Video Player is loading.
Remaining Time -0:00
This is a modal window.
Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.
Font Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall Caps
Reset restore all settings to the default valuesDone
Close Modal Dialog
End of dialog window.
When the First National Bank tower opened in 1965, it was the largest skyscraper in Dallas and the tallest building west of the Mississippi.
More than a half century later, redevelopment of the 1.5 million-square-foot office tower on Elm Street is the biggest building redevelopment ever attempted in Texas.
For a while, it looked like the deal would fall through.
The building has been empty since 2010, and developers have been working to find a new life for the vacant downtown tower for almost a decade.
The first proposals to restore the black glass and white marble high-rise were estimated at close to $125 million.
Three owners later, the price tag had doubled.
And progress on the building slowed to a trickle because of a lack of funding.
With a new developer and investors on board to finally complete the job, the cost of repurposing the downtown tower has soared to almost $450 million.
To hang on to $150 million in historic tax credits and Dallas economic incentives, developer Shawn Todd must have the project mostly completed by the end of next year.
"We’ll have 500 to 600 people a day working on the building to get it done," Todd said. "The city’s building inspection department is working with us to maintain this tight timeline.
"Everyone at City Hall understands how important this project is to Dallas."
The vacant skyscraper surrounded by construction fencing has been a drag on that area of downtown — a dead zone surrounded by active office, residential and retail properties.
The First National Bank tower is the last major building in downtown Dallas not to be redone.
"Ten years ago, we were looking at 40 vacant buildings downtown," said Kourtny Garrett, CEO of the economic development group Downtown Dallas Inc. "I thought it would be much later in my career that this was the last downtown building to be redeveloped.
"We are filling in all the gaps."
The price tags for redoing downtown Dallas’ landmark buildings have soared.
Redevelopment of downtown’s 31-story Mercantile National Bank tower — completed in 2009 — cost more than $140 million, including construction of an adjoining 16-story apartment building.
The restoration of the landmark Statler Hotel — converted to apartments and a hotel — totaled more than $250 million.
Redevelopment of the First National Bank tower will run more than both of those projects combined.
With no other large vacant downtown Dallas buildings to reboot, the First National Bank project will probably be unchallenged as the largest redo on the city’s skyline.
"We’ve run out of the big ones to redo — just a few small ones left here and there," said David Preziosi, director of Preservation Dallas. "It’s a good problem to have, getting all these buildings reused."
Construction workers pose for a photograph as renovation restarts at First National Bank Tower in downtown Dallas.