Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Downtown Dallas & Uptown Real Estate News

Downtown Dallas & Uptown Real Estate News

An empty downtown office tower may soon lose the blues.

DALLAS (DallasNews.com) - The 211 N. Ervay tower now. The 18-story 211 N. Ervay building is being purchased by a California developer that also owns two nearby towers.

3J Development LLC of San Diego plans to convert the 47-year-old office building at Ervay and Elm streets into residential units.

Clad in blue metal panels, the vacant tower has been praised by preservationists but is despised by some downtown boosters – including Mayor Laura Miller – who don't like its colorful 1950s architecture.

The new owners plan to redo the exterior.

"We are going to make the exterior look very nice," said Joseph Sapp, 3J Development president. "I don't know what it will be yet, but it won't be turquoise.

"We are playing with lots of different scenarios," he said.

3J Development is buying 211 N. Ervay from a local investor. Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Since January, Mr. Sapp's firm has also purchased the 33-story 1600 Pacific tower, the 16-story Praetorian Building and an Elm Street parking garage.

A lack of parking has previously discouraged developers and investors away from redoing 211 N. Ervay.

"Our parking garage will serve all three buildings," Mr. Sapp said. "We now have over 1 million square feet in downtown Dallas if you include the parking structure."

Mr. Sapp said he hasn't decided if the buildings will be converted to rental units or condos.

He expects to begin construction on the first renovation within nine months.