Mayor Tom Leppert Toasts the Newly Reopened Mercantile Place

The developers at the mic said it, and the poolside bigwigs all seemed to agree: From the sleek, modern design to the inventive lounge chairs, the new-look Mercantile Place is a big win for a downtown resurgence.

The high-rise apartments are filling up; a swanky new restaurant, Jean Michel's, is opening in the fall; and the heap of dirt across the street will be Main Street Garden Park before too long.

And the secret to all that progress?

As Mayor Tom Leppert put it before raising a toast to the old skyscraper, "These things don't come together unless it's a public-private partnership."

Then he gave his pitch for the city-funded convention center hotel, drawing applause from the crowd as he told them if next month's vote goes against the hotel, "I can tell you right now, this type of project wouldn't be done." (Check out the video, after the jump.) If it wasn't his first time preaching to the choir, at least this time it wasn't in a church.

The reception on the Merc's new pool deck offered a view of the changes this four-year-old redevelopment project, including the three apartment buildings at Mercantile Place: the renovated Merc and Wilson buildings, and the Element, a new 15-story building with an Eichler-esque facade. The 67-year-old Mercantile Tower, of course, is still topped by its signature clock, which has been keeping the proper time for some months now.

Before introducing the mayor, Ronald Ranter, president of Forest City Residential Group, took the mic and pointed out across the swimming pool to the construction site across the street. "I don't know if you can see it, but I'm looking at a beautiful park out there," Ratner said, "and it's 100 percent finished. Because that's what Dallas does."

More photos from the event, including a look inside the new apartments, in our slideshow here.

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