How One Real Estate Firm Built An Iconic 18-Block Mixed-Use District in Uptown Dallas

In 2017, the new Rolex Building, Harwood No. 8, will open. A seven-story building with tiered garden terraces and modern amenities, it will become a symbol for the new standard of architecture in Dallas and redefine the Dallas skyline. For real estate firm Harwood International, it represents 30 years of development and the creation of an 18-block resort district in the heart of Uptown.

The original Rolex Building, Harwood No. 1, opened in 1984. It was the first office development in Uptown Dallas and the beginning of the award-winning Harwood District, a luxurious park-like campus filled with office, residential and retail spaces. Across Harwood District’s numerous attractions and walkable amenities, which earned the district a 92 walkability score, Harwood International aims to bring a modern, multicultural experience to Dallas.

Bisnow had a chance to explore the area while hosting its Future Of Uptown Dallas & Turtle Creek event in February at Harwood No. 7 — Frost Tower. Stepping outside the recently opened office building, event-goers explored the European-style gardens, restaurants, cafés and cultural attractions in between each of the firm’s high-rise and mid-rise, office, retail and multifamily residential developments.

They also viewed what is to come. Bleu Ciel, No. 9, a 33-story luxury condominium tower, features floor-to-ceiling windows, open-style interiors and sweeping terraces. The latest Harwood International building in the works, No. 10, will evoke the covered Beaux-Arts shopping galleries of Paris with its La Rue Perdue and outdoor terraces. There are also the unexpected cultural experiences spread throughout the district. Harwood International houses one of the largest collections of samurai art in the world, displayed in the lobbies of its towers and in The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum: The Samurai Collection, which recently celebrated its ninth global exhibition opening at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Harwood International maintains cohesion of its eclectic offerings by managing the entire process in-house. The firm controls the final design, while collaborating with acclaimed architects like James Cheng, Michael Graves, Richard Keating, Kengo Kuma, Joey Shimoda and Jean-Michel Wilmotte. It has its own architecture firm, HDF, as well as its own construction management services firm, HCMS, and general contractor, Sphinx.

“What sets us apart is that we are not only the developer, owner and manager of our developments, but we also handle the design and the construction,” said Jessica Young, a spokeswoman for Harwood International. “Our teams work closely and are able to collaborate easily to create these unique environments more efficiently and effectively.”
Harwood District is not just a collection of trophy developments: It forms a community. Tenants can fluidly move from indoor to outdoor spaces, whether they are at the office, at home or walking down the street, and communal spaces help bridge the gap between work and play. Harwood International, across all the spaces it creates, seeks unity in design and a blend of form and function. In its eponymous district it has done just that, armed with a goal of transforming Uptown Dallas — one block at a time.