The economy continues to glow as the city’s true essence when Dallas recently showed one of the highest net-growths in the nation. But with a tough expansion ahead, Dallas will need to develop its downtown, as new jobseekers demand more urban amenities.s

image courtesy of flickr user A. Vandalay


The city of Dallas appears as a whole, a pro-business climate with a centrally located economy, continuously going from strength to strength with a below average unemployment rate of 5.83 percent. Texas employment is currently the second best in America with Dallas at its forefront. The states traditional office sector is currently making up a significant portion of the overall state growth.

Newly awaken is the city’s previously slumbering construction industry, now with 4.3 million square feet of new projects underway. In the past three years, Dallas has added 6 million square feet of built-to-suit office spaces, half of which was completed in the last year. The continuing pressure on rates is expected for most submarkets, balancing supply of new offices with demand in the near future.

  • 1841

    Dallas is founded by John Neely Bryan on the east bank of the Trinity River.
  • 1872

    Houston & Texas Railway arrives spurring Dallas’s first building boom. 725 new one to two story wood frame structures go up in one year.
  • 1908

    Neiman Marcus opens first store in downtown. Has become cornerstone of downtown retail.
  • 1908

    The Great Flood. The Trinity River rose 52’, destroying all bridges connecting Dallas to newly annexed Oak Cliff.
  • 1910

    The city adopts George Kessler’s City Plan which address infrastructure and beautification issues in line with the City Beautiful Movement.
  • 1914

    Federal Reserve Bank names Dallas headquarters of the 11th district. Affirms city as regional financial center spurring growth in skyscrapers and development of city skyline.
  • 1936

    Texas Centennial Celebration Exposition transformed Fair Park into vision of Art Deco style buildings.
  • 1945

    First Master Plan to focus on development outside of downtown. North Central Expressway provides ease of travel to outlying suburbs.
  • 1950s

    Postwar building boom with 25 major office buildings including, Republic Towers, Fidelity Union life, Statler Hilton.
  • 1960s

    President John F. Kennedy shot. Retail begins to move away from downtown to suburban malls like North Park Center in 1965.
  • 1973

    The city of Dallas and Fort Worth joint venture the DFW International Airport. Today this airport is the 8th busiest in the world. Dallas begins to attract national firms like IM Pei and Phillip Johnson.
  • 1980s

    Largest building boom in Dallas history. Office buildings move away from traditional downtown - Fountain Place, 2001 Ross Avenue, Chase Tower dramatically changed Dallas’ skyline.
  • 1980s

    Sasaki Associates develop plan for a new Arts District on north edge of downtown. Dallas Museum of Art (1984) and Meyerson Symphony (1989) are the first to be completed.
  • 1990s

    Focus turned to redevelopment of existing buildings spurred by financial incentives to relocate business downtown. What was once the Republic National Bank Building, has now been converted to office, retail and residential.
  • 1996

    The first 11.2 miles of DART’s eventual 85 mile light rail tracks open. Transit oriented development such as Mockingbird Station follows.
  • History of Real Estate

    1913 – The Kirby Building

    The Kirby Building, historically known as the Busch Building, is a 17-story skyscraper in the Main Street District of Downtown Dallas.
  • History of Real Estate

    1922 – The Magnolia Hotel

    The Magnolia Hotel is a 29-story, Beaux-Arts style, upscale hotel in the Main Street District of downtown Dallas, Texas, that for many years was the tallest building in the state.
  • History of Real Estate

    1925 – The Davis Building

    The Davis building is a 20-story high-rise in downtown Dallas. The building rises to a height of 323 feet.
  • History of Real Estate

    1954 – Republic Center

    Republic Center is a mixed-use complex at 300 N. Ervay Street and 325 N. St. Paul Street in the City Center District of downtown Dallas, Texas (USA), adjacent to Thanks-giving Square. Republic National Bank Building became the tallest building in Dallas and west of the Mississippi River at its completion in 1954
  • History of Real Estate

    1955 – The Meadows Building

    The Meadows Building is one of the few examples of original classic 50's era architecture left in Dallas.
  • History of Real Estate

    1968 – One Main Place

    The building rises 445 feet (136 meters). It contains 33 floors, and was completed in 1968. One Main Place currently stands as the 27th-tallest building in the city.
  • History of Real Estate

    1974 – Renaissance Tower

    Renaissance Tower is a 886 ft (270 m), 56-story modernist skyscraper at 1201 Elm Street in downtown Dallas, Texas. The tower is the second tallest in the city, the fifth tallest in Texas, and the 24th tallest in the United States.
  • History of Real Estate

