Dallas Morning News

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

On Sunday, Bethany mused on what a creative developer could do with an old newspaper building — as in the very one we have in downtown Dallas, the former Dallas Morning News “Rock of Truth” headquarters that Ray Washburne’s Charter DMN Holdings purchased a little over a month ago.

The iconic building at 508 Young Street just across from Union Station is known by many as the “Rock of Truth” because of George Bannerman Dealey’s strong words etched on the front. Washburne’s company purchased the 8-acre campus holding two buildings for $28 million.

First of all, the Dallas Morning News building’s exteriors will definitely be saved and put to use.

The Standard High Line in New York City could be a model for Washburne’s planned boutique hotel at the former Dallas Morning News campus.

“We are going to keep the existing building and convert it into a 200- to 300-room boutique business hotel, completely saving the exterior character of the building,” Washburne told me. (more…)

The Magnolia headquarters and service station anchoring East Quarter.

Last week, Todd Interests showed plans for a new downtown neighborhood called East Quarter. It’s north of the Dallas Farmers’ Market and west of US Highway 75 from Deep Ellum (think of the Magnolia service station at Commerce Street and Cesar Chavez Boulevard as the tip of a redevelopment arrow heading west towards the Statler).

For once, this isn’t the typical Dallas story of bulldozers and tear-stained preservationists. The reason being that Todd Investments’ plan is to renovate over two dozen buildings, including 18 brick structures from the 1920s and 1930s, into offices, restaurants and retail spaces. The only angst for the project is, as the Dallas Morning News reported, “The builder is looking at adding residential projects on some of the vacant lots included in the deal.”

I hope they do more than look. (more…)

The Purse Building, located at 601 Elm Street, will be the visual gateway to the historic West End district of downtown Dallas. The restoration of the 113-year-old building has begun, and will be complete in 15 to 18 months. (Images: Wildcat Management)

“I’ve spent almost the last 12 years downtown. I was there when no one wanted to be there,” says Tanya Ragan, President of Wildcat Management and one of the few female commercial developers in Dallas. “I know that when you talk about the Central Business District, you are really talking about 15 distinctly different districts.”

Tanya Ragan

One of those is the West End, an area Ragan describes as almost a “Boston within Dallas” now loading with offices, restaurants, retail, and some residential.

“The offices are central — so close to downtown and the core,” she says. “You can hop on DART. Or you can walk outside and still see cobbled streets.”

Now the Minnesota native is taking one of the oldest buildings in downtown’s West End at 601 Elm Street and restoring it into a hub for the very kind of end users that are finding their way to Dallas.

“For over a decade, the biggest story in Dallas real estate has been the redevelopment of the city center. With the rehabilitation of the Purse Building, we’re bringing that energy to the West End,” Ragan said.  “We want to encourage technical innovation and smart city solutions, while preserving the neighborhood’s amazing heritage.”

The Mosaic is just one stop on the Celebrate Downtown DIVE IN tour.

Get your walking shoes and camera ready! Preservation Dallas and Downtown Dallas, Inc. will host Celebrate Downtown DIVE IN on May 6. This tour highlights truly amazing Dallas historical gems, many of which offer spectacular views of downtown Dallas. It’s a photographer’s dream come true! And if the turnout is anything like it was two years ago, you’ll want to reserve your tickets ASAP.

“Celebrate Downtown remains one of our most anticipated architectural tours because you get to experience Dallas’ center from the ground, from up above it all and from every angle,” said Preservation Dallas’ Donovan Westover. “Access to eight exclusive historic properties and rooftops with a party afterward – where else can you do that in four hours for $35?”


1505 Elm PH - Interior 1

Originally built in 1957 and designed by George Dahl, 1505 Elm Street began life as the home of Dallas Federal Savings. In 1974 it was sold to Dresser Industries for their headquarters. It changed hands a few more times before in 2001 Lazarus Property purchased it to convert into Dallas’ first office-to-condo conversion. The 17-story building now houses 67 condos including a 6,465 square foot, full-floor penthouse shell.

