Spire Breathes Life into a Dull Corner of Dallas

Steve Brown of the Dallas News reports that a development set to wake up a sleepy corner of Dallas is gaining momentum. Located along the northeast edge of downtown, the 12-acre mixed-use Spire project will bring shopping, dining, residences and office space to the otherwise under-realized area. The first phase is expected to be a 375,000-square-foot 21-story office tower behind the Plaza of the Americas complex.

Following more than a year of planning, Spire will occupy one of the central business district’s largest underdeveloped properties. Spire Realty Group president John Ruff explains that, “we’ve been intentionally patient and have been working on our plans,” because they know that downtown land availability is scarce. “We recognize they are not making any more land downtown,” he adds.

Immediately adjacent to the Arts District and amidst the development activity crawling east down Ross Avenue, Spire’s vacant lots have become very appealing for new construction. According to Ruff, “everybody in the real estate business knows about this project, but the public generally doesn’t,” but now, “what was once sort of a forgotten corner of the city is no more.”

More than a decade ago, spire began acquiring the real estate and engaged WDG Architecture to plan a mixed-use high rise project. With the economic upturn, Ruff admits that Spire realty is “in a position to be able to work on multiple projects at one time,” adding that they will have “a high-rise office, a high-rise multifamily building and a boutique hotel.” Deciding exactly which project to tackle first is a challenge, because timing is key. “We are teeing [the projects] all up so that when the timing is right we can execute them.”

In addition to the projected office tower, Spire may also build the hotel or apartment project as part of phase 1. Apartment builders have been very interested in the lots, as have hoteliers. “We could have sold that land — all 12 acres if we chose — to apartment builders,” says Ruff, “we’ve had a lot of interest from hotel groups…We have three or four groups we are talking with about a 200-room full-service hotel.”

With the construction of the new Hall Arts office tower on Ross Avenue bringing thousands of new office workers to the adjacent offices, and redevelopment of several 1980’s-era office projects nearby, millions of dollars in new investment have been pouring into the area. “The area is going to continue to get better, and the Arts District has improved with age,” Ruff said. “The activity and traffic has become heavier.”

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