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Chicago developer who built for Google sees Deep Ellum as the next big deal
Dallas News
Dallas, Texas, USA
Steve Brown
Date Published: 
Dallas, Texas, Deep Ellum, Real Estate Development, Land Acquisition
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2020-01-16 00:29:23
2020-01-16 00:33:17
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Sterling Bay
Sterling Bay’s Dallas project is part of a national expansion

A Chicago developer that just snapped up a building site in Dallas’ Deep Ellum district has had its eye on the neighborhood for a while.

And while Sterling Bay Cos. officials say it’s too early to talk about exactly what it will do with the more than 2.5-acre tract just east of downtown, you can take some clues from the developer’s recent projects at home in Chicago and elsewhere.

“Deep Ellum is a market that’s been on our radar for a long time,” said Ryan Walsh, Sterling Bay’s director of acquisitions. “Sterling Bay has had a lot of success in Chicago in a neighborhood called Fulton Market — a former meat-packing district that has transformed into a hub for dining, residential, retail and offices.

“We pioneered the development transition there, starting with the Google building.”

With new construction, Sterling Bay converted an almost century-old, 10-story cold storage building into Google’s Midwest headquarters.

“We look for neighborhoods that remind us of Fulton Market across the country,” Walsh said.

Deep Ellum is one of those gentrified commercial districts that’s transitioning into a higher-density, mixed-use neighborhood.

Uber has started construction on a new regional headquarters in the area on Pacific Avenue. And more new apartment, office and retail projects are on the way.

The property Sterling Bay bought in December is across from the DART rail station at Malcolm X Boulevard and Indiana Street. It includes a vacant 70,000-square-foot building on the site that was previously occupied by animation firm Reel FX.

Surrounding property owners say they expect Sterling Bay to raze the block of low-rise buildings that date to the 1950s and 1960s to make way for a more vertical development.

“So much of that Deep Ellum market is fractured ownership, and it’s difficult to get a site of scale and the sheer size of ours,” Walsh said. “We think it’s right on what we think is the 50 yard line of Deep Ellum.”

Walsh said whatever the developer does, it will fit into the neighborhood. “We don’t want to develop buildings that seem out of place,” he said. “Our McDonald Headquarters building (in Chicago’s West Loop area) is brand new, but it looks like a 100-year-old warehouse.”

Walsh said Sterling Bay is “kicking off our planning in earnest” for the Deep Ellum project, but that it’s too early to discuss specifics.

The Dallas project is part of a national expansion for the more than 30-year-old company, which has more than $8 billion in projects in its development pipeline.

Along with building Chicago projects for Google and fast-foot giant McDonald’s, Sterling Bay is building a 55-acre riverfront project at home called Lincoln Yards.

But the company is also diversifying its operations to new markets, including Dallas, Miami and Portland, Ore.

“We expanded outside Chicago into Miami’s Wynwood District — a thriving arts and retail neighborhood,” Walsh said.

Sterling Bay’s 545wyn project in Miami is a 298,000-square-foot creative office and retail building designed by architect Gensler.

In Portland’s Pioneer Square, Sterling Bay converted a historic 16-story department store building into flexible creative office and retail space.

“Google ended up taking the remaining half of that building recently,” Walsh said.

Along with projects for Google and McDonalds, Sterling Bay has landed other big office tenants in its projects, including Glassdoor, Dyson and Hillshire Brands.

Walsh said Uber’s plan to move thousands of workers to Deep Ellum will have a big impact on the area, fueling the desire for more office space. “Everyone saw the recent news with Uber taking substantial presence in Deep Ellum,” he said. “That same type of catalytic event happened with Google coming into Fulton Market in Chicago.

“It only makes sense people would like to office in the neighborhood they already like spending time in,” Walsh said. “Those are the neighborhoods we are looking at nationally.”

Organizations Mentioned: (3)
Mountain View, California, USA
Software, Products, Technology
Sterling Bay
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Real Estate Development, Construction, Property Management, Leasing, Asset Management
San Francisco, California, USA
Ride Hailing Services, Mobile Transportation, Autonomous Vehicles