Great Job Owlhorn. Here's a just announced project...
Downtown spot may be home to new apartments
Gables seeks to convert vacant Republic Bank Building into complex
By STEVE BROWN / The Dallas Morning News
One of downtown Dallas' office skyscrapers could be getting a new lease on life – as rental housing.
Gables Residential, one of the largest apartment owners in Dallas' trendy uptown district, wants to turn the vacant Republic Bank Building into apartments. It would be downtown's largest converted apartment project.
Built in 1954, the Republic Bank Building was Dallas' first modern, post-war office tower.
The 36-story aluminum-clad building was the city's tallest when it opened – and the neon-lighted "rocket" sculpture on the roof makes it look even larger.
The landmark structure has been vacant since 1995, when developers gutted it to remove toxic asbestos.
Now Florida-based Gables has drafted a plan to spend $39 million refurbishing the building at Bryan and Ervay streets into 227 luxury apartments plus retail space.
To make the development feasible, Gables Residential plans to seek $3 million in downtown tax increment finance funding to support the redevelopment.
Architect RTKL Associates – which has its office next door – has been hired to do design work.
"They have made a presentation and shown us what they want to do with the building," said Larry Fonts, who heads the Central Dallas Association. "It would be a tremendous multi-use development."
Gables, which manages more than 52,000 apartments in four states, has never done a project like this, said Cathy High of Gables' corporate communications department. "We don't have any high-rises like that," she said.
Gables owns six large apartment communities in the Uptown area. In June, it also bought the 334-unit Knoxbridge complex on the eastern border of Highland Park.
The real estate investment trust owns 86 apartment communities in Atlanta; Houston; South Florida; Austin; Dallas; Tampa, Fla.; and Washington, D.C.
"Financially they are solid and have delivered on their promises to the community in the past," said Dallas City Councilwoman Veletta Lill. "They have been a good neighbor in the Uptown area, and I would anticipate a good relationship with them downtown."
She said the $3 million in public sector incentives that Gables is seeking for the Republic Bank Building is a conservative request. "Percentage-wise, this is a great deal for the city," Ms. Lill said. "Our investment in this property would be small compared to other properties we've invested in downtown."
The renovation would restore one of the last large vacant buildings in Dallas' central business district.
The Republic Bank Building is on DART's downtown light rail line and is next to Thanksgiving Square. It was designed by architect Wallace K. Harrison, whose other works include the United Nations Building in New York and parts of Rockefeller Center.
The taller 48-story Republic Bank Tower next door, which was built in 1965, has been remodeled into office space.