It never ceases to amaze me what a difference a few miles make in real estate values. Here is a church in Uptown for sale that NO ONE wants to tear down!
Last week, we told you about the George Dahl-designed church 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, and how a new owner wants to scrape it to make way for a shopping center. Or something. We’ll have more on that soon.
That Oak Cliff Church building is architecturally, historically 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. While it’s not in the best of shape currently, I don’t agree with those who claim it’s not worth keeping.
Churches can have second, third or fourth lives. Here is a church at 27oo Fairmount in the heart of Uptown that has a significantly higher price tag — $8.4 million — yes, you read that correctly — and has been used as a creative office space. It could once again be an office space, company headquarters, home, multi-family living, my creative juices were overflowing last week as I toured it. It, too, is an architecturally significant historical church designed by Herbert Miller Greene (architect of the very first Dallas News building in 1897, the downtown Neiman Marcus and other local landmarks) and his partner James P. Hubbell. It was completed in 1910 when commissioned as Westminster Presbyterian Church. The Beaux Arts structure has been carefully preserved and creatively renovated into tasteful and eclectic office space suitable for a variety of uses.
Well, except when they were going a little cray cray with blue paint back in 2014. Remember? But look at her now!
The ownership history of the church goes like this: church, then it was the home of the Tech Wildcatters and was known as the Tech Church. (The start-up accelerator company moved in about 2010 and left in 2013.)
It was for lease for a while: LoopNet had it priced at $30 per square foot. Robert Wilonsky says designer Gary Riggs owned it, but I don’t think so. The current real estate agent, the darling Bryan Crawford over at Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International, says our own Ray Washburne owned it last. The current owner bought it in 2013 from Washburne. The owner, by the way, is very private and is in the fossil and mineral business. (And Riggs has worked for him. So Wilonsky was close.) Hence the huge T-Rex or whatever that fossil is — a therapoda? A couple carnivorous saurischian dinosaurs with short forelimbs are on display inside the sanctuary.
In fact, can you think of a more perfect place to display a bunch of dinosaur bones than in a sanctuary?
Because those sanctuary spaces are large, open, and super creative spaces ideal for a showroom or open flow office space. (Or dinosaurs!) The conference room or potential executive office space is perched high above the sanctuary turned showroom, enclosed in glass and surrounded by original plaster moldings. There are several criss-crossed beams in this room, and the ceiling is a must-see of tongue in groove. I know the wood was painted white and while I just love white paint, I wonder what the original wood beneath looks like.
The rear two-story structure which was added on consists of 14 office suites, a sound studio room on the lower level, and several other open plan office rooms. Uptown is slim on parking but this place has its own lot and a side pull-in space that holds 7 cars. The parking lot across the street at 2518 Mahon Street is included and holds 20 cars. Forget he who owns the gold rules — he who owns the parking spaces commands!
The building is zoned PD9, which allows for a variety of retail, office uses, and, of course, single family. It goes without saying this is one of the best locations in Uptown, walking distance to The Crescent, McKinney Avenue retail, restaurants and everything in the Turtle Creek/Cedar Springs area.
Interior designer extraordinaire Sherry Hayslip has her beautiful little design boutique about two doors down, and she and Cole are living in a home they are renovating directly behind it. (Neighbors! Stay tuned!) The courtyard in-between home and shop is like a little slice of French courtyard heaven.
The total square footage of the church is 16,832 interior square feet, per appraiser, and the lot size is 90 by 173 ft per an existing survey.
You can divide it into 8000 + 8500 square feet, for two nice residential pads, and that parking would make you the envy of Uptown.
But! There is even more! Not only do you have this tremendous double-level sanctuary, and the added office space with basement sound studio, there is a unique living area — most unique. As soon as you enter the church, to the left is the brides’ room with a bathroom in a small cellar below. (I hope generations of brides did not trip while heading down there, nervous, before their big walk down the aisle. Yikes!) To the right is a little apartment, a most curious apartment. The first floor is a small room currently holding a desk, the second (up a spiral staircase) is the kitchen. Simple, but it has a nice stainless sink. The third is the living room/bedroom. You get here to via ladder similar to the one I climbed at the DP&L Building. Yeah, watch the alcohol consumption before you go nighty night here, or tuck that bottle in your waistband.
Then… up by another attached ladder you go to the roof deck for this tremendous view of Dallas.
Again, watch the alcohol consumption, for several reasons: the bathroom is down in the cellar, as it was for generations of brides. And that roof is pretty steep!
(I know what the guys are thinking… bad!)
This living quarters has to be the coziest, most unusual I have seen in Uptown. When I was single, many moons ago, guys might ask you up to “see their etchings”. Hell, you’d go up there and stay, etchings or not!
Really, the entire building is amazing. As is the price at $8,400,000. Oh and those cellar bathrooms are not the only heads: there are commercial men and women’s restrooms behind the sanctuary and bathrooms in the office addition. One observer said you could part with some of the downstairs office space for yet more drive-in parking. The bricks are stamped, and original to 1910: Bryan says the fireplace behind the altar is where the clergy used to warm up for worship, back in the days when that was all you had for heat.
So here is a church that is ripe for an amazing home and or commercial space or both. Just like 1010 West Kiest. Granted, it’s a very different part of town, mega different price point, but great things are happening in Oak Cliff every day.
I’d sure like every member of the Dallas Plan Commission to take a look at 2700 Fairmount and imagine, just imagine the possibilities.