Elm Place Tower ForeclosureOne of Dallas’ oldest skyscrapers, the 52-story Elm Place tower at 1401 Elm Street, is closing down due to a foreclosure and an extremely low occupancy rate.

[Guerrino] Savio [who represents the owners] said occupancy in the office tower had fallen to about 20 percent last year and has recently gone even lower.

“It got to the point it was impossible to keep operating,” he said. “For every dollar in rent we receive you have to spend five dollars in expenses.”

Now the million-square-foot skyscraper will have the dubious distinction of being the largest empty building in downtown Dallas. But due to the foreclosure crisis, it may not be alone.  Dallas-Fort Worth’s commercial real estate industry has been hit very hard by the foreclosure crisis leaving many office buildings teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. And many analysts predict that it will only get worse.  Many companies have decided to reduce their office space expenses in an attempt to avoid bankruptcy and survive the downturn.  Unfortunately, that has meant that some commercial real estate businesses have been unable to pay their loans and some have even been forced into foreclosure and/or bankruptcy.  Could the Elm Place skyscraper just represent the towering foreclosure problem facing us in 2010 that some want to deny is getting worse?  I say yes.  We failed to properly handle the residential foreclosure crisis and now the problems have bled into the commercial real estate industry which could do just as much damage.  It is time for us to get serious about stopping the foreclosure crisis before it is too late.