FLW Rogers Lacy 2

Having run around a lot of high-rises in Dallas over the years as a potential buyer, open house voyeur, and CandysDirt.com roving reporter, people ask me what I think of “X” building. With that in mind, here’s my list of the top Dallas high-rises in different categories.

1. Best Unbuilt high-rise: Rogers Lacy Hotel

Long before I moved to Dallas, I saw the Rogers Lacy Hotel images in a 1985 book about architect Frank Lloyd Wright titled, “Treasures of Taliesin: Seventy-Seven Unbuilt Designs” by Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer.

The 64-story mixed-use building was to have housed a hotel on the first nine floors before transitioning to a stepped-back high-rise column containing residential condos/apartments.  Wright didn’t think much of Dallas summers or its 1940s cityscape and so the glass exterior was to have been double-thickness with translucent insulation between the panels.  This way, light was transmitted without having to see the outside.  Some panels were moveable and some were operable windows, but the general “face” of the building was towards the interior where an amazing atrium was to have been. Lush plants and interior-facing windows offered what Wright thought were the best “views” of Dallas.  The building was never built because during negotiations to convince oilman Rogers Lacy of the daring design, Mr. Lacy died.


City Council 2

In what I expect was a piece of theater, last night, the Dallas City Council trucked over to Fair Park to meet with the people in an open-door session. The goal was for citizens to voice their opinions about the Fair Park task force’s plans. As one black community leader pointed out, a two-hour session with the neighborhood after a year of work by a largely secretive task force was “a slap in the face.”

Before I continue, I ended my last piece on Fair Park wondering how much rent the city was generating from the State Fair.

In 2013 (the most recent financial statements I could find), the State Fair generated $42,411,006 in revenues (up $4.5-million from 2012) and paid the city $1,784,185 in rent for its 3.5 month lease of Fair Park. That would place an annual rental value on Fair Park of $5,947,283 or just $1,789 per acre per month. Does that seem a terrifically low price for a National Register property?

Put in perspective, the nonprofit State Fair pays its top nine executives just over $3 million in salaries and perks, not quite double what they pay the entire city of Dallas. Also keep in mind, for $1,789 a month you could either rent a 917 square foot, 1-bedroom apartment in West Village or an ACRE at Fair Park with all its accompanying historical buildings. How’s that for perspective?


One of the architectural gems in Dallas is Fair Park, a 277-acre recreational and educational complex southeast of downtown Dallas. It is home to many George Dahl-designed Art Deco buildings constructed for the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936, and is registered as a Dallas Landmark and National Historic Landmark.

Mark Lamster

Mark Lamster

But this park, home to the Texas State Fair each fall, is underperforming the rest of the year.

The next Dallas Architecture Forum event will address “Making Fair Park Work,” a panel discussion moderated by Dallas Morning News architecture critic Mark Lamster, who is also a professor in the College of Architecture Planning and Public Affairs (CAPPA) at the University of Texas at Arlington.

The main question will be, “how can Dallas transform Fair Park into a year-round destination and economic engine for its South Dallas area?” The city is now faced with several options for its redevelopment, and must choose the best path forward.

“The Dallas Architecture Forum is pleased to present this next panel in its 2015-16 series of thought-provoking panel discussions on topics impacting the citizens of Dallas both locally and globally,” said forum executive director Nate Eudaly. “Moderator Mark Lamster will be joined by a panel of well-respected community leaders to discuss this extremely important topic. The result will be engaging and thought-provoking discussions for our attendees.”


1010 W Kiest copy

The Old Oak Cliff Conservation League has added a beautiful Church building located at the corner of Kiest and Polk at 1010 West Kiest Blvd. (diagonally across from the Barbara Jordan Elementary School and across from the Kiest Polk Shopping Village) to its “Architecture at Risk” List.

The Church building is architecturally and culturally significant. It was designed by renowned Dallas architect George Dahl in 1953 as Church of the Master, Evangelical and Reformed Church serving a congregation of German/Swiss Immigrants of Oak Cliff who came to Texas by way of Galveston.

George Dahl also designed the Titche-Goettinger Building, Hillcrest State Bank, The Dallas Morning News building, Southwestern Life building, LTV Aerospace Center and the Dallas Public Library. He also designed the Art Deco buildings of Fair Park while he oversaw planning and construction of the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition. The church building has served as a church for 62 years and has also been home to Kiest/Polk School and daycare. The site features mature live oaks, magnolia and other native Texas trees. (more…)

Cliff Welch

Cliff Welch’s E. Lake Highlands Drive home featured in next weekend’s tenth annual White Rock Home Tour. Photos of house: Eric Homes

In our ongoing series, Interview with an Architect, we speak with leading voices in the North Texas architecture community and learn about their work, development issues in our community, and good design practices and principals (you can read the first one here and the second one here).

Cliff Welch

Photo: Cliff Welch

Cliff Welch, AIA, is a Dallas-based architect who champions modern architecture and designs with inspiration drawn from modern architecture of the last century.

His background includes working with the late Dallas modernist Bud Oglesby, later becoming a principal at Design International before starting his own firm, Welch Architecture, in January 2000.

One of his designs, located on East Lake Highlands Drive, is featured on the 10th annual White Rock Home Tour April 25-26. When the tour started in 2005, it showcased midcentury modern homes in the White Rock area; it has now expanded to include new construction, as well.

