The Davis Building, aka Republic National Bank Building, in downtown has Dallas Historic Landmark Designation. 1926 this structure was the tallest in Dallas. In 1945, this structure was the largest office site in Dallas. Photo: Davis Building.

Downtown Dallas’ Davis Building, aka Republic National Bank Building, has Dallas Historic Landmark Designation. In 1926 this structure was the tallest in Dallas. In 1945, it was the largest office site in Dallas. Photo: Davis Building.

Dallas has a rich historic and architectural legacy, shown through buildings like the Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff, DeGolyer House and Gardens in East Dallas, and the Eastside Warehouse District and State Thomas neighborhood in Uptown.

But just because a building or neighborhood plays an important part in the story of Dallas doesn’t mean it’s protected from big changes, up to and including demolishment.

Just last September, 1611 Main Street and neighboring buildings were razed as part of the Joule’s expansion plans. It was a beautiful Romanesque Revival built in 1885, one of downtown’s oldest structures. It sat next to the site of another Dallas landmark torn down by the Joule in 2012, the former Praetorian Building.

Lakewood Theater is another example of an unprotected structure—it may be beloved, but nothing stands between it and the wrecking ball besides the assurances of the owner that they won’t demolish as part of renovation plans.

That’s where historic designation comes into play and the efforts of Dallas preservationists to care for the future of the buildings and neighborhoods that have shaped what our city into what it is today.

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The exterior of the Kirby Building on main. This converted Gothic building has fantastic apartments with great views.

The Kirby Building on Main is a converted Gothic historic property full of apartments with great views. Photo: Kirby Residences on Main

Ashley D. Stanley has positioned herself to be the go-to expert locator for downtown Dallas apartment rentals. She’s a real estate broker and owner of Ashley’s Apartments, an apartment locator service specializing in downtown and nearby areas.

Stanley lives, works, and plays in downtown, and considers herself one of its biggest fans.

“I live at 1900 Elm historical lofts next to Main Street Garden and have an office space out of the Pacific Place building next door, where my commute is through the skywalk, but with the birth of my son this past year I moved everything to my home office,” she said. “I moved my office from Park Cities in July 2013 right after I found out I was pregnant. I knew the downtown market was on the rise.”

Stanley was right: apartments in downtown can hardly get built fast enough to satisfy demand.

“The market is hot, hot, super hot,” she said. “New buildings are popping up and units are being pre-leased, meaning you might go to a showroom, see a spread of photos for their unique finish out, cabinetry, kitchen appliances, flooring, etc. and you are offered a great move in rate with maybe a few free weeks if you sign within 24 to 48 hours.”

But with high demand comes higher rents, and many people feel challenged by the task of finding affordable lease in downtown. So we sat down with Stanley and got her recommendations for the top five least expensive studio apartment rentals in downtown Dallas. Jump to read about these five fantastic places and her tips for snagging a lease!

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Cabana hotel full

A storied property near the Dallas Design District that fell from a swinging night spot and hotel for rock stars in the 1960s to housing for county prisoners and sex offenders in the 1980s and 1990s may be on the rise again.

According to this Dallas Morning News story first reported by Robert Wilonsky, the Dallas County Commissioners Court sold the old Cabana Motor Hotel / Decker Detention Center yesterday to Lincoln Property Company, the third largest residential property manager in the U.S. The property, located at 899 N. Stemmons Freeway, is 399,000 square feet sitting on 3.275 acres of prime real estate northwest of Downtown Dallas. Lincoln paid $8.7 million (half a million less than the county paid for the place in 1985).

While no one from Lincoln or the county will confirm plans for the property, rumor has it that Lincoln intends to create a residential tower and data center. (more…)

The yellow home at 3407 Hall Street could be demolished to make way for new construction. (Photo: Dallas Voice)

The yellow home at 3407 Hall Street could be demolished to make way for new construction. (Photo: Dallas Voice)

This situation is more akin to the Bill Murray masterpiece Groundhog Day than Dallas would like to admit. We walk along our favorite sidewalks on our regular routes in our neighborhood only to be confronted with a city notice that the structure we’ve come to know somewhat like a best friend is slated for demolition. Even worse is when we see the wrecking ball at work with little or no warning. Bonus points if it’s during a Dallas Cowboys game.

Cue the outcry.

That’s exactly what has happened to 3409 Hall St., according the the Dallas Voice. A Board of Adjustment notice was posted in front of the last original structure facing Lee Park, a cute yellow house built in 1940 that is on the tax rolls for more than $714,000.

But the crux of the matter is that demolition permits aren’t issued overnight. For many historic structures, including the ones just demolished to make room for the Joule Hotel’s expansion, the process from requesting a permit to turning a building into a rubble pile takes weeks, if not sometimes months. And not all demolitions require a public announcement

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