Thursday, January 19, 2017

AT&T unveils $100M redevelopment plans for its Dallas campus - and what could stand in the way

Telecom giant AT&T (NYSE: T) plans to begin construction "fairly quickly" on the $100 million redevelopment of its downtown Dallas campus after getting necessary approvals from the City of Dallas in February, says one executive.

"We hope to receive the necessary approvals from the City of Dallas by the end of the first quarter and begin the six-month design process after that," said Mike Peterson, a vice president for external affairs with AT&T, told the Dallas Business Journal.

"We will start actual construction later this year with completion in 2019," Peterson added. "We want to get underway fairly quickly."

The AT&T redevelopment plan, which includes the redesign and closure of some Dallas streets, will need city support. AT&T is also asking the city to invest in the project — although those discussions are ongoing.

So far, Mayor Mike Rawlings and other Dallas City Council representatives have been receptive to AT&T's plans to reinvest in its downtown campus, he said.

Plans for the upgrades include expanding the sidewalks around the campus for employees and customers; improving the landscaping and lighting; and adding a mini-amphitheater in the center of the campus with a stage area and raised green space for festival attendees.

"We want to really bring it all together and activate that space as well as the first-floor restaurant and retail space," Peterson added.

Peterson said AT&T has yet to hire an architectural firm to design the upgrades to its four-block downtown Dallas campus. Gensler has designed the conceptual renderings of the project.

Last year, AT&T added 500 employees to its Dallas campus, with further plans to add another 500 workers this year. AT&T currently has about 5,800 employees in the campus.

With the campus upgrades, AT&T will have enough room to house up to 7,000 employees.

The upgrades to the campus will allow AT&T to reinforce its presence in downtown Dallas with a customer-friendly campus, helping about 250 visitors a day visit its facilities.

Each year, that adds up to 60,000 visitors, which generates a lot of economic activity in the Dallas central business district, Peterson said.

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Candace Carlisle/Dallas Business Journal