Welch earned his Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Master of Architecture from the University of Texas at Arlington. His work has received multiple Merit and Citation Awards from the Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), as well as their coveted Young Architect of the Year award. He has also earned honors from Preservation Dallas, the Texas Society of Architects, D Home magazine, and the AIA.

Welch is the past president of the Dallas Architectural Foundation and taught graduate-level architecture classes at UT Arlington. He is a past executive board member of the Dallas Chapter AIA, also serving two years as their Commissioner of Design, and has chaired multiple chapter events, including various home tours. He also served as a design awards juror for other chapters around the state.

Welch’s White Rock Home Tour house’s elegant simplicity and open spaces incorporate modern design to create an exception environment.


1505 Elm

There’s a new downtown property on the market that’s got the kind of luxury amenities you usually see on Turtle Creek, but for under $300K: a sixth-floor corner unit on Elm Street at North Akard with a stellar view, modern interior, and prime location.

The condo at 1505 Elm St. #604 is pretty much everything I imagine people desire in a downtown Dallas address: big, open floorplans; high-end appliances; awesome amenities; and easy access a DART light rail station across the street.

This 1-1.5 with a study is 1,482 square feet, listed by Gregory Iker at Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate for $235,000.

1505 Elm Y

Dallas architect George Dahl designed 1505 Elm, which was constructed in 1957 and served as Dallas Federal Savings bank for years before being abandoned. In 2002, it was part of the first wave of residential redevelopment in downtown Dallas, bringing 68 units to the market.

They didn’t cut corners in this building: it has an incredible level of amenities, which helps explain the whopping HOA fees of $1,001 per month. But those fees earn access to a 24-hour concierge, valet parking for residents and guests, a pool, sauna, private dog run, fitness center, Moroccan-style party room with billiard table and caterer’s kitchen, three high-speed elevators, and a super cool former bank vault that is now a wine cellar with a large dining table and individual wine lockers for residents. There’s even access to downtown tunnel system through lobby.


As we wrote about last year, the intersection of Preston and Northwest Highway is one of the highest-profile in all of North Dallas (and probably one of the highest-valued, too).

It’s not just the current real estate prices of Preston Hollow that give this area its prestige—the intersection has a fascinating history.

The northeast quadrant has a wavy, pink brick wall, and to live “behind the pink wall” was an address with serious social cachet in midcentury Dallas (legend has it Ebby Halliday herself coined the phrase).

The pink wall was built in 1954 by developer Hal Anderson in front of his first apartments; he later built the high-rise Athena and Preston Tower apartments next door. Parts of the wall might be a bit faded now, but to live here in the 1950s or 1960s was to have arrived. (You’ll likely get raised eyebrows if you talk about the real estate “behind the pink wall” to a young person, but older folks will remember the phrase well.)

Today’s Tuesday Two Hundred takes us one block north to 6126 Averill Way #208W, located in the Imperial House Condominiums, built around the same time, 1964, by Sid and Ada Lynn, with George Dahl as architect. These charming French-style condos have a fanciful, throwback feel, with a grand, circular staircase, domed ceiling, and retro metalwork in the entryway. Can’t you picture Betty Draper from Mad Men gliding down the stairs in kitten heels on her way to cocktail hour?

6126 Averill

Unit 208W is located on the second floor (there is an elevator in the building, as well as those stairs), a two-bedroom, three-bathroom condo with a roomy 2,134 square feet. It is newly listed by Peter Livingston at Realty One Group Partners for $239,000, or $112 a square foot.

Unit 208W has plenty to offer a buyer, but parts of it are a bit dated need freshening. A similar size, but renovated, unit in Imperial House sold last November for $345,000, or $139 a square foot. If that sale tells you anything, it’s that you could make the upgrades on this unit and see a return on your investment. Jump to read more and see photos!


Or, here’s why we like it when movies are made in Dallas.

First: what’s not to like about 1505 Elm in downtown Dallas? The .59 per square foot home association dues? That it was designed by George Dahl, built in 1957 as Dallas Federal Savings, once belonged to the Chamber of Commerce, was snapped up by Lazarus Property Co. who purchased the building in 2001 and turned it into 67 luxurious condominium units? There’s underground and valet parking, theater, fitness center, sauna, wine cellar, a catering kitchen, exterior amenities like a pool, dog run, and exterior cooking pavilion, and 24 hour valet and concierge. Enough good stuff that when actor John Voight was in Dallas recently to film the pilot for Midland, he leased a two bedroom, two and a half bath unit at 1505 Elm for about $3,000. (Can you imagine what that would have cost in NYC or LA?) Not only did he lease it, he furnished it complete with big gorgeous blown up photos of his grandchildren, yes, Angelina’s babies.

As Worth Ross broker Steve Shepherd told me today, originally Voight was going to lease a ranch just outside of town during the shooting. But Steve — or “Stevie” as Voight called him — showed him a host of two-bedroom units at 1505 Elm Luxury High Rise Residences and he was impressed. Impressed with the building, with the neighborhood — you can see the Joule pool and Charlie Palmers is only steps away, ditto Iron Cactus and more. “It reminds me of White Plains, New York, where I grew up,” Voight told Steve. “It’s a community around here and I like that a whole lot.”

He almost got the ranch, but changed his mind at the very end to lease the unit on the 18th floor. Steve’s sister-in-law helped furnish it, Voight being very traditional man. (Note: some of the furnishings came from the Mansion on Turtle Creek after the posh hotel’s recent re-do.) All the artwork (save for a few large maps)is enlarged photos of the children, one positioned so Voight could kiss her little angel lips easily every night.

Interiors, next post.