Mehrdad Moayedi is nearing the end of his three-year, $230 million renovation of the historic Statler Hilton in downtown Dallas. He bought the iconic hotel in 2014 with $46.5 million in TIF financing and has almost completed making it into a totally glam live-work-play-stay destination again. What does Mehrdad need now?
Another project! And the one where the Beatles stayed when they visited Dallas!
So his company, Centurion American, has their eyes and about $8.1 million on the old Cabana Motor Hotel, the 55-year-old midcentury relic on Stemmons Freeway.
Mehrdad plans to gut the 10-story hotel building and bring it back to its original glory. Place has been vacant for years. Well, it housed a county detention center before it was shuttered and put on the market by Dallas County as surplus property. A few sex offenders might still be there. The hotel, right across Stemmons from Victory Park, has seen better days, but the potential is huge.
This could be really great news for the county, since previous developers did not pan out, including a deal to turn the property into a data center (a hotel is a much better use).
And, according to Robert Wilonsky, it’s a steal (hell yeah)!
The motel once owned by Doris Day, the landmark where Raquel Welch once worked as a cocktail waitress and where Jimi Hendrix used to stay when he came to Dallas, is now available at the low, low price of $7 million — which is just $1 million more than it cost to construct the “super-plush” joint back in 1961, according to our archives. That’s also a few million lower than the market value as set by the Dallas County Appraisal District, which says it’s worth $11,289,460. And, for what it’s worth, it’s also far less than the $9.2 million Dallas County paid for the property in 1985 — and not much more than the additional $5 million the county spent transforming it into a jail that wound up housing some 1,000 male and female inmates.
Hmmm. A $7 million price tag, Mehrdad’s paying $8.1? Who is bidding up that price? According to Steve Brown, who broke the story, Mehrdad says, thankfully, he really wants to preserve the century modern jewel:
“The hotel is going to stay a hotel,” Moayedi said. “We are going to give a big emphasis on a pool. It’s going to be like a Las Vegas pool.”
The developer, who also bought Phil Romano’s house on Strait Lane and completely, stunningly, renovated it, said he’s learned a lot about restoring old hotels with the Statler project. His firm has turned the 19-story Commerce Street Statler into apartments, retail, and hotel rooms. And the first Statler hotel rooms will be ready for a test drive later this month. The Cabana has a definite (old) Las Vegas vibe and look: it was constructed by Las Vegas developer Jay Sarno, who also built Caesar’s Palace and Circus Circus. Mehrdad is also planning to build a tower with 400 units of residential on the parking garage.
Moayedi said his ultimate plan is to market the property to millennials who want a one-of-a-kind place to stay, hang out and party. “There still be a lot of events,” he said. “There will be a big nightclub in there and a couple of restaurants.”