Development

Partner ‘No Longer Associated’ With Redo of Iconic Downtown Tower

There is another obstacle at the vacant First National Bank Building on Elm. Plus, marble work has been slowed pending a new loan with reduced interest rates.

Dallas-based BDRC Partners, which had been helping redevelop the iconic, long-vacant First National Bank Building at 1401 Elm Street downtown, has abruptly pulled out of the project. “As of Monday, March 6, 2017, BDRC Partners, Bryan Dorsey, and Christi Smith, are no longer associated with Drever Capital Management, Drever 1401 LLL, or any of its related entities,” BDRC said in a statement provided to D CEO Real Estate.

The Drever project in downtown Dallas.
The Drever project in downtown Dallas.

Maxwell Drever, the founder of California-based Drever Capital, who bought the 52-year-old, Elm Street building out of bankruptcy last year, referred questions about BDRC’s move to Jeanne Culver of Culver Public Relations in Dallas. “I honestly don’t know what happened” with BDRC, Culver said. “I do know there was never a deal signed between them. … It’s business as usual at The Drever.”

Rumors had surfaced in recent days about funding difficulties affecting subcontractors at the Elm Street building, which has been renamed The Drever. With the help of $50 million in tax increment financing from the city of Dallas, plans call for the 1.5-million-square-foot tower to be redeveloped with multifamily residences, office and retail space, and a luxury hotel.

Drever Capital had turned to Bryan Dorsey, CEO of BDRC Partners in Dallas, to partner on the $240 million redevelopment, which has been aiming for a mid-2018 completion date. BDRC had been a co-seller of the building together with New York-based Olympic Property. Noah Drever, managing partner of Drever Capital and Maxwell’s son, said the new owners had pumped $53 million into the project so far.

According to reports, workers recently completed the removal of more than 5.6 million square feet of asbestos material from the 52-story building. Waco-based ARC Abatement, which handled the asbestos-removal phase, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Neither did Andres Construction, the project’s construction manager; or Merriman Anderson/Architects, the building architect.

However, Culver said one of the project’s next major phases—involving the refinishing of the distinctive Greek marble work that was used in the original building—was “slowed down some” beginning last Friday, pending procurement of a new loan with reduced interest rates.

Reached earlier in the day, Noah Drever said he’d heard the rumors about the project’s funding. But he contended that such talk is “just human nature”—and there’s nothing to it.

“We’re not behind on payment. In fact, we’ve really accelerated the funding of construction on the deal so that we don’t lose time,” Drever said. “We’re working now on the term sheet for the construction lender. You add in the equity and the historic tax credits and the TIF, and it adds more complexity to the capital stack. But, we expect to get the deal fully funded … in the next month or 45 days.”

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