    1979 – Patriot Tower

    Patriot Tower (formerly One Dallas Centre) is a modernist skyscraper located in the City Center District of downtown Dallas, Texas (USA), completed in 1979. The building has 30 floors and rises 448 feet (137 meters).
  • History of Real Estate

    1980 – Thanksgiving Tower

    Thanksgiving Tower is a 50-story, 197 m (646 ft) skyscraper at 1601 Elm Street in adjacent to Thanks-Giving Square downtown Dallas Texas. At its completion in 1982, it was the second tallest building in Dallas, surpassing Elm Place.
  • History of Real Estate

    1973 – 1700 Pacific

    1700 Pacific: located in the City Center District of Dallas. The building rises 655 feet and contains 50 floors of office space. It is the 7th tallest building in the city.
  • History of Real Estate

    1983 – Energy Plaza

    Energy Plaza is a skyscraper in the City Center District of downtown north of Thanks-Giving Square at 1601 Bryan Street. Designed by I.M. Pei and Partners, the building is 192 m (630 ft) and 49 stories, making it the ninth tallest building in Dallas
  • History of Real Estate

    1984 – Whitacre Tower

    Whitacre Tower, also known as One AT&T Plaza, and formerly known as One Bell Plaza and One SBC Plaza, is a 37-story high-rise in Downtown Dallas, located adjacent to the Akard Street Mall.
  • History of Real Estate

    1985 – Trammell Crow Center

    Trammell Crow Center is a 50-story post-modern skyscraper at 2001 Ross Avenue in the Arts District of downtown. With a structural height of 708 ft it is the sixth-tallest building in Dallas and the 18th-tallest in the state.
  • History of Real Estate

    1985 – Bank of America Plaza

    Bank of America Plaza: a 72-story, 921 ft. late-modernist skyscraper located in the Main Street District of downtown Dallas. It is the tallest skyscraper in the city, the 3rd tallest in Texas and the 22nd tallest in the United States.
  • History of Real Estate

    1986 – Fountain Place

    Fountain Place is a 60-story late-modernist skyscraper in the Arts District in downtown Dallas. At 720 ft, it is the fifth-tallest in Dallas, and the 15th-tallest in Texas.
  • History of Real Estate

    1987 – Chase Tower

    Chase Tower is a 738 ft, 55-story post-modern tower in the City Center District of downtown Dallas. Its the 4th tallest skyscraper in the city. spires, it would be the third.
  • History of Real Estate

    1987 – Comerica Bank Tower

    Comerica Bank Tower is a 60-story postmodern skyscraper located in the Main Street District in downtown Dallas. At 787 feet, it is the third tallest skyscraper in the city of Dallas.
image courtesy of flickr user Neff Conner

How can Dallas create a bold, sophisticated, and one-of-a-kind retail district in the heart of downtown?

image courtesy of flickr user Matthew Rutledge

Thanksgiving Tower + 211 North Ervay

Case Study

Only half full, at only 55 percent leased, the Thanksgiving Tower in Downtown Dallas was recently sold to Woods Capital. The 50-story building is now an exploratory venture, a re-envisioning using the Hackable model. Built in 1982, the tower had long past its glory days and been systematically neglected, until now. As the CBD vacancy continues to grow, new office developments are in the pipe, however, looking to raise quality of the downtown area without overbuilding, the Thanksgiving tower is a sublime target to manifest the possibilities of a re-build.


Recently added in the mix is the 18-story office building located adjacent to the Thanksgiving building. Known for its aquamarine window exterior, the 211 North Ervay tower is a landmark and prime example of an amenity building suitable for the new downtown conversion. With plans to incorporate the building to the tower redevelopment plans, the North Ervay now has a list of possibilities ahead; as a new port to block or as a part of a new pedestrian entry plaza.


To build on the success factors of Downtown Dallas, the city council has developed an extensive master plan, called Dallas360. The plan is specifically designed to revitalize the downtown area. Incorporated in the specifics for the Main Street Retail Area is the block where the Thanksgiving Tower and the 211 North Ervay is located. The plan is proposing a one-of-a-kind retail district in the heart of Downtown Dallas, an ambition that brings height to an already prosperous redevelopment scheme.

211 Ervay “Geode” concept

211 Ervay. Re-skin, & Reconfigure bottom levels to create a new front entry and drop off for thanksgiving tower.

image courtesy of flickr user Dustin Askins

In the financial district haze, the redevelopment of the two properties will naturally become a potential to change the atmosphere of Dallas’ downtown district. In an area, filled with people who want the best of the city, the plan for the Thanksgiving Tower has plenty of room to experiment with the social spaces, creating a more vibrant and communal experience, involving both business and leisure.

Dallas Credits

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