Farris McNabb is a Marketing Leader with GFF, Inc
As we celebrate the New Year, we would like to take the opportunity to reflect on a few of our memorable projects from the last year. We’ve been fortunate to work on incredible designs including trend-setting office buildings, impactful higher education facilities, city-shaping mixed-use developments, vibrant retail environments, inspiring sacred spaces and collaborative places for non-profit and civic clients. We sought meaningful partnerships that delivered high-quality spaces of which we can all be proud.
We also had the pleasure of celebrating GFF’s 40th Anniversary in 2022! In addition to hosting an event for our employees and their families in May, we were able to share an evening in October with the people who make our work possible.
As we look ahead, we are excited to continue delivering excellent design work to our clients and communities. We are grateful for the trust that you each have placed in us, and we look forward to continuing to serve you in the coming year.
Thank you for your support, and we wish you a happy and prosperous 2023!
The Station at Sachse
Located along the President George Bush Turnpike at Merritt Road in Sachse, TX, The Station is a multi-phase mixed-use development by PMB Investments. Phase One of the project consists of approximately 89 acres of land and contains single-family homes, apartments, and townhomes, as well as office, retail, restaurant, and entertainment uses. The city required that the buildings be located very close to the street along Bunker Hill Drive. Phase One of the retail buildings is intended to make a big splash in the market. GFF incorporated a meaningful shared patio space between the buildings, accessible from both the street and the parking lot, to create a memorable sense of place. The roof forms used are drawn directly from the owner’s marketing and branding package. These forms and colors will be repeated throughout the development in various ways on signage and other features to create a cohesive environment.
GFF was hired to help the Weir’s family and their development partner, Four Rivers Capital, to redevelop the Knox Street property that Weir’s Furniture has occupied for 70 years. At the prominent Knox and Travis corner, the goal was to create a new office-oriented mixed-use development, preserve the existing façade of the cherished Highland Park Soda Fountain building and appropriately integrate the two.
The new project will be home to Weir’s Furniture as well as other ground level retail/restaurant spaces, totaling 43,000 SF. Located above is a 250,000 SF, 12-story office tower capturing excellent views of downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods. An 800-space, 6-level below-grade parking structure will be shared by the mixed-use functions.
The street level of the building is intended to be clean and modern, with a hint of urban grit, while also enhancing the walkability of the existing pedestrian-scale neighborhood. The Class ‘A’ office tower is a series of shifted volumes that allow the building to present a slender profile, while the building skin is articulated with rich masonry and steel detailing.
Triten Real Estate retained GFF’s services in 2020 to lead the zoning change of Assembly Park. Located in an opportunity zone in north Plano, on the west side of US-75 at Spring Creek, Assembly Park transforms the former Market Square Mall into a new mixed-use community development.
GFF was engaged to be the Architect-of-Record working with Design Architect, Michael Hsu Office of Architecture, on the creative office core and shell and restaurant core and shell buildings, with Agent Architecture leading the design of the creative office interiors. The existing mall building, a 300,000 SF structure built in the 1980’s on a 26-acre site, was carefully redesigned to include 175,000 GSF of creative office space carved from the western portion of the mall. Two new restaurants line the site’s entrance from Spring Creek Parkway. At the center of the development is a half-acre park space and a dedicated children’s park both activated by the surrounding uses and a hike and bike trail along the perimeter of the site. The west end of the existing mall was demolished to allow for the creation of 305 multifamily units designed by GFF.
Parking is accommodated along the site’s northern edge, creating a pedestrian friendly environment.
Dallas County Government Center
The new 43,000 SF Oak Cliff Government Center, located at Jefferson and Lancaster, was designed to include a County Tax Office, Constable Department and two courtrooms. Throughout the design-planning process, GFF worked with Dallas County to design healthy and sustainable work environments. The building announces itself as a civic structure while also being inviting for the community. Along the building’s primary façade, deep fins create rhythm and accentuate the building’s height to give it presence on the corner, at the same time, providing solar protection for the large glass openings that create visual connection from the public lobbies to the generous landscaped plaza fronting Lancaster Ave. The new facility has a compact and efficient floor plan with a clear organizational strategy and simple circulation to alleviate functional issues of the existing facility. The Oak Cliff Government Center contains several measures that improve the wellbeing of the staff and the public such as providing abundant daylight through the facility, utilizing durable and low-VOC interior finish materials, specifying increased HVAC ventilation and filtration, and landscaping that is water efficient and low maintenance. The facility is projected to be a LEED-silver-certified building.
