It will take more than two years, but once the builders are done, an 8-acre mostly vacant block at the west corner of the Deep Ellum District will become the most upscale kid on the block in a neighborhood that’s long been celebrated for a more gritty urban vibe.
In late March, the first excavator rolled in and began moving dirt for what would be the foundations of The Epic, a twin tower, mixed-use architectural concept that is part Jenga tower, part transit-oriented development.
One historic building on the block will be part of The Epic — the Knights of Pythias Temple, built in 1915-1916. Also known as Union Bankers Building at 2552 Elm Street, the temple was the first major commercial structure built for the African-American community. It will find new life as a portion of a 164-room boutique hotel to be known as the Pittman Hotel — its new name is in homage to the original architect, William Sidney Pittman.
This is a complex project with years in the planning, but it all started with Westdale, which has owned the block since the early 1990s. Westdale has redeveloped industrial properties into residential and retail/entertainment concepts in Deep Ellum for years, but may be best known for its conversion of the 40,500-square-foot Bomb Factory building into a popular live music venue.
But previous projects pale in comparison to what’s next. The twin tower combines a 26-story residential high-rise — 20 stories of residential above a 6-story parking garage — with a 10-story office building. Meet The Epic Tower team and their roles:
- Westdale, developer of The Epic.
- Looney Ricks Kill, architect on the 26-story high-rise.
- Streetlights Residential LLC, contractor on the high-rise.
- 5G Studio Collaborators, interior designer for the high-rise.
- KDC, developer of the 10-story office building.
- Perkins+Will, master plan designer and architect on the 10-story office building and hotel.
- Balfour Beatty, contractor on the office building.
- Vine Street Ventures Inc., developer of the Pittman Hotel.
KDC, in its promotion of the project, describes the Epic as a natural transition between the iconic skyscrapers of downtown Dallas into the more intimate neighborhood of Deep Ellum.
“The Epic reflects the cultural abundance of Deep Ellum’s past and embraces its thriving future, essentially becoming the gateway into Deep Ellum,” KDC’s website for the project said.
The combination of office, multifamily and hotel space will include ground floor retail facing a new internal street, with plenty of connectivity for pedestrian traffic.
Amenities in the high-rise will include a swimming pool, pool deck, fitness center and lounge. The office tower will have its own cherry on top—a rooftop café, amenity deck and fitness center.
There will be plenty of structure parking, but the site is also blessed with its proximity to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Deep Ellum rail station. For those that prefer mass transit, a segment of the light rail line runs parallel to the property’s east boundary, North Good-Latimer Expressway.
The Epic is a one-of-a-kind project befitting its name, but Downtown Dallas Inc. CEO John Crawford noted in a Dallas Morning News article that it may also be the last of its kind: “This is an excellent sample of the old combining with the new,” he said. “We have now reached the point where there are very few older buildings to redevelop and we will continue to see new construction being added to meet the demands of continued growth.”
The site is on schedule to open in late 2019.