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Aug 8, 2014

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Brian Bolke takes his revered Forty Five Ten to downtown Dallas

Brian Bolke’s Grand Vision

Dallas fashion influential Brian Bolke always has something up his stylish sleeve. His latest grand plan: take Forty Five Ten, his house of style on McKinney Avenue, to Main Street in downtown Dallas.

To be sure, it’s another victory for downtown. But will it be the end of an era on McKinney?

Bolke is calm and collected when answering the question that will undoubtedly come up a lot prior to the store’s fall 2015 grand opening.

“We haven’t made any decisions on McKinney Avenue,” Bolke says. “We are keeping all of our options open. We are focused on our new store and the exact offering, and then we will see how all the puzzle pieces fit.”

The new multilevel store, designed by Droese Raney Architecture, will sit across the street from The Joule hotel complex and adjacent to Tony Tasset’s eye sculpture. That location is strategic: Headington Companies, the development group that owns The Joule as well as Hotel Lumen, is providing financial backing.

This 45,000-square-foot retail space will still feel like Forty Five Ten, Bolke says, but it will be bigger and more fabulous, with multiple floors of retail, including expanded offerings in women’s, men’s, apothecary, jewelry, home and accessories. The space will also include the ultimate ladies-who-lunch spot, the T Room, and rooftop event space.

Bolke buys into the vision for a vibrant downtown, which has largely been driven by Headington’s investment in its Joule property, which now includes a plethora of exciting retail destinations like TenOverSix and Traffic LA. Bolke couldn’t think of a better time to head to Main Street or to hook up with Headington.

So who sold whom on this downtown Dallas dream?

“I sold them!” Bolke says. “I think it is absolutely the next place to be. I thought the same thing 15 years ago about our location on McKinney Avenue. This stretch was completely undeveloped.

“Are we going to take advantage of being across the street from an exceptional hotel, great restaurants, a world-class spa, cool retail and the flagship Neiman Marcus? Absolutely! Do I think we will be catalyst for other people to follow? I hope.”

Shelle Sills, the former general manager of Neiman Marcus Downtown who is now the director of retail for Headington Companies, echoes Bolke’s enthusiasm for the partnership.

“Tim Headington and his team have always known this downtown neighborhood could, and should, be reimagined with a thoughtful mix of highly engaging environments,” Sills says. “Forty Five Ten is certainly one of them. This is a game-changer — not just for Main Street but for the city.”

Any big change also comes with its share of risks. For example, many customers have become attached to Forty Five Ten’s cozy Knox-Henderson location. Will the move downtown deter some of his clients from shopping? Bolke doesn’t seem to think so. He points out that the downtown location is actually closer to half of his clients, and he and his team plan to deliver an exceptional experience that makes any extra effort to get downtown absolutely worth it.

Besides, with a booming global ecommerce business and home delivery services, Bolke can afford to go bold with his brick-and-mortar locations.

“The programming of the new space is the most exciting part,” Bolke says. “There are no limits to what we can do. But I promise it will be surprising.”

Written by: Diana Oates
Originally posted in CultureMap.