StoryBuilt’s newest project, Jolene, honors the urban edge and vibe of up-and-coming West Dallas. This new urban village will be comprised of retail, a large public park, and a 296 unit multifamily apartment complex set on 5 stories. Residents will have access to private amenities as well as a membership to public services that include coworking, fitness, spa, and a sky lounge bar.
The design was focused on creating a very strong pedestrian experience. The building steps back above a two-story masonry façade along the north and south primary elevations, allowing the remaining 3 stories to retreat from the street. This creates unique balcony conditions for residents and allows pedestrians at the street level to have a more intimate experience instead of being towered over by a 5 story mass. GFF Landscape used native plants and strategic pathways to create a sense of privacy at ground level units while also allowing them stoop access to activate the streetscape.
Henderson Avenue Mixed Use
GFF was hired by Open Realty Advisors, Acadia Realty Trust and Rebees to help master plan and design significant improvements to the portfolio of their properties on Henderson Avenue. The first and most significant of the planned projects is a mixed-use development on Henderson between Glencoe and McMillan on an over 1,000’ long, 3.55 acre primarily vacant tract of property. As a catalyst project for the corridor, special emphasis has been placed on streetscape design, quality of public space making and walkability, with the goal of adding value to the overall portfolio.
This vision for Henderson Avenue required changing the existing zoning that encouraged nodes of bar and restaurants separated by low-rise multifamily uses to a more cohesive plan that will allow up to two levels of creative office above ground level retail and will create an uninterrupted pedestrian-friendly streetscape along the entire length of the site. At either end of the site the scale steps down to small one-story boutique retail buildings that respect the transition to the adjacent residential neighborhoods. The planned project includes a two-level below grade garage with 525 spaces, +/- 70,000 SF of ground level retail and restaurant uses, and +/- 68,000 SF of second and third level office uses.
The design of each building is intentionally different than the next. Rather than creating a unified architectural aesthetic throughout the development, the client requested varied architectural character between buildings allowing for unique discovered moments along the street. While each building is uniquely designed, they could all be described as forward thinking, creating a design centric node along Henderson Ave, not only in architectural character, but also for retailers.
Hines Maple Terrace
Consisting of boutique office, high end restaurants and a high-rise residential building, Hines Maple Terrace is a luxury-focused mixed-use development in the heart of Uptown Dallas. At the center of the development is the rehabilitated Maple Terrace Building. The 1925 mid-rise building was designed by Sir Alfred Bossom and is a neighborhood landmark. At one time the tallest residential building in Dallas, Maple Terrace was in its time a premier address, accommodating visitors like Judy Garland, Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, and Zsa Zsa Gabor. Originally an apartment hotel, it is being adapted to boutique office space. On the south side of the site, a new residential high-rise building provides 345 apartment units and amenities typically only found in luxury condominium properties. The new building design was carefully crafted to blend with its context, both the historic building and the adjacent Stoneleigh hotel and condominium tower. Classically composed with a strong base, shaft and articulated penthouse, the building is rich with character and detail while still being modern. Subtle shifts in the tower plan emphasize refined and vertical proportions, while a recessed center band creates a court and pocket park cradled between the original and new buildings. The building is designed to create a luxe user experience, from the stone motor court through the indoor/outdoor conservatory, past the library, fitness, entertaining spaces and sky lounge, to the individual units configured to increase the number of corners and maximize exposure and natural light.
GFF is the executive architect for Maple Terrace, responsible for master planning and the residential tower, in collaboration with 5G concentrating on the office and restaurants.
SMU Cox School of Business
In partnership with Robert A.M. Stern Architects, our team was selected to study the feasibility of upgrading the SMU’s Cox School of Business, balancing cost and capability, while right-sizing space distribution based on current and projected demographics. As a result of a detailed benchmarking and programming process, the recommendation was to fully reconfigure the existing three buildings’ 165,000 SF and provide an additional 65,000 SF, while increasing the buildings’ efficiency.
Proposed additions integrate seamlessly with the fabric of the Georgian SMU campus, stitched together to provide a unified facade where old meeting new will be indiscernible. A new multi-story commons will be the heart of the school, where students, faculty, and visitors can connect with each other. Student spaces will be concentrated on the lower level and entry floors, while the faculty spaces will be consolidated on the second floor. All primary hallways will have views to the courtyard, providing natural light and orientation. The enhanced Cox School of Business will exceed its peers with forward-thinking classroom design and an industry-leading amount of collaboration space, positioning the School of Business for its next 100 years.
Located just a short distance from Old Town Lewisville, the Whitlow boasts a combination of modern luxury and Texas charm. The three distinct buildings nestle into a site with considerable topography, bound by College Street to the south and the DART rail to the north. The architectural character draws from downtown, with its rich context of masonry detailing and pleasing proportions. Well-appointed red brick facades contrast with a clean, contemporary palette of white masonry and dark metal accents, providing visual relief and interest. A generous amenity package is positioned throughout the three buildings to provide tenants with an exceptional living experience. In order to engage the street edge, the building provides 23,000 SF of custom units that may be converted to retail space as part of future development.
Pegasus Park Water Cooler
J. Small Investments, in partnership with Lyda Hill Philanthropies, repurposed the former Exxon Mobil Campus, which had been near-vacant for a decade, into a center for social impact and biomedical innovation exemplifying the spirit that has made Dallas one of the nation’s most dynamic cities. This future-focused office campus, renamed Pegasus Park, sits on 23-acres in the heart of the Stemmons Corridor. Organized around a central quadrangle and anchored by the sixteen-story office tower, the campus encourages collaboration and interaction between the commercial tenants, non-profits, and the community.
One notable anchor to this revitalized campus is the Water Cooler at Pegasus Park. Serendipitous collisions at the proverbial water cooler are known to foster community and are the wellspring of innovation. Named after these brief but meaningful moments, the Water Cooler at Pegasus Park is a diverse community of nonprofit, philanthropic tenants focused on a wide range of social issues brought together under the same roof. Members of the Water Cooler community receive a subsidized rent offering, access to philanthropic funds for furniture and infrastructure, and free or low-cost amenities and services designed to accelerate their respective missions.
Denargo Market 3
Denargo Market Phase 3 is a mid-rise, mixed-Use project for Cypress Real Estate Advisors located in the hip and bustling RiNO neighborhood of Denver. The project is included within the Denargo Market Planned Development and is acting as a gateway to the RiNO neighborhood from downtown Denver.
Playing off of the industrial vibe that RiNO inherently exudes, the project design aimed to provide a sophisticated yet funky respite for those young, creative entrepreneurs of Denver. The exterior materials include locally sourced masonry, composite metal panel, floor to ceiling windows, varying shades of metal panel siding, EIFS, and board-formed concrete. The project is an 8-story wrap building around a 6-story parking garage with around 6,000 SF of retail space. There are 337 multifamily rental units ranging from efficiencies at 420 SF to two-bedroom units at 1,200 SF. The retail spaces are designed to attract anything from a small, independent coffee shop to larger restaurant or mercantile storefront. The Denargo Market development is seeing a surge in residents due to its proximity to downtown Denver, The Colorado Rockies ballpark, and the hip vibe of RiNo’s shops, galleries and nightlife.
The on-site Leasing Office, Fitness Center and Club room occupy the ground floor level and have uninterrupted views towards to the large, open courtyard. The expansive courtyard contains a large pool and inground spa, along with a large turf lawn for fitness activities or lounging in the nearby hammocks. There is an 8th floor terrace and clubroom which provide open views west toward the mountains and perfectly framed views of downtown and the Rockies Stadium.
Dallas County Medical Society
The new home for Dallas County Medical Society (DCMS) is an adaptive reuse of an existing structure, particularly significant in a neighborhood where urban infill and densification is the name of the game. In our initial meeting, we heard a clear vision from DCMS leadership: supporting a strategic initiative that serves the membership and at the same time facilitates community outreach. The organization needs a new home that feels both comfortable and forward thinking so that members and non-members are encouraged to use the space and engage in a variety of programs.
The design thread to connect the organization, the medical profession, and the community, is a series of historical artifacts that will line the main corridor and collectively tell a unique story about the organization and its members. A unique library complete with medical journals, research, and historical documents will be displayed and available for use as well. A variety of meeting rooms can host events and committees, with a full-service kitchenette to service refreshments. Upstairs, a large employee lounge will encourage collaboration and camaraderie outside the offices for employees. DCMS has a long and rich history in Dallas, and we wanted their new office to reflect this blend of storied history and forward-looking leadership.
As we looked at the existing building it quickly became evident that the building envelope would require significant changes to achieve the DCMS vision. The enhancements bring a new identity to the building that speaks to its history and sets the stage for the next chapter. Each decision was considered under the lens of the big idea of presenting a space that allows both members and the community to feel at home.
In honor of Historic Preservation Month, GFF will be a Bronze Sponsor for the 2023 Preservation Dallas Preservation Achievement Awards on May 17th, 2023.
In honor of Historic Preservation Month, GFF will be a Bronze Sponsor for the 2023 Preservation Dallas Preservation Achievement Awards on May 17th, 2023.
As 2023 gets underway, we at GFF are filled with excitement and gratitude as we celebrate the promotion of 25 talented employees.