Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Value Add Project Downtown - One Dallas Centre

DALLAS-Younan Properties Inc., delivering the deal in time for Memorial Day, is unfurling a new strategy with its newest office asset, the 615,000-sf One Dallas Centre. Renamed Patriot Tower, the asset will receive a $20-million redressing that will include a 10,000-sf war museum in a bid to build character and purpose for the high rise.

Zaya S. Younan, chairman and CEO of the Los Angeles-based investment group, has paid $22 million or just less than $36 per sf for the 40%-leased class A high rise at 350 N. St. Paul St. Start to finish, the all-cash deal went full circle in 32 days because he wanted it to close before Memorial Day so he could put a new asset strategy to work--starting with I.M. Pei's 30-story design in the CBD. "We buy buildings, but they have no character. There's no connection," Younan tells "I want to change that to give our buildings character. It's a new concept we are rolling out in the US."

In taking the deed yesterday, Younan has put Stream Realty Partners LP in charge of leasing. The seller, Colonnade Properties of New York City, had Jones Lang LaSalle at the leasing helm, with JLL managing director Evan Stone brokering the sale.

Younan, known for his value-add savvy, confirms that the 27-year-old Patriot Tower's vacancy is the largest one that he's assumed in Dallas, where he's amassed more than seven million sf of class A office space. "We don't see it as a challenge. We see it as opportunity," he explains. With that in mind, he's tagging the class A space at $15 per sf plus electric and rolling in brokers' incentives to get them in the door to "look and reassess" a building that's been "out of the game" for awhile, he adds. His target is 80% occupancy within one year to 18 months.

Younan is interviewing architects for the Patriot Tower makeover, aimed at returning it to class A plus status while maintaining the architectural integrity of the I.M. Pei & Partners' 448-foot design. If all goes as planned, work permits will be in hand within 30 days. The first work order is pointed at the outside. "It's going to get a good shower. It hasn't had a shower in eight years," Younan says, estimating it will take six months to one year to complete all that he's planned inside and out.

Younan plans to retain a history professor from local university to develop an interactive and educational museum from the Revolutionary War to the present-day Iraq War. In addition, there will be an honor wall for photographs and memorabilia of all company employees and relatives who served in the US Armed Forces. The decision to put the museum in Dallas was mortared in its high number of veterans and military families and abutting 10-story parking garage, which has enough room for tenants and museum-goers.

"That building is going to mean a lot to me because it's going to serve a lot of purposes," Younan says. "I'm an American by choice. I could never thank this country enough for all the blessings that I've had here. And, the soldiers are an important part of the fact that we live in such a beautiful country."

Patriot Tower is Younan's third Dallas CBD acquisition in one year. He says he's not holding any more Dallas contracts, right now, but he is holding two for Houston: Northbelt Corporate Center along North Sam Houston Parkway in the Greenspoint/Northbelt submarket and 6464 Savoy, a mid-rise with direct access to US Hwy. 59. The deals are slated to close in mid-June.

By: Connie Gore

Friday, May 25, 2007

Woodall Park - Almost a Done Deal!

That is, it voted to close Harwood so that we'll have a park without the Indy 500 rush-hour traffic pouring through it. The Real Estate Council was the biggest advocate. Its release after the break:
At Wednesday’s meeting, 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. Addressing the Council, The Real Estate Council (TREC) President Linda Owen stated, “The closure of Harwood Bridge is absolutely essential if we are to achieve our highest aspirations for the park in terms of landscape design, open space, universal accessibility, programming, safety and connectivity.”
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 Councilmember 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.”
TREC Chairman Frank Schubert of JPI Companies, among several TREC members and staff at City Council on Wednesday, added, “Once again, TREC has proven its leadership and ability to make a strategic impact in the city of Dallas. I expect us to celebrate Super Bowl 2011 at the Woodall Rodgers Park!”
Construction of the park is expected to begin in early 2008. Fundraising efforts are underway. For more information visit or call 214.692.3600.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Ernst & Young moving 150,000 SF into Victory Park

After months of speculation, accounting giant Ernst & Young LLP confirmed Thursday that it will move its North Texas headquarters to the Victory project near downtown.
Ernst & Young will lease about 150,000 square feet in the One Victory Park building which is under construction just north of Woodall Rodgers Freeway. The company will move into the 20-story building, which is 85 percent leased, in July 2009.
"We are very pleased to join other well established Dallas companies in making the exciting move to Victory Park," Ernst & Young Managing Partner Clint McDonnough said in announcing the planned move.
Other tenants in the building will include law firm Haynes & Boone LLP and PlainsCapital Bank.
With this project substantially leased, Victory developer Hillwood is already planning a second office tower next door.
By STEVE BROWN / The Dallas Morning News

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mixed Use Development - Love Field Area

After more than a year of planning, a Denver-based developer has broken ground on a mixed-use development near the north end of Dallas' Love Field.
Archstone-Smith's Shops at Bluffview complex will contain three stories of apartments built on top of retail space. The project is on Northwest Highway just east of Lemmon Avenue.
Archstone-Smith bought the shopping center, known as the Plaza on Bachman Creek, in 2004.

