The NATIONAL: Massive Downtown Dallas Redevelopment Gets New Name and First Tenant

Downtown Dallas Inc. has signed a lease as the first tenant in the 52-story building formerly known as First National Bank Tower. The revamped building is being called "the largest-ever adaptive, historical use development in Texas." Developers used new technologies to meet their aggressive deadline for completion this year.

The National Todd Interests Downtown Dallas

Updated: The NATIONAL donned its “banker’s pinstripes” as it illuminated the skyline for the first time in over a decade on August 5. The revamped 52-story tower, once the tallest west of the Mississippi, is a $450 million project anchored by Texas flagship Thompson Hotel. It also houses luxury apartments (with the highest residential views in Dallas) and includes three signature restaurants, retail, and office. All are on track for a 2020 opening, according to building owner Todd Interests. 

The giant office building at 1401 Elm St. initially opened in 1965 as First National Bank Tower. With its redevelopment nearly complete, it’s now being renamed to The NATIONAL.

Todd Interests Downtown Dallas skyscraper

Design for the redo of the historic building is led by Merriman Anderson Architects. [Image: Downtown Dallas Inc.)

The building’s owner, Dallas real estate investment firm Todd Interests, announced the tower’s new name on February 19. It also announced its first tenant: Downtown Dallas, Inc. The nonprofit with a mission to revitalize downtown Dallas will be able to house all of its employees and functions under one roof for the first time ever, according to a statement.

Todd Interests took over the city’s largest adaptive reuse project last year and has been working to complete it since then.

At 52 stories and 1.5 million square feet—covering an entire city block bounded by Akard, Field, Elm, and Pacific—The NATIONAL is downtown Dallas’ largest development project in size and is the largest-ever adaptive, historical use development in Texas, according to a statement. Todd Interests noted that the redevelopment is among the top such projects in U.S. history. The NATIONAL is also one of the largest City of Dallas Tax Increment Financing deals done to date.

For a decade, it was the largest vacant building in North Texas and the last of the city’s notable skyscrapers to be repurposed.

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Now that it has been redeveloped, The NATIONAL will be anchored by the 219-room Thompson Hotel, which is expected to open this year. The $450 million project will also include 324 luxury apartment units, signature restaurants and retail, and Class A office space.

Todd Interests’ CEO Shawn Todd said the tower’s new name harkens back to the significance the building had when it first opened nearly six decades ago.

“Once the tallest building west of the Mississippi River, The NATIONAL embodies the same entrepreneurial spirit of the original 1965 First National Bank Tower,” Todd said in a statement. “Today, The NATIONAL stands tall, representing the finest our city and state has to offer and will soon don its ‘banker’s pinstripe suit,’ once again illuminating our beautiful Dallas skyline for generations!”

Todd and his sons, Patrick and Philip, have shepherded the project during the past year, including using new technologies to recut, refiinish, and ship the tons of Grecian marble on the building’s facade.

The NATIONAL signs Downtown Dallas, Inc.

The National Todd Interests Downtown Dallas

The NATIONAL is the largest development project in the city of Dallas. [Photo: Courtesy Todd Interests]

The private economic development organization Downtown Dallas Inc. has signed the first office lease within The NATIONAL, according to a statement, taking roughly 23,000 square feet of office space.

For the first time ever, Downtown Dallas, Inc. will house its management office and field operations, as well as its Downtown Safety Patrol and Clean Team under one roof. The nonprofit plans to expand over the next decade to meet the growth of downtown.

The building is expected to offer a unique opportunity for Downtown Dallas, Inc. to engage with the public on Pacific Avenue, where an active storefront will serve as a downtown information center, marketing showcase, and field operations dispatch, according to a statement.

The storefront will be on the DART light rail line and is expected to make Downtown Dallas, Inc.’s services more accessible and visible to downtown residents, employees, and visitors.

“DDI has been very fortunate to have been an office tenant in many iconic buildings over the years, thanks to several very generous owners and downtown stakeholders,” Kourtny Garrett, president and CEO of Downtown Dallas, Inc., said in a statement. “Most recently, at Bank of America Plaza, we have enjoyed the spectacular views, central location, and outstanding management team.”

Garrett noted that AT&T had housed its field operations teams for nearly two decades and Parks for Downtown Dallas has provided interim operations space as the nonprofit has been preparing for a more permanent home.

“Now, as we continue to grow the organization, the ability to bring our teams together in the last major historic renovation in downtown is very meaningful,” Garrett said. “The location is also important, from access to the DART light rail station for our 100 employees, to the ability to serve all of downtown from a location that is a hinge between many of Downtown’s districts.” 

Working together to revitalize downtown Dallas

Todd lauded Downtown Dallas, Inc.’s effort to improve the downtown central core.

“No organization has done more for the remarkable urban revitalization of our great city than Downtown Dallas, Inc.,” Todd said. “They are at the vanguard of every vital urban decision in Dallas and their uncompromising commitment to Downtown has made our city what it is today.”

Garrett noted that Todd Interests has also played a vital role in revitalizing the downtown area.

“We are grateful for the ongoing partnership of Todd Interests, their steadfast belief in Downtown, their willingness to take risks, and their ability to deliver projects that are not only successful developments, but also contribute back to the community.” 

The NATIONAL joins other Todd Interests developments in downtown Dallas, including the East Quarter, 400 N. Ervay, and One Dallas Center.

Todd Interests

Shawn Todd, center, with sons Patrick, left, and Philip. [Photo: Lance Murray]


Quincy Preston contributed to this report. The story was updated with status and details of the building’s illumination on Aug. 7, 2020 at 7:28 p.m.

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