Is The Maple Terrace In Danger of Being Torn Down???

Maple-Corner-ViewThe Gables, UCR:  for the past couple weeks I have heard that one of Dallas’ most cherished landmarks, our very own Melrose Place,  is getting serious glances from developers who just might want to yank her down.

(I am shuddering already! They will cover every square inch of the property!)

That would be the Maple Terrace, a renown 90 year old Uptown apartment building that was one of Dallas’ first luxury residential buildings. All the Who’s Who in entertainment, design and writing have lived at the Maple Terrace at one time. Designed in 1925 by noted British architect Alfred Bossom, who also designed the Magnolia Building, the 80 unit rental building is across the street from the Stoneleigh Terrace Hotel (now a Meridian) and the new Stoneleigh condos. At the time of construction, it was the biggest use of stucco in the world — now I think Deion Sanders house is. Oh how far we have come!

Since 2010, the 80-unit rental building has been owned by investor Exxir Corp. I am still checking on this, but believe one of the owners is Farrokh Nazerian (correct me if I’m wrong.) Of course it’s being eyed as one of the most choice locations in Uptown!

Now Steve Brown says Exxir representatives confirm “they’ve been contacted by interested buyers, but say that the Maple Terrace hasn’t sold.” Phew!

Last week I heard that Gables Residential, one of Uptown’s largest apartment developers, is kicking the tires. Steve says “Gables is developing the Whole Foods Market and (an) apartment building on McKinney Avenue.”

Just heard that Jack Gosnel with UCR was touring it today!

Other developers have sure tried: between 2001 and 2002, the Maple Terrace was supposed to be converted from a an apartment building into a glam boutique hotel. Then it was to be turned into condos, with a huge new tower nearby. When leases were not renewed, things got a bit run-down. Thankfully, the sucky economic climate made those plans come to a screeching halt, repairs were made, and the Maple Terrace has continued to be an elegant, eclectic, 7-story apartment building.

Maple Terrace old postcardI have a question: why is this building NOT historically protected? (Actually awaiting my call from Preservation Dallas on this.) Here are some of the really famous people who have stayed at The Maple Terrace: Shirley MacLaine, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Judy Garland, Dean Martin, and Jerry Lewis.

Here are the cool peeps who have lived there, or still do: Designer Ike Isenhour (The Turtle Creek abode of Robert Edsel, among many others), Mimi Tullis, a retired interior decorator who moved into the building in 1959 and was adorable, former D Mag writer and food critic Mary Malouf, Angus Wynne (yes!), Lynn Barnard, Ken Knight, Jacklyn Butler (interior designer extraordinaire and interior designer to Eleanor Mowery Sheets), interior designers Jan Martin and John Bobbitt, Deborah Points, Jack Vroom (cool last name), clothing designer Harry Hudson, Dave Perry-Miller agent J. L. Forke, artists Dan Rizzie and Bob “Daddy-O” Wade, fashion designer Todd Oldham, theater queen Margot Jones, museum curator/collector Bill Jordan, and Joan Davidow, Director Emerita of the Dallas Contemporary.

When I was at D Home Magazine, I wrote several stories about the Maple Terrace, and Mimi Tullis once had me to lunch. We talked about the building and her life as a designer in New York and Dallas as I drooled over her amazing antiques and art collection. The Maple Terrace is an anomaly and needs to stay that way. I know that it’s your typical old time building patched up to keep up — wonder if they ever installed washer or dryer connections? Is the plumbing still erratic? Does the central air and heat that was added in the 1960s still function? Like my 1950’s Behind the Pink Wall condo, there are no individual thermostats and you just wait, and freeze or boil, for the building to turn on air and heat each season. Some units still had radiators, which I don’t think my children would recognize as the purveyors of heat for years prior to central. The kitchens remind me of my home in New York City at Butler Hall, where my kitchen was indeed once a closet the size not of Rhode Island but a rock in the Trinity. Wifi? Microwaves? Ha!

But the Otis elevators I saw had the original brass gates. Just like Butler Hall. All that was missing was the Doorman.

The Maple Terrace has beautiful art deco moldings, original tiled floors from the 1920’s, architectural details that do not exist anymore,  plaster walls, even brass fire hose spigots — something else the kids would not recognize. They even used to let tenants paint and renovate the unit as they desired, which resulted in amazing, non- cookie cutter apartments since half the residents were interior designers. There was a waiting list to get in.

Now I hope there will be a waiting list to protect this grand old dame, this grand lady, the Diva of Dallas apartment living.  She may need a nip and tuck just like I do, but she is going NOWHERE!Maple Terrace on a vintage matchbook

 

 

 

9 Comment

  • mm

    They can’t tear it down! OH NO!

  • Candy I too enjoyed three years at Maple Terrace early 1990’s. Along with David Salem, Nancy Haberman and various other local celebs. Was there when cast and crew of Born on the 4th of July, minus Tom Cruise who was entrenched in HP, all stayed there and The Stoneleigh. The laundry in basement had secret passage to Stoneleigh left from when room service was available. Enjoyed treking to roof with other friends in building to watch 4th of July fireworks from the tower. Great times! Historic icon worth saving!

  • “(I am shuddering already! They will cover every square inch of the property!)”
    It seems to be the trend . I went to a meeting near Ross and Greenville Ave on Monday. First time I had traveled Ross past the Arts District in a few years .I was amazed at how close the Apartment buildings are to the side walk. And how close to together the buildings are to each other .

    As the owner of a 69 year old house I am now in the there is nothing left to do but install new when it comes to some patch and go you mention. Do you think the building could be modernized keep its charm and still be affordable to live in ?

    • mm

      I don’t think it could be modernized too much, or it would lose it’s charm. And as we all know it is usually cheaper to build new than remodel. In this case, I think we need to urge the owner to get Landmark designation and leave it — It’s a work of art, not a money-maker! Once again, Wall Street has us thinking quick turn-around, flip and go on. It’s time to invest in our city!

  • No!! They can’t even think about tearing that up. We live in Uptown during the winter months and drive by this almost daily. Such a nice resting point for the eyes amid the growing concrete jungle surrounding it. Gables can find other property to develop.

  • Candy, I, too, lived there in the mid-late 80’s… and your Melrose Place analogy couldn’t have been more spot on! Many a beautiful Dallas night was spent on that roof with wine and GREAT conversations!!! So should we start a petition to get her under preservation protection?? (You have the perfect vehicle!!)

  • Call your council persons folks! Don’t just wring your hands about it. Only the Council, the Plan Commission, the Landmark Commission or the property owner (and that ‘aint gonna happen) can initiate the procedure to designate a property as a City of Dallas Historic Landmark. Call or e-mail your council persons tomorrow. It will take only 3 or 4 minutes of your time.

  • The Fabulous Carol Reed lived in the Penthouse for years and had many wonderful parties on the roof terrace. I lived there for several years and made many friends from all walks of life as we passed thru Maple Terrace. Mayor Ron Kirk shot his first political brochure on Carol’s roof terrace.

  • I’ve been doing some research on a World War I soldier who died in France in 1918. His name was Sam Lewis. I was able to trace his family to Beaumont. Recently on Ancestry.com I looked up Sam’s parents’ death records. Sam’s father died in 1926 in Beaumont but I was surprised to learn that Sam’s mother, Bertha Lewis, death certificate listed her as living at the “Maple Terrace Hotel” in Dallas for 3 years prior to her death. Now I have found this posting so I have to guess this is one in the same. Do you know if the Maple Terrace was an expensive location to reside in 1941, the year she died? I have got to guess she moved there to be close to a family member as she was 91 at her death. I would have never guessed this place is still standing. Its amazing what you can find online! Thanks.