Is 1401 Elm, Downtown's Largest Vacant Building, About to Be Sold? Sure Looks Like It.

Late last week, in the comments to some item, a Friend of Unfair Park asked about if the Tower Petroleum Building had come off the market, since its web listing had disappeared. I called Colliers International's David Glasscock, who's repping that building and the mammoth 1401 Elm, which was once the tallest building in the state and closed in January 2010, and he said both were still available and that they were just retooling something having to do with ground-floor retail leasing.

But then I noticed 1401 Elm's for-sale site was gone ("1401 Elm Street is no longer available"), and I espied saw this just this afternoon: On Thursday at 8:30 a.m., there's a joint meeting of the Downtown Connection Tax Increment Financing District board, the Downtown Dallas Development Authority and the Downtown Connection TIF District Design Review Committee. And the 52-story, 1.3-million-square-foot George Dahl-designed former First National Bank building on the DART light-rail line is mentioned twice: First, the board is scheduled to review and approve $30 million in TIF funds for the redevelopment of 1401 Elm, which is the largest vacant building downtown. The board will also take a look at design plans for the property. So I know where we'll be Thursday morning.

The agenda says the former Elm Place, which was on the market for $19 million, will be redeveloped by something called 1401 Elm Street Holdings LLC -- which, according to the state's Secretary of State's website, was created July 26 by Turkish investor and developer Mukemmel "Mike" Sarimsakci, who came to San Francisco's attention last year when he began buying buildings there, including one that went for $35 million.

When I reached Glasscock earlier this afternoon he said he'd call back when he could; I also left a message for Karl Zavitkovsky, head of the Office of Economic Development. But John Crawford, president of Downtown Dallas Inc., is thrilled. Thrilled.

But, he cautions: The building's only under contract, with the final sale contingent upon the TIF board approving the $30 million. "And the payout related to the TIF would be over a very long term," Crawford says. "But I think, based on the attitude of the potential purchaser, that wouldn't make a difference."

And, of course: "I'm very excited," says Crawford, who's yet to see the redo plans. "I would be thrilled to see 141 Elm close. That's enormous. And potentially it could lead to other investment opportunities. I would be thrilled."

More tomorrow. Or Thursday, for sure.

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