An inside look at the $56M redo of the Mayflower in downtown Dallas

(Dallas Business Journal) – It’s been a half century since a developer has redone the historic Mayflower Building in downtown Dallas, but that hasn’t held New Orleans-based HRI Properties back in re-imagining the former office building.

The upper nine floors of the Mayflower Building at 400 N. Akard St. is in the midst of a transformation taking the building once-designed for the Mayflower Insurance Co. to a modern-style 215-unit apartment building with ground floor retail space and parking for building goers.

Construction workers are working on the face of the former office building in downtown Dallas.

mayflower building dallas

Construction workers are working on the face of the former office building in downtown… more

One of the standout features of the building is a massive 1-acre interior atrium designed in the former computer center space. It was once home to a 1960s-era computer used for insurance tabulating.

“This is a pretty dramatic space,” Richard Allen, HRI’s project manager on the Mayflower Building, told the Dallas Business Journal.”I don’t think you’d expect to see an atrium like this from the exterior of the building. This space held those giant punch card computers with executive offices on the perimeter.”

As part of the $56 million redevelopment of the upper portion of the building (the bottom six floors are owned by the group behind Ross Tower and is used for office tenant parking of the adjacent building), some of the beams are left within the atrium to help showcase the space left by the old computing system. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The 215 apartments will have high-end, condo-quality finishes with hardwood floors, stone countertops, stainless steel appliances and washers and dryers in each unit. Upon completion, the community will also have a rooftop pool, outdoor kitchen, fitness center and community room.

On the ninth floor, the building has 15 penthouse one- and two-bedroom units each with a private outdoor patio. The one-bedroom penthouse units will start at $1,700 to $1,800 and will go up from there.

The historic Mayflower building will also include 14,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor of the building. Dallas-based E. Smith Realty Partners is marketing the space to restaurants and retailers on behalf of HRI Properties, which also redeveloped the LTV Tower at 1600 Pacific into an apartment and hotel tower.

To finance the project, HRI used a $10 million tax increment financing grant from the city of Dallas and financing from Capital One, Aegon and Stonehenge Capital. The building also will receive state and federal tax credits.

A percentage of the apartments will be set aside for workforce housing as part of a $1 million grant given to HRI from the city as part of the overall tax increment financing grant. The one-bedroom rates for workforce housing is capped at roughly $900 per month.

And it took all that financing to get the project off the ground, said Allen, who added HRI had been looking at possibly redeveloping the Mayflower building for the past five years.

“In 2011, it didn’t make financial sense and it was too costly to redevelop,” he told me. “We put the project on the shelf and didn’t look at it again until the Texas legislature passed the historic tax credit program, which was the difference maker in having the project moved forward.”

Dallas-based Andres Construction is the general contractor on the project. Dallas-based Merriman Anderson Architects Inc. is the architect. Both companies also worked with HRI on the redo of the LTV Tower.

The Mayflower building is slated for completion by the end of the year, with a grand opening expected in early 2016. So, what’s next for HRI in Dallas-Fort Worth? Allen said it’s hard to say.

“If the right project comes along, we’ll take a hard look, but we don’t have anything in the pipeline right now,” he said.

Want to take a look at the redevelopment work? Check out the attached slideshow.

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