DALLAS-Dogging a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Todd Interests LP has closed on a historic piece of Downtown real estate after two years of following the dream. Details to the $100-million-plus, mixed-use plan will be finalized within 90 days for the five-story US Post Office building.

“We are going to capitalize on the craftsmanship, architecture and materials and compliment that with the best that Dallas has to offer in 2007 in craftsmanship, interior design and furniture and fixtures of the New Millennium,” says Shawn Todd, president of the Dallas-based investment group. The 123,602-sf landmark at 400 N. Ervay St. cost $1.5 million to complete in 1929 and is expected to easily top $100 million in value when the new owner’s done with it.

Todd Interests will be soloing on the redevelopment, which is anchored by a 25,000-sf lease with the GSA to keep the US Postal Service firmly rooted in place. “We’ve been under contract two years, getting every government approval,” Todd says, citing the city, state and national processes for nailing a deed to a National Register property. He tells GlobeSt.com thatthat the balance of the historic structure is being charted for retail, restaurant and entertainment space, 40,000 sf to 60,000 sf of class A office and roughly 40 residential units. A project name is among the still-to-come decisions.

“We feel like we’ve been entrusted with a tremendous responsibility,” Todd says. “The unique, timeless design elements both on the interior and exterior of the building afford a lot of opportunities to do something truly wonderful. We are in the process of further refining our vision and ultimate business plan for this very special, one-of-a-kind architectural gem.”

Two courtrooms on the third floor, with 18-foot ceilings, will be a focal point for the redevelopment, but Todd’s not sure at this stage what the end use will be. The Italian Renaissance building, made of Indiana limestone, also boasts historic frescos, including 13 vignettes depicting mail delivery systems like the Pony Express and stagecoach [shown below]. He estimates to duplicate the building, specifically the hand-carved components, would cost $1,000 per sf in today’s world “if you could find the people to do it.”

Norman Alston Architects of Dallas is the historical architect with the local offices of BOKA Powell LLC and Gensler rounding out the design team. James R. Thompson Inc., also from Dallas, has been tapped as general contractor. The property sale was handled by a former CB Richard Ellis broker, Guy England of Austin, and the Grubb & Ellis Co. team of senior vice president Thomas Clarke and senior associate Lindsay Allen.

The building, overlooking Thanks-Giving Square, is buffered by newer brass-and-glass high rises of the Arts District on one side and Main Street’s vintage to-be-redeveloped buildings on the other. Roll in a DART light-rail station at a corner of the structure and the post office inside and the project’s potential is unlimited. “Hundreds, if not thousands, go through there on a daily basis. To capitalize on that is huge,” Todd says. “You couldn’t find a better address to own a building in the City of Dallas today.”

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