Growing up in Dallas, I associated the West End with Dallas Alley, the Fudgery, and Planet Hollywood. Fast forward a few years and the neighborhood is in the midst of a major redevelopment with the focus no longer on tourism but on technology—technology being implemented into the historic neighborhood and technology tenants taking office space in the West End. So what’s the draw for these tech tenants?
The West End has always had live-work-play amenities with restaurants, retail, hotels, entertainment, and a DART station within walking distance. However, the neighborhood now offers something that no other area in Dallas can—the West End is its own “smart city.” The Dallas Innovation Alliance partnered up with the City of Dallas and companies like AT&T and Cisco to implement smart city technologies exclusively in the West End. From public WiFi, smart parking, interactive kiosks, and intelligent LED lighting, the historic neighborhood has a whole new edge to it. With the use of technology, tenants can live-work-play in a more efficient and connected way. Next up is the development of a smart public park to integrate green space with tech components in the middle of the neighborhood.
Another major draw for tech tenants is the unique architecture of the office buildings. Creative office space is a very popular term right now. Landlords will remove ceiling tiles, expose ceiling, and say its creative office space. But the West End buildings offer much more than an exposed ceiling. Thanks to new ownership like Crescent Real Estate, Granite Properties, Lincoln Property Co., and Spear Street Capital, the historic brick and timber buildings from the early 1900s have been carefully and strategically renovated to respect the character that fosters a genuinely inspiring environment. As these tech tenants look to recruit and retain talent in a competitive market, they want office space that stands out, reflects their brand, and bolsters creativity and collaboration. The West End does this effortlessly.
The Luminary is a great example of integrating innovation in a historic market. The seven-story office project just topped out and will deliver over 80,000 square feet of new office space to the West End in January 2019. Being in a preservation district and infill market, the Luminary is one of the last opportunities to add new office to the West End. Crescent was strategic with their office design to aesthetically respect the brick and timber neighborhood while designing the building to include all the latest and greatest building technologies.
Ruth Griggs is a Vice President with the JLL Landlord Leasing Group in Dallas.