Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Crescent has designs on Uptown Dallas with eye-catching tower
To lure top-of-the-market business tenants to its planned Uptown office tower, the folks at Crescent Real Estate Holdings needed something better than just another out-of-the-box building.
What architect Pelli Clarke Pelli came up with is a block of one-of-a-kind structures that will be a dramatic addition to the Dallas urban district.
“We didn’t want it to look like just another suburban building that you’d plopped down in Uptown,” said Crescent CEO John Goff. “Rectangles are boring, and we have a building that is much more interesting.”
There’s not much chance Crescent’s proposed project would be mistaken for anything sprouting along the Dallas North Tollway.
The 20-story office tower design juts from the corner of McKinney Avenue and Olive Street like a soaring glass sail or the prow of a ship.
The high-rise portion of the project will slant nine degrees over the lower levels of shops, restaurants and a parking garage that will stretch down Olive across from the Ritz-Carlton.
The two-level retail and restaurant complex — planned to be the one of the largest in the neighborhood — will have a sinuous wall of glass facing a new street-side park.
“It will have a big impact,” Goff said. “We want it to be alive and bring energy to the street.”
Goff describes the development as “sexy, elegant and yet very functional.”
The more than $200 million project will be the most elaborate such development built in Uptown since the Crescent project went up in the 1980s.
You couldn’t find two buildings that are more different.
While Crescent architect Philip Johnson dipped into the past for inspiration, Cesar Pelli and his team were looking to the future.
“Buildings have changed, and the technology has improved dramatically,” said Crescent senior vice president Joseph Pitchford. “This will be a more contemporary expression than you see in Uptown.”
Most of the building will be clad in glass and metal. But plans also call for a multilevel parking structure covered in masonry panels that will be heavily landscaped.
The top floor of the garage will be used for a park and will have access to a fitness center.
Uptown residents will be most interested in the lower-level retail pavilion, which is to have at least three restaurants, shops and a gourmet food market.
“We want to be able to address a lot of needs in the market in retail,” said Crescent managing director John Zogg. “This is going to be the most expensive building in the market.
“And it is going to offer more amenities than we would have considered just five years ago.”
Crescent has owned the Uptown building site for its project for almost 15 years. The 3-acre tract — now a grassy lot — is the largest vacant property along south McKinney Avenue.
Last December, Fort Worth-based Crescent announced that it had picked Pelli Clarke Pelli to come up with a plan for the block.
Cesar Pelli and his partners have designed some of the world’s tallest buildings and have worked on projects as varied as concert halls and airport terminals.
But the firm has never done a major development in Dallas.
“We found Pelli had the most expertise in these types of mixed-use developments,” Goff said. “You have to create something here that complements the neighborhood around you.”
AT A GLANCE: The project
•McKinney Avenue and Olive Street
•20 stories, 470,000 square feet of office space
•60,000 square feet of retail in two stories
•Construction starts 2013, completion 2015
•Architect Pelli Clarke Pelli of New Haven, Conn.
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