Developers Look to Get $5 Million Subsidy to Redo Vacant Building Across from City Hall

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Merriman-Associates
In October, Turkish developer Mike Sarimsakci unveiled his plan to transform the long-vacant Butler Brothers Building at 500 S. Ervay St., caddy-corner to the library and directly across the street from City Hall, into a large mixed-use development complete with 250 apartments, a 200-room Hilton hotel and 25,000 square feet of restaurant and retail.

The $72.6 million project is scheduled to begin construction on July 31, with an opening tentatively scheduled for the same date in 2015, but first the funding has to be in place. Sarimsakci and his investment group have already kicked in nearly $16 million, much of it for land acquisition, with a loan covering construction costs.

The final piece, developers hope, will come from the city. They've applied for $5 million in funding from the Downtown Connection TIF, which will be split more or less evenly between environmental remediation and the restoration of the original brick facade, which was covered in garish plaster at some point during the building's 102-year existence.

The city's economic development staff is on board with the proposal, arguing that a redeveloped Butler Brothers building will mean one less vacant eyesore downtown, create ground-level activity and strengthen the connection between City Hall and the Farmers Market, none of which would be feasible without a public subsidy.

And $5 million is a relative bargain compared with the $15 million the city committed to a previous effort to turn 500 S. Ervay St. into a mixed-use development, which failed in 2009.

The Downtown Connection TIF board has already approved the funding. It's slated to go before the Council's Economic Development Committee next week before being passed along to the full body for a final vote.

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18 comments
BettyC1
BettyC1

Is this the building that was given to the City some years ago? Now they are going to pay someone else to fix it with Taxpayers money? Why does every developer need Tax dollars to developer ant thing now a day. Developers once upon a time built their own projects with their money what happen to that.Each TIF takes Tax money from general fund,then give them millions to build,how can we keep up with spending. But people want to complain about a Senior citizen with Medicare they paid for since 1965.Stop Wealthy welfare reduce deficit now! 

FEDUP
FEDUP

Anyone been down there in the last few years, all your going to find is BUMS, BUMS, BUMS! Useless walking don't give a crap, give me what I want, take care of me, buy me drugs, feel sorry for me, "give me some money", "hey man my momma gettin out of hosp. today I need money", " hey man' my car broke down I need some gas", "Hey man' I'm trying to get to Houston, can ya hep me out?"........................Why in the Hell would anyone with the slightest business sense want to build in downtown, Dallas? NAPALM; works for me!

kduble
kduble

The city needs to overhaul that entire plaza. One look at it from google earth confirms why few use the park. It's over half concrete! Literally! Look at a photo and you'll see. I know this park was part of I.M. Pei's vision, and his use of outdoor space at Fountain Place is wonderful, but all the concrete in this urban space simply doesn't work in North Texas. Also, it's laid out in such a way as to be difficult to walk through from many directions, so this discourages pedestrian traffic through it. It's time to keep the trees, the grass and the pool, plow up all the concrete, and redesign the whole thing.

NOakCliff
NOakCliff

The architect's drawing is pretty, but it doesn't represent anything real about that area unless they plan to bulldoze away everything except City Hall, then replace the concrete with trees and grass. And we all know Dallas doesn't allow developers who like to use lots of trees and grass.

MattL11
MattL11

This could be a good project. We'll see. 

But when I first read the headline, I thought, "the library?!" 

cantkeepthetruthdown
cantkeepthetruthdown

I hope at least some of that money is spent on using fire hoses on all the Obama voters surrounding the building. 

downtownworker
downtownworker

This is a much better use of TIF dollars than subsidizing parking garages at Victory Park (which is already served by DART rail).

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

I wish I could get a subsidy instead of an increased tax bill for renovating a building ...

kduble
kduble

@NOakCliff  The trees and grasses on the right side are already in place. On the left side, however, the vantage point is from the front steps of the Erik Johonsson Library. Perhaps they plan to use some TIF money to spruce up the streetscape.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul 

they will get both. once the renovation is done DCAD will up the assessed value and the tax owed will increase dramatically.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

the property valuation is on the market worth, not the profit/return of the business. the monies invested in renovation and remodel stay with the building. the project may fail but the assessed value will be on the land and improvements relative to like kind properties.

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