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D CEO Reporters Booted Out of Tour at The Drever

Since the city of Dallas is coughing up $50 million in incentive money to renovate the place, shouldn't we have a right to see how our tax dollars are being spent?

For a couple of weeks now, D CEO‘s been poking into some strange goings-on at The Drever redevelopment in Dallas. For one thing, we found out that work on the iconic, 52-year-old skyscraper—work that’s been called a “game-changer” for downtown’s revitalization—had been slowed down some, while owner Drever Capital Management waited for more money to come in the door. Then the California-based outfit’s local co-developer, Dallas-based BDRC Partners, abruptly quit the mixed-use project. And, a few days later, Drever Capital filed suit against BDRC in Dallas County district court, alleging the former co-developer had swiped office equipment and other stuff when it split.

So, when somebody mentioned around 4 p.m. Wednesday that The Drever would be giving people a tour of the building in one hour—and that “children and friends were welcome”—another D journalist and I decided to walk a few blocks over to the project on Elm Street to have a look.

Arriving at 1401 Elm we joined the throngs flocking in through the old skyscraper’s parking garage, rode the elevator up to what’s supposed to be the ballroom of a Thompson Hotel on the fourth or fifth floor, and joined a buzzing crowd there of 100 people or more. We skipped the long check-in line and sort of milled around awhile, waiting for the tour to start. I spotted some well-known commercial real estate types—Mary Stoner, Bob Young—cooling their heels, too. Then suddenly everyone was being ushered into another part of the big shell space, where Maxwell Drever, the mustachioed, bow-tie-wearing, septuagenarian building owner, was handed a microphone and began to speak.

Before Maxwell could say too much, though, a woman I’d never met in person—Jeanne Culver of Culver Public Relations, who represents Drever—came hustling up out of the blue. “Hi, Glenn,” she said. “Jeanne Culver. What are you doing here?” I said I was getting ready to listen to Mr. Drever talk. “Were you invited?” Jeanne asked. I said we’d just walked over from the D office, because we’d heard at the last minute that there was a tour. “Yeah. I don’t think you were invited,” Jeanne said. “This is a private event for investors. There will be a lot of confidential information for the investors. Sorry! Yeah.”

With that, Jeanne cut us out of the crowd and led us back to the elevator. “I’d love for you to stay,” she said. “But there’s some confidential information that will be shared. Would you like me to schedule some time to talk to Maxwell this week? Let me know. Thanks so much. ‘Bye!”

Talk about being rejected at the high school prom!

Since the city of Dallas is coughing up $50 million in incentive money to renovate the place, I sort of thought we had a right to see how our tax dollars are being spent, at the least. (The project’s also receiving millions of dollars in state and federal tax credits.) Obviously, the developer didn’t agree. BTW, Jeanne, anytime Friday afternoon would be good for the interview with Maxwell.

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