By Jack Fink

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) –  A historic building that was once home to Planet Hollywood in Dallas’ West End is getting a makeover. Granite Properties is in the process of transforming the old West End Marketplace building into offices to lease. Aaron Bidne, development manager of Granite Properties, is overseeing the $70 million project.  “This is a major landmark in the city of Dallas and has been for over 100 years.”

The building dates back to 1903, when the Brown Cracker and Candy company opened its factory and people got around in a horse and wagon. Now, 113 years later, signs of activity once again.  “So to bring it back to life and really bring back the West End.  Yeah, we’re extremely excited.”

Granite Properties is transforming the building into Factory 603 — offices space and it will also feature two street-level restaurants. They’ll have patio dining on the original loading dock that will be restored and extended around the front of the building.

Tony Street is Chef and owner of the YO Ranch Steakhouse he opened down the street 20 years ago. He’s excited something new is going in.  “We’ve still gotten calls almost a decade later, people asking us if we were still open and I say yes, why wouldn’t we be and they said we thought the West End was closed.”

The offices he says will attract more than the tourists and those attending the conventions they rely on.  “It has to boost traffic and revenue to all the businesses down here.” He says the West End is stronger now than it has been in years. A new apartment complex opened earlier this year.

While the inside of Factory 603 will be mostly new, the developer has kept a two level oven from the original factory. They’ll open it up and light it — and it will be part of some company’s office.

It may be a cliché, but they don’t make buildings like this anymore.  Bidne says, “This would be impossible to recreate right now.  The cost of it would be astronomical.” He says the project wouldn’t be feasible without federal and state tax credits, which amount to 15-percent of the project cost.

Factory 603 is set to be completed this April.

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