Doors will reopen Thursday at the old warehouse that’s served as an entry point to Dallas’ historic West End district for more than a century. Factory Six03 is a new 215,000 square foot office building filling the void left by the West End Marketplace 12 years ago.
The building, already home to more than 80 Blue Cross Blue Shield employees, has the potential to bring 1,000 people into West End each day. Developers hope this will be the key to a long fought revitalization for the long forgotten neighborhood.
“We looked at this building, which had been fallow for almost 12 years as the West End went through a transition as an entertainment district to something stuck in the middle. It didn’t know clearly what it was,” said Granite Chief Investment Officer Bill Brown. “We feel like the only way to really and truly rejuvenate the neighborhood was to do something with this. People had planned perhaps a hotel, but offices will bring vibrancy to the neighborhood that we think’s really important.”
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Brown admits there’s risk in bringing employees into a neighborhood on the verge of rebirth. His company and their tenants are gambling on whether there will be enough restaurants, shops and even potentially residential space to support them. But after watching development spike in nearby downtown and uptown, Brown says they felt confident this historic district had more to offer.
“We think it’s important for the city. This has been fallow for over a decade. The city deserves it,” said Brown.
Around the corner, Jeremy Scott, owner of Tutta’s Pizza, says the opening of Factory Six03 is just the latest reassurance that the investment he made back in 2015 will pay off.
Scott moved his food truck to the corner once occupied by a Dick’s Last Resort, knowing he wouldn’t be an overnight success.
“I knew the first two, two and a half years were going to be a struggle. But if we can get past that and people can see what I see happening down here, I think we’re on to something really cool,” said Scott.
Scott, who turned down other locations in more developed areas like lower Greenville and Deep Ellum, said he’s long thought West End would be the next big spot. He credits his preconception to big investments made by both the city and private investors. He also points to easy access to neighborhoods that have already taken off like neighboring Victory Park.
“I think we’re still at the beginning. I think we’re getting close to the starting line. I think everyone’s kind of in prep mode. We’re doing the work. We’re building the foundation. We’re building the relationships,” said Scott.
Scott believes historic preservation plays a big role, as he prepares for the rush of new customers Factory Six03 will bring along with other renovation projects soon to start.