Four years ago, the Solana campus sat mostly empty in foreclosure, a mere shadow of its glory days as the home of IBM. Time had passed the sprawling campus by as office tenants demanded modern amenities that were unheard of when Ricardo Legoretta designed the building’s bold straight lines and pastel colors.
One of the biggest losses occurred when CoreLogic moved out of its 600,000-square-foot space in favor of the newly built Cypress Waters campus in Irving.
But the 1980s era office complex has experienced a rebirth since Blackstone and Equity Office Properties purchased the building in 2014.
The private equity group committed to spend $70 million to bring Solana into the 21st Century with renovations inside and out, using earth tones instead of bright and bold colors. Now, workers are putting the finishing touches on the final improvements and leasing is starting to pick up.
But even with new tenants moving in, more than 1.1 million square feet remains available, one of the largest Class A vacancies in the Dallas-Fort Worth region.
Of that 1.1 million square feet, 379,000 is available in the Vista at Solana and the remaining is spread out over The Terrace at Solana.
The leases that have been signed are all at the The Terrace. None of the Vista is leased, according to the Solana website.
The renovations position the campus to compete again, said Jeff Eckert, managing director for JLL, who handles leasing for Solana.
The bright red and yellow have been replaced with subdued earth tones outside while the inside has modern amenities such as a full-service Larry North Fitness center, parking garages and a conference center. There’s a new parking garage on the north side of the campus that bumps the parking ratio to one of the highest in the Metroplex.
“It’s all about creating that lifestyle within your office project,” Eckert said. “Solana offers a lot of varying space options from small to large. The capitol that the landlord has spent has been what I called strategic capital to make Solana a viable option for tenancy in the DFW marketplace.”
The town of Westlake will keep its Town Hall in Solana with a new 20,580-square-foot lease. Oliver Wyman leased a 12,109-square-foot space. Advanced Plan for Health took 10,392 square feet. And, the U.S. government leased an 11,760-square-feet office.
Solana is also home to the corporate office for Goosehead Insurance, which signed a lease for 62,000 square feet last year.
Eckert declined to release specifics on the percentage of the campus that’s occupied.
“Our leasing pipeline is very, very good,” Eckert said. “With the amount of interest that we have garnered, we have signed a number of leases in 2017. We expect to make some very good announcements in the early portion of 2018.”
The bright colors that were Legoretta’s signature on all his buildings are gone but the building designs, dominated by straight lines and squares, are still there.
“When the new owners approached the staff about remodeling Solana we discussed the history of the award-winning Ricardo Legoretta architecture and its impact on Westlake and the surrounding areas,” said Amanda DeGan, assistant town manager for Westlake. “However we understood that potential new tenants conveyed to them that they were looking for space with a more modernized feel and design. We have been very pleased with the renovations and the vibrancy that has returned with new tenants’ commitments every month.”
Though the colors are different, Eckert said the architecture stands the test of time.
“I think if you look at the architecture, we have maintained that integrity,” Eckert said. “I think it’s been very tastefully done and relevant to today’s office environment.”