Sunday, January 30, 2011

Major Redevelopment Project Moves Forward Downtown

400 North Ervay (Historic Post Office Building) Breaks Ground

Downtown Dallas, Inc. (DDI), together with Todd Interests, is thrilled to announce the commencement of a major adaptive reuse project in the heart of Downtown Dallas. The Historic United States Post Office and Courthouse, to be known as 400 North Ervay, will be converted into 78 classic apartments representing the finest in modern luxury living with over 6,000 square feet of interior amenity space and a 20,000sf roof top terrace. The first residences will be available for occupancy by late summer of this year.

Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, a project proponent, commented, "Dallas is well known for the quality of its new architecture. That is why we've attracted Pritzker Prize winning architects for everything from performance halls and museums to our skyscrapers. Less known though are the great efforts made to rediscover and redevelop our historic past. The Historic Post Office will be a tremendous example of a restored landmark that adds retail, residents and jobs to our growing Downtown."

Built in 1930, 400 North Ervay served for the next forty years as the home to multiple Federal bureaus and agencies, two US District Courts and the U.S. Post Office. The restoration/re-development of the property is being spearheaded by Dallas based developer Todd Interests. At completion, 400 North Ervay will be transformed into a signature mixed use development.

Part of the mixed-use components within the development include "The Venue at 400 North Ervay" which offers prospective users the opportunity to rent the immaculately restored Historic courtroom with its ornate coffered ceilings and rich paneled walls for special events. The 20,000 square foot roof top terrace and garden is being designed by the acclaimed landscape architecture firm Talley Associates and will serve as a unique for rent feature as well. The project will also include another prime amenity, "The Market at 400 North Ervay", a 1,500 square foot Italian market & bakery with a coffee/expresso bar. It will serve the daily dining and grocery needs of the immediate residential and office clientele. 400 North Ervay is strategically positioned between The Main Street District and The Arts District, each only two blocks away. The main downtown DART Rail's Northern Line stops at the property.

Council Member Angela Hunt commented, "Shawn Todd's restoration of Dallas' old U.S. Post Office and Courthouse is a terrific example of historic preservation and adaptive reuse. His project is a win all the way around -- it restores a downtown landmark, it brings a tax-exempt property onto the tax rolls, and it helps create a vibrant downtown with a great mix of retail and residential."

400 North Ervay has been in the making for a number of years. Utilizing Historic Preservation Tax Credits and private investment, it is truly representative of the type of public-private partnerships that have rebuilt Dallas' city center. Said John Crawford, President & CEO of Downtown Dallas, Inc., "We have always believed in Shawn's vision for this property, set in the epicenter of Downtown. It is critical that the public and private sectors come together in this way to have our buildings preserved, restored and brought back to life in the new environment of Downtown."

"A tremendous amount of stewardship and responsibility goes with restoring such an architecturally significant and historical asset like 400 North Ervay," said Shawn Todd, President of Todd Interests. "The materials and craftsmanship that were utilized during the property's original construction could never be reproduced in cost or in skill."

"The old U.S. Post Office and Courthouse was on its way to becoming another vanishing historic government building. Today 400 North Ervay is not only a contributory member of Dallas' resurgent Downtown, it also demonstrates the power of re-using a historic asset for a new multi-use building," said Katherine Seale, Executive Director of Preservation Dallas. "By restoring its most significant spaces and features throughout the building, culminating in the historic Sarah T. Hughes courtroom, Todd Interests provides an enormous benefits to its tenants, visitors, and the public. The building is like no other in Downtown, and that kind of presence just cannot be re-created."

Gables Residential will manage the construction of the project. "The Post Office, with its signature architectural facade and interior elements, coupled with the building's rich Texas history, demanded an equally unique adaptive reuse of the building," said Doug Chesnut, Senior Vice President of Investments for Gables. "Todd Interests has done a masterful job of preserving the building's original design integrity. The iconic property could not be located in a better part of downtown Dallas!"

Finally, commenting on the path to the project's commencement, Todd said, "Without the help and encouragement of many critical partners, this project would not have come to fruition. Preservation Dallas has been key in facilitating moving the project down the path of restoration; Downtown Dallas, Inc. has served as a leader in telling the story that Downtown is happening, it's living and it's real; and the City along with the private development community have shown their faith in the area with significant investment over the last decade. In addition, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson has been a key ally, a champion for the preservation of the property since the 1980's, as well as long time historical champion Neil Emmons, City Plan Commissioner. I am proud to move 400 North Ervay forward in the heart of Downtown Dallas."

Friday, January 21, 2011


(Dallas Morning News) – Houston-based PM Realty Group is developing a 23-story apartment tower at 1400 Hi Line Dr. in the Dallas Design District across from Victory Park.
The 314-unit high rise with one-acre rooftop park will open in mid- to late 2012 and have 27,000 sf of retail. Partnering with the developer is The National Electric Benefit Fund, a retirement account for electrical contractors.
Gromatzky Dupree & Associates designed the tower and Rogers-O’Brien Construction is the general contractor for the project.
PM Realty also built the residential tower in Dallas’ Park Ln. complex across from NorthPark Center mall.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


CompuCom headquarters in Dallas
DALLAS — The 255,378-square-foot CompuCom world headquarters campus, located at 7171 Forest Ln. in Dallas near the intersection of Forest Lane and Central Expressway, has changed hands. W.P. Carey & Co.'s (NYSE:WPC) non-traded REIT affiliates, CPA®:14 and CPA®:15 have sold the property to Optima Ventures for an undisclosed price. The office property is situated on nearly 20 acres and includes an eight-story, 162,138-square-foot office building and a three-story, 93,240-square-foot data center facility. Both buildings are fully leased on a triple net basis to CompuCom, an IT outsourcing company. Holliday Fenoglio Fowler (HFF) represented the seller.  

Monday, January 03, 2011

Bankrupt Cities in 2011?

I’m starting to see a few reports on this and the implications could be significant. States like California have been in big financial trouble for quite some time. However, some towns and cities are under massive financial strain as well.

Research analyst Meredith Whitney—who correctly predicted the credit crunch—was on 60 Minutes in December with a warning that between 50 and 100 American cities could go bankrupt in 2011, which would cost hundreds of billions of dollars. This would include billions in municipal bond defaults.
Apparently, there is no federal response plan in place if such a disaster happened (picture thousands on unemployment no longer receiving checks; government workers, with paychecks that can’t be cashed, walking away from their jobs—including positions like public school teachers, 9-1-1 operators, police, fire, city sanitation workers, etc.).
Whitney began warning about such issues as far back as September 2010, when she told Bloomberg Television in an interview that the federal government will face pressure to bail out failing states within the next 12 months.
Not a pretty picture. Sort of makes the issue of declining home values and rising foreclosures look minor, in comparison. Whitney, herself, said, “…next to housing this is the single most important issue in the U.S. and certainly the biggest threat to the U.S. economy.” - Short Sales Daily News