News Article | 3/6/2006

Hillwood Reels In House of Blues

DALLAS-After three years of trying to land the deal, Hillwood has secured a 60,000-sf, long-term lease with House of Blues. If the plan stays on track, the Los Angeles-based operator will open doors on its first music hall in Texas by the end of this year or early 2007 in the historic White Swan Building.

“We always wanted House of Blues to do a venue here,” says Jonas Woods, president of Hillwood Capital. “But, it wasn’t until they saw all the momentum at Victory that they were ready to make a commitment.” Plans stalled a couple years ago to include House of Blues in Victory’s West Plaza building, but talks picked up again about six months ago with HOB Entertainment Inc.

Woods says the White Swan Building at 2200 N. Lamar St. is now jointly owned by Hillwood and Tomlinson-Leis Corp. He tells that $25 million will be invested into an adaptive reuse of the building, which rose in stages between 1900 and 1924 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Woods says construction will begin by midyear. The fa├žade will be maintained and the interior gutted to make way for a 200-seat restaurant, 1,600- to 1,800-seat live music hall, private club and Green Room, the traditional hang-out for artists waiting to take the stage. “There isn’t any venue in Dallas that delivers live music in an environment like this,” Woods says.

HOB simultaneously was negotiating with Hillwood and a development partnership in Houston for 43,000 sf in the $200-million Houston Pavilions, a 700,000-sf mixed-use project in the CBD, but that project won’t be ready to open until fourth-quarter 2007. Until now, HOB and Hillwood weren’t discussing the deal for Dallas, but it’s time to put out the word now that plans have been submitted at city hall. The Victory win makes Dallas the 12th city in the operator’s concert circuit.