Cool Dallas mid-century hotel off I-35 gets funding to become apartments
Developers of the historic Cabana Hotel, the distinctive mid-century Dallas lodging where the Beatles once stayed, received a $41 million go-ahead from the Dallas City Council to turn the building into apartments.
Cabana Sycamore Development Inc., a subsidiary of Sycamore Strategies, plans to transform it into a $116 million, 160-unit mixed-income apartment building.
Located at 899 Stemmons Fwy., the Cabana was built in 1962 by Las Vegas entrepreneur Jay Sarno, who several years later developed Caesars Palace hotel and the Circus Circus in Las Vegas. The Beatles stayed there on their 1964 U.S. tour, reportedly followed by other British acts including the Who, Led Zeppelin along with President Richard Nixon.
The hefty cash outlay, which will be paid through the Design District tax increment financing (TIF) district once the project is complete, is a marked increase from a $15.5 million incentive that was approved in 2019, when building owner Centurion American Development Group sought to renovate the hotel and open it as luxury lodging once again.
A TIF allows cities to subsidize developers by refunding or diverting some of their taxes.
Centurion, who renovated the similar Statler Dallas in downtown Dallas, had gone so far as to gut the building, but after four years of inaction, put it up for sale; Sycamore Strategies' lead Zachary Krochtengel put it on contract in May.
The project had few dissenters at the Dallas City Council's September 27 meeting other than former city council member Ed Oakley who was in office in the early 2000s when the Design District TIF was first created.
Oakley noted that, with the $116 million price tag, each unit will cost $725,000, and reminded the council that the current TIF board voted against it on September 11, objecting to its "higher than typical costs."
But council member Omar Narvaez said the building is needed in part to introduce housing for those working within the Design District.
“There is no workforce housing in this area and that’s something we have all committed to fixing,” Narvaez said. “This is the mixing of income levels and brackets that we have talked about.”