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Affordable rental units planned for Dallas’ landmark Cabana Hotel site

Historic hotel on Stemmons Freeway near downtown has been vacant for years.

The buyer of a landmark Dallas hotel hopes to turn the property near downtown into affordable apartments.

The long-vacant Cabana Hotel on Stemmons Freeway on the edge of the Design District was gutted more than three years ago for a renovation.

But that plan to restore the historic hotel located across the freeway from Victory Park never moved ahead.


And now a different developer has contracted to buy the 10-story building and renovate the property into affordable rental units.

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Preliminary plans for the project were presented this week to Dallas’ Urban Design Peer Review Panel by developer Sycamore Strategies’ Zachary Krochtengel. The building will have about 160 apartments.

Krochtengel told the design panel that his group is seeking historic tax credits and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to help finance the project.

The pool deck of the Cabana Hotel faces downtown and Victory Park.(Steve Brown)

The redevelopment plan includes removing part of an existing parking garage, adding new construction and opening up the back side of the hotel along Slocum Street to create better pedestrian connection.

The Cabana Hotel’s signature decorative concrete exterior screens will be preserved.


Sycamore Strategies has most recently been working on an affordable rental community called Cypress Creek at Forest Lane in Dallas’ Lake Highland area.

And the developer previously was involved in a proposed rental project in West Dallas.

The Cabana Hotel was constructed in 1962 by Las Vegas hotelier Jay Sarno, who also built the landmark Caesar’s Palace.

The hotel — originally the Cabana Motor Hotel — in its heyday hosted a parade of celebrities from the Beatles to Led Zeppelin and Richard Nixon.

The Cabana closed in the 1970s and was later converted into a minimum-security county jail.

The county sold the vacant building in 2017 to Farmers Branch-based Centurion American Development Group which planned to restore the building as a hotel in a project estimated to cost $100 million.

But following permitting delays and the COVID-19 pandemic, plans to redevelop the property stalled.

Davidson Bogel Real Estate was hired to market the historic high-rise for sale.


The Cabana Hotel is one of the last large vacant buildings in Dallas’ downtown area that haven’t been repurposed or replaced with newer structures.

The entry of the Cabana Hotel facing downtown has been demolished and ready to restore.(Steve Brown)