News Article | 8/6/2011

Perot makes development play on Turtle Creek

Ross Perot Jr.’s Hillwood real estate company has just bought the largest development site in Dallas’ exclusive Turtle Creek neighborhood.

The 6-acre vacant tract is between Turtle Creek and the Katy Trail at Bowen Street.

Hillwood bought the building site, which is large enough for two or three towers, from Classic Residence by Hyatt. Hyatt had planned to build a luxury retirement high-rise on the property but tabled those plans in 2008 because of economic conditions. Hyatt bought the property in 2004 and planned to build two residential towers of about 20 stories each.

The Turtle Creek tract is about a mile from Hillwood’s Victory Park development in Uptown.

Officials with Hillwood Investment Properties confirmed the purchase on Friday but said there are “no immediate plans” to develop the tract.

“The parcel is one of the few large undeveloped sites in the Turtle Creek-Uptown area and is zoned for building rights of approximately 1 million square feet,” a company spokesman said in a prepared statement.

 The Oak Lawn property would accommodate some of the same kinds of office and residential tower developments that Hillwood has done at Victory.

The just-acquired property is across the creek from the Mansion on Turtle Creek hotel and condominium tower.

Dallas real estate broker Newt Walker, who sold the land to Hyatt and represented Hillwood in the latest purchase, was out of the country this week and could not be reached for details.

Other real estate brokers say that Hillwood looked at several potential sites in the Turtle Creek corridor before settling on the Bowen Street tract.

Terms of the Hillwood purchase were not disclosed in legal records. The land is valued for taxes at $9.25 million.

At one time the vacant block was home to several low- and mid-rise office buildings that were demolished more than 10 years ago.

As a part of zoning for the tract, the city of Dallas has authorized an extension of Gillespie Street with a new bridge to give direct access to the property from Turtle Creek Boulevard and the Mansion hotel.

Hillwood still owns several large development sites in Victory Park. But the commercial builder and developer gave up its ownership stake in the buildings in the project to German investors who financed the deal.

While the office projects at Victory have done well, the condominium buildings have not met expectations, and much of the retail space is still vacant.