Yesterday, I toured 1600 Pacific with owner Leobardo Trevino (who just purchased the Statler). The building had been vacant and in disrepair, and Leobardo bought it and cleaned it up — inside and out — in preparation of a multi-stage, total renovation. Pictures: http://bit.ly/dEn50r.
If you’ve never been inside one of Downtown’s vacant buildings, I can tell you that the ones I’ve seen are littered with old furniture, junk, and trash, and are generally in disarray. (The City has taken measures to require buildings be cleaned up.) While some property owners leave their property in shambles (trying to avoid the expense of clean-up and hoping that potential tenants can see past the debris and visualize their new space), Leobardo’s philosophy is that those looking for real estate are more inclined to purchase space if the building looks move-in ready. The difference in 1600 Pacific is striking: Looking at the before and after pictures reveals how significant his clean up was.
The first floor of the building will have restaurant and retail/business space. The lower floors will be for a hotel while the upper floors will provide office space. The original elevators in the building are incredibly fast, rocketing from the first to the 32nd floor in just a few seconds.
The building has terrific views of Downtown, with the Magnolia and Mercantile on one side and the Republic Bank Tower and Thanksgiving Square on the other. There’s also a very cool, enormous terrace, as well as a beautiful ball room complete with high wood-paneled ceilings and a huge chandelier. (Previous plans for the building had included tearing out that space.)
Leobardo’s approach to renovation appears to be well-suited to a time of economic slow-down. He plans to renovate as the floors are purchased: a crane and building materials are staged in the basement, and every floor has a large opening in the floor and ceiling along the west wall to allow the crane to operate. The building should be ready for move-in by December.
Leobardo has a similar plan for the Statler Hilton, which he purchased days ago. He and his team will clean up the exterior and interior, and do the same with the library next door. I toured the Statler two years ago, and it has such potential, with great views overlooking Main Street Garden and cool mid-century architecture (which I’m liking more and more). Leobardo is going to approach the Statler renovation in the same way as 1600 Pacific, renovating in stages. We’ll see the building transform over the next two and a half years.
The changes coming to 1600 Pacific and the Statler Hilton are another example of our successful transformation of Downtown Dallas. Each building will help revive it’s surrounding neighborhood — 1600 Pacific’s redo will complement the planned redevelopment across the street on Elm, while the Statler’s rejuvenation — along with the Merc, UNT Law School, and Main Street Garden — will bring life back to one of the most significant blocks in the heart of our city.