Nice to have this confirmed by the solidness that is Robert Wilonsky: Mehrdad Moayedi, one of the largest residential developers in North Texas, at least 677 lots brought up in 2012 from Dallas to Prosper, Celina, Frisco, McKinney and Aubrey, apparently is working a deal to buy the downtown Statler Hilton from Leobardo Trevino’s Ricchi Investment Group. Spoke to Mehrdad a few moments ago and he said yeah, the deal is not quite done — anyone in RE knows the deal is never done until the ink dries on signatures, TIF dollars, state historic tax credits, federal historic tax credits, all the due diligence is complete, etc. etc. But yes, his Centurion American Development Group is in the process of trying to buy the Statler downtown. If all goes down smoothly, Mehrdad will convert the historic 19 story, 800 room Statler to a boutique hotel and high-end residential with some retail component on the first floor, including a grocery store and movie theater.
Hallelujah! Seriously, that is just what downtown Dallas needs and it is about high time.
As you may know, I have given Mehrdad the title of “St. Stoneleigh” as he bought the Stoneleigh Residences out of bankruptcy for $4.5 million in 2010, got the place going vertical again last February, and is selling them like hotcakes but reduced the units to 70 from 120, to make them larger. Also every unit will be custom — no or few developer clone homes. My sources tell me Don Carter bought one of the penthouse floors.
Mehrdad also recently bought the remaining lots over at the Creeks of Preston Hollow, a beautiful super high end gated community on the cusp of Preston Hollow developed by Hillwood and populated with mega million dollar mansions owned by Hunter Mahan, Selim Bassoul and even Mehrdad himself! Last time I was there Centurion was getting a house underway.
Last August, Lew Wood, executive vice president of Henry S. Miller Brokerage Multifamily told me that Henry S. Miller received the listing on the historic former Statler Hilton and Old Dallas Central Library.
“As the lead broker with my team of Andrew Doster and Darden Orand, this will be a serious opportunity to feature this formidable former hotel with 715,000 square feet of building and twenty stories of concrete and glass,” he wrote in an email. “It is quite imposing. This former luxurious 1,001-key hotel, built in 1956, was designed by world renowned New York architect William Tabler. Tabler designed many of Conrad Hilton’s hotels, with the Statler being considered the most modern and uniquely-designed in the country at that time. Entertainers such as Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Elvis Presley performed at the famous Empire Room with their pipes still echoing to this day!”
The über cool redevelopment could include a chic hotel, lavish apartments, with amenities being out of this world, he said. Dallas architects Merriman & Associates designed a wonderful conceptual plan for the redevelopment.
“Views of Main Street Garden Park, Forest City’s Mercantile Place (The Merc, The Element, The Continental, and The Wilson), and University of North Texas School of Law contribute to this magnificent location in the heart of downtown Dallas,” he said. Then he suggested we get a mojito at the Meddlesome Moth to beat the 100 degree heat — alas, I was in Maine.
Wilonsky says about this time Lew told him someone had emerged as a buyer for the old Statler Hilton and the library. He apparently revealed who that was in front of the “Young Guns” from the Real Estate Council last week.
Wilonsky wrote that Wood says Centurion American has until October 28 to sign the deal or toss the contract.
“Some things still need to be nailed down, chief among them how to handle parking. Said Wood, Centurion American’s looking at two options: demolishing three stories of existing underground facilities, and acquiring nearby property with parking lots.
“The three stories underneath used to be the back-office stuff, the laundry facilities,” he said. “That’s all underground, and it’s huge, and it’ll all be demolished back to the library. They are now looking for adjacent parking to help development and so they can recapture some of that square footage.”
Parking, thank God. Because no matter how much we want to walk once we get down there, you still need a car to get yourself in downtown Dallas and parking there is the worst. If I know Mehrdad, he will make it work and do his homework. Recall that developer Jack Matthews (South Side on Lamar, the NYLO, the fabulously successful downtown Omni) tried to buy the Statler earlier this year but couldn’t make the deal work. Matthews said he loves the building, but couldn’t make the financials work.
Stay tuned — we may have a new nickname for Mehrdad: St. Statler.