The 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.
I 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!