Since the converted units began selling in 2002, the penthouse has been relentlessly on the market for $1.5 million.  It’s been with Steve Shepherd of Local Dwelling since 2010.  Recently it took a huge price drop of over 36 percent to $985,000 or $152 per square foot. Compared to neighboring Museum Tower’s penthouse listed at $1,953 per square foot, this would appear to be a bargain …


deep ellum murals

The “Deep Rawlins” mural by Steve Hunter is one of 42 in downtown Dallas commissioned by 42 Properties in 2015. A contest will determine which three of these murals gets to stay, and which are painted over to make way for new art. This mural currently has 1,280 votes. Photo: Can Turkyilmaz

Back in 2014, folks at real estate company 42 Deep Ellum had an ambitious idea: to paint 42 new Deep Ellum murals on the walls of the properties they owned in downtown Dallas.

This project, called 42 Murals, allowed artists to show off their talent through murals painted on many of the historic buildings in the area. The mural project also provides free public art to thousands of visitors and residents.

“We made a conscious effort to focus mostly on local artists and not look at an artist’s reputation experience or resume — we judged entries pretty much solely on the submission,” said Scott Rohrman, manager of 42 Real Estate, LLC, and manager of general 42 Deep Ellum. “What we got is something we are really proud of.”

From the beginning, artists knew the murals would likely be temporary. Two years later, and 42 Murals is once again calling for submissions to create new Deep Ellum murals. That means painting over most of the old ones.

“You don’t go into the Dallas Museum of Art over a 20-year period and every painting is sitting on the same wall,” Rohrman said. “Art galleries change their art and when we went into the project, we told the artists their art might only be up for a short time, two year now, all the artists signed a contract before they started painting that we could not and would not guarantee their art would stay up forever.”

To decide which of the art stays and which get painted over, there’s an Instagram contest @42murals. The three most popular murals — the ones that get the most “likes” — will be preserved, with the artists receiving a cash prize. Voting ends tomorrow.


historic downtown dallas buildings

The Butler Brothers Buildings is one of 11 historic downtown buildings where you can live the loft life in Dallas.

This is the second installment in a two-part series looking at loft living in historic downtown Dallas buildings, originally published Aug. 5. You can read the first post here

Dallas has a rich history in downtown, with many beautiful structures from the early 1900s. We’re looking at 11 of those buildings, which have been converted, usually after years of abandonment, into hip urban loft living.

Moving to the urban core is part of experiencing a ‘walkable city’ trend, particularly among Millennials, who value the live, work, play lifestyle, says Ashley D. Stanley*, owner of Ashley’s Apartments. Stanley is a long-time downtown loft dweller with her young son, an expert on the area, and apartment locator for downtown Dallas apartment rentals.

“I live in the Wilson Building and I love being close to public transportation, the urban core, so many restaurants, and downtown businesses,” Stanley said. “A lot of my clients for whom I find apartments are looking for an urban experience and they find living in downtown Dallas to be a vibrant, exciting thing.”

Yesterday, we looked at six historic Dallas buildings where you can rent a loft: the Wilson Building, 1900 Elm Historical Lofts, American Beauty Mill Lofts, the David Building, DP&L Flats, and the Butler Brothers Building.

Today, we’ll look at the final five and you can learn about each structure’s unique place in Dallas history, price per square foot**, and amenities.


The Kirby Residences on Main are one of 11 historic downtown buildings where you can live the loft life in Dallas.

The Kirby Residences on Main are one of 11 historic downtown buildings where you can live the loft life in Dallas. Photo: Kirby Residences

This is the first installment in a two-part series looking at loft living in historic downtown Dallas buildings, originally published July 29. Part two will publish tomorrow. Be sure to check back!

The loft life never looked better than in downtown Dallas’ historic buildings. With 11 of them converted for residential living, residents have lots of options, in terms of amenities and location.

Part of the appeal of loft living is the flexible spaces, says Ashley D. Stanley, owner of Ashley’s Apartments, a long-time downtown loft dweller with her young son, and a go-to expert apartment locator for downtown Dallas apartment rentals.

“I love the open feel and I think most people do,” she said. “Some people might section off a little area of their loft for a sitting area, but the key is you have the creative freedom to walk into an open area and make it your own.”

Another reason people choose loft living? A sense of connection to the city.

“I love knowing the story behind my building — I live in the The Wilson, which is the oldest building being used as a multi-family place,” she said. “People have a sense of pride while living in a building that’s been around for 100-plus years and you feel a part of history. Also, you’ve got the options of exposed ductwork and brick walls. I’ve even got three kinds of flooring (wood, concrete, and marble). It’s the coolest thing to have such a unique place to live.”

All of these are rental properties, and we’ve given the approximate price-per-square foot*, as well as info about the building’s background and current options in the renovated spaces.