Press

February 27 , 2004

Iron Cactus: Making a splash in downtown Dallas

Iron Cactus: Making a splash in downtown Dallas

February 27th, 2003 - Best Deal with Developed Real Estate -- Retail/Hospitality Christine Perez Senior Writer When Austin-based Iron Cactus Southwestern Grill & Margarita Bar decided to expand in North Texas, it scouted options in Las Colinas and Uptown before opting to make a splash in downtown Dallas. The popular Southwestern grill is in the final stages of a $1.5 million renovation of the historic Thompson building on Main Street, creating a three-story restaurant, bar and sidewalk cafe, all overlooking Pegasus Plaza. Iron Cactus will occupy the entire 14,000-square-foot building. Improvements, subsidized in part by tax increment funds provided by the city of Dallas, include a complete renovation of the white terra cotta facade that adorned the property in the early 1900s. Selzer Associates is overseeing redevelopment of the space, which is owned by Thomas Taylor and John Tatum of Main Street Investors. Nancy Hormann, executive director of the Downtown Partnership, an organization spearheading the revitalization of Main Street, said she can't "emphasize enough what Iron Cactus means for downtown Dallas." "We have had our successes, but this one we're greeting with fireworks," she said. "It's the next step in bringing vibrancy and energy to Pegasus Plaza. It will help make Dallas a 24/7 city. "Jerobam did that for us two years ago, and they're still attracting a great crowd," Hormann added. "Iron Cactus is like the next great ride in the amusement park." With its three-tiered patio, Hormann said Iron Cactus will be a destination restaurant, luring people who don't already live or work downtown to the Central Business District. "Its size and orientation to the outdoors is what makes it unique, especially for Dallas," she said. "We have great weather in Dallas. Why there aren't more outdoor restaurants here, I don't know." Prior to the Iron Cactus, the Thompson building was occupied by a convenience store and Campisi's Egyptian Restaurant, which moved to a larger space in the nearby Stone Street Gardens area off Main Street in 2002. Recently named one of the top 10 tequila bars in the country, Iron Cactus is owned by Austin restaurateurs Gary Manley and Michael Pottorff. The restaurant, described as "a Southwestern Grill with a kick," has two locations in Austin. The Main Street eatery will be its first Dallas venue. Jack Gosnell of Jack Gosnell Real Estate represented Main Street Investors in the Iron Cactus deal. Mitch Traub and Dennis Leibovitz, then at The Weitzman Group, represented the restaurant in its search for Metroplex space. Both brokers have since moved over to a competing firm, The Retail Connection. Traub said his clients are excited about their new location in the middle of Main Street. "They love the city and all the attention they're getting here," he said. "Iron Cactus is going to be the coolest restaurant in Dallas."