Friday, April 24, 2015

Downtown building redo will bring dramatic changes


The new owners of an empty downtown Dallas office tower are giving the building a dramatic design reboot.
The 400 S. Record building — formerly the Belo Building — is being gutted for new office space.
And the redo of the 1980s high-rise by architect Gensler will bring big changes to the lower levels of the tower.
“We love the design of the building and the shape,” said Thomas Hartland-Mackie, whose family business bought the 17-story granite and glass tower located near the Dallas Omni Hotel. “We want the building to be engaged more with the street.
“We are taking some of the walls out [on the lower levels] and adding some glass,” Hartland-Mackie said. “We are going to build a canopy that extends from street to street.”
On top of the high-rise, a glass atrium will be removed to create a rooftop garden.
Hartland-Mackie, whose grandfather founded the worldwide firm City Electric Supply, plans to occupy about half of the tower with some of his family’s businesses. The rest of the building will be rented to other tenants.
He said it hasn’t been decided how much of the Mackie business, which has major operations in Florida and England, will be moving to downtown Dallas.
“We are still working on that,” Hartland-Mackie said. “It isn’t all of our business.
“I’ve been living in Dallas now for the past 10 years — Dallas is home,” he said. “We’ve been officing in Uptown for six or seven years.”
Hartland-Mackie said the revitalization underway downtown and the location of the 30-year-old tower between Union Station and the Omni Hotel prompted him to do the deal.
“You have parks on either side of the building,” he said. “You have these dramatic sweeping views of downtown Dallas.”
Work crews are already gutting the insides of the 235,000-square-foot building, which previously housed operations for media company Belo Corp. Belo was the parent company of The Dallas Morning News until Belo was split into two companies. The building was sold after Belo was purchased by Virginia-based Gannett Co., which vacated the property.
The most visible change to the building will be construction of a restaurant, which will stretch along the Young Street side of the tower.
“It will sort of float in the second-story height of the lobby,” Hartland-Mackie said.
Dallas restaurateur Sharon Hage is working with the owners on a concept and operator for the restaurant, he said.
The metal grid canopy will extend to the sidewalk on all sides of the building. It will be similar to the one surrounding the Winspear Opera House in the downtown Arts District.
Along with the lower-level improvements, renovations will add a conference facility and fitness center.
Commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield has been hired to market the office space to prospective tenants.
“It’s going to be a jewel box of a building,” said Cushman & Wakefield’s J.J. Leonard. “They are making it into a showplace for their offices and other businesses.
“We are already getting interest in it,” Leonard said. “Boutique law firms, small accounting firms and even entrepreneurial high-tech firms will want it.”
Construction should be finished by mid-2016.
“This building has been under the radar downtown for a long time — I think it’s going to surprise people,” said Cushman & Wakefield’s Rena Chappell.
Steve Brown/Dallas Morning News