Construction on Saint Paul Place’s improvements began in mid-2016, when the building’s owner, Quadrant Investment Properties, set out to bring the building up to speed with what today’s tenants are looking for. “Our focus is [on] what I call today’s new forward-thinking collaborative user,” said Chad Cook, managing member of Quadrant Investment Properties.
Quadrant acquired the 273,217-square-foot tower in downtown Dallas in February 2016, and completed the updates by year’s end. When Quadrant acquired the property, the building was 78.5 percent leased; now it’s 80 percent leased.
The improvements costing “several million dollars” included a new satellite deli offering healthier options and Method Coffee, which serves gourmet coffee. Cook said the new food and drink providers both are smaller, entrepreneurial groups—a partnership that works well with the culture that Quadrant would like to build.
The company then took a closer look at the building’s second floor, which was previously used as a large management office. The redesign would consolidate the management space, freeing up room to build out two conference centers and a tenant lounge, complete with an outdoor terrace overlooking the Dallas Museum of Art.
The third focus for updating Saint Paul Place has been reviewing its vacancies. “We basically addressed every vacancy, from the top of the building down,” Cook said. The concerning spaces would undergo construction that, upon completion, would provide a range of options for possible new tenants. Now, updated floors offer full-spec suites, partially built-out suites, and what Cook refers to as the building’s “creative white box”—shell spaces for larger tenants to design as they see fit. The company also reworked the common corridors and elevator lobbies on 12 floors of the 22-floor building.
In generating ideas for Saint Paul Place, Cook and his team toured buildings on the West Coast and East Coast. “If you go to the West Coast, you’ll see ‘creative office’ on leasing signs all over the place … ” Cook said. “Our theory was, if we do a lot of spaces at the same time … we’ll basically have shop set up for these creative forward-thinking tenants to come, and that creates your community, because we’ve learned those tenants like to be around other tenants that are similar.”
Such creative office space designs aren’t only being sought out by the technology world. “When you see some of these spaces, the first thing you think is tech startup. But when you dig in and actually look at who’s signing leases and using these spaces, it’s all shapes and colors,” Cook added. So, what sort of tenant might be looking for this type of space? Cook said it’s everyone from architecture firms to wealth management companies and, of course, tech-driven startups. D Magazine Partners also has its offices on the building’s top two floors, and it’s “clearly not a tech startup,” Cook said.
The parking ratio of 3:1000 also allows the building to be competitive with Uptown. The ratio is “pretty standard” for that market, said Jackie Fraker Marshall, vice president with CBRE. Adds Cook: “The Arts District is still a significant discount to a lot of the product in Uptown, most of it.” Leasing rates for the Saint Paul Place building range from $19 to $21, triple-net. CBRE’s team of Celeste Fowden, Jackie Fraker Marshall, and Ben Davis oversee leasing of the building.
Quadrant is pleased with the way the new spec suites have worked so far and plans to roll out more soon, targeting this summer or fall for completion of the next round.