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Dallas project takes parking facilities to a new level

John Bleasby
Dallas project takes parking facilities to a new level
SERRA REAL ESTATE CAPITAL — If plans follow through as hoped, a hotel could be built atop Dallas’ 12-storey Jackson Street parking facility.

Multi-storey parking garages are not normally notable and eye-catching. However, a 12-storey, $67-million facility that opened last month in Dallas has broken new ground in terms of planning for the future.

In consideration of future use in tandem with the reconstruction of nearby Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, the Jackson Street parking structure has been pre-stressed to accommodate an additional 15-storey hotel on top.

However, even on its own, the building has many forward-looking features.

All 1,228 parking spaces have been pre-wired for EV charging. The roof is ready for PV arrays. At ground level, 18,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space awaits tenants. The building itself is wrapped in a vertical series of perforated metal panels that belie the look of most above-ground parking facilities.

The concept was to make the building friendly and accessible by incorporating attractive landscaping and improved lighting while its longer term future is decided.

“It actually looks like a piece of art rather than a parking structure,” David Kelly, co-founder and managing director of Serra Real Estate Capital, told local media.” The end result is a wonderful project that is attractive to the eye and engaging to the pedestrian.”

If further development of the structure unfolds as hoped, a portion of the ground level would be reconfigured into a lobby for the hotel rising many floors above.

The project was designed by Dallas-based architects Corgan.  It has been involved with several infrastructure projects in Texas and was one of the architects of the recently expanded Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport Terminal D.

Kelly’s company financed and developed the facility by using a Credit Tenant Lease structure that will see the facility turned over to the County of Dallas in 10 years.

In the meantime, Labora Group, a Dallas-based investment and philanthropic enterprise that co-owned the land, is sub-leasing 500 parking spaces. Labora also owns the ground level retail area which it can sell under a condominium ownership structure.

Serra is a privately-held minority and veteran-owned company, with several decades of experience shared among its principals. The joint venture that built the structure included the minority-owned contracting firm Azteca Omega Group.

In addition, more than 50 per cent of the construction teams on the project were certified as Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises, with individual construction employment opportunities offered to those enrolled in Second Chance programs. These factors contributed to the facility being awarded the 2023 Pillar Award by the Regional Hispanic Contractors Association.

“By championing diverse suppliers and small business enterprises, as well as addressing critical needs of our aging infrastructure, we have significantly advanced our goal of building a more inclusive and resilient Dallas County. We are ready for a thriving and bright future,” Dallas County Commissioner Dr. Elba Garcia said in a press release.

A residential tower is an alternative vertical expansion for the parking facility. However, a hotel would better align with the relocation and reconstruction plans for the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

Originally built in 1957 as the Dallas Convention Center, and renamed in 2013 to honour retired Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, the center has been expanded several times over the decades. Today, the center is approximately 2.5 million square feet in size, with over one million square feet of exhibit space. It features the largest column-free exhibit hall in the country.

However, the Texas Department of Transportation is widening the nearby Interstate 30 to six lanes over a 3.4 mile section and needs additional space for construction staging and equipment. Plans for future high speed rail into Dallas are also impacting the center’s current location.

This means the center’s footprint must be altered and shifted. Costs are estimated at $3.7 billion, covered in part by a hotel tax revenue increase approved two years ago.

Visitor revenue is important to Dallas. In 2024, tourism’s total economic impact is forecasted to exceed $11 billion, supporting more than 61,000 jobs and generating $703 million in state and local tax revenues.

“The new convention center – slated to open in 2028 – is an unprecedented investment in our city’s future, and it will serve as an incredible economic development driver for Dallas,” Rosa Fleming, director of convention and event services for the City of Dallas, said in a press release.

To date, Visit Dallas has already booked 43 contracted conventions for the new center, resulting in more than $1 billion in total economic impact. During construction, the existing convention center will remain open for operation.

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