A well-known Dallas mixed-use high-rise complex will be receiving major upgrades. Intended to touch every exterior edge of the mixed-use development, Crescent Property Services plans to spend more than $30 million to upgrade The Crescent with an emphasis on opening the office towers and adjacent hotel, retail and entertainment amenities as a gathering space for Dallas’ Uptown neighborhood. The first major renovation since its 1986 completion, the $30 million investment follows nearly $15 million spent during the past three years enhancing the property, increasing energy reliability and efficiency, and improving customer mobility.
Designed by John Burgee and Pritzker Prize-winning architect Philip Johnson, The Crescent opened as a self-contained, mixed-use project with full-service amenities for workers and guests. As Uptown Dallas evolved as an energetic, urban hotspot in recent years – with condos and apartments, retail and top restaurants, a flourishing Dallas Arts District and the popular Klyde Warren Park nearby – auto and pedestrian traffic in Uptown has risen dramatically. Recognizing that positive progression, The Crescent will focus on creating greater street presence to attract Uptown’s ever-growing crowds to its dining and retail outlets.
“The Crescent is Dallas’ most prestigious address in the region’s most vibrant market – Uptown,” said John Zogg, managing director for Crescent Real Estate Equities. “We have three of the best designed office towers with adjacent upscale shopping and premier hotels and restaurants on 11 acres in the heart of Uptown. We are opening our arms to the neighborhood – embracing our great neighbors and welcoming them to work, shop and dine with us.”
Historically, the nearly 11-acre self-contained complex appeared isolated from the neighborhood. Thick stone walls and iron grillwork gates projected an exclusive and internally focused business. The upgrades will signal an open and inclusive office space and fashionable retail atrium that will encourage residents and visitors to drop by for a bite to eat, to grab a coffee, meet with friends or do some shopping. Changes will include outdoor courtyards with open gardens and terraces serving as gathering spaces and facilitating community access.
Renovation plans to the 28-year-old complex call for a new storefront for retail outlet, Stanley Korshak, plus larger, more enticing window displays with revolving, eye-catching merchandise showcased against white-box backdrops. Palomino restaurant will get a street entrance and more outdoor seating. The revamp and “greening” of the motor court – located between the office buildings, the Rosewood Crescent Hotel and entertainment spaces – will involve the removal of curbs and the “Stonehenge-like structure” that dominates the center. Pavers and stained concrete will be installed; high rise live oak and river birch trees will be planted to create a piazza-like, tree-lined drive and pedestrian walkway; and new signage will be installed throughout the entire project.
Knowing that Dallasites are eager for parks and green space, The Crescent has recruited The Office of James Burnett, who crafted the award-winning Klyde Warren Park, to create the landscape design, which includes turning unused areas of the complex into intimate spots for relaxation and fun. At the corner of Pearl Street, an old bank drive-through will be removed, and visitors will find new landscaping, benches, moveable furniture, an event deck and even an activity lawn with game equipment to play bocce ball. The Office of James Burnett also handled the landscape design for two neighboring Crescent properties spread over 20 acres in the heart of Uptown – The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas, and McKinney & Olive (which opens in 2016).
Other improvements include elegant, ground-level lighting of the buildings. The lobbies in the office towers are also getting a makeover with new furniture and rugs, art and a wall of TVs. The lobbies will become user-friendly hubs where workers can hold a quick meeting or catch up on work.
Also coming to The Crescent are new retail options, one of which was announced earlier this week. Ascension, the extremely popular coffee house and wine bar that originated in the Dallas Design District, will open its second location this spring. Described by Zagat as one of the “hottest coffee shops in 15 U.S. cities,” Ascension will occupy approximately 2,900 square feet adjacent to the Bank of America offices at the 200 Lobby fronting the motor court, making it 50 percent larger than the original location.
The Crescent renovation is slated to begin before the end of the year with completion projected for mid-2016.
Area residents will see the architecture enhanced with a combination of New York-style retail windows and European plazas and terraces that feature improved lighting and access, according to Andre Staffelbach and Jo Staffelbach Heinz, founder and president, respectively, of Staffelbach design firm. The Staffelbach firm worked on The Crescent when it was built in the early 1980s and has been involved ever since in the evolution of the office space and retail atrium. Staffelbach adds that the firm will ensure renovations maintain the integrity of Philip Johnson’s design.
“Every great city has one or two buildings that people know. In Dallas, people know The Crescent,” said Staffelbach.
Staffelbach added that the exclusive Philip Johnson design with its European influence of courtyards and plazas has served The Crescent well for decades. However, with the evolution of Uptown Dallas as a vibrant, popular neighborhood, The Crescent will open its plazas, retail outlets and office space to the community.
“The synergy of activity has created a bustling urban scene of young people who live in Uptown resulting in pedestrian traffic visiting entertainment venues,” Heinz said. According to Heinz, Uptown Dallas activity has been sparked by increased events at the American Airlines Center, nightly events in the Dallas Arts District, and the popularity of Klyde Warren Park, all within blocks and walking distance of The Crescent.
The Crescent – which totals approximately 1.3 million rentable square feet in three contiguous buildings with a 19-story center structure, two adjoining 18-story structures and a retail atrium – ushered in the development of Uptown, according to Peter Beck, executive director of The Beck Group. The Dallas-based construction firm not only built The Crescent but will handle the extensive renovations.
“When Caroline Hunt selected this site for The Crescent, I believe she had a vision others did not see at the time – a unique location that would develop Uptown before there was an Uptown,” Beck said. “She committed to other features – distinctive architecture and the finest building materials and elegant design touches.”
He adds that it is “exciting that Crescent Real Estate recognized and committed to sustaining the building’s advantages – location, architecture and superior building materials and interior design.”
The Crescent features a dual-feed power supply. In 2010, more than $2 million was invested to provide a true two-feed power source to protect customers in case of a main line power outage. The secondary power source protects customers who could be materially affected even during brief power outages.
In 2013, The Crescent invested $7.4 million to become the first office complex in Dallas to install Schindler’s PORT (Personal Occupant Requirement Terminal) elevator technology that is designed to move customers faster and more efficiently. Port elevator technology is more energy efficient, reducing energy consumption for elevators nearly 35 percent.
The Crescent has been a U.S. EPA Energy Star Top Performer since 2008 and in 2010 earned LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) under the existing buildings category.