Landmark Davis Building Trades Hands, Retains Past Glory

By Georgiana Mihaila, Associate Editor Covering one full city block in the heart of Downtown Dallas’ Main Street District, the Davis Building has become an important part of The Bascom Group’s portfolio of 24 properties. The landmark building dates back to 1926, [...]

Covering one full city block in the heart of Downtown Dallas’ Main Street District, the Davis Building has become an important part of The Bascom Group’s portfolio of 24 properties.

The landmark building dates back to 1926, when its eastern part served as headquarters for the Republic National Bank; by 1931, the western extension was added, making it the largest office building in the state of Texas. Named after Wirt Davis, chairman of the bank that occupied its space for nearly three decades, the Davis building forms part of a core group of historic buildings in the vicinity of Main Street, including the Adolphus Hotel and the Magnolia Building.

The office building changed hands several times, and each new owner tried to restore the grandeur of the building, but none succeeded. It was not until 1997, when Hamilton Properties purchased it with plans for major renovation and conversion to apartments that its famous cupola was lit again for the first time in 49 years. The price of converting all of the vacant office space into 183 loft apartments cost Hamilton about $35 million and lasted nearly six years, but turned out quite successful as at the time of the sale the building was 95 percent leased. Yet Hamilton had not managed to restructure or replace the property’s financing by the time it came due last year, which led to the sale in September.

The acquisition process was led by Bascom Group’s Jeffrey Fuller, Han Jang and Paul Miskowicz, while the Balthrope Group of Institutional Property Advisors at Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services marketed the building for sale.

Bascom plans on keeping all of the luxurious amenities and unit interiors—the building features terrazzo flooring, black granite countertops, 12- to 20-foot ceilings, plaster and brick exposed walls, stained maple kitchen cabinetry, et cetera—and is confident that the features of the building coupled with its location will ensure good profit. But Bascom is not only relying on the building’s residential component but also on its 52,235 feet of premier retail space and the attached 12-level parking garage with direct access to the building.

A similar acquisition recently took place in Dallas’ Design District, where the 355-unit Alexan Design District was purchased by Camden Property Trust. Located on Oak Lawn Avenue and Hi Line Drive, the four-story rental community was developed in 2009 by Trammell Crow Residential and is now the biggest apartment complex in the District.