Landmark Bella Villa Apartment Complex Lives Up to its Name – Again

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Bella Villa’s restoration brought this 1920s building up to date while retaining historic charm and details.

In Italian, Bella Villa means “beautiful villa.” In Vickery Place, Bella Villa means a stunning, newly preserved neighborhood landmark that’s living up to its name a second time.

Bella Villa is a prime example that preserving history often takes a village. The circa 1926 complex was not only the sole multi-family building in Vickery Place, but parts of the structure were also originally the Vickery Place School.

But Barrett Linburg, co-founder of Azur Commercial Capital, and Seth Bame, founder of Indio Management, saw the potential in Bella Villa and what an asset it could be to the neighborhood.

“Seth and I have been working on properties all over Dallas for about 10 years.  We independently saw the potential in this property in early 2015 and finally got the chance to work on it in 2017,” Linburg said. “We didn’t know the extent of the history, but knew that the character of the building was special and we were excited to bring it back to life after many years —maybe decades — of deterioration under several owners who operated very differently than we planned to.”

As Dallas Landmark Commissioner Mike Birrer told the Lakewood Advocate, Bella Villa was one of the city’s earliest adaptive reuse projects. Preserving its historic character while making it livable was critical.

“We deliberately restored the building under the watchful eyes of the US Department of the Interior, Texas Historical Commission, and the Dallas Landmark Commission,” Linburg added. “We are pleased that the building’s character has remained intact while we have been able to add modern amenities and livability.”

This one-bedroom apartment at Bella Villa shows off the incredible turnaround the building underwent.

To accomplish that goal, Linburg and Bame contracted preservation specialists Architexas. The firm has completed several award-winning restoration and adaptive reuse projects throughout North Texas. One of their most heralded preservation projects was the brick-by-brick relocation of the former Liberty State Bank from its home on Elm Street to its new digs in the Farmers Market. 

This efficiency unit has some great historic details, such as a telephone nook and arched entryways.

Bella Villa’s Glory Days

Located on Miller and McMillan avenues, Bella Villa was a prestigious place for young professional couples and individuals to live in the late 1920s. A 1927 real estate ad touted the beautifully furnished three-room units with electric refrigeration and mechanical ventilation.

Transportation was ideal as well. Between the Vickery Place streetcar line and the nearby Interurban railway, residents in what was deemed “a Suburb Above the City” were just minutes from downtown Dallas businesses.

From an architectural standpoint, Bella Villa’s Mediterranean Revival façade added style variation to the neighborhood’s single-family homes that ranged from Tudor Revival and Craftsman to Bungalow and Four Square.

Common Area

Today’s “Beautiful Villa”

Most of the design elements in the three-story Bella Villa have been preserved to reflect the historic Mediterranean style. The exterior is still characterized by stucco walls, blue-framed windows, a red terra cotta roof, and black wrought iron Juliet balconies – not to mention the signature palm trees on both sides of the building entrance.

In addition to using the same interior floorplan, wrought iron railings remain on stairways. The 24 apartments, which are a combination of efficiencies and one-bedrooms, contain original hardwoods, windows, arched entryways, telephone nooks, glass doorknobs, and hand-painted tile. While the modern kitchen includes premium appliances, quartz countertops, and smart home technology, the dark cabinetry transitions the chic blend of 1920s and 2020 style.

Posh 715-square-foot, one-bedroom apartments are priced at $1,525 per month, with 425-square-foot efficiencies leasing for $1,195 per month. For virtual tours, visit here.

Joannna England contributed to this report.

Deb R. Brimer

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