(DALLAS BUSINESS JOURNAL) -- During the real estate search for a new corporate home of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), the Dallas-based telecom giant reviewed everything from new, ground-up development to a possible suburban office to finally making the decision to stay in the southern portion of the city's central business district.
Some of the new development options included Hillwood Urban's downtown site to Spire Realty's longtime proposed corporate campus, according to real estate sources.
Now, the real work will begin at AT&T collaborating with the city of Dallas, Dallas Area Rapid Transit and Downtown Dallas Inc. to bring a new "decidedly AT&T plan," together for a new urban-tech campus for the telecom provider.
"We are currently working on a plan that would enable us to stay in this location," Mike Peterson, a vice president for external affairs with AT&T, told the Dallas Business Journal. " We want to make this a destination for our employees and urban dwellers.
"We are looking at ways to improve safety for pedestrians and traffic flow," he added.
The plans for the new campus design are purely conceptual at this point, he said, but AT&T aims to expand the sidewalks, improve the lighting and bringing in landscaping to make the company's four-building complex at Commerce and Akard streets a destination.
AT&T also plans to develop retail and restaurant space on the ground floor of its downtown Dallas corporate home, Peterson said. The details of the development — including if AT&T plans to be its own developer — are still being discussed.
The company also has yet to hire an architect for the project, but plans to hire one after working out the infrastructure needs with the city. The design would be a "decidedly AT&T plans," and wouldn't borrow from existing tech company's campuses, Peterson said.
"We are excited about converting the space into an urban-tech campus and we are delighted the city is interested in this as well," he said. "We are looking forward to working through the details with them."
Since 2008, AT&T has spent more than $100 million on upgrading its headquarters, with plans to spend millions more on the upgrades and redevelopment of its four-building complex. Peterson said a budget has yet to be made for future improvements.
The upgrades will help AT&T hiring more than 1,300 employees in the next few years. The redevelopment will also revitalize one of downtown Dallas' areas of greatest potential, said Kourtny Garrett, president of Downtown Dallas Inc.
"This is a banner announcement," Garrett told the Dallas Business Journal."We expect more announcements with a lot of things circling right now with the momentum in the market."
With more than 10,000 residents in the city's central business district and with companies following the creative talent in downtown Dallas, Garrett said the advocacy group for downtown Dallas expects even more corporate recruitment and retention in the CBD.
If all goes well with city discussions, AT&T expects to begin on its redevelopment plan in 2017.
Candace Carlisle covers commercial and residential real estate and sports business. Click here to see this article as it appeared at the Dallas Business Journal.