Bluelofts Inc. to turn Star-Telegram building into a luxury mixed-use development
See full Dallas Business Journal article by Spencer Brewer here.
Shrugging off the printing press in favor of luxury living, Bluelofts Inc. plans to create a mixed-use community out of the historic Star-Telegram building.
The Dallas-based firm has acquired the former Fort Worth Star-Telegram headquarters, located at 307 West 7th Street adjacent to the Oil & Gas building that Bluelofts previously acquired. The 19-story Star Telegram building will become a mixed-use development featuring office space, retail and luxury apartments.
Dallas-based Bluelofts specializes in the adaptive reuse of historic office buildings. The firm has six additional ongoing projects in several states, representing over 1,000 units. One of those projects is the former AT&T building in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, which Bluelofts is adapting into a trendy community of live-work apartments.
Co-founders Ike Bams and John Williams head Bluelofts Inc. The duo first got the inspiration for the reuse of office buildings when the Renaissance Tower in Dallas went on the market. The building had a lot of vacancies at the time.
Prior to getting into office reuse, Bluelofts syndicated small apartment complexes. When the firm started out in the office conversion business, the Bams and Williams teamed up with a previous client, Kenneth Wolfe, president of Wolfe Investments, who wanted to diversify into development.
As the buildings are connected, Bluelofts plans to turn both the Star-Telegram building and the Oil & Gas building into a single development, with the same marketing and management. The Star-Telegram building will host 88 units and amenities including a gym and a community lounge. The Star-Telegram building totals over 283,000 square feet.
“Holistically, it will be just this giant mixed-use community,” Williams said.
Units in the Star-Telegram building will feature a larger size and more of a penthouse feel than those in the Oil & Gas building. The firm plans to bring in retail, restaurants and coworking space on the first floor. Some portions of the building will remain as office space.
The Oil & Gas building will feature 180 units of luxury multifamily. Amenities will include a community gym and club, co-working space and restaurant and retail on the first floor. The building totals 166,000 square feet across 16 stories.
Bluelofts plans to use both the state and federal historic tax credit systems for the Star-Telegram building. The company will seek a construction loan for the project.
“We’ll preserve history,” Bams said. “That’s our goal. We will keep the building to make sure future generations can have a taste of the past.”
The firm targeted the building for almost a year. The company’s architect, Sandvick Architects, put the Bams and William’s in touch with the seller. Younger Partners represented the seller in the transaction.
The Fort Worth market held particular appeal for the company because of the relatively high ratio of hospitality construction compared to new housing development.
“Fort Worth is known for excellent hotels,” Williams said. “It has a lot of hospitality and nice, vintage, upscale hotels, but there’s not enough apartments within downtown Fort Worth.”
In 2011, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram sold its historic building. The sale included the original building opened in 1921 by longtime Star-Telegram publisher Amon Carter, as well as a more modern four-story building that is connected to the original by a walkway.
The storied newspaper moved its headquarters that same year to the building at the corner of West Seventh and Throckmorton streets in downtown Fort Worth. Last year, the Star-Telegram announced it would move its headquarters from that building, citing a reduced need for space amid a hybrid workforce environment.