- Steve Brown, Dallas Morning News

Uptown Dallas’ newest high-rise – the $225 million McKinney & Olive – had its grand opening this week.

The 21-story office and retail project on McKinney Avenue is already a towering success. The 536,000-square-foot building is almost 95 percent leased to tenants including CrossFirst Bank, Gardere Wynne Sewell, Sidley Austin, McKinsey & Co., MHT MidSpan and Saatchi & Saatchi.

“The building is in a phenomenal location and the architecture is second to none,” said John Goff, CEO of project developer Crescent Real Estate. “Economically I think it’s going to set new bars on rental rates in Dallas.”

With space going for more than $55 per square foot, McKinney & Olive is fetching more than twice the average office rents in Dallas.

The building was designed by award winning architects Pelli Clarke Pelli and features a 1-acre park along Olive Street lined with shops and restaurants.

On the fifth floor, there’s a private rooftop garden and concierge space with a fitness center, lounge and conference area.

“This is an exclusive amenity for our office customers,” said Crescent’s Joseph Pitchford. “We wanted to take some of the best space in the building and create a community area.”

The marble-paneled lobby of McKinney & Olive faces McKinney Avenue and downtown.

A 35-foot tall clear glass wall is pushed right up to the sidewalk out front.

“This building comes to you from the inside out,” said architect Gregg Jones with Pelli Clarke Pelli. “The glass opens it right up to the street and the trolley passing by.”

A rooftop garden on the fifth floor of McKinney & Olive.
Steve Brown

Law firm Gardere Wynne Sewell – the largest tenant at McKinney & Olive – has already relocated from its previously location in the Thanksgiving Tower on Elm Street in downtown.

“It really was a dramatic change for us but this is what people want,” said Kevin Kelley, chairman of Gardere’s real estate practice.

The more than century old legal firm traded the law library feel of its old downtown office for a sleek modern space at McKinney & Olive.

The lobby is punctuated by a sculptural curved white oak and steel stairway leading to the upper floor.

“This is sort of our signature piece when you walk in the office,” Kelley said.

Architect Gensler designed Gardere’s new digs with white marble floors and floor to ceiling glass overlooking McKinney Avenue and Uptown.

One side of the architect’s office overlooks the project’s garage, which is topped with white fabric sails that cover parking spaces.

“It’s better than just looking at a parking garage roof,” said Crescent’s John Zogg. “My hope is people will come take a look at this project and decide to spend more money on design.”

The 5-story parking garage along Olive and Cedar Springs Road is clad in ribbons of stainless steel panels, which hide the cars and create a backdrop for the park.

“We turned it into arguably a piece of sculpture and not a dumb box,” Jones said.

Law firm Gardere Wynne Sewell’s new office include a curving stairway.
Steve Brown