Archstone-Smith Archstone-Smith's The Shops at Bluffview complex will contain apartments built on top of retail space.
The more than $30 million project now under way will include 181 loft apartments and 205,000 square feet of new retail space in a town-square-style complex overlooking Bachman Creek.
The new buildings will adjoin the existing Embassy Suites Hotel and two office towers.
"It's been a tough deal to wrestle to the ground – real complicated," said Tom Scaling, vice president of Archstone-Smith.
"But we finally have the dirt flying and the old buildings coming down," he said.

The first apartments should be ready for renters in early 2008, he said.
Some retail and office space on the ground floor might be finished before then.
"We haven't really set our apartment rents yet, but we are trying to stay beneath what they are in Uptown," Mr. Scaling said.
About 25,000 square feet of the existing shopping center will be demolished to make way for the new construction.
After opening in 1986, the Plaza on Bachman Creek was successful for a time but later suffered declining occupancy.
The developers hope to rent the new space to local shops, restaurants and boutiques.
"We plan on retaining some of the existing tenants," Mr. Scaling said. "With Bachman Creek running along the south side of our property, we feel we have an added amenity that not many developers can offer their tenants."
Archstone-Smith is one of the country's largest apartment developers and investors, with properties in major cities including Washington, Seattle and Boston.
It also has properties in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area and the New York metropolitan area.
The company owns more than 86,000 rental units.

By Steve Brown Dallas Morning News

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Great Urban Katy Trail - Enjoy!!!

Typically, we think of a trail as a place to run, walk, bike or blade.
With recent upgrades, the Katy Trail is that and much more.
In addition to being a place to exercise and commune with nature, it's also a popular spot to bond with neighbors.
"One of the big draws for me is the sense of community," says Eric Paulson, a frequent trail user. "I tend to use the trail at the same time every day. There's a sense of seeing people you know or getting to know people you see often, which promotes more of a sense of community."
The trail creates 125 contiguous acres of parkland in the densest part of Dallas, says Eric Van Steenburg, the executive director of Friends of the Katy Trail.
"It's an urban environment where you're not sealed in your car," says Mr. Paulson, a Friends of the Katy Trail member. "You're outside, seeing people in a community meeting place. It's like an old town square."
Debbie Fetterman writes about fitness for Healthy Living. To share story ideas and favorite fitness activities, contact her at fitinthecity@
New this week
Did you know:
•The new Reverchon Park Project will be used during Thursday's benefit event, which includes a 5K and a picnic. This privately funded, $1.3-million capital-improvement campaign includes a 750-foot ramp providing easy wheelchair access between the trail and the park, which is 40 feet below; the C.J. "Tommy" Thomsen Overlook, where the ramp connects to the trail; and a gathering area, the Briggs-Freeman Plaza, which intersects with the ramp and then connects to the Turtle Creek Trail.
•The section of the trail from Knox Street to Airline Road will have new landscaping, which will provide aesthetic and practical features including much-needed shade.
•There are two new drinking fountains, one at the Thomsen Overlook and one at Briggs-Freeman Plaza.
To be completed by year's end
Did you know:
•Lights will be installed. They will be 25 feet tall, 100 to 150 feet apart, painted dusty green to blend with nature. Mr. Van Steenburg says the lights will have deflectors to ensure that light will shine on the trail and not spill into people's back yards.
•Lighting is partially funded by a government grant. A contract with an installer should be in place by summer with installation starting in the fall. The lights will begin at the south end near American Airlines Center and continue as far as the budget allows. The remainder must be privately funded.
Planned but not funded

The new Thomsen Overlook addition
Did you know:
•You can have the 3.1-mile soft-surface running trail named in your honor for a cool $2 million. That's the price tag to complete the final mile from Blackburn to Knox, which is the most expensive because of slopes and grades. In addition, two bridges must be built.
"We have people that are interested and thinking about it," Mr. Van Steenburg says.
•More money must be raised to ensure proper maintenance, landscaping, weeding and watering of the 30 acres along the trail. One way to help is by joining Friends of the Katy Trail at
"We're required to be fully funded before we can begin another element of the trail," Mr. Van Steenburg says.
Along the trail
Did you know:
•The trail showcases four distinct zones with assorted vegetation. Beginning at the south end, the landscape is akin to the Texas Hill Country. As you move north, the trail becomes heavily wooded. Then, there is an urban zone in which residents live adjacent to the trail. Finally, north of Knox, the trail exhibits blackland prairie characteristics.
•Migratory birds rest on the trail annually, as do monarch butterflies each fall and spring. Barn owls flock to the TXU utility towers and help reduce the rodent population, Mr. Van Steenburg says.
•A dramatic view of the Dallas skyline can be seen from Lemmon Avenue south to Victory Park.
•There also are picturesque views of the water fountain at Lee Park from the bridge overlooking Lee Park.
•The Thomsen Overlook features a huge front wall with seven layers of limestone blocks quarried from the Hill Country.
•The new Briggs-Freeman Plaza features 1930s-style stonework and benches that are designed to blend with the adjacent Reverchon Park architecture.
Trail tidbits

Did you know:
•The Katy Trail traces the greenbelt along the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT or "Katy") Railroad, which began operating in 1887. The tracks were abandoned after 100 years. In the early 1990s, community and civic leaders proposed transforming the tracks into the trail. In 1993, Union Pacific Railroad donated three miles of the railway to the city of Dallas. Thus began the Katy Trail.
•Limestone from the time the railroad was built has been unearthed by trimming vegetation along the trail.
•The Katy Trail is a key link connecting White Rock Lake to the Trinity River. Dallas has approximately 87 miles of trails. They're a combination of hard-surface and nature trails. Once complete, the Dallas Trail Network Master Plan will contain 230 miles, according to the City of Dallas Park and Recreation Department plan. The plan is expected to be complete in 15 to 20 years.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Big residential projects in works on Ross

A century ago, Ross Avenue was one of Dallas' most fashionable residential addresses.
These days, the thoroughfare running east from downtown is often thought of for its car lots and faded commercial buildings.

But two new developments promise to make Ross a busy residential street again.
Dallas homebuilder Centex Corp. and Irving-based apartment developer JPI are seeking city approval for major residential projects on Ross Avenue near Central Expressway.
The new developments will join two smaller residential projects under way on Ross.
Centex wants to build an almost 3-acre townhouse complex on Ross southwest of Hall Street, according to filings with the city. CityHomes on Ross will be built on property now occupied by old buildings and vacant lots.

The CityHomes project is across the street from the Veranda condominium complex, where Jim Moore is constructing the second of four planned buildings.
"I think it's great to see other builders coming in," Mr. Moore said Wednesday. "Ross Avenue has really changed."
Indeed, his Veranda condos – built on a former parking lot – start at over $290,000.
Next door at Ross and Pavillion Street, another planned project called Ross Avenue Brownstones will have 45 brick-and-stone townhouses.
"Ross Avenue from the Arts District on out will continue to see revitalization," said Veletta Forsythe Lill, a former Dallas City Council member who has championed redevelopment along the street.
"It's something that the city and community have worked on for a long time," she said.
JPI's rental community is planned for a vacant property on Ross between Routh and Boll streets. The 1.5-acre property backs up to the Arts District.
Called Jefferson at Arts District, the development is the first of several that JPI plans on property it controls on Ross, real estate brokers say.
Centex has the property near Hall Street under contract, spokesman Louis Adams confirmed.
"Since we don't own the land yet, we can't talk about what we are going to do there," he said.
Both the CityHomes project and JPI's apartments are scheduled for presentations Thursday at the Dallas City Plan Commission.
During the late 1800s and early 1900s, Ross Avenue was lined with some of Dallas' most opulent mansions. Only a few – most notably the Belo family home at Ross and Pearl – remain.
Starting in the 1920s, commercial builders started knocking down the grand homes to make way for businesses.
"There is a wonderful irony to see that street which was a silk-stocking area return to residential development," Ms. Lill said.

Monday, May 07, 2007


Delta Associates released their 1Q 2007 D/FW commercial market report earlier this month. Overall, the company is reporting a positive outlook for the region stating, “The Metroplex economy will likely continue to strengthen during the balance of 2007, with a broad range of economic sectors contributing to the growth. Dallas/Fort Worth will likely achieve average employment growth of 77,000 jobs per year over the next three years – plenty of jobs to support a robust commercial real estate market into 2009.”
In 1Q 2007, overall vacancy in the Central Business District is reported at 21.7%, down from 26.8% in 2004. Class A is slightly lower at 20.1% This is based on 114 buildings and 35,732,909RSF. In the Uptown/Turtle Creek market, of just over 10 million RSF, vacancy sits at 9%, down from 13.7% in 2004. This is compared to a region-wide overall vacancy average of 16.93%.
Office space under construction/renovation in the CBD is quoted at approximately 1.2 million SF, 78% of which is pre-leased, with an additional 1.3 million SF under construction in Uptown/Turtle Creek, of which 38.4% is pre-leased.
Highlighting major building sales Downtown in the 1Q 2007 was the sale of Bank One Center for $216 million or $141/SF, above the regional sale average of $124/SF.

Uptown Condo Conversion - $42k/Unit

San Carlos Associates LP has purchased the 153-unit San Carlos Apartments for more than the $6.5 million asking price.
The local condo converter plans to invest millions in rebuilding the 12-building complex at 5010 Maple Ave. San Carlos Apartments was fully occupied at the time of sale.
Sam Lewis, senior adviser for Hendricks & Partners, says the buyer will gut the buildings to renovate mechanical systems and build from the inside out so that the condos will be like new. San Carlos Associates plans to price the condos below the area's $300,000 and $400,000 bracket.
Built in 1963, San Carlos Apartments has two efficiency units, five three-bedroom units and 24 one-bedroom units. The rest have two-bedroom floor plans. Units range from 300 to 1,152 square feet. Monthly rents range between $350 and $950.

Cityplace Purchase

Ashkenazy & Agus Ventures, based in Florida and Manhattan, and Barrow Street Capital, a real estate investment fund manager, have paid $125 million for the 42-story Cityplace Tower. The tower opened in 1988 as the headquarters of retailer 7-Eleven Inc., which occupied less than half of the building. 7-Eleven is moving its offices to the new One Arts Plaza building downtown.Redevelopment plans for the 1.3 million-square-foot, granite-and-glass office tower plus nine acres on North Central Expressway include restaurants, a fitness center, a spa and retail store. Ashkenazy & Agus is an affiliate of New York–based Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. (AAC), which recently purchased the historic Union Station complex in Washington, D.C. AAC also owns retail buildings in Arlington and Plano and the River Center Mall in San Antonio. Connecticut-based Barrow has invested $1 billion in real estate projects. Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP represented the seller, Pennsylvania real estate investment firm Brandywine Realty Trust.

Highland Park Sale

Gables Highland Park apartments have been purchased by CWS Apartment Homes LLC (CWS). They will be renamed the Estates of Highland Park.
The six-year-old project at 4201 Lomo Alto Dr. has 55 large apartments with monthly rents ranging from $1,700 to $2,500.
In 2004, CWS, an Austin builder and investor, bought the West Village apartments and converted about a dozen of the largest units to condominiums.
Gables, which owned this complex until 2004, still owns the 57-unit Gables Highland Park Brownstones at 4733 Bowser Ave.


Bisno Development of Los Angeles plans to create more than 400 condominium units in the historic Butler Brothers building across the street from city hall.
The 510,000-square-foot, nine-story former warehouse on 500 South Ervay was the city’s biggest wholesale distribution center almost a century ago. When it opened, it took more than 800 train car loads of merchandise — the equivalent of a train ten miles long — to stock the building.
The city has committed $15 million in tax increment financing funds to support the redevelopment. Ebby Halliday Realtors will market the condos, with prices ranging from $180,000 to more than $600,000.
Bisno has already begun restoring the building's original facade, removing sections of concrete and stucco exterior panels put on the building almost 50 years ago.
"It was a Romanesque building with a heavy base, arches and a crenelated top like you see on a castle. It's typical of an early 20th century style of warehouse," said Jay Firsching of Dallas architecture firm Architexas, which has done consulting work for the developers. "For 1911, it was pretty incredible."

New 5 Acre Apartment Development Announcement

Rental complex planned at edge of West End
Gables to build apartment community on prime site

One of Dallas' busiest apartment builders has purchased land for its second major project downtown.
Gables Residential has acquired almost five acres in the central business district at Field Street and Woodall Rodgers Freeway with plans to do a large apartment community.

The property – now occupied by parking lots – is adjacent to the West End entertainment district and across the freeway from the booming Victory project.
"I think it's a great development site," said Gables' senior vice president Doug Chesnut. "It has views in one direction of downtown and the other toward Victory."
Mr. Chesnut said it's too early to provide details on what his firm will build.
Gables bought the land – almost two city blocks – from Chavez Properties, which has owned the tract since the early 1990s.
It has long been considered one of the largest prime development sites downtown.
During the 1980s, developers even proposed building a 100-story skyscraper on the site. A real estate bust put an end to those ambitious plans.
Since then, the property has been used for surface parking by visitors and workers in nearby office buildings.
Chavez Properties had recently marketed the property for sale with a price tag of more than $100 per square foot.
Michael Anderson, a Dallas attorney who represents the sellers, confirmed the transaction but declined to provide any details.
"It's a unique site, and I hope they can build a project that fits it," Mr. Anderson said.
Gables acquired the property through a Texas limited partnership called LG Magnolia LP, according to county deed records.
Gables is the biggest apartment builder in central Dallas.
The Atlanta-based developer is completing a project to turn downtown's historic Republic National Bank Building into 229 apartments.
Gables also has projects under construction in Uptown.
Dallas real estate broker Newt Walker negotiated the sale of the property. He's worked on the property since the 1980s.