Dallas to Get New Office Tower in Skyline

Oct. 12--Developers plan to break ground in January on what will be the tallest office tower yet in Dallas' booming Uptown district.

The 27-story Saint Ann Court will include 320,000 square feet of luxury office space plus restaurants and shops.

The glass and masonry tower will be constructed between the Crescent and the Victory project and will take about 18 months to build, officials with developer Harwood International said Wednesday.

"Our building will have 17 stories of office space above 10 floors of parking," said Harwood International founder and CEO Gabriel Barbier-Mueller. "We are now talking with several tenants who are interested in the building."

Rents in the building will start at $32 per square foot. That compares with about $23 on average in Uptown.

"We just did a lease for $37 in our Harwood International Center IV building, and we are full," said Mr. Barbier-Mueller.

Since starting in 1984 with the Rolex Building, Harwood International has constructed just under 1 million square feet of office space along McKinnon Street in Uptown.

The Saint Ann Court tower will be on an adjoining block at Harry Hines Boulevard and Moody Street. The developer has owned the land since 1999.

The property includes the historic Saint Ann's school building, which Harwood International plans to include in its project. The oldest part of the school was built in 1927.

Harwood International plans to use parts of the old Catholic school as restaurant, retail and art gallery space.

"We want it to be an amenity center, not just for our building, but the entire neighborhood," Mr. Barbier-Mueller said.

Architects for the high-rise include Chicago-based Perkins & Will and Dallas' BOKA Powell.

Mr. Barbier-Mueller said the top seven floors of the office tower have been designed for high-end tenants that want deluxe, secure offices.

"At the top we have smaller spaces and penthouses," ranging from 6,000 to 14,000 square feet, he said. "We are putting in outside terraces with fireplaces and patios.

"There will be a grove of trees on the 27th floor."

Those offices are being targeted to financial, professional services and legal firms -- along with wealthy individuals.

"Each of those offices will have their own garden" near the top of the building, said Harwood International leasing officer Nathan Durham. Those will remain single-tenant floors.

"We want to offer something that no one in the other buildings can give," he said.

Harwood International hopes that its elaborate architecture can set the project apart in an Uptown office market that is becoming crowded. A half-dozen office projects are either under construction or planned in the neighborhood north of downtown.

It's an area where Harwood International is already one of the largest builders.

Along with its office tower complex at McKinnon and Moody, the developer is constructing the nearby 31-story Azure condominium tower.

And Harwood International has land for more office and residential buildings.

"I don't think anyone will recognize Uptown in 10 years," Mr. Barbier-Mueller said. "If you believe that Dallas will continue to see job growth, we think we will benefit from that."


Copyright (c) 2006, The Dallas Morning News Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.