Meeting City Requirements for The Continental Gin Building

Mar 31, 2021 | Building Permit, Dallas, Technical Consulting

From History to Happening

The Continental Gin Building is a historical building in Deep Ellum, located on the east side of downtown Dallas. Once the largest manufacturer of cotton gins in the world, this iconic building will now serve as an office, retail, and neighborhood destination.  

Originally built in 1888, this project had to undergo some major changes to repurpose the space into the vision it is today as it prepares to open its doors. Over the years it has also been home to an elevator manufacturing company and artist space.  

Today, the building is now home to popular workspace, Common Desk, and a future restaurant tenant, and yoga pilates studio.  

When the renovation project was initially underway, the owner and contractor worked with a third-party permit expediter to handle the permitting requirements. Through a lengthy process, the original permit expediter got a shell permit issued so the project construction could get underway.  

When it was time for the tenant, Common Desk, to begin outfitting the space, their natural inclination was to use the same company to handle the additional permitting. During the first round of reviews, the city had numerous comments about land use, parking, legal build site, and more. Additionally, the plans and all documentation were submitted to the city incorrectly making it difficult for the city to review. 

Unfortunately, the owner and contractor were not getting the answers they needed from that permit expediter. The schedule was a top priority for both the building owner and their biggest tenant, Common Desk. Neither wanted to risk the additional funds required to push back the open date. When they realized they were not getting the approvals and communication needed, the contractor asked Masterplan to step in.  

Taking a fresh set of eyes on the project, Masterplan’s permitting team located the project bottlenecks and, working with the owner, Common Desk, and contractor, outlined a plan of action to keep the project on schedule and meet city requirements.  

Results Provided:  

  • Permitting – Taking over the finish out permitting for Common Desk, Masterplan started with a clean slate. Everything that was previously submitted to the City of Dallas was deleted from the system and started from scratch to ensure every piece was accurate. Working with the development team, every single comment was addressed and corrected to meet the city requirements. Common Desk needed another permit for their expansion, which would allow for an additional 1,400 SF of space on the first floor. With all the initial documentation corrected and in place, the second permit was quickly issued.
  • Parking – Masterplan completed a parking analysis that showed the site was under parked by 45%. This deficiency was further supported by City zoning comments. The owner and contractor were both told by the previous permit expediter that parking was taken care of. There was an understandable shock when there was no actual approval from the city. In short, the parking for the building was inadequate and didn’t meet the local City of Dallas requirements. Masterplan worked with the team to develop parking solutions which ensured all the issues were rectified before submitting to the city for final approvals.
  • TIF – Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, is an economic development program through which funding is available from the city. Our team worked to get all of the permitting and documentation necessary to meet the TIF deadline. With the support of TIF funds, the building owner was able to get a great tenant for the building, and also keep the rent at an affordable rate.  



The contractor, Hill & Wilkinson, was able to keep the construction schedule on track. Permits all met the TIF deadline to ensure funding for the owner. The Continental Gin building is currently ready for new tenants to move in.  

Want to keep your future construction projects on schedule? Contact us to manage your city requirements.