Decades-old Lincoln Center in Dallas is catching up
If you can exit the Dallas North toll freeway for a few minutes, take a look at Lincoln Center.
I know, you saw it. The tall silver towers of LBJ Freeway and the toll highway have been around for ages.
Believe me: they are worth a fresh look.
A multi-million dollar overhaul that is now coming to an end has brought Lincoln Center into the new century. Go through the doors and you’ll think you’ve come to the wrong place.
âI tell brokers to come and review it before bringing in a client or they’ll know you haven’t done the research,â said Matthew Schendle, executive managing director of commercial real estate company Cushman & Wakefield. “They won’t recognize the property.”
With 1.6 million square feet of office space and an attached Hilton hotel, Lincoln Center was the first major mixed-use real estate project built along the toll highway. It is still one of the largest, with three high-rise offices extending south of the corner of the LBJ highway.
Built from 1980, the 15, 17 and 19 story office towers were blocked in the 1980s until recently.
But a year of construction has redeveloped the offices, and Lincoln Center is ready for workers returning after a year at home during the pandemic.
The low occupancy of the buildings during the COVID-19 pandemic actually helped with the reconstruction, Schendle said.
âWe were able to speed up a lot of things because the occupancy rate was low,â he said. “It’s a credit that the owners kept an eye on the ball and fed.”
Lincoln Center is owned by New York-based Nuveen, one of the nation’s largest real estate investors.
âLincoln Center is a premier office campus for corporate headquarters and best-in-class tenants,â said Lauren LaFever, senior partner at Nuveen. âThe repositioning and refurbishment work has been incredibly successful, further improving key equipment offerings and improving the overall experience. “
The redevelopment completely reset the interior spaces and grounds surrounding the Lincoln Center office towers.
The most striking changes are the exterior spaces on the west side of the building. A reflecting pool has been replaced by a park, outdoor relaxation areas and a dining terrace.
âWhere there was a body of water, we dropped a park on it so that we now have green space,â Schendle said. âIt has been a huge hit with tenants.
There are areas for outdoor exercise classes, a fire pit, and smaller water features.
âWe have installed a dining room that opens onto a patio that also opens onto a park,â said Schendle. “We formulated this new smack dab space in the middle of the project.”
Inside the buildings, there’s a huge new fitness center, conference center, and lavish lobby lounge and work spaces.
The new food court replaces a dark lobby with seating, dining facilities, and a bar.
A wine bar and take-out coffee are still in the works for the lobby.
âThis will be the last piece of the puzzle completed by the end of the year,â said Schendle. âWe are 85% or 90% finished. “
Also still under construction is a large entrance on the east side of the towers.
Before, skyscrapers had poorly defined entrances between parking lots. âIt was a concrete jungle there,â Schendle said. “The orientation has been a train wreck here because it’s such a big project.”
The new entrance is hard to miss with its white louvered overhang and drop-off area for visitors.
âThe walk here is one of the last pieces and it will probably be finished by the end of July,â said Schendle. “We will rearrange the promenade and add furniture and shade.”
Cushman & Wakefield leases and operates the Lincoln Center. Offices are approximately 90% leased.
Scott & Reid General Contractors is the construction company for the renovation project.
Entos Design was the architect for the renovations. It is also a major tenant of Lincoln Center. âThey walked in and said, as a tenant let us tell you what we wish we had,â Schendle said. “It gave them a head start.”
Redoing it is already bearing fruit, with recent major office leases by Huitt-Zollars Inc. and Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages.
âWe organize up to four property tours in one day,â said Schendle. âWe are seeing a steady increase in activity.
Nuveen recently purchased the Lincoln Center Hilton hotel and is still planning a major overhaul there as well. The hotel’s original modern interiors were replaced at one point by a miserable Texas Hill County vibe.
âThey are going to be doing a major renovation starting in the fall,â said Schendle. “Entering the hotel now is like a warp of time.”