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Vacant Buildings Downtown Still Vacant. But At Least Now They Belong to Someone Else.

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Eleven months ago, Mayor Tom Leppert gathered the media beneath 1604 Main Street to detail his plan for dealing with 36 vacant buildings downtown. We've spilled plenty of virtual ink documenting the doings with two of the more high-profile properties, but this week comes news that a handful of smaller buildings on Commerce and Main have swapped hands: Westmount Realty Capital has off-loaded five downtown properties -- many of which have been discussed for years on the Dallas Fort Worth Urban Forum -- to a group calling itself 1600 Main Street Holdings LP.

The properties -- at 1417-19 Commerce St., 1503 Commerce St., 1505 Commerce St., 1511 Commerce St. and, indeed, 1604 Main St. -- are in relative hot spots near Neiman Marcus, the Magnoia Hotel and the Joule, whose owner, Tim Headington, is heading up 1600 Main Street Holdings. But what oh what will the developer develop there? Hard to say, isn't that right, Westmount's Cliff Booth? "Right now, the buyer will sit back and make sense of the long term," he tells GlobeSt.com. "But I don't think they know immediately what they'll do."

In related real estate news, a familiar Dallas developer is building a new downtown hotel. Except, this one's in Austin, where occupancy rates are down and other projects, such a planned W Hotel, have stalled. The econony does not scare John Scovell.

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