Light Up Your Real Estate Portfolio: Historic North Oak Cliff DP&L Building on Market for $1.6M

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115 S. Tyler Front
This neo-classical building at 115 S. Tyler Street once supplied electricity to North Oak Cliff.

By Katrina Whatley
Special Contributor

Dallas is fortunate to have plethora of housing styles. You want something by a contemporary architect? We have many innovative, world-class examples. Want a charming 1920s Tudor or a Craftsman bungalow? We have several neighborhoods with beautiful offerings — both large and small — from Swiss Avenue to Elmwood. Midcentury modern lover? Cha-ching! Dallas has many exciting neighborhoods that are strictly thus!

Each home is always unique in its own right, and you will find many options for your preferred style in our fair city. However, takes you to a place so unique that there are only four examples in all of Dallas. Four. That’s right: one, two, three, four.

Realtor Randall Simpson is offering the only historical Dallas Power and Light building for sale at this time for a cool $1.6 million. The building, designed by Lang & Witchell, originally powered rail cars in Dallas. Jump for a peek inside!

115 S. Tyler Entry

Morton Myerson owns the Dallas Power and Light (aka: DP&L) building near the Katy Trail. There is another in Exposition Park. The third is in The Cedars. The fourth DP&L building is in North Oak Cliff at 115 S. Tyler St. and it could be yours. This handsome, three-story gentleman is a 1920s piece of industrial art. In all, it’s 8,190 square feet of sexy.

115 S. Tyler Foyer 115 S. Tyler Foyer First Floor 115 S. Tyler First Floor 115 S. Tyler Living Kitchen 115 S. Tyler Open Plan

The awe-inspiring, open third floor is waiting to be made into a dream loft that could rival anything in New York City. There are so many fabulous details, too. This building received a Preservation Achievement Award from Preservation Dallas in 2013 after attorney and renowned preservationist John McCall took it from a derelict structure to the gorgeous building it is today. Built in 1925 near the corner of Tyler St. and Sunset Ave., the building was purchased from Oncor in 2007 and was in sad shape, covered in graffiti and full of dusty old archives from the power supplier. Here’s a look in on the building’s history according to McCall:

Based on information from Oncor and the neighbors, this building was generating electricity until the early 1950s. At some point in time, due to population growth, power generation was transferred to a larger facility outside the city limits and the equipment was removed.

Neighbors claim this location then became a local office for paying electric bills, and according to their recollection, you could walk in and pay your monthly invoice until the 1970s.  From the 1970s to present, the use becomes less clear.  It is presumed that some administrative offices were located here, since central heat and air was installed for the first and second floor.  While the exterior cooling equipment was also vandalized, the date of installation for the last compressor was 1980.

After administration transferred out of this location, it apparently became a facility to be used for document storage. As the pictures indicate, all three floors were full of shelves, filing cabinets, and boxes of documents.

Many of original 12-foot-tall windows have been restored with functioning cranks to open for wonderful cross breezes. We can just imagine sleeping on the third floor during the spring and early fall with that perfect, wildflower-scented Texas air filling the space. That’s exactly what Mary McDermott Cook does!

Here are a few before shots:

tyler 6 landing
When McCall bought the building, the brick walls had been painted over to cover graffiti. The first major task in the property’s historic restoration was sandblasting all that paint off the walls.
tyler 6.5 second
Dusty old archive boxes filled the second floor of the DP&L building when McCall bought the space, which was being used as storage by Oncor.
tyler 3 ext
If the windows weren’t broken or busted, they were covered in aluminum sheathing, blocking out all the light. A significant part of the restoration included fixing the enormous window panels.

And thanks to tons of hard work, the second level looks like this:115 S. Tyler Staircase and Landing 115 S. Tyler Second Floor 115 S. Tyler Second Floor 2 115 S. Tyler View From 3rd

The solidity of each original staircase feels like it will rival the pyramids at Giza when it comes to standing up to the test of time. One of the best things about this property, along with the proximity to downtown Dallas, the Bishop Arts District, and the planned Bishop Arts Village, may be its flexible use.It is zoned for both residential and commercial. The owner can mix it up with a live/work space, hosting clients downstairs and more intimate gatherings up. Perhaps an art gallery on the first floor, an office space on the second, and a dwelling on the third. The possibilities have us drooling!

Don’t miss that fact that the lot size is a healthy 300 x 132.5, which totals around 13,300 square feet. Private parking? It is there. Climate control? You got it. Green space? There’s plenty.

Possibilities abound on the third floor, which could be a fabulous loft!
Possibilities abound on the third floor, which could be a fabulous loft!

DP&L’s neighbors include the award winning TeCo theater, art galleries, independent shops, as well as the businesses lining Jefferson Avenue, which is in the midst of revival.

As if it could not get an more stellar, there is rooftop access with a perfect view of downtown Dallas and the vibrant local scene. Can you imagine the kind of parties you could host on July Fourth? We’re already searching the couch cushions for any extra change to get this beauty!

115 S. Tyler Rooftop View 115 S. Tyler Rooftop 115 S. Tyler Building rear

And of course, nothing makes our ears stand up faster than a rumor: We hear tell that there is also a “mystery basement.” Here’s what McCall wrote about the basement:

Evidently the building has a basement which is only accessible thru two large cement panels in the first floor. After removing caulk and other sealers, I have attempted to have one panel removed for access.  Three different tow trucks have backed in over the panel and have not been able to successfully lift a panel from its mount.  As of this writing, that space is still inaccessible and a mystery to its size and contents.

Oh, that’s reason enough to buy! BURIED TREASURE! So, what do you think of this gorgeous building? Are you ready to make it your own?

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Joanna England

If Executive Editor Joanna England could house hunt forever, she absolutely would. Instead she covers the North Texas housing market and the economy for While she started out with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, Joanna's work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News as well as several local media outlets. When she's not knitting or hooping, or enjoying White Rock Lake, she's behind the lens of her camera. She lives in East Dallas with her husband, son, and their furry and feathered menagerie.

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