Uptown Construction: Is it Too Much, Too Soon?
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There’s a plethora of office projects going up or in the planning stages in Uptown, but beyond landing a lead tenant, will they make sense opening in the next 18 months? It’s a question we're excited to discuss at Bisnow’s DFW Construction and Development event tomorrow (7:30am start) at the Westin Galleria Dallas.
The multiple Uptown office projects in the works all make sense, but in the long-term, says Crescent managing director John Zogg (a speaker at the Bisnow construction and development event). Crescent’s $225M McKinney & Olive will deliver in less than a year, making it the first one out of the gates. But, John says the five or six projects that say they’ll deliver in the next 18 months should be able to secure a lead tenant; he wonders how they’ll fill the rest of the towers. It’s too much, too quick, he tells us.
John tells us Crescent was fortunate to start McKinney & Olive when they did because land and construction prices were lower. McKinney & Olive tower (rendered) will be the highest-quality office tower built in Dallas in the last 30 years. He also tells us that Crescent is spending $30M in one of the most ambitious renovation projects done in Dallas by creating a pedestrian experience at The Crescent. Uptown has proven to be the best market in the city, John says, and he doesn’t think that will change for a very long time. “We believe that wholeheartedly and we’re investing hundreds of millions of dollars into Uptown.
Crescent also just invested $9M renovating the Ritz-Carlton. It’s part of Crescent leadership’s desire to embrace the great things happening in Uptown. The company is connecting every exterior surface between the hotel, The Crescent and McKinney & Olive; there will be a one-acre park at McKinney and Pearl and several other things the company is about to announce. It’s an effort to take The Crescent, one of Dallas’ most iconic projects, and make it more relevant today. It’s rare that a developer controls 20 acres in the best market in the city, but there will be a connection between all those projects, he promises.
Billingsley Co SVP Marijke Lantz (another event speaker, center, between daughters Ahnie—who works at JLL—and Avalon, a high school senior) says she’s still bullish on development in Dallas and believes that the construction and development cycle will remain strong through 2019. That’s because there’s still a lot of money still wanting to invest in US real estate because it’s safe and seeing good ROIs. For Billingsley, there’s no slowing down on development or building. Billingsley is working on its 1,900-acre Austin Ranch at Plano Parkway and Headquarters in Plano. It has the fortunate location where Legacy dead ends into Plano Parkway and Austin Ranch, Marijke says. With Hill Country features, lots of users are looking there for build-to-suit projects. It has all the amenities of the area with its proximity to Nebraska Furniture Mart, Hard Eight Barbecue, Chedddars and Taco Diner. Billingsley just completed two single-story buildings there for Panasonic and Quest. Multifamily is also being developed there with The Boathouse. There’s a dog park, restaurants and retail going in around it, too.
The biggest project right now is Cypress Waters, where 7-Eleven is finishing its new HQ that it will start to occupy in Q1. CoreLogic (rendered) is under construction and there’s spec construction there, too. Marijke says a 220k SF four-story building should get started in Q1 and next summer Billingsley will start construction on the lakefront, which will include multifamily, retail and office. She tells us it will be the only active lakefront mixed-use in North Texas. When she’s not putting corporate tenants into new buildings, Marijke says her time is spent on a college tour with her youngest daughter. She’s been accepted into six colleges and is trying to find the right one.