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Dallas' Former Hotel To The Stars Could Become Mixed-Income Housing If City OKs $41M In Incentives

Developers are asking the city of Dallas to kick in millions of dollars to help revive an iconic Dallas hotel that once hosted rock ‘n’ roll legends and a former president.

The Cabana Hotel at 899 Stemmons Freeway was built in 1962 by Las Vegas hotelier Jay Sarno. For years it was the go-to lodging option for celebrities, including The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Richard Nixon and author Norman Mailer. The hotel was later turned into a county jail.

The Cabana Hotel sits vacant on Stemmons Freeway in Dallas.

Years later, Cabana Sycamore Development Inc., a subsidiary of Sycamore Strategies, wants to transform the vacant 10-story building into a mixed-income apartment development, according to documents filed with the Dallas City Council. If approved, the project would include 64 income-restricted units and 96 market-rate units.

Sycamore Strategies is no stranger to seeking approval for affordable housing in Dallas. The developer was embroiled in a tense back-and-forth with Lake Highlands residents who vehemently opposed the mixed-income project the company has planned near Forest Lane and U.S. 75. 

After years of delays, Cypress Creek at Forest Lane was approved by the city council in July.

Centurion American bought the vacant Cabana building from the city in 2017 with a $100M plan to revitalize it. Work stalled, and earlier this year the company put the defunct hotel back on the market, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Cabana Sycamore Development is asking the city for $41M in incentives through its Design District tax increment financing district. The total project cost is $116M. 

The city council will vote on the development agreement and associated incentives at its Sept. 27 meeting.