Exclusive: Craig Hall developing millennial magnet in Richardson

By Candace Carlisle
Dallas Business Journal | Senior Reporter 
Longtime Dallas developer Craig Hall has been working on plans to build a new gateway to Richardson on the northern edge of the city along President George Bush Turnpike, which he hopes will be a beacon to young professionals.
The nearly 30-acre mixed-use development, known as Hall Park at Richardson, could transform the tract of undeveloped land at the southwest corner of Custer Parkway and the President George Bush Turnpike near the Plano border.
"This project will be important to the city and will serve as a gateway with significant height," Hall, chairman of Dallas-based Hall Group, told the Dallas Business Journal, in an exclusive.
"This will sit at the gateway of the city — just like we have in Frisco — with a very large piece that will make a nice statement and be a wayfinding element," he added.Unlike Frisco, Hall Park at Richardson will have more mixed-use real estate compared with the Frisco park "at this point," meant to attract young professionals — even though Hall plans to integrate more retail and residential in the future at the Frisco development.
Plans include two five-story, 180,000-square-foot office buildings for a total of 360,000 square feet of office space, with a smaller office and retail building at the corner of Custer Parkway and the President George Bush Turnpike with 35,000 square feet of office space and 25,000 squad feet of retail space.
In all, Hall and his development team plan to build 417 upscale apartments, with most of them being one-bedroom units to cater to young professionals that work at some of the nearby employers, including State Farm Insurance.
"The community is very interested in bringing in young working people rather than families," said Hall, adding the apartments will be market-rate homes. "There's a demand from young professionals to have their housing closer to where they work and we think, over the years, this will help develop a community."
Hall Group is developing Hall Park at Richardson in a partnership with Dallas-based Leon Capital Group. The team has been working on this project for years, with serious plans evolving in the last year.
"Richardson is a great growth market and it's also got excellent governance over the years we've been working with them," Hall told me. "The city council, mayor and city staff have been encouraging to work with from our perspective and it warms our heart."
Tennessee-based artist John Henry has sculpted the artistic pieces used at Hall Park at Frisco and in Hall Arts in downtown Dallas. Hall doesn't have an exclusive with Henry, but his art could be a possible anchor the new development.
Hall Park at Richardson will have an extensive park-scape with about 8 acres of green space, including a dog park and a central park. Austin-based TBG Partnersis the landscape architect for the project.
Hall has yet to officially hire an architect and general contractor, but Dallas-based HKS Inc. and Austin Commercial, respectively, are the incumbent for the developer's projects.
Engineering firm Kimley-Horn has historically landed worked with Hall Group.
Hall has met personally with the neighbors of Hall Park at Richardson and said he has adapted his development plans based on their ideas and concerns.
The longtime Dallas developer has yet to finalize the built-out costs of the mixed-use project."There aren't any unique challenges to the project, but there is always challenges in being a developer and getting financing," said Hall, who won't have any problem financing the Richardson project.
Hall, who lends other developers money through Hall Structured Finance, said lending continues to be a problem, especially for younger developers.
"Banks are slow to make construction loans of any size and they are limited by the amount of construction loans they can make without regulatory challenges," Hall told me. "From our perspective, it gives opportunity to our Structured Finance company, but from the stand point of an entrepreneur — it's very difficult for smaller developers.
"The Craig Hall of 49 years ago would've had a very difficult time getting a loan," he added.
The earliest Hall and his development team could start construction on Hall Park at Richardson is sometime next year.
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