Vacant downtown Dallas tower getting its first tenants in almost two decades


The 211 N. Ervay building, a mid-century office high-rise, has been both derided and praised for its bright blue exterior. The tower has been empty since the 1990s.

Published:A�12 May 2014 08:59 PM

Updated:A�12 May 2014 09:46 PM

Expanding entrepreneurial firms are turning the lights on in a Dallas office tower than went dark almost 20 years ago.

The companies are moving from Dallasa�� Uptown district to the empty 211 N. Ervay tower downtown.

Ita��s the 18-story mid-century office high-rise that has been both derided and praised for its bright blue exterior.

The new tenants say they are just fine with that eye-popping exterior. Tech Wildcatters and Health Wildcatters, which foster start-up firms, are taking two floors.

a�?These groups have bought into Dallasa�� core and are making an investment there,a�? said real estate broker B.D. Amend. The Amend Group represented the companies in their leases of the tower. a�?The owners are scrambling to get the building ready.a�?

The firms and some of their related companies plan to be in the building July 1.

a�?The first time we saw the building we marked it off our list because everybody said it couldna��t be ready in time,a�? said Tech Wildcattersa�� co-founder Gabriella Draney. a�?But they are moving at a rocket pace.a�?

Draney said the companies also looked at potential locations in West Dallas and Deep Ellum before deciding to move downtown. She expects other companies seeking start-up and collaborative office space to follow their lead.

a�?It will define where the start-up communitya��s epicenter is,a�? said Carl Soderstrom, one of the founders of both Tech Wildcatters and Health Wildcatters. a�?The citya��s concept of an entrepreneurial village could happen in this building.a�?

Not a lot has been happening at 211 N. Ervay for a long time.

Constructed in 1958 by famed Dallas developer Leo Corrigan, the building with its two-tone blue metal panels has been derelict since the 1990s.

A series of developers looked at renovating the tower for apartments or hotel space. But a lack of parking in the structure stifled those plans.

In 2012 investment group Alterra International Holdings acquired 211 N. Ervay and has been looking at a variety of uses.

Businessman Mike Sarimsakci, who represents the investment partnership that owns the building, said hea��s talking to other office tenants and has a furniture store retailer that wants part of the ground floor.

a�?We are working on the building and will move very fast,a�? said Sarimsakci, whoa��s taking the top floor of the tower for himself.

Sarimsakci said hea��s arranged parking for the office tenants in nearby garages and at another property he controls a few blocks away at 500 S. Ervay.

He plans to run a shuttle bus between the two locations. a�?We are in the process of acquiring a double-decker bus,a�? Sarimsakci said.




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