City News Roundup

Downtown Dallas skyscraper ups and downs and more city news this week

Downtown Dallas skyscraper ups and downs and more city news this week

1401 Elm St.
The future of 1401 Elm St. is up in the air. Photo courtesy of Olympic

Two themes prevail in this week's city news roundup. One involves big hand-outs from the city for questionable enterprises. The other theme is downtown Dallas real estate.

Here's what happened this week:

More money part 1
A task force is hinting for more money for the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. A presentation insists that the convention center needs upgrades or it could lose business to other cities. This is even as the convention industry has been on the decline since a peak in the mid-'90s.

The task force isn't finished adding up how much money it thinks the center should get and will come back to the city council when it figures it out.

More money part 2
A task force assembled by Mayor Mike Rawlings is looking for millions of dollars for Fair Park. The task force is led by former Hunt Oil executive Walt Humann, who suggests the facility be run by a nonprofit foundation.

He says the buildings will need $494 million in repairs, plus an additional $25 million every year as a management fee. (The city currently pays $11 million a year.)

Council member Philip Kingston noted that the proposal would take away millions that would otherwise be spent on streets. Council member Mark Clayton said that if you tried to take this idea to a bank, you'd never get a loan.

Downtown reno
The renovation of the Butler Brothers Building in downtown Dallas is underway. This is the tan building at 500 S. Ervay St., across the street from City Hall, that's been vacant for decades. Turkish developer Mike Sarimsakci is transforming it into a 270-room hotel and 238-unit apartment building, with one- and two-story units ranging from 1,100 to 1,300 square feet.

Downtown rally
The renovation of a high-rise building is in peril since one of its funding partners has bailed. The 1401 Elm St. skyscraper was slated to become an apartment building with offices and shops, but New York-based Olympic Property is withdrawing from the project, and its lenders are ready to foreclose.

This is the eye-catching black glass tower with white vertical bars that were once outlined with white fluorescent tubes. City leaders are rallying to find a solution.