Thousands of commuters who travel daily on the highways on the eastern side of downtown Dallas entertain new eyes. The 15-story Galbraith Apartment Tower stands out with its eye-catching architecture separated by bright red panels.
Brian Street’s skyscrapers are unique not only in their design, but also in the combination of affordable and market-priced rental units in a newly completed downtown tower.
The building is a project of the developer Matthews Southwest and has been credited with the Omni Hotel in Dallas and the development of an apartment on the South Side just south of downtown.
Matthews Southwest also has a range of affordable rental communities.
“Much of what we do is just make money,” said developer Jack Matthews. “But much of what we’re working on is trying to help socially.
“As far as I’m concerned, what wasn’t done properly in Dallas was a place where you could have market-priced homes and different income levels together.”
With 217 apartments in Galbraithville, just over half of the units are reserved for residents with incomes well below the median income of the average region.
The building is named after Scott Galbraith, Matthews’ longtime friend and business partner. Scott Galbraith died in 2018 after spending a lot of time on the project.
Matthews Southwest began working on development almost five years ago after the $ 50 million restoration of Dallas High School in 1907, adjacent to Pearl Street and Brian Street.
Architect Perkins & Will, who has a local office in the landmark school building, designed Galbraith with a dark brick exterior separated by the red splashes of a fire engine.
“They love red now,” Matthews said. “They weren’t so sure when I said I wanted this red.
“I need to have a little fun.”
Matthews said some of the business leaders he knew couldn’t bother with the idea of building a mixed-income residential tower in such a prominent location.
“Why are you doing this, my partner in the land?” He said. “We have to start somewhere, because it has to look right.
“We needed to make a statement that it made sense to do something like this.”
While some apartment communities for middle-income residents have been forced to count penny, Matthews didn’t want to tweak the design of the downtown project.
There is a fitness centre, a lounge area on the ground floor with skyline views, and a swimming pool deck on the upper floors overlooking the nearby art district.
All units share these facilities, regardless of the amount paid by the lessee.
“It’s the same lobby, the same elevator, the same parking lot,” Matthews said.
The smallest apartment for residents who earn less than 50% of the average income in the area is about $ 960 a month. The same studio apartment is rented at a market price of $ 1,550 for residents who do not meet their income requirements.
According to RealPage, average apartment rents in the Dallas area in the second quarter reached a record high of $ 1,526.
Matthews said most of the residents work in the downtown area — people working in the food service, education or other service departments.
“The people who work there are the ones we talk to,” he said. “They need to be in transportation — ideally in downtown and ideally close to day care.
“That’s what you need to have.”
Galbraith has its own day care center. The building is less than one block from DART Light Rail Station.
The first tenants have already moved to the tower, so far about 85% have been rented to market-priced renters and almost 60% have been rented to affordable units.
Matthews Southwest is a venture between the Volunteers of America and Urban Specialists, building a project with the support of the Dallas Housing Finance Corporation.
Developer Matthews has also built affordable apartment projects in the Cedars district of Dallas (164 units) and Hutchins (336 units) in southern Dallas.
He is already looking for another apartment site.
“Where they probably don’t want me.”