Construction has begun on The Epic, a mixed-used, transit-oriented development in Deep Ellum that will incorporate one of the area’s most-historic buildings into its fiber.
The development is a project of Westdale and KDC, and will sit on an 8-acre site on Good Latimer Expressway currently occupied by the historic Union Bankers Building — built in 1915 as the black Knights of Pythias Temple — was the first building in Dallas built by African-Americans, for African-Americans, using African-Americans’ money. It was designated as a landmark structure in 1989.
Besides the black Knights of Pythias, the building housed offices for Dallas’ first black surgeon and dentist, as well as other black-owned businesses.
The famous building has been unoccupied for years and at one time was intended for demolition.
“The Epic will complement Deep Ellum and provide state-of-the-art office space, residential, and hospitality to the neighborhood …”
But The Epic will keep that piece of Deep Ellum’s character alive for future generations.
“The Epic will complement Deep Ellum and provide state-of-the-art office space, residential, and hospitality to the neighborhood, further contributing to Deep Ellum’s resurgence and sustainability as Dallas’ most unique urban neighborhood,” Westdale CEO Joe Beard said in a release.
The project — which will feature an office building, residential tower, and boutique hotel — will be built adjacent to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Deep Ellum Station. Westdale has owned the property for 20 years.
KDC CEO Steve Van Amburgh touted the special nature of the development.
“This is one of the most unique projects KDC has ever undertaken, and we are thrilled to be working with Westdale on the special and exciting project,” Van Amburgh said in a release.
“The Epic will attract millennials and tenants looking for the authenticity that comes with adaptive re-use projects, but also the modern efficiencies and amenities of new construction,” he said. “Plus, the view of Deep Ellum and downtown Dallas are absolutely phenomenal.”
“… the view of Deep Ellum and downtown Dallas are absolutely phenomenal.”
Steve Van Amburgh
The 250,000-square-foot office tower will be developed by KDC with 10 floors containing an average foot plate of 25,000 square feet. The tower’s first floor will feature retail space as will a future multifamily tower.
The internal streetscape will be pedestrian-oriented, KDC said.
The company will seek LEED Gold certification for the core and shell of the office building, for which Perkins + Will are the architects. Balfour Beatty is the general contractor.
Developers said the new 164-room Pittman Hotel will be built within the existing Union Bankers Building, which was designed by noted black architect William Sydney Pittman, the son-in-law of Booker T. Washington. Its design will aim at retaining the Beaux Arts structure’s unique history and will utilize the tall arched windows and neoclassical facade.
Vine Street Ventures Inc. is the developer for the Pittman Hotel.
“After sitting vacant for 20 years, we are honored to have the opportunity to bring this building back to life while keeping its rich history at the forefront so that guests can appreciate its transformation,” said Vine Street Ventures CEO Jeff Cohen.
Developers said the office tower, Pythias Hotel, and residential tower are scheduled for completion in 2019.
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