Big changes are coming at downtown Dallas’ One Main Place tower. A crumbling sunken plaza on the Main Street skyscraper’s west side is getting a glass-enclosed pavilion that will house an event center. And on Elm Street, new drive up traffic lanes and a port cochere will improve visitor access to the building.
It’s all part of a plan by New Orleans-based KFK Group to renovate the 47-year-old tower into a new Westin hotel and first class office space.
“Everyone says how can you do this in 11 months,” said KFK CEO Elie Khoury. “It’s because we have already started. We have demolished 350,000 square feet in the building and are ready to start building the hotel space.”
The 323 hotel rooms will average 450 square feet and will occupy 10 upper floors of the 33-story high-rise.
There will be 21 luxury suites, 27,000 square feet of conference space, restaurants and bars.
“We are going to have a Class A mixed-use vertical development,” Khoury said Tuesday at a ceremony marking the formal start of the project.
“The hotel will create 200 jobs at a minimum.”
KFK Group – which has a reputation at home in New Orleans for repurposing old properties – bought One Main Place last March. The developer has been working on plans for the project since then.
“Our company has never really built anything,” Khoury said. “We take product and reposition it.”
A 4,900-square-foot glass events venue will be built in the center of the large sunken plaza outside one Main Place. The new pavilion will be surrounded by landscaped public areas.
Retail space surrounds the plaza and is on the lower floors of One Main Place and will remain.
Nineteen floors in the middle of One Main Place that will remain office space will be upgraded to first-class business space, he said.
“It was built it was a great office building,” Khoury said. “Over the years it became a B class building.”
Khoury said despite recent construction of several downtown area hotels he sees demand for more hospitality space. He said room rates and occupancy levels downtown are rising.
“It tells you there is a need for more hotel rooms,” he said.
Dallas city officials couldn’t be more pleased at KFK’s investment in downtown.
“This is proof we are beyond the tipping point downtown.”
John Crawford, CEO of the economic development group Downtown Dallas Inc., said that a low of behind the scenes planning and construction has gone on for months to make the One Main Place project happen.
“It’s nice to have another major investment group in downtown,” Crawford said. “It’s important to our revitalization effort.”
Stream Realty Partners will lease the office space in One Main Place. And UCR Urban is handling the retail marketing.
JLL will manage the building.