At Last, a Museum Tower Grows Downtown?

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museum_towers_3.jpg
Brook Partners
Museum Tower, which Brook Partners expects to have built in the Arts District by the end of 2012
For as long as I can recall, Brook Partners has been trying to build Museum Tower downtown, in the heart of the Arts District. The real estate developer's Ross Ave. HQ has long been littered with renderings and mock-ups; a conceptual rendering hovers over the firm's Web site and has since forever. But even before the economy decided it was fun to do bad things, the 20-story-turned-42-story high-rise condo was back-burnered -- timing wasn't right, and the money wasn't there as lender after lender passed on financing all that downtown luxury.

But that's changed now courtesy Brook Partners' new partner in the venture -- no less than the Dallas Police & Fire Pension System, which will kick in the $200 million needed to build the tower and own it upon completion. That's what's got The Wall Street Journal so interested this morning: Is it an "exception to the slump," per the headline, or one more high-priced addition to the luxury downtown housing stock that's gone stagnant in this economy? The answer, clearly: Live large, think big.
Asking prices for the units will start at $1.1 million, among the highest in Dallas. The pension system says it expects a double-digit rate of return on a project that it believes has the best location of any new development in the city.

Given low interest rates and low construction costs, "the timing is perfect ... to pull the trigger," Richard Tettamant, the pension fund's administrator, said in an interview Tuesday.

While much of the rest of the country is dealing with a real-estate hangover, Mr. Tettamant says that the city's economy should make the investment a sound one. "Dallas is unique. It's got this can-do attitude about it," Mr. Tettamant said.

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