How Craig Hall got Hall Arts off the Ground

Hall Arts KPMG Rendering
September 19, 2013 | News

BY CANDACE CARLISLE | DALLAS BUSINESS JOURNAL | – It’s been nearly two decades since Craig Hall bought the 5-acre site in the Art District for his legacy project: A three-building mixed-use project named Hall Arts.

In that time Hall built the relationships that led to the project’s groundbreaking Wednesday, at which he announced Texas-based Jackson Walker LLP had signed a lease for 104,000 square feet of space at Hall Arts, which will be namedKPMG Plaza.

Earlier this year, KPMG initially leased 150,000 square feet of space in the 18-story tower. This summer, UMB Bank, a subsidiary of UMB Financial Corp., alsosigned a lease in the tower for a loan production office.

Along with the office leases, longtime Dallas chef Stephan Pyles, who once catered Craig and Kathryn Hall‘s wedding, announced he planned to move his namesake restaurant from Ross Avenue to the space directly across Flora Street, which faces entrances to the Meyerson Symphony Center and the Winspear Opera House.

The restaurant was an important win for the building, said David Palmer, executive vice president and head of development for Cencor Realty Services.

“Craig said, ‘Great office buildings always have great restaurants,’ and that’s this restaurant,” said Palmer, who represented Pyles, along with Michelle Caplan of The Weitzman Group. “Stephan has a desire to take his namesake and properly size it.”

Pyles will downsize from about 10,000 square feet off Ross Avenue to about 5,500 square feet within KPMG Plaza. Pyles was driven by his longtime relationship with Craig Hall, as was The Weitzman Group, who was selected to market another 6,000-square-foot restaurant space in KPMG Plaza, along with a coffee shop space.

“We’re going to market this space nationally, with everything going on, it’s a prominent opportunity,” Palmer said. “The center of downtown has moved to the Arts District; it’s right at the epicenter of what’s going on in Dallas.”

Hall bought the 5-acre, two-city block site in 1995, after a plan to develop two 50-story office towers failed during a recession. Hall, and his company Hall Financial Group, has been patiently waiting to start the three-building project, which will enhance the Arts District, Palmer said.

CBRE’s Phil Puckett, Jeff Ellerman and Michelle Donaldson represented Jackson Walker in the deal. Hall Financial Group’s Kim Butler represented the landlord.

The initial phase of Hall Arts, the 18-story tower at 2323 Ross Ave. totaling 450,000 square feet, is roughly 50 percent preleased. The project is slated for completion in spring 2015.

Eddie Abeyta of Dallas-based HKS Inc. is the project’s chief design architect. Turner Construction is the general contractor for the initial tower.

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