new focus."
Builders are also targeting neighborhoods east of downtown that are close to Baylor University Medical Center, he said. More than 70 townhouses are being built in that area, according to Residential Strategies.
"There has been a lot of construction in the Baylor area, and the Farmers Market makes a lot of sense, too."
Houston-based developer Camden Property Trust built the first 17-unit townhouse development in the area starting in 2000 along Canton Street.
By STEVE BROWN / The Dallas Morning News

Friday, June 15, 2007

New Downtown Dallas Happenings

CITY COUNCIL APPROVES DEVELOPMENT OF THE TOWER PETROLEUM BUILDING
On June 13, the Dallas City Council approved the TIF Reimbursement and Tax Abatement Amendment for the development of the Tower Petroleum/1900 Pacific Project. The project includes residential and hotel developments, which would be great catalysts for other development of the Pacific Avenue area. The developer, Pillar Group, plans to name the hotel flag as well as other details of the project by the end of this calendar year.

CALATRAVA BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION STARTS TODAY
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will begin work on the $69.6 million Woodall Rodgers Extension (Spur 366) known as the Calatrava Bridge, over the Trinity River today, Thursday, June 14, 2007.
The equipment crane was assembled early this week, drilling equipment arrived Tuesday, the rebar steel arrived on the job site Wednesday and work begins Thursday - pending no rain, of course! - according to Enrique Guillen, TxDOT’s Central Dallas Area Office Project Engineer.
“Friday for sure,” he said. “Williams Brothers, the contractor, will begin drilling shafts at 7 a.m. and the good news is that we won’t interfere with traffic for the next two years!”
The anticipated completion date for this Phase I work which goes from the east levee of the Trinity River to the west levee is Summer 2009. When completed the bridge will be .366 miles long and six-lanes wide.
Phase II construction addresses the remainder of the project which connects the Calatrava Bridge at both ends to existing roadways. TxDOT anticipates this work beginning in Spring 2008.


GRAND OPENING OF PULSE

Get ready for Pulse, a full service, world class, hip fitness center that opened at Mosaic this week! The 8,500 square foot facility features towel service, personal trainers, spin classes and much more. Pulse offers monthly memberships as well as corporate memberships. There are no contracts or cancellation fees, and it's the only membership in Dallas that allows you to workout at both CBD and Uptown locations!
Want to get fit for the summer? Visit http://www.pulsefitnessclub.com/.
Also, go by and check out the new uber-stylish Mosaic sign, just placed on the Akard side of the building this week!


STREETSCAPE EXTENSION PROJECTS

The North/South streetscape extension improvements started last year are designed to enhance the pedestrian experience and combined with other TIF improvements, encourage more retail opportunities in the downtown core area.The latest portion of the project will provide improved pedestrian corridors between the Arts District/Nasher Sculpture Garden, West End areas and the Transit Mall through streetscape improvements. The streetscape improvements will include ADA upgrades, sidewalk brick pavers, decorative terrazzo panels near intersections, landscaping. ornamental fencing at parking lots, benches and enhanced lighting. $8.6 million is funded for the project with 2003 Capital Improvement Bond funds and design by the City Center Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District.Specific locations include: Akard Street-Ross Avenue to Bryan Street; Field Street-Ross Avenue to Pacific Avenue; Ervay Street-Ross Avenue to Pacific Avenue; St. Paul Street-Ross Avenue to Bryan Street; Harwood Street-Ross Avenue to Bryan Street. Check out what has already been done!




Mixed Use Development - Lake Highlands Town Center


DALLAS-Prescott Realty Group, getting a green light yesterday from Dallas City Council, will start closing in late June on a 1,400-unit class C block to make way for the $300-million-plus, mixed-use replacement. Council's nod for zoning and TIF financing has opened the development door for the long-desired Lake Highlands Town Center.

