By Julia Bunch
Published in D CEO January-February 2018
In July 2015, the West End Marketplace—a former cracker and candy factory turned shopping mall and movie theater turned eyesore in Dallas’ West End Historic District—had sat empty for a decade. When the property came up for sale, it caught interest from local investors who came out to kick the tires. But it was a tough sell. The property had great bones, sat in one of Dallas’ few truly walkable neighborhoods, and had a compelling history. But historic renovations like West End Marketplace present a lot of unknowns. To make the deal pencil, the new owner would need to get cozy with the city and historical organizations to capitalize on tax credits and incentives.
Then Granite Properties, a developer that was better known locally for its suburban office parks—such as Plano’s Granite Park and Addison’s Spectrum Center—purchased the property from ECOM Real Estate Management. And, within the next 18 months, most of the West End’s office properties also would trade hands, going from family-style ownership to institutional landlords who promised renovations, better property management—and steeper rents. “Every developer in town was looking for the next infill location,” Granite Properties CIO Bill Brown says. “If West End was ever going to be turned around, now was its time.”