Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Architect announces project to convert downtown Dallas warehouse into Hilton hotel and more
The massive old Butler Brothers building at 500 S. Ervay could become the latest piece of downtown Dallas’ renaissance.
After years of decline and decay, the building will undergo a restoration, kicking off with a groundbreaking Wednesday. It will be converted into a 200-room Hilton Hotel, along with 250 residential units and 21,000 square feet of retail space, according to a notice released Thursday by Merriman Associates/Architects.
Few other details were available from the building’s owner, Mike Sarimsakci of the development group Alterra. Neither Sarimsakci nor a representative returned calls for comment. Nor did anyone at Merriman. Among the undisclosed details is the potential cost of the project.
If the restoration came to fruition, it would mark a major turnaround for the eastern edge of downtown and a huge boost for the central city in general. The 650,000-square-foot building, directly east of City Hall, sits vacant and has been a drag on the area.
Downtown Dallas chief executive John Crawford said the development plan shows just how strong interest in downtown is becoming.
“It’s an enormous new opportunity for downtown from both the residential and entertainment point of view,” he said.
Built in 1910, the Butler Brothers building was once a handsome, brick-faced warehouse named for a Chicago-based wholesaler. In 1932, it was renamed the Merchandise Mart. In later years, a series of remodelings ensued under various owners, according to Dallas Public Library archives.
Today, the building is a fake-stucco eyesore, with the old brick exterior raggedly exposed in a few areas. Its sheer size has made it difficult to restore.
Many plans have come and gone over the years to turn it into something useful — and hopefully beautiful — for downtown. Sarimsakci first revealed his plan in January, although at the time it seemed like it might be just another dream.
Crawford said he feels confident the deal will go forward, but added that he is still confirming details about it.
Sarimsakci has been in talks with City Hall about the prospect for subsidies.
“Those discussions are still in process. I don’t think anything has been committed,” Crawford said.
Sarimsakci also owns 211 N. Ervay, a mostly vacant high-rise that has seen better days.
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