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DALLAS-To keep pace with the fast and furious space race in Uptown and Downtown, CalSTRS has mapped out a $5-million to $8-million overhaul aimed at recouping Lincoln Plaza’s class AA status. The changes will bring the first Bon Appetit restaurant to the city, but that’s just the tip of the plan for the 1.1-million-sf high rise.

“I think this renovation alone shows the commitment this ownership has to this building and the Downtown market,” Blaine Hale, leasing director for CB Richard Ellis, stresses to GlobeSt.com. The 500 N. Akard St. makeover is just now picking up momentum after 18 months of planning for the asset’s first large-scale overhaul since its opening in 1984.

According to Hale, the 84%-leased Lincoln Plaza is the first of the city’s 1980s-era buildings to undergo extensive renovation. He says the eight-year owner’s plan is to gain a competitive edge over Lincoln Plaza’s generation of buildings and make it a viable contender for what’s coming out of the ground in town.

The 45-story Lincoln Plaza has a 126,268-sf contiguous block on floors 20 through 24 and two more floors opening up in 2009 when its developer, Lincoln Property Co., moves to its newest trophy, the 445,000-sf Texas Capital Bank building at 2000 McKinney Ave. CalSTRS also is getting back floors in September from the now-defunct Jenkens & Gilchrist law firm and Marsh USA. As a result, the renovation’s timing is critical. “I’ve got 150,000-sf of deals looking at Lincoln Plaza right now as a result of this renovation,” Hale says.

The majority of Lincoln Plaza’s work will be completed in the fourth quarter. In early 2008, the Charlotte, NC-based Compass Group should be ready to open the state’s second Bon Appetit. The first one is part of the amenity base at the ChevronTexaco Building at 1500 Louisiana St. in Downtown Houston.

“We are trying to get away from the usual,” Hale says. “We wanted to do what no one else has done in Dallas.” The existing 11,392-sf cafeteria on the second floor will be closed for two months so the changeover can be done for the new food provider.

As for the rest of the plan, the lobby will get wood and stone accents to go along with the polished granite. A five-screen video wall, with advertising space, will be added to the lobby and similar streaming video panels installed into all 24 elevator cabs. The 15,000-sf lower concourse will be redone with a shared conferencing room, full-service Starbucks and new convenience store. Wireless connectivity is part of the plan as is new landscaping. Pacific Builders Inc. of Dallas is the general contractor. Local firm Corgan Associates Inc. is the project architect, and the Worrell Group of Houston is the kitchen consultant.

Lincoln Plaza’s present-day quote is $20 per sf to $22 per sf. “The rates will be going up after the renovation,” Hale confirms. Just how much rates will tick up is still to be determined, but if it’s to match its peers the new rate most likely will hover at $30 per sf.

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