Lake Highlands Town Center's preliminary plan calls for more than 1,700 residential units, up to 300,000 sf of retail and 50,000 sf to 100,000 sf of office space in a 69-acre transit-oriented development at Skillman and Walnut Hill roads in North Dallas. "The project promises to transform Lake Highlands and create a stronger tax base for Dallas, yet it would not have been possible without the leadership of Dallas Councilman Bill Blaydes, who worked tirelessly to bring the TIF district and redevelopment in Lake Highlands to life," Vance Detwiler, Prescott's managing director and principal, says in a press release about the city approval. An interview for additional details wasn't available prior to deadline. Prescott's equity partner is Cypress Real Estate Advisors Inc.

Lake Highlands Town Center will replace three class C complexes: Whispering Creek on the northeast corner of Walnut Hill Lane and Skillman Road; Sutter Woods at the southeast corner and its abutting neighbor, Bella Palms. Detwiler says partial funding has been approved, more is under consideration from the city, specifically for infrastructure; Dallas Area Rapid Transit for the light-rail station; and Dallas County and the North Texas Council of Governments.

Detwiler intends to build a multi-faceted residential component with "something to offer everyone." The project marries affordable and market-rate units in one branding.

Demolition, site preparation and infrastructure will take 18 to 24 months to complete. The replacement product will trail the first phase's completion by 12 to 18 months.

The redevelopment has been attempted by other developers in the past four years. Detwiler picked up the play after Dallas voters cleared a bond package, available for infrastructure aid. Detwiler's vision is a landmark destination with a "Main Street" promenade to create a new focal point for Lake Highlands. The redevelopment will be encircled by a hike and bike trail and outfitted with proposed creeks, lakes and park areas that connect to White Rock Lake to the south.


By: Connie Gore

Friday, June 01, 2007

Downtown Happenings

The Mosaic

Mosaic, another Hamilton Properties Downtown development, has reported already leasing 71 of its 440 apartments having just begun leasing. In fact, the first 35 residents are already living in the building and construction is not even complete! According to Ted Hamilton, the response has been even better than expected. Mosaic creates a new standard of living Downtown, both with the architectural finishes as well as unparalleled amenities. For more information on leasing an apartment today please visit http://www.mosaicdallas.com/.
Also at Mosaic, get ready for Pulse, a full service, world class, hip fitness center which will open next week. The 8,500 square foot facility will feature towel service, personal trainers, spin classes and much more. Pulse has currently monthly memberships available as well as corporate memberships. There are no contracts or cancellation fees, and it's the only membership in Dallas that allows you to workout at both CBD and Uptown locations! Want to get fit for the summer? Visit http://www.pulsefitnessclub.com/.
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DOUBLE VICTORY FOR WOODALL RODGERS PARK AT DALLAS CITY HALL

On May 23, the Dallas City Council agreed to close a section of North Harwood Street through the proposed park, which will allow the Woodall Rodgers Deck Park to span two city blocks without interruption. Additionally, the Council approved a development agreement with Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation to construct the park, along with a 40-year use agreement to operate and maintain the park. “I could not be more excited about the progress we've made on Woodall Rodgers Park,” said Council member Angela Hunt, District 14. “With the City Council's approval of the development agreement, we have cemented a remarkable public-private partnership. Thanks to TREC and the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation, we'll have a world-class park that bridges the divide between Uptown and Downtown, creates much-needed green space in this dense area, and beautifully augments our Dallas Arts District.” Construction of the park is expected to begin in early 2008. Fundraising efforts are underway. For more information visit http://www.woodallrodgerspark.com/ or call 214.692.3600.


