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Dallas’ high-rise Harwood District debuts two new towers north of downtown

By Steve Brown / June 30, 2023 / The Dallas Morning News

Dallas’ high-rise Harwood District debuts two new towers north of downtown

Four decades after the development’s start, the Harwood District north of downtown Dallas is getting its biggest additions.

The 19-block project just debuted its first hotel. And the next office tower in the 30-acre district is opening its doors.

While some North Texas office buildings have languished with a lack of leasing, Harwood International’s new Harwood No. 14 building on Harry Hines Boulevard is an early success. The developer is already working on plans for its next office high-rise.

One of the potential buildings – Harwood No. 12 – could be as tall as 40 floors with a half million square feet of space near Victory Park.

“Harwood No. 14 has turned out very, very nice,” said Harwood co-president Oliver Barbier-Mueller. “We got our temporary certificate of occupancy last week and we are a little over 80% leased.

“We have still a lot of demand in leasing,” he said. “That’s the reason we are completing a package for our next office development.”

Harwood kicked off the entire development in 1983 with construction of its original Rolex Building at Olive and McKinnon Streets. That first office building opened even before the nearby Crescent was finished and helped set the tone for Uptown with its architecture and public spaces.

The 27-story No. 14 tower is the largest and tallest building to date in the Harwood District.

Designed by Japanese architects Kengo Kuma & Associates with Dallas’ Corgan and HDF, the 360,000-square-foot building includes a 17,000-square-foot landscaped terrace on the 12th floor.

So far tenants in the office tower include law firm Haynes and Boone, property investor S2 Capital and law firm O’Melveny & Myers.

“We are being very judicious with leasing the last couple of floors,” Barbier-Mueller said. “Demand is outpacing supply still. We’re confident and optimistic about offices — at least in our district — while the message globally is more negative.”

Office space in the district is almost 95% leased. Barbier-Mueller said Harwood markets the entire neighborhood, not just individual buildings.

“We are highly amenitized and have been for a while,” he said. “We now have 12 or 13 restaurants outside of those in the hotel. Some of our older buildings we’ve gone back and amenitized the ground level and it creates newness and activation that makes us not an office campus anymore but a lifestyle district.”

The Harwood No. 14 tower will have two restaurants — an American-style bistro and a Japanese steakhouse.

The two-story lobby descends almost 16 feet from Harry Hines down to Harwood Street and will be adorned with five samurai warriors mounted on horseback. The armors on the warriors are from the Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum: The Samurai Collection, located in the Harwood District.

The walls in the lobby of No. 14 are lined with textured cut stone. Outside the entrance, there’s landscaping with granite boulders.

The granite stones are the same used by architect Kengo Kuma at the base of the Rolex Building at Harry Hines and Olive. The stonework around the bottom of the tower is meant to replicate Japanese castle walls.

“Those big granite boulders are on the castle wall of Rolex, the hotel has some and you will see those on No. 14,” Barbier-Mueller said.

The stones come from an old quarry in Oregon.

The outside of the No. 14 tower is textured with metal fins that extend onto the interior ceiling of the lobby. “There are four different shapes that change directions to get that curtain wall finish,” he said.

At night, the exterior has LED lighting that makes the building look like it’s draped in icicles.

“Our friendship with Harwood International has yielded a range of taller buildings that have steered us toward unexpected directions,” architect Kuma said in an email. “Each project is an effort to explore the typology using consistent horizontal or vertical motifs, looking for newness in the details, and a meaningful relationship to the surrounding city.

“We started with Rolex and are excited for our latest building with Harwood No. 14, as well as our facade design for Hôtel Swexan. Others are on the horizon.”

Kuma also used metal fins on the exterior of the Rolex Building and Harwood’s new Swexan Hotel.

The 134-room luxury hotel that recently opened its doors is the first hospitality addition to the Harwood District.

Inside there’s a collection of individually designed public spaces including a lobby lounge, a speakeasy, two-story library bar, a white tablecloth steakhouse and poolside bar on the roof. The sixth floor has ballrooms that overlook the neighborhood and three boardrooms.

“There are lots of small spaces and we used different materials,” said co-president Alexis Barbier-Mueller. “There’s over 55 different types of wood and more than 100 types of stone. Every space is curated to feel full with 30 people – very intimate. The hotel just adds another support for our district.”

Harwood estimates that 40,000 people a week work in its buildings and eat in its restaurants. Harwood houses 75 companies in its offices and has more than 400 residents in two condominium towers.

“By next year, we will have over 1,000 people in hospitality working for us” at the hotel and restaurants, Barbier-Mueller said.

With less than 50% of its land developed, Harwood is designing additional office, retail and residential buildings.

“We have 7 million square feet of development rights in Harwood,” Barbier-Mueller said. “We are exploring multifamily rental and potentially another hotel along with more office. We almost have too many options.”

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Harwood International, the global Dallas-based real estate firm today, announced the company’s flagship boutique hotel property, Hôtel Swexan.

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