Downtown Dallas Inc. will relocate to the landmark Elm Street skyscraper.
Downtown Dallas’ biggest development project — the $450 million redo of the landmark First National Bank tower — is headed toward completion later this year.
And the skyscraper has landed a high-profile tenant.
Since last year, developer Todd Interests has been working to restore the 52-story high-rise, which dates to 1965.
The iconic central business district building is being turned into a combination of office and retail space, apartments and a luxury hotel.
The ambitious project has been renamed The National.
Economic development group Downtown Dallas Inc. will be the first major tenant, taking space on three floors of the Elm Street building to house its headquarters and other operations.
“We have been champions of this project, and it was a unique opportunity to put all of our operations under one roof,” said Kourtny Garrett, president and CEO of Downtown Dallas Inc.
The organization’s headquarters is now located in the Bank of America Plaza, and Downtown Dallas has other workers and operations housed in locations across the central business district.
Garrett said its office at The National will include a storefront on Pacific Avenue that will serve as an information center for downtown.
“It’s been one of our dreams to have that kind of a showcase space for downtown,” she said.
Downtown Dallas, which has about 100 employees, will also have offices on the fourth and fifth floors of the building.
Developer Shawn Todd said Downtown Dallas has been one of the biggest proponents of the project, which stalled twice and faced foreclosure before Todd Interests took over the deal last May. “We are excited to be able to have a facility that has the space to accommodate their needs,” Todd said. “There is no greater ambassador for our city than Downtown Dallas Inc.”
Todd said the building will start opening in September and October.
“There will be people living in this building in September,” he said. “The goal is to have the hotel open in the fall.
“It’s our goal to have everything completed by the end of the year.”
The office tower, which sat vacant for more than a decade, will house a 219-room Thompson Hotel, 324 luxury apartment units, restaurants and retail, and offices.
Dallas’ Merriman Anderson Architects designed the renovations, and Andres Construction is the general contractor.
Todd Interests partnered with investor Moriah Real Estate to acquire the skyscraper after the previous developers couldn’t obtain funding to continue the project.
The developers got $100 million in historic tax credits and $50 million in Dallas tax increment financing that made the huge renovation project viable.
Opened in 1965 as the home of First National Bank, the 1401 Elm St. tower was designed by noted Dallas architects George Dahl and Thomas Stanley.
The high-rise closed in 2010 when office occupancy in the building severely declined.
It has been the largest vacant building in North Texas and the last of the city’s great skyscrapers to be repurposed.
“This is the last vacant building of the 42 that existed 20 years ago,” Garrett said.