MAIN STREET GARDENS GROUNDBREAKING CELEBRATION

On Wednesday, May 30, Downtown stakeholders gathered inside the Universities Center for the highly-anticipated groundbreaking ceremony for Main Street Gardens. Speakers included, Mayor Laura Miller; City Council member Angela Hunt; Assistant City Manager, A.C. Gonzalez; DOWNTOWNDALLAS Chairman of the Board, Dan Blizzard; and University of North Texas Chancellor, Lee Jackson. The 1.75 acre park surrounded by Main, Commerce, Harwood and St. Paul streets is another huge step toward realizing the Downtown Parks Master Plan, which calls for the creation of more greenspace in the city center that will, in turn, improve the quality of life Downtown
"This will become the gravitational pull for all of Downtown Dallas," said Mayor Miller.Several buildings that are currently standing on the future site of the park will be demolished and land will be prepped for construction by the end of this year. Development of Main Street Gardens will begin as early as next spring.



FIREMAN'S FUND ADDS 150 JOBS DOWNTOWN

Insurer Fireman's Fund Co. is expanding and has made plans to stay in Downtown by moving in September from a 60,000 square foot space in Bryan Tower to a 130,000+ space in Lincoln Plaza. The new offices will make room for an extra 150 employees, giving the Insurance firm a total of 450 in the new Downtown office. The insurance firm signed a 13-year lease.The new location will include services that are now scattered across the nation. Services include: Fireman's Fund's finance unit, a centralized call center with sales and support functions, claims processing and support for independent agent that sell their product and services.



STATUS OF UNT SCHOOL OF LAW
The UNT School of Law was not approved in the last legislative session, but according to Chancellor Lee Jackson, this is just a "pause". The Chancellor and the UNT System Board of Regents remain committed to providing affordable legal education to the Dallas-Fort Worth region, which is the nation's largest metropolitan area without a public law school. DOWNTOWNDALLAS will continue to actively support UNT and all of its endeavors in bringing this asset to Downtown!

DOWNTOWNDALLAS CLEAN TEAM GOES ABOVE AND BEYOND

The DOWNTOWNDALLAS Clean Team does more than maintain the appearance of Downtown. They go above and beyond the call of duty to keep Downtown visitors, residents and workers happy while they're in the city center. Below is a copy of a letter of commendation sent to DOWNTOWNDALLAS in regards to the Clean Team. Keep up the great work!
Tuesday morning I arrived back to my office at the Market Square building in the West End and made the mistake of having my glasses in the front pocket of my shirt while bending over to pick up some trash. They proceeded to fall out of my pocket and down into the storm drain sewer. I had thought I’d just lost my glasses and would not be able to retrieve them due to the location, depth, etc. of the inlet and where in the inlet they fell. So frustrated beyond belief (with myself), I just went up to the office. Later in the morning I decided to go back down to see if there was anyway I could retrieve them. When I got down there, two of your employees, Ravon Ricks and Somm Russell, were waiting to get the kiosk you guys keep in that building. For the sake of having no other options, I asked these gentlemen if they had a key to open the manhole lid. They could’ve very easily told me no, they didn’t have a key and couldn’t help me. However, not only did they have a key to open the manhole on the storm drain inlet, but Ravon jumped down into the inlet and retrieved my glasses for me without a second thought. I wanted to make sure and let you know that these two employees deserve to be commended for their great attitude, selfless act and for going above and beyond what’s expected to help me get my glasses back. Please tell these gentlemen thank you again for me. I certainly wish there were more people like them in this world.


CITY COUNCIL APPROVED ITEMS

On May 23, City Council approved several items that further improve business, cultural and living environments in Downtown including:
The Solicitation (Panhandling) Ordinance, that restricts outdoor solicitation between sunset and sunrise, as well as near outdoor dining areas and parking meters;
Upgrade and expansion of the outdoor warning system;
Amendment for DART improvements in the Cedars;
Professional services for the Dealey Plaza renovation;
Development and use agreement with Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation;
Contract and appropriation adjustments for the Joule Hotel;
Management services contract with Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance for operations and programming of the Homeless Assistance Center;
Amendments to the Central Business District streets and vehicular plan;
Amendment to the Arts District sign ordinance;
and the removal of the DART bus shelter at AT&T Plaza.


MATCHING GRANTS UPDATE

Since 1994, the DOWNTOWNDALLAS Matching Grants program has approved more than $1.5 million, leveraging over $6.8 million in private investments for projects including parking lot improvements, lighting enhancement, sidewalks, pedestrian amenity upgrades, park construction and facade improvements. Recently, over $68,000 in matching grants funds has been approved for the following projects:
Dealey Plaza: restoration of the peristyles and fountain - $25,000Booker T. Washington High School: landscape improvements - $25,000The Metropolitan Garage: installation of new metal awnings above sidewalk - $9,372Majestic Lofts: replacement of awnings - $2,670First Baptist Garage: replacement of tree grates - $6,855

MEET DOWNTOWNDALLAS
DOWNTOWNDALLAS
Featured Board Member, Ted Hamilton

President Hamilton Properties

Hamilton Properties Corporation is a design oriented real estate development company that specializes in converting vacant buildings into hip urban destinations. Hamilton Properties’ first Dallas project was the Davis Building, a 183 unit loft apartment complex with 50,000 square feet of retail and 600 parking stalls completed in 2003. The Dallas Power & Light Building, a 158 unit apartment complex with 25,000 square feet of re-tail and 160 parking stalls, then opened its doors in 2005. The first residents just began moving in to Hamilton’s most ambitious project to date, Mosaic, with 440 apartments, 660 parking spaces and 18,000 square feet of retail.Hamilton Properties is also entering the hospitality arena with two projects. View, a 240-room independent hotel, is located immediately south of the Dallas Convention Center and will undergo a renovation in the fall of 2007. Hamilton is also working on the Santa Fe IV project immediately north of the Convention Center, which will be a branded boutique hotel with 196 rooms, also starting construction in the fall of 2007.
Ted’s D SPOT! (a.k.a. his favorite Downtown destination)"Fuse (although I'm biased!)"

Why Ted is passionate about Downtown“Downtown is the one place in the metroplex with a fascinating history, an urban pulse and authentic flavor.”
Ted’s favorite Downtown memory"My favorite memory of downtown has not occurred yet. I have many great memories, but I look forward to the coming years as downtown morphs into the world class city that it deserves to be. In the next few years the streets will be teaming with people day and night."

Why Ted supports DOWNTOWNDALLAS “DOWNTOWNDALLAS brings together the stakeholders of downtown and gives them a forum and a tool to identify things that need improvement, and it gives us a vehicle to implement those improvements. It helps us all stroke in the same direction and allows us to make bigger changes than we could make on our own.”


SUNDAY IN THE PARK

A neighborhood event that cant be missed!The grand opening of The Park in Victory Park!
Sunday, June 3rd2:00PM until Sunset in Victory ParkComplimentary crawfish boil, libations and all the fixin's from LFT Lifestyle Fashion Terminal. Also available:• Kenichi's Summertime Sake Sangriaand Sake Mojitos • Light bites by Luna de Noche • Gelato from Paciugo Gran Caff • Music by WishFMParking available in Lot C (off Houston St., next to the House of Blues)


2007 CITYARTS CELEBRATION!

TXU Energy and the Dallas Arts District are rolling out the red carpet and inviting metroplex residents and area visitors alike to experience world-class art collections, FREE museum access and top musical and dance entertainment, along with a variety of culinary delights during the 2007 Dallas CityArts Celebration June 8-10. DOWNTOWNDALLAS is also a proud sponsor of the event.As founding partner of the first CityArts Celebration in 2004, TXU Energy was joined by various civic-minded companies as sponsors of this free Arts Celebration that has become a "signature" event for Dallas. Audiences from North Texas and across the country have come to experience the true art and cultural benefits that Dallas has to offer.
"This free festival is a wonderful opportunity to experience and celebrate the city's culinary, visual and performing arts in the heart of the nation's largest contiguous urban arts district," said Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau President/CEO Phillip Jones. "Each year, we see attendance more than double. There's no doubt that this signature event for Dallas will become a nationally recognized tradition and destination for visitors over the coming years."