Patriot Tower, the I.M. Pei & Associates-designed skyscraper at St. Paul and Bryan Street that opened in 1979, has not been well loved of late. The property changed hands several times before it was sold at a foreclosure auction last year. There are 30 stories of office space that are only about a third full.
In May, Dallas-based developer Encore Development revealed plans to revive the building, but gave few details other than that it would convert the upper portion to residential. Now, as Encore seeks city and county development incentives, a bit more information is trickling out.
County commissioners were briefed yesterday on the company's request for a 90-percent tax abatement that will save Encore an estimated $875,000 over 10 years. The day before, the City Council's economic development committee took a look at the company's request for a $2 million economic development grant.
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I have a call in to Encore's Mark Cypert for a more extensive vision, but the basics are this: Patriot's upper 20 floors or so will be converted to 210 residential units. The lower third of the building will remain office space. The company has already renegotiated a deal with Greyhound, and HKS Architects have an agreement to locate their Dallas offices in the tower and redesign portions of the building. Encore wants to start work ASAP, with the offices opening next August and the residential portion finished by June 2014. The whole shebang will cost an estimated $40 million.
Patriot Tower will be the first downtown redevelopment to combine office and residential space, said Downtown Dallas, Inc. CEO John Crawford. Partly that's due to the building's split elevator banks that makes it easy to separate the two uses. It's also a sign that redevelopment downtown is reaching the point where there simply aren't a whole lot of empty buildings left.
Crawford hopes Encore is at the front of a new wave of projects downtown.
"It sets the trend for other buildings to follow in the footsteps," he said.