Wednesday, March 08, 2017

‘Retail-centric’ plan set for Downtown Lots

‘Retail-centric’ plan set for downtown lots

New owner hopes to have project’s design ready in 6 months

Three blocks near Dallas City Hall have been purchased by a downtown restaurateur and businessman who’s working on plans for development.

Investor Mike Hoque bought the properties along Canton and Cadiz streets just south of City Hall.

The three blocks, now surface parking lots, are near the Farmers Market and just across the highway from the redeveloping Cedars neighborhood.

“I’m planning a retail-centric development,” Hoque said. “But I’m taking my time.
“It took me 24 months to buy it.”

Hoque said the blocks for his project were acquired from multiple owners. He’s doing master planning for the property and hopes to have a design ready in about six months.

“I’m not trying to create another Victory Park,” Hoque said. “I think there is going to be an opportunity to do a lot of things over there.

“I want to be a specialty developer.”

The area between City Hall and the Farmers Market is one of the few places left downtown where developers can acquire large blocks of property. Real estate brokers say land in the neighborhood is selling for more than $50 per square foot.

That’s less than a fourth of what prime development sites are going for in Dallas’ booming Uptown district on the north side of downtown.

“The price of land today in Uptown is so high that it’s very hard to do retail,” Hoque said.

He said he’s already received offers for development partnerships or to sell part of the land he owns along Canton Street.

Hoque owns several successful eateries, including the Dallas Fish Market, Chop House Burger, Dallas Chop House and Wild Salsa.

“Mike Hoque has been a pioneer downtown and has helped enormously in our revitalization efforts regarding his restaurant operations,” said John Crawford of Downtown Dallas Inc. “His recent acquisitions are a valuable assemblage in an important part of downtown that will help connect the dots with other developments in the planning stage.

“We are beginning to see more and more mixed-use developments as downtown evolves into more of a broadbased urban environment.”

Steve Brown/Dallas Morning News