Downtown Dallas historic building getting modern office makeover

Staff Photographer

Work has started to redo one of downtown Dallas’ oldest buildings into a new generation of offices.

The 6-story Purse Building on Elm Street has been empty for more than 20 years and has been eyed by developers for years.

Tanya Ragan with Wildcat Management bought the building three years ago and has started demolition to prepare for rebuilding.

"We are excited to finally get started," Ragan said. "The demolition will take four to five months and from there we move straight into construction."

The project should take 15 to 18 months to wrap up.

"It’s the last building down here that hasn’t been rehabbed," Ragan said. "It works for the type of office users that likes these old buildings – the creative, the technology and the innovation firms."

Previous owners of the more than century-old building – which was last occupied with Dallas County offices in 1994 – considered converting the property into loft housing.

But Ragan said with new interest in creative office space in the West End it’s more practical to make the building over into workspaces.

Major North Texas developers including Crescent Real Estate, Granite Properties and Lincoln Property Co. have invested millions in new West End office projects.

Developer Tanya Ragan is converting the empty Elm Street building into office space for tech and creative firms.

"There is a high demand for this product with companies coming from markets where they are already in this type of office," Ragan said. "We have an incredible amount of phone calls on the building.

"We had interest in preleasing it but I felt the value was going to be when we get it cleaned out."

Renovation plans for the 70,000-square-foot brick and timber building include a rooftop deck.

Architexas is the preservation architect for the project which will receive state and federal landmark tax credits.

Simmons Bank (formerly Southwest Bank) is financing the development.

Built in 1905, the Purse Building was originally used as offices and warehouse space for the Parlin and Orendorff Implement Co., which sold agricultural equipment.

For decades the building housed the Purse & Co. Wholesale Furniture.

The West End – which was reborn starting in the late 1970s as a restaurant and retail district for downtown tourists – in recent years has seen a new boom with construction of apartments and office space.

Crescent Real Estate is currently building a 100,000-square-foot office building on Houston Street will house architect Corgan plus three large floors of additional space for businesses.

Developer Granite Properties spent more than $75 million turning the old West End Marketplace on Market Street into its new Factory Six03 office project.

Lincoln Property last year bought several buildings along Market Street with retail and office space, which the real estate firm is renovating.

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