Washburne’s Charter Holdings nabs historic Dallas building

Adds Founders Square building to downtown portfolio

Charter Holdings' Ray Washburne with Founders Square, 900 Jackson Street
Charter Holdings' Ray Washburne with Founders Square, 900 Jackson Street (Ray Washburne, Google Maps, Getty)

A piece of Downtown Dallas history now belongs to Ray Washburne’s Charter Holdings. 

The local investor, who is betting big on a downtown resurgence, nabbed the The Founders Square building near the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

 Washburne said he plans to renovate and upgrade the seven story building that sits at 900 Jackson Street, The Dallas Morning News reported. The historic brick building was constructed in 1915 primarily as a warehouse for the Higginbotham-Bailey-Logan Co., a dry goods company. It was converted into office space in 1984 and is an iconic staple in Downtown Dallas.

The purchase price was not revealed but the building’s estimated market value is $14 million, according to the Dallas Central Appraisal District.

“I’ve been working on this deal for months. I’m buying it because I love the building,” Washburne told the DMN. “It’s about 75% leased primarily to a bunch of law firms.”

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The property was purchased from Taiwanese investment firm Fidelity Commercial. The deal was brokered by Newmark Group’s Gary Carr, Chris Murphy, Robert Hill and Chase Tagen.

Washburne said the Founders Square building needs to be renovated but he feels confident that there is still a demand for certain types of Class-B office space downtown.

“I’m going to go in and doll it up,” he said. “The building is stuck in the 1980s and I’m going to bring it up to cooler standards. There is a demand in downtown Dallas for affordable, convenient office space where, as a tenant, you are not lost in a big building.”

Washburne also made a splash downtown in 2017 when he bought the eight-acre property that was the former headquarters of the Dallas Morning News for $28 million. Washburne said he plans to transform the newspaper’s former campus into a hotel, entertainment and apartment development but is waiting to see if plans get finalized for a new Dallas convention center. The city is moving forward with a $3.5 billion plan for a new convention center after the approval of a proposition in the November election to raise the city’s hotel tax by 2 percent.

“I’ve been waiting to see what the city was going to do with the convention center. That whole end of downtown is going to explode in growth,” Washburne said.

Erick Pirayesh

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