Randall Reed (right) celebrates after breaking ground in June on a new dealership, part of a redevelopment of the former Braniff International Airways site. (Courtesy photo)
North America’s likely largest Lincoln-branded dealership facility will open at Dallas Love Field next year, bringing with it restaurants, retail, and high-end aviation services to the historic former Braniff International Airways site.
The 25 acres, located where Lovers Lane runs into Lemmon Avenue, will also include offices and potentially a hotel as part of a $140-million, multi-partner redevelopment effort that has been in the works for years.
“This amazing redevelopment will not only preserve this important piece of Dallas history, but create wonderful business opportunities that will provide incredible services to our local community,” said Randall Reed, owner of World Class Automotive Group.
The new 267,342-square-foot Lincoln dealership will incorporate an existing six-story, 600-plus space parking structure. Reed broke ground on the project in June.
Reed’s Lincoln franchise will relocate to the new facility and become Planet Lincoln. His Park Cities Ford franchise will remain at 3333 Inwood Road, its home since 1992.
The Gravity Company founding partner Michael Graves, who was retained in 2009 to pursue the redevelopment project, discussed the plans during a recent public meeting at the airport.
Graves, a former car dealer, told those attending that dealership staff have a plan for keeping test drives off nearby residential streets.
“You are still going to have the one or two lazy people going through the neighborhood, but after one or two firings, you are going to get compliance,” he said.
The master plan for the project has gone through a number of revisions since 2012 to address concerns of historic preservation groups and neighbors of the project.
“I think that a lot of people were concerned at first with another car dealership going in,” Dallas City Council member Omar Narvaez said. “They wanted to see retail, and they wanted to see restaurants.”
Preserving portions of the Braniff facilities also emerged as a priority. The Gravity Company and FRCH Design Worldwide worked with the Federal Aviation Administration, Texas Historic Commission, and the National Parks Service to preserve much of the building and hangers, incorporating them into what will be known as the Braniff Centre.
Development partners Lincoln Property Co., the Jerry Jones’ family’s Blue Star Land LP, and The Arnold Companies, an aviation company, are working to create a facility that will honor an earlier time in aviation history and recapture the modern jet-setter lifestyle that defined Braniff in the 1950s.
“While updating the structure to serve contemporary uses, it was crucial to keep the original designs of William Pereira and Charles Luckman [and Mark Lemmon] and retain the spirit of flight, as seen in elements such as the inverted butterfly roof architecture and the glass curtain wall,” Graves said.