All of Dallas was wondering what was going to become of 1401 Elm. The Downtown tower had stood vacant for six years and has ping-ponged from foreclosure threat to bankruptcy and back again. When news finally broke that someone had bought it, we had to find out more. We talked to new owner Drever Capital Management CEO Maxwell Drever about his roots in Dallas and how his plans for this decade's most-talked-about Dallas project will differ from the previous owner's.
Although he's firmly planted in Dallas, Maxwell (shown here with Noah Drever and a bird) says his strong out-of-town network helped to bring the distressed building to his attention. The owner of 1401 Elm lives in New York, Maxwell tells us, and he called one day asking him to be a white knight buyer, taking on all of the building's financial, construction and social challenges.Maxwell says he loves investment challenges. His background is in buying workforce apartments and senior housing in troubled submarkets in major Sun Belt growth markets and transforming them and often the surrounding neighborhoods into economically and socially viable communities. So when presented with 1401 Elm, he was intrigued. 1401 Elm was a challenge in every way, Maxwell tells us. But it's in a market he knows, in a town he loves. In the 1990s, Maxwell was one of the largest apartment buyers in Texas (and the largest owner/manager in Houston). In 1999, the company acquired a cotton factory in Deep Ellum that is now Mitchell Lofts, where the company keeps a corporate apartment.
Maxwell spent millions on renovating that project before DCM actually owned the building and the title was transferred” Maxwell says that's what happens when DCM makes its "buy" decision. He's not afraid to move forward (even financially) even when something is holding the deal back, and he'll run with whatever control he does have. As for the future of 1401 Elm, DCM is altering the last owner's approach. There will be a multifamily rental component, and a hotel and a spa, Maxwell says. Amenities will include lots of parking, retail and restaurants that will be a true destination for family entertainment. He wants very much to deliver something that'll help transform Downtown. Meanwhile, he's also moving forward with other North Texas projects. He's working on Alders at Twin Creeks, a joint venture for a senior living facility in Allen, TX. Construction on that project will start on June 1.