Hillwood Development Corporation has nearly completed the city’s review process for its proposal to construct a 17-story mixed-use office building on one of the last vacant lots next to Turtle Creek in Uptown.
Last week land use attorney Robert Reeves waited to the very end of a City Plan Commission agenda that went past four hours to observe the 2 minute-10 second discussion required to approve a zoning change. Other than the formal reading of the summary, there was no discussion, but that’s only because the project has been through the bureaucratic thresher for the better part of 15 months.
Reeves represented Hillwood on its application for 3001 Turtle Creek LP, a tower that was unveiled in June of 2016. Hillwood is controlled by the Perot Companies — which, not-so-coincidentally, is building its new campus headquarters directly across the street.
The boundaries of the Hillwood project include Turtle Creek Boulevard, Cedar Springs Road, Dickason Avenue and a private alley. They encompass a 3-acre tract of land that has been vacant for about 30 years. Hillwood launched a website to market the tower and initially described it as a 350,000-square-foot building. The dimensions later grew to 391,000 square feet.
Pickard Chilton, a New Haven, Connecticut-based architectural firm, was first recruited to design the 240-foot-tall building. However, Texas-based BOKA Powell is the architect of record, and the designer of the 6-acre campus headquarters across the street.
3001 Turtle Creek is Pickard Chilton’s first Dallas project. The architect, in describing the designs, said “it boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, collaborative workspaces, dynamic elevator atriums and open stairway connections–all within a high performance and elegantly crafted curtain wall.”
The building is designed to be configured in two wings, with a section that overhangs an outdoor dining area with an oak tree shaded terrace. This restaurant concept is one major reason Hillwood had to go to the City Plan Commission — the current zoning on the site limits restaurant and retail uses to 2,000 square feet, and Hillwood wanted to go bigger.
“The applicant intends to include restaurant(s) on the ground floor, which may require up to 16,000 square feet,” Reeves stated in a May 18 land use statement.
Hillwood also asked for some minor changes to the setback limits, in order to expand the ground area available for restaurant and retail, and that was also allowed.
One question from the developer went by the wayside fairly early on. Hillwood initially proposed a helistop that would be located on the roof of the southwest end of the office building.
“The helistop will only be available to tenants located in the building or tenants located across the street at 3000 Turtle Creek Boulevard, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, with no regularly scheduled stops,” Hillwood’s proposal said.
That turned out to be an impossible sell. The Oak Lawn Committee heard Hillwood’s request in April and the helipad request received a hard “no.” It was no longer part of their zoning change requests when Reeves stood in for Hillwood last week.
The Perot campus project and the 3001 Turtle Creek tower have been designed to complement each other aesthetically. The structures on both sites are recessed away from Turtle Creek Boulevard, with the Perot campus buildings hugging Katy Trail and 3001 Turtle Creek backed up to an alley; there will be a parking garage between the office building and the alley.
The Office of James Burnett designed the landscaping, and this involves a generous swath of green space on either side of the boulevard — which could justify Perot and Hillwood’s marketing claims of a “stunning Turtle Creek greenbelt and nearby Katy Trail.”