Thursday, June 12, 2008

Downtown Uptown News

If you think something's missing at the Victory Park development, you're right.
Two big construction cranes that have been across the street from American Airlines Center for months were recently taken down.

The cranes were for the construction of the parking garage to accompany the planned Victory Tower -- a 43-story skyscraper that's to include a Mandarin Oriental Hotel, luxury condominiums, office space and retail.

Victory developer Hillwood announced plans for the project back in 2006, with an opening date of 2009.

When work began last year on the parking garage, a lot of folks considered the tower to be under way. But it wasn't.

And now construction is winding down on the garage -- which has turned out to be a bit smaller than in the original artist's concept.

Hillwood officials aren't saying when or if they will build Victory Tower.

"At this time, we have no announcements," Victory Park's chief marketing officer, Andrew Gallina, said in an e-mail.

But actions speak louder than words. Workmen painted over colorful advertisements for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, which were on the fence at Olive Street and Victory Avenue.

The Victory Park Internet site says that the project will open in 2010. And a spokeswoman in Mandarin Oriental's New York office said the same thing. But she acknowledged that the opening date of the hotel is up to the developers and "subject to change."

Construction experts say that given the size and complexity of the building, a 2010 opening is unlikely unless work begins almost immediately.

Several other Dallas high-rises with condominiums included have been postponed or canceled outright because of softness in the housing market.

Oak Lawn project

A high-profile Oak Lawn block is under construction for a new mixed-use project.

Developer Crosland Group recently began work on the former site of a Tom Thumb supermarket at Cedar Springs Road and Douglas Avenue.

Crosland officials would not respond to requests for information about the project. But the company's Internet site says the development will include "up to 375 luxury apartment homes and 25,000 square feet of supporting retail/restaurant space."

BGO Architects designed the development.

Plans change

And a Turtle Creek neighborhood site that was planned for a luxury high-rise is on the block.

The 2-plus-acre vacant tract on Hood Street was to be the location of the 22-story Cresta Bella condominium tower. But the high-rise project was canceled, and now the dirt's up for grabs.

Colliers International is seeking a buyer for the property, which is behind the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek hotel.

New job

Former Victory Park head honcho Jonas Woods has a new job.

Mr. Woods has teamed up with the top exec at Dallas' Hayman Capital Partners to create a new real estate investment management company.

Mr. Woods will be CEO of Hayman Woods LLC, which he founded with Kyle Bass, founder and managing partner of Hayman Capital, a global hedge fund management company.

It's been almost a year since Mr. Wood's sudden departure as president of Hillwood Capital, which oversaw development of the Victory project.

Mar 14, 2008 - The Dallas Morning News