Why These Luxury Apartments Coming to Downtown Dallas Benefit Us All
Downtown Dallas is reinventing itself once again, and it’s a welcome change.
The city’s supply of apartments is scarce, driving up rents for everyone. But what the city has in abundance, and has had for more than a decade, is an assortment of largely vacant downtown offices. According to an analysis of the data, office space occupied more than half of the real estate in the central business district in 2021, and today about a third is empty. So it’s an encouraging sign for our housing market to see these downtown towers emerging from hibernation into desperately needed apartments that will revitalize downtown.
Our colleague Steve Brown reports that some 80 acres of empty offices will become luxury apartments. Developers will renovate nearly half of the 40-story Bryan Tower, 50-story Santander Tower, 56-story Renaissance Tower and 49-story Energy Plaza, and inject hundreds of rental units into the downtown.
The apartments will be designed for high-income earners such as the thousands of employees coming to Goldman Sachs’ new office which will be located just north of the city center. As these luxury apartments come online, fewer people will be competing in Dallas’ tight rental market, many of which come from places like California where rents and the cost of living are much higher. higher than those in North Texas.
Yes, we have an affordability problem across the city. But people are moving to North Texas for jobs, and less than 3% of the Dallas area’s total apartment supply is currently vacant. Our region needs more housing at all income levels.
We hope the benefits of this new downtown luxury rental stock will trickle down to the Dallas real estate market. Redeveloped office buildings may well free up land elsewhere that could otherwise have been used to build new buildings for expensive living space. Best of all, upscale resorts don’t strip and replace apartment buildings with affordable rents.
And the locations that developers are turning into housing are prime places to live. They’re close to jobs and concentrated public transportation — benefits that can help further curb urban sprawl.
While the bulge of empty offices has damaged downtown Dallas’ reputation for decades, these spaces are now becoming an asset. This is a huge opportunity to effectively multiply our housing stock. Other cities experiencing a housing crisis are not so lucky.
We have already had some success. Todd Interests, the same entity behind the Energy Plaza renovations, converted the First National Bank tower into a 300+ apartment tower in 2020. As of March this year, 95% of the units were already rented, according to the reports of this newspaper.
This wave of real estate transformations will redo the city center for the better, and we are committed to it.
We welcome your thoughts in a letter to the editor. Consult the instructions and drop your letter here.