Friday, October 10, 2008

Historic Parkland Hospital Building Nears Debut as Office Complex

Work is wrapping up on one of the most extensive landmark building redevelopments ever in Dallas.

Crow Holdings has turned the historic Parkland Hospital building on Maple Avenue into a corporate office complex.

And along with restoring the original 1913 hospital buildings, construction is under way on an adjoining office campus.

"My guess is we'll move into the building the first week of December," said Crow Holdings chief executive Harlan Crow as he toured the building this week. "Everyone is happy to see this building get redone."

The complex of brick medical buildings at Maple and Oak Lawn avenues had been derelict for almost a decade when Crow Holdings bought the property in 2006.

County-owned Parkland Memorial Hospital moved out of the buildings in the 1950s to newer digs on Harry Hines Boulevard.

After tearing down some additions to the old complex, the real estate and investment firm has renovated the 53,000-square-foot historic building and tacked on more than 16,000 square feet in a modern glass and steel addition on the west side.

The old buildings and land cost more than $16 million. Crow Holdings isn't saying how much the entire redevelopment will cost.

"If we had torn the building down and rebuilt a clone, it would have been a lot cheaper," Mr. Crow said. "After the time it was built, they had redone the interior several times.

"The inside was really utilitarian," he said. "The outside was more grand."

Crow Holdings painstakingly restored the outside of the Georgian-style brick building, repairing or exactly duplicating elements.

Even the new double-glazed windows facing Maple were made with old-style wavy glass that looks like the original.

"We replicated things as exactly as we could and still did things that were energy-efficient," Mr. Crow said.

The old Parkland project has already gotten honors for energy-saving construction.

Inside, wood, stone and plaster decorative finishes in the old building are in keeping with the landmark.

The two-story-tall addition in back – designed by Dallas architects Good Fulton & Farrell, which has done the entire project – is contemporary, with a wall of glass looking toward the Dallas Market Center.

"The interiors in the old part of the building will be traditional, and in the new part it will be modern," Mr. Crow said. "Preservationists like the fact that the old is old and the new is new, and you can tell the difference."

Development of the rest of the 8.3-acre site will also combine historic architecture and new designs.

Construction is under way to remodel the adjoining Nurses Quarters building, which was built in 1925.

And behind that, work crews are building a 40,000-square-foot Georgian-style office building called Woodlawn Hall.

Another office building planned along the Dallas North Tollway will blend traditional and modern glass architecture.

All of the buildings will be on a similar scale to the historic hospital complex.

"We were permitted to go up to 20 stories but chose to keep it low and not very dense," Mr. Crow said.

That's a switch for Mr. Crow, son of legendary Dallas developer Trammell Crow, who got his start in the real estate business developing downtown skyscrapers.

"I remember the days in the 1980s when we built Chase Tower and the Trammell Crow center downtown," he said. "This historic project was as much fun but, of course, very different."