Dunhill Partners and Bill Hutchinson sell properties in the Dallas Design District
Dunhill Partners, the developer of the recent renewal and development of the Dallas Design District, has sold its properties to HN Capital, a Dallas-based investment firm, and McCourt Partners of New York.
As part of the transaction, Dunhill founder Bill Hutchinson, who faces sexual assault charges in Texas and California, also sold his investment in the Design District.
Vipin Nambiar, managing partner of HN Capital, a real estate investment firm he founded in 2017 after working with Hunt Investment Corp. for 15 years, confirmed the transaction but did not disclose the price.
The sale includes the Dallas Decorative Center on Hi Line Drive and the Dallas Design Center on Stemmons Freeway, which together house more than 100 tenants, interior design showrooms, art galleries and restaurants, including Carbone , Tango Room and Markowitz Fine Art Gallery.
Together, the properties have approximately 800,000 square feet of showroom, restaurant and retail space on 40 acres. About 3 acres are undeveloped.
Virgin Hotels Dallas and Dunhill Apartments are not part of the sale. HN Capital is also an original development partner of Virgin Hotels Dallas, and in 2019 also partnered with Dunhill to purchase the W Dallas Victory Hotel, a 252-room luxury hotel that anchors Victory Park.
“The Design District has been a thriving showroom community for decades, and we would like to celebrate that as the canvas and soul of the neighborhood, while realizing the business realities of growing Dallas,” Nambiar said. “Our job here is to bring complementary commercial and entertainment uses around this long-term base to thoughtfully activate this one-of-a-kind area.”
Dunhill will have no ownership rights and has been hired to lease it.
“We will remain closely involved with the neighborhood and its future growth as we continue to manage and lease the neighborhood,” said Andy Crosland, president of Dunhill Partners. “We are extremely pleased with the successful sale of the Dallas Design District. This is a milestone achievement for our team and our investors and will have a lasting impact on an iconic Dallas property.
Crosland was promoted to chairman of Dunhill Partners last summer. Hutchinson retains a stake in Dunhill Partners and sits on the board, but has stepped away from day-to-day operations. Dunhill owns and/or manages 6 million square feet of shopping centers and hotels across Texas and the United States
“For all of us involved, this has been the project of a lifetime,” Crosland said. “We are excited to turn a valuable project into an HN Capital Partners sponsored venture for its next chapter.”
Nambiar was previously a Managing Director at Hunt Investments and Hunt Realty, and his HN Capital focuses on property development, hotel investments and distressed real estate. Nambiar is also developing the Red Bluff neighborhood in east Austin.
McCourt Partners is a partnership between Frank H. McCourt Jr., President and CEO of McCourt Global, and Mark Walter, Founder and CEO of private investment firm Guggenheim Partners.
Asked about the timing of the sale and whether it had to do with Hutchinson’s legal issues, Crosland said, “It’s unrelated.”
The Design District sale “has been explored over several years and is a celebratory and successful outcome for our investors,” Crosland said.
The Design District’s vision was originally that of Hutchinson. In 2014, Hutchinson led Dunhill’s purchase of much of the Design District and developed Virgin Hotels Dallas, which opened in 2019.
Dunhill’s work in the district over the past seven years has been the catalyst for further development. The neighborhood, which sits across from Victory Park and the American Airlines Center, has grown with apartments, offices, retail, public spaces and trails.
The neighborhood — which is bordered by I-35E to the north and east, Wycliff Avenue and the Trinity River Levee to the west, and Continental Avenue to the south — is home to approximately 350 businesses.
Hutchinson, who appeared in a reality television series called Marry Millions, was sued last fall by a woman who said he sexually assaulted her twice. Moreover, last summer, criminal charges were brought against him by the Highland Park police. He is accused of assaulting a teenager at his home. Authorities in Orange County, Calif., filed one count of rape and five misdemeanor counts of sexual assault against Hutchinson for allegations involving the same teenager and another girl. He pleaded not guilty.
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