United Commercial Realty
Turtle Creek Village in Dallas' Oak Lawn getting redo
Renovation of one of Dallas' first mixed-use developments begins with 1972 office tower2.25.2008- Steve Brown, Dallas Morning News
When developers unveiled plans for Turtle Creek Village in the 1960s, they said it was the future of Dallas development.
But after more than four decades, the future is getting a bit outdated.
That's why the project – one of Dallas' first true mixed-use developments – will get a dramatic makeover.
The complex at Oak Lawn Avenue and Blackburn Street will be remodeled with a new exterior on the largest building plus other improvements.
Just the renovation of the 18-story office tower will cost more than $7 million, according to Glen Perkins, PM Realty Group's managing director of Development and Acquisition Services.
PM Realty Group owns the office and retail complex in partnership with New England-based investor CommonFund.
"We acquired it a little over a year ago," Mr. Perkins said. "Our objective is to take that building – because of the great location – and bring it up to a Class A status.
"We will completely change the entire look of the building."
Architect Gromatzky Dupree & Associates has designed a new glass exterior for the tower and a lighted sculptural top. That will replace the brown glass and metal mansard-style roof that's been on the high-rise since it opened in 1972.
Called Two Turtle Creek Village, the office tower joined a shopping center and smaller office building in the center.
Turtle Creek Village was planned in the mid-1960s on a large tract of land that was previously home to the historic Holy Trinity College – later Jesuit High School.
fter the classical-style school buildings were demolished, developers Fred and Martin Tycher announced plans for their $25 million Turtle Creek Village in 1966.
With some of the buildings designed by architect George Dahl, the 13-acre Turtle Creek Village was laid out to contain high-rise apartment and office buildings connected by retail space.
Architects touted the buildings' "French Mansard" style metal roofs and bragged that the development had the largest underground parking garage in the city.
Most of the development was built as originally planned and has seen only minor changes since the early 1970s.
Shopping center tenants include World Market and Good Eats. But several large sections of the retail strip have recently been vacated.
Longtime Dallas retail broker Jack Gosnell said the renovation at Turtle Creek Village is overdue and will be an asset to the neighborhood.
"They've been working on this plan for two years and are really going to fix Turtle Creek Village," Mr. Gosnell said. "It's still a fabulous location."
The shopping and office center, down Blackburn from the popular West Village, is located near the south end of Highland Park.
A nearby vacant automobile dealership at Oak Lawn and Avondale Street is being remodeled into the Equinox spa.
"The Turtle Creek Village renovation is an incredible project and will go well with what Equinox is doing," Mr. Gosnell said.
PM Realty Group has begun work, starting with the tower.
"We are replacing all the exterior with the highest-performance silver glass we can get," Mr. Perkins said.
And the main entrance for the office building will be turned to face Blackburn.
Architect Jeff Smith said the improvements to the office tower will also make the building much more energy efficient.
"The glass that is there now is nowhere near meeting energy codes," Mr. Smith said. "We are replacing all that.
"It should be quite a change on the skyline."
Mr. Smith said the architects also planned the tower redo with an eye toward remodeling of the rest of the complex.
"The goal will be to take the materials used on this building and work them into what else is built on the site," he said.
The high-rise is about 88 percent leased.
"Our rents are great, but we think we can deliver a product that is more consistent with what the market demands," he said.
Work on the office building should be finished this summer, and PM Realty is still considering what to do with the rest of the complex.
"We are looking at the smaller office building and the retail to decide the best situation for the center," Mr. Perkins said.
"The process won't be overnight," he said, "because we still have retail tenants.
"But we acquired this property because we think it is underutilized."