Six years ago, Japanese investor Takeharu Miyama had just sold a luxury apartment complex in Preston Center, and was looking to make another local buy. After scouring the market, he narrowed his options to two choices—St. Paul Place in downtown Dallas or 1909 Woodall Rodgers Freeway in Uptown.
St. Paul Place was a compelling opportunity; the gleaming, 22-story tower sits across from the Dallas Museum of Art on Ross Avenue. By contrast, the Woodall Rodgers building wasn’t as sleek or as large—a five-story dark brick building, plus a single-story motor bank next door.But there were rumblings about a plan to build a deck park built over the freeway. If it happened, Miyama would own one of the few commercial sites directly adjacent to the park. If it didn’t, the Woodall asset still offered a terrific location, immediate access to major freeways, and abundant parking.
It seemed like a good bet, and that’s the option Miyama went with. He acquired 1909 Woodall Rodgers Freeway and the adjacent bank for about $10.5 million from Behringer Harvard Funds in August 2006.
Three months later, the park became a real possibility, after Dallas citizens approved $20 million in bond funds for the project. Today, of course, Klyde Warren Park is a new Dallas reality, and Miyama’s bet has paid off.
Dallas developers are desperate to get their hands on the site, which is rife with redevelopment possibilities. Sawako Miyama, Takeharu’s daughter, who lives here and manages the family’s North Texas holdings, says they’ve been approached by “all the big players in town.”
But the Miyamas aren’t interested in selling. Nor are they in a hurry to redevelop their jewel. “Our culture is one of patience,” Sawako says. “We won’t be rushed.”
Pictured: After graduating from college in Japan, Takeharu Miyama took a bicycle trip across the United States, by himself, from Oregon to Washington, D.C. He didn’t speak English, and he didn’t bring much money. He just had a bike, a tent, and a sleeping bag. He thought he could learn something—and he did.