Imagine you had close to 10,000 square feet of raw, usable live-work space in one of the hottest areas of North Oak Cliff. The possibilities are endless for the creative, passionate buyer. We’ve already seen what a quality commercial live-work conversion looks like in the sizzling Dallas Design District. Imagine you could have all that space in a fantastic location at less than half the price.
The church annex at 1900 W. 10th St. was built in 1975 and was an accessory structure for Calvary Baptist Church for many years. It was one of the 23 churches lining W. 10th St., and helped the Sunset Hill thoroughfare earn the title of having the most churches per square mile than anywhere else in the United States in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! In fact, there were so many sanctuaries that the street was renamed to Church Street.
Tenth Street ultimately met its demise as Church Street in the later years of the twentieth century. After World War II, the sale of alcohol was banned in Oak Clifl changes in zoning took place, and the automobile culture was born. No one single element destroyed the Avenue of Churches, but all these factors together created a Pandora’s box that once opened, destroyed the community’s fabric.
—”Road to Glory: Tenth Street Becomes Church Street” by Rene Schmidt
Later it was purchased by Iglesia Bautista la Gran Comision of Oak Cliff. But once the congregation moved, and no probable tenant was lined up, the building was put on the market. According to Sunset Hill resident and Oak Cliff preservationist Michael Amonett, the building attracted few buyers, including a group of Buddhists.
For Vennessa V. Torres, she saw a grand opportunity in the church annex to create a live-work space that would be out of this world. Venessa and her husband started the transformation with the first of two phases. They began by building a guest apartment on the first floor where they would live while they finished out the rest of the building. the apartment has two bedrooms, one full bath, a laundry area, and a one-car garage.
The second phase was the build-out of the live-work space. They transformed the remaining 4,000 square feet into a dynamic, open area with room for offices, a venue, or a completely enormous living area. As it exists now, the Torreses have two offices, a coffee bar, and plenty of room for any kind of entertaining you can dream up.
While the upstairs has been cleared out, it’s still in original condition. I imagine it’d be a great workshop or maker space, a dance or art studio, or even a place to host larger events like a gallery exhibition or show.
Vennessa is a seasoned interior designer and founder of V. Mode de Vie, and you can see her aesthetic all over the 5,000-square-foot raw-chic first floor. Museum-finish walls, high-end LED lighting, raw plywood floors that look perfect in the space, and industrial-chic bathrooms.
“The difference between the upstairs and the downstairs is staggering, but it shows the work a good designer can do,” says listing agent Grecia Garza with Rogers Healy and Associates. “The possibilities are endless.”
The current zoning according to Dallas City Hall’s almost indecipherable zoning maps is R-7.5 (A), which translates to one single-family home per 7,500-square-foot lot. If you wanted to add a commercial component to the building, you’d have to go through re-zoning it.
“Another church was recently converted on Windomere, and re-zoned as multi-use,” Garza said. “We have no doubt this church can also be rezoned.”
In fact, the church building at 410 S. Windomere is inside the Winnetka Heights Historic District, which is governed by very strict zoning covenants. It might actually be easier to re-zone this church annex building at 1900 W. 10th St., but you have to have the intestinal fortitude to deal with City Hall. Godspeed, and all that.
Amonett notes that, because there is no parking on the site, though Torres has permits for a driveway, it cannot be anything other than residential. So you have to pour a driveway and some additional parking, first.
Garza has this property on the market for $799,000, and considering the openness and versatility of the space, it’s a pretty great deal. We hope that the property attracts a buyer that will build on Torres’ momentum and creates interiors just as stunning. Of course, they could always purchase and then hire Torres to finish out the second floor.
And if I had that scratch, that’s exactly what I’d do.