Sycamore seeks incentives for Cabana Hotel

$116M makeover would transform landmark hotel into 160 rental units

Sycamore Seeks $41M Incentives for Cabana Hotel Redevelopment
The Cabana Hotel at 899 Stemmons Freeway (Preservation Dallas, Getty)

Sycamore Strategies has stepped up the plate to restore a landmark hotel on the edge of downtown Dallas, but it needs the city’s help to fulfill its vision.

The developer is asking Dallas officials for $41 million in incentives as part of a $116 million redevelopment of the long-vacant Cabana Hotel at 899 Stemmons Freeway, the Dallas Morning News reported

Sycamore aims to transform the 10-story building into 160 apartment units, with 64 of them affordable and 96 market-rate, according to a development agreement city council will consider this week.

The hotel’s previous owner, Centurion American Development Group, bought the building from Dallas County for $8 million in 2017, with plans for a major overhaul. But after demolishing the interior, the redevelopment stalled due to delays in historic designations, stagnant city permitting and the pandemic. Centurion put the property up for sale in May, marketing it as an opportunity to resume the incomplete project.

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Sycamore is seeking tax increment financing from the Design District, which would funnel tax revenue toward funding improvements and attract additional private investment. 

The developer also wants to remove part of a parking garage, add on construction to the historic building and open up the back alley along Slocum Street to create better pedestrian connection. 

While over 3,000 multifamily units have been completed or are under construction in the Design District TIF District, just 2 percent of them — 60 units — are income-restricted, the outlet reported.

The Cabana Hotel, built in 1962 by renowned Las Vegas hotelier Jay Sarno, hosted a slew of celebrities in its prime, including The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Richard Nixon. However, it ceased operations in the ’70s and was later converted into a minimum-security county jail before being sold to Centurion in 2017.

Centurion is the Dallas-based developer that spent $217 million to renovate the Statler Hotel in downtown Dallas. That property hit the market in July.

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