The plot of land on the northeast corner of Abram Street and Center Street in downtown Arlington once belonged to a well-known publisher named George Hawkes.
A man who welcomed change, he was quoted in 1978 as saying, “the [downtown] renewal program is long overdue. Our only hope would be that with the coming of the City Hall and other new buildings, there will be renewed interest in once again making the downtown the heartbeat of the city.”
Standing on that same plot of land Tuesday, Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams read that quote, as he helped launch the next wave of change coming to the downtown area.
“This project is a game changer,” said Williams.
He, other city leaders, and developers were there to break ground on the new “101 Center” – a six-story mixed use development that will be home to upscale apartments, restaurant and retail space and a public parking garage.
It’s the brainchild of Dallas-based Catalyst Urban Development, which is responsible for several successful developments across North Texas.
“It’ll be a building that’s alive at night and alive during the day,” said Paris Rutherford, the principal partner for Catalyst. “This is the right place at the right time.”
Rutherford says he sees a lot of potential in downtown Arlington, which is why he and his team felt comfortable investing more money into this project than any project they’ve done in recent years.
“We know it’s going to be successful,” said Rutherford. “We want to be the first in and set the tone for quality within downtown.”
City leaders hope this can be the springboard that transforms downtown Arlington into a thriving destination.
“We’re very excited about what this project is going to mean in bringing new people to downtown and keeping our UT-Arlington graduates here,” said Williams.
Construction is expected to take about two years.
The groundbreaking comes as the city gets set to start construction on a new downtown library and works on plans to make Abram Street more pedestrian friendly.