Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Lofty hopes, outlook for rise
International architectural firm HKS Inc. plans to move into its new downtown Dallas headquarters in about six months.
On Wednesday, the 30-story Patriot Tower at North St. Paul and Bryan streets was sold to developers who will remodel the 33-year-old high-rise into offices for HKS and Greyhound Lines.
The upper 17 floors of the tower will be converted to apartments as part of the $100 million-plus plan put together by Dallas’ Todd Interests and partner Moriah Real Estate Co. of Midland.
“HKS has made a big commitment to downtown Dallas,” said developer Shawn Todd. ”The bottom floors of this building are now 100 percent leased for office space.
“And the upper floors will be a very sophisticated, contemporary residential project.”
The scheme to redevelop the former One Dallas Centre tower has been in the works for several months.
Designed in the 1970s by architect I.M. Pei & Partners, the metal and glass high-rise has had high vacancy rates in recent years and wound up in foreclosure in 2011.
Developers and city officials crafted a plan to give the property a new use.
“It’s an iconic building from the ’70s with a world-renowned architect,” Todd said.
As part of the project, HKS has repurposed the lower two floors of the building, replacing the dark metal and mirrored glass exterior with glass walls that show off the inside space.
HKS will occupy more than 140,000 square feet on seven floors of the tower, moving its offices from McKinney Avenue in Uptown.
“We were very excited about the project from the first time we looked at it,” said HKS chief executive R. Ralph Hawkins. “With all the activity on that block and the DART line out front, we thought it would be a perfect location.
“We are probably one of the few corporations that would look at bringing a building like this back to life.”
HKS considered several office options downtown before picking the North St. Paul Street tower.
“We’ve been working on this for five years,” said principal Daniel Jeakins. “We looked at the old Dallas High School and the old library facing the Main Street Gardens park.
“But they were as expensive as building from the ground up.”
Commercial real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle represented HKS in its hunt for a new location.
“Our team partnered with HKS to perform an exhaustive headquarters search across the U.S.,” said D-FW market president Paul Whitman of Jones Lang LaSalle. “HKS was eager to move back into the Dallas central business district and to be the architect to brand the redevelopment project, not only for their company but for the city.”
Whitman negotiated the HKS lease with along with Jones Lang LaSalle’s Larry Toon and Daryl Mullin.
June moving date
HKS plans to move its 500 workers into Patriot Tower at the start of June. The building will return to its original One Dallas Centre name. Construction on the apartments on the upper floors should start in March.
Andres Construction is the general contractor on the project. Bank of the Ozarks is providing funding for the entire redevelopment. HFF LP’s Andrew Levy arranged the sale of the tower by Bank of America. Terms of the purchase were not disclosed.
Greyhound will have about 95,000 square feet of office space in the remodeled building.
“We are glad to see this come through,” said Greyhound senior vice president Ted Burk. “It’s a great feeling to see what is happening downtown — I can see the vitality coming back.”
Greyhound has had a presence in downtown Dallas for decades. In 2008, it moved its top officers downtown from Belt Line Road at the Dallas North Tollway.
About 500 Greyhound workers will occupy five floors of the refurbished building.
“I can’t think of another deal that will have more impact on downtown,” said John Crawford, CEO of the economic development group Downtown Dallas Inc. “It sends a message with two large, respected companies signing leases in this building.
“Couple that up with the residential component, and it hopefully sets the trend for other buildings like that.”
McKinney Avenue fixture
HKS, a 73-year-old firm with architectural projects around the globe, has been on McKinney Avenue since the late 1990s. The company occupies just over 100,000 square feet in a redeveloped office and warehouse complex that once housed a retail display cabinet manufacturer.
“We love it, but we are out of space,” Hawkins said.
Patriot Tower is the latest in a series of distressed downtown Dallas buildings to get a new purpose.
With construction of thousands of residential units, new parks and cultural facilities, Dallas’ central business district is attracting widespread investment.
HKS’ new office is across the street from Dallas’ historic downtown post office.
Developer Todd Interests just completed converting the upper floors of the post office into 78 luxury apartments.
The Patriot Tower redevelopment is unique in that it combines office and residential space.
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