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My Story: Scott Beck
Auction (July29) L-DFW
July 11, 2013

My Story: Scott Beck

He hasn't even blown out 40 candles on his birthday cake yet, but Beck Ventures prez Scott Beck has already thrust himself into the limelight with last year's purchase of the dying Valley View Mall and being the catalyst for the creation of the 430-acre Dallas Midtown and $3B redevelopment of the mall.

scott beck seated
Scott has come a long way from the kid who rode his bike to Valley View to play in the arcade. (Though he wouldn't mind playing some Galaga if you've got it.) Born and raised in Dallas, his parents still live in the house just a few blocks away from the mall, and Scott lives a few blocks in the opposite direction. The Greenhill alum went to UT before spending eight years on Wall Street working for JPMorgan and SG Cowen. He came back to Dallas about nine years ago to rejoin the family company.
CohnReznick (Think) MDFW

trophy club
Legacy projects are Beck Ventures' forte, with 15- to 25-year holds and large-scale projects that take a long time to gestate, execute, and complete. So far, it's responsible for developing about two-thirds of the Town of Trophy Club. (Ben Hogan started the town and developed about one-third of it.) Scott remembers being in high school and watching his father, Jeffrey Beck, pay the bill to water the medians for the town. That articulates how, even if legacy projects have hair on them, you have to be patient and see the vision, Scott says. (Some things are worth waiting for... just ask President Ralph Nader in 2016.) At the time, Highway 114 was two lanes, and there were no Alliance, TMS, Fidelity, or Deloitte campuses—nor Southlake Town Center—nearby.

valley view mall
Since taking ownership of Valley View in April 2012, Scott says he's learned he's just a cog in a great big wheel. Two years prior, Beck Ventures purchased the (then 20%-occupied) Valley View Tower at the corner of Preston and 635 out of foreclosure. Its two elevators didn't even work. After improvements, the building is 70% occupied. That was the catalyst for giving new life to an area with such a large population density, he says. It was also when opportunity met ambition and vision. He had an idea in mind and began working with (now former) Dallas City councilwoman Linda Koop on something even bigger.

valley view vision
The result: the 430-acre Midtown Dallas District. The city presented a $250k grant to the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce, which created an advisory panel and selected architecture firm OmniPlan to create the master plan. The district—which has a 15- to 25-year window of development—will include 700 multifamily units, office space, and 150k SF of retail in its first phase to coincide with the completion of the LBJ toll road in 2015. Ultimately, the district will also include a park, hike and bike trails, trolley, and even an overhead gondola. (Start planning your marriage proposal now... there'll be a line.) Beck Ventures is the largest landowner in the district.

scott beck
There's plenty more in the pipeline. The Valley View Tower will ultimately be replaced with a 40-story office building (twice as tall as the Galleria towers), Scott says; even though it's likely more than a decade away, he's already marketing the tower spaces. Beck Ventures is also wrapping up its Trophy Club efforts with the town's largest project: the $200M Trophy Club Town Center. It encompasses the last 26 acres and will include a new police station, a new town hall as part of a six-story office building, a 50k SF convention center, 250 multifamily units, a 300-key hotel, townhouses, and 200k SF of retail—all centered around a lagoon. Expect kick-off in December or January.

Will the Thanksgiving Tower Sale Shape the CBD?

tim terrell
As Dallas-based Woods Capital (with Third Point Opportunities Master Fund) completed the acquisition of Thanksgiving Tower this week, the million-dollar question is "How will the CBD shake out?" The tower was sold on an all-cash basis (no price was released) in a foreclosure auction in February after an $84M CMBS loan went into default. Stream Realty EVP and partner Tim Terrell (pictured) thinks this won't be the only CBD tower ownership change. "Lenders and special servicers are in control of multiple assets and someone is going to want to deal with them."

one dallas center
The buildings' mixed-use opportunities will be an allure to certain buyers, Tim says. He says the redevelopment efforts and signing of HKS in One Dallas Center (pictured) should instill confidence in the right buyer. But one broker, who declined to be named, warns, "You could give away some of these buildings and still never make money on them." That's the consequence of negligent owners of properties like Thanksgiving Tower, One Dallas Center, and the KPMG building over the past 10 years, says Transwestern principal Sanders Thompson. As the buildings declined physically, the tenants left.

transwestern guys
Sanders (right, with colleagues Robert Deptula and Jack Eimer at Alan Harrington's desk) asks, "Who is going to fill those blocks? It won't be the banks, or insurance companies, and probably not attorneys." New construction will further attract tenants out of the existing CBD buildings. The one salvation: As the buildings along Ross Avenue fill up with rising rents (some in the mid to high $30s), some smaller tenants (3,500 to 10k SF) will be driven into the second-tier buildings like KPMG, Sanders says.

thanksgiving tower
Woods Capital (who declined additional comment) plans to invest significant capital for the major redesign of lobbies and other common areas in the 1.4M SF Thanksgiving Tower, as well as an upgrade to building systems and tackling deferred maintenance. CBRE's John Alvarado, Gary Carr, and Eric Mackey repped the seller, Berkadia. The tower was about 55% occupied at the time of sale, but that number will increase: Woods Capital plans to move in. If the funds and creativity rumored are put into play at the building, it could make a significant impact on the CBD, Tim says.

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