BianchiHouse-1

(Photo courtesy of Michael Cagle)

The Bianchi house at the corner of Carroll and Reiger in East Dallas is safe, at least for the moment. The 104-year-old Otto Lang & Frank Witchell (Lang & Witchell) “House of the Future” displayed at the Texas Centennial Exposition made it through the Dallas Landmark Hearing Monday afternoon. Whew! Hopefully, the move was step one for preservation and restoration of this beautiful property.
Robert Wilonsky has called it an “Airbnb for the homeless,” , