Turk Who Was Going to Redo 1401 Elm Now Has Big Plans For the Very Big 500 S. Ervay

Categories: Development
500SouthErvay_2.jpg
Merriman Associates dispatched two renderings for 500 South Ervay. Here's one ...
This morning I called Karl Zavitkovsky, head of the city's Office of Economic Development, about something more or less related when he mentioned the "Turkish Trump." Say what now? Ah -- turns out, he thought we wrote this piece about Mike Sarimsakci, the developer who came to the city with big plans for renovating 1401 Elm Street, so long as he got $30 million from the city in TIF assistance. But, nope, not us. Though, Karl, now that you mention it ...

Which is how we got on to the subject of redevelopment plans for both the George Dahl-designed former First National Bank on Elm and 500 South Ervay, the old Butler Brothers warehouse next to Dallas City Hall. Because in case you forgot, that building's also up for an overhaul courtesy some California investors ... with Sarimsakci, as it turns out, who's no longer involved with 1401 Elm Street. Sarimsakci doesn't say why, explaining via email from Istanbul that that he and Istanbul-based Polidev International "amicably departed our ways."

Downtown Dallas Inc. bossman John Crawford insists the 1401 Elm project's still "onward and upward." Matter of fact, he tells Unfair Park today, a new guy's coming to town at month's end to discuss that do-over.

"I have no reason to think anything's changed other than the point person," says Crawford in advance of Downtown Dallas Inc.'s annual meeting tomorrow. "We certainly hope so. That's a major project in downtown, and we've found there's more and more interest in 1401 Elm. There are a lot of people interested in seeing it does come to fruition who may or may not want to play a part in it. But last word I had was onward and upward, and they were just transitioning between" players.

Sarimsakci says "it would not be appropriate for me to speculate as to what [Polidev's] plans are" for 1401 Elm. But he does offer a laundry list of possibilities for 500 South Ervay:

500SouthErvay_1.jpg
... and here's the other.
Per his email:
Briefly we are redeveloping 650,000 sq ft Butler Building. It would be a mixed use project.
  • 250 rental units
  • 200 extended stay apartments; Hilton Home2 or Starwood Elements would be the flag.
  • Retail and Restaurant office space 80,000 sq ft.
  • Total development cost: $55 million
  • Architect: MMA Jerry Merriman
  • Contractor: Possibly Andres Construction
  • Seeking historical tax credit so we could restore the facade to its original brick facade.
Merriman's actually involved in both the Ervay and Elm projects; the Statler redo too. And Crawford mentions something in our chat that Sarimsakci neglected to point out in his email as a possibility for Ervay: "He's been talking to a charter school," says DDI's president and CEO. "I don't know where that is, but he continues to talk about more restaurant and retail use at ground level, so he's been drinking the Kool-Aid and had gotten the word that's going to be the important part of any part of project downtown."

Crawford, the chief booster for downtown, is optimistic both projects will move forward sooner than later. But as far as the city's concerned, they're both in holding patterns, at least "until a development plan is presented," says Zavitkovsky. He says as he understands it Polidev is conducting best-use studies for 1401 Elm while also feeling out interest in ground-level retail leasing.

"There was a preliminary plan presented for 1401 Elm, and we, based on that, put together a TIF commitment, which is tied to delivery of finished project," Zavitkovsky says. "And if it doesn't get started or finished in a certain time, we have the ability to move on. For Ervay they're talking about residential apartments, some type of hospitality, but I haven't seen any numbers put to that. Till something concrete comes in place we're waiting back to see what materializes."

Sarimsakci, in his email to me this afternoon, vows something tangible is coming sooner than later: "We like Dallas and Downtown Dallas," he writes by way of adios. "We will be investing more of our Dollars from Istanbul."
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19 comments
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Intellectualdiot
Intellectualdiot

Ahhh how I'd love to see this project come to term. I loathe 500 S. Ervay as it currently stands - a terrifically large eyesore that tends to stick out like a sore (and gangrenous and pustule-ridden...) thumb even in comparison to the, shall we say, austere immediate surrounding neighborhood.

I am, however, curious to know what the plan for shuttering the homeless away from the area would be in this fantasy mockup though. Maybe hand out some top-hats and possibly a spat or two? Just because you're homeless doesn't mean you have to look the part!

Ellum08
Ellum08

Meh...its sorta like naming a street after Martin Luther King, Malcolm X or Cesar Chavez, what is it really going to accomplish?

Symbolic, perhaps, but nothing that is going to affect real change, in my opinion.

Ellum08
Ellum08

Oops, wrong thread......my apologies.

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

Would like to mention from Day One, I pointed out this guy had:

no track record of any similar development,

no current ownership in anything similar,

no references,

no financing,

and just undocumented "foreign money" he was bringing to the table. Deal was going no where went it was announced, and it hasn't.

You're welcome.

Question: Is Zavitkovsky so incompetent he/his staff are not vetting these guys at all, or is he just over hyping the only sorry deals he's got on hand, to keep his job?

Stewartg2367
Stewartg2367

I'm glad someone is investing in downtown.  We need someone like the Bass family in Ft. Worth to make an impact on downtown Dallas

bobbyv
bobbyv

That always sound good, but I don't want downtownDallas to become a sanitized, de-funked entertainment zone like downtown Fort Worth.  Downtown Dallas should be a variety of visions for a variety of people, not a single developer's dream.  I can barely tell downtown Fort Worth from one of the many surburban "urban" town centers that dot the metroplex these days. 

WomenBeTrippin
WomenBeTrippin

tim headington?

Ellum08
Ellum08

I'll give Mr. Headington credit for the Joule restoration and expansion, but he is about to demolish a significant portion of an historic block across the street with no immediate plans for the future development. Nothing like having another service parking lot downtown, this time next to Stone Street and the Wilson Building.

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

Please reread the article, no one has invested in down town yet, just a lot of pretty pictures. He just left one project that hasn't been started to another project he won't start or complete.

Ellum08
Ellum08

It's going to take a shit-load of money to scrape all that stucco from the Butler Bros. building to expose the historic brick underneath.

Unless someone has a 'brick' stencil handy....

RTGolden
RTGolden

We can print the brick to 3M's wall-graphic vinyl and wrap the Butler bldg....

Rangers100
Rangers100

Flip Elm to a 2-way street, and 1401 becomes an even more valuable spot.

RTGolden
RTGolden

What? I'm sure you meant flip Elm to a Bus-n-Bike only street requiring a Downtown resident pass and charging day rates for suburbanites, right?

Guest
Guest

A little surprised that he would release names of partners, contractors and possible tenants before anything has been signed that we know of. Seems like a little ol' fashioned journalism could get to the bottom of this one real quick...

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