News Article | 2/24/2006

Best Real Estate Deal of the Year: Victory Park

For years, Hillwood talked about its vision of developing a 75-acre, mixed-use complex called Victory Park around the first phase of its Victory project — the American Airlines Center. But when the economy dragged the commercial real estate market down in 2000, plans were put on hold. Delays, coupled with Related Urban Development Corp.’s pullout from the project in 2003, led many to wonder if anything would ever actually happen.

But in 2005, Hillwood and its development partner, Hicks Holdings L.L.C., silenced the critics with a $450 million, five-building second phase that includes more than 600 residential units, 175,000 square feet of retail space and 155,000 square feet of office space.

Momentum is pushing the project forward on all fronts. At full build-out, the $3 billion-plus development will sprawl over 33 city blocks and include more than 4,000 residential units and 4 million square feet of office and retail space.

In short, Victory Park is changing the face of downtown Dallas.

This summer, the first residents at Victory will be welcomed to the W Dallas Victory Hotel and Residences. Five other buildings are slated to open in 2006, kicking off what Hillwood Capital president Jonas Wood calls a neighborhood “unparalleled in this part of the country.”

About a dozen top restaurants and 35 stores will help provide a vibrant urban experience, including such names as Kenichi, Craft, N9NE Steakhouse, ghostbar, Quiksilver, Future sports, Luna De Noche Gourmet Grill, NOVE, Victory Tavern, Bliss, LFT, STUFF, Bella Flora and G-Star. Others joining the neighborhood include WFAA-TV (Channel 8), which will operate a street-front broadcast facility.

Hillwood also plans to move its corporate headquarters to Victory Plaza — a two-building, 155,000-square-foot office complex immediately south of the American Airlines Center. Huge outdoor media screens on the buildings’ exteriors will give the complex a “Times Square” feel.

Victory Park also will include the new Dallas Museum of Nature & Science, a $150 million project that’s expected to begin in 2009.

The entire urban district is expected to attract 17 million people a year — including many first-time visitors to Dallas.

“It’s a high-end, trendy, hip experience with a hotel and one-of-a-kind shops in a pedestrian-friendly environment,” said Phillip Jones, president and CEO of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau. “That adds an element that doesn’t exist now,” and as such will be a key selling point when the bureau markets “a new Dallas,” he added.

Residents who live in and near Victory Park also can take advantage of the top shopping, dining and entertainment venues.

The project is “a winning combination for the city, for tourism and for residents,” said Donna Harris, executive director, Uptown Dallas Association Inc. For residents of the thriving Uptown area, it brings another convenience to add to their chosen lifestyle, she said.

“Both Uptown and Victory Park will showcase a positive urban experience … to continue the growth and expansion of Dallas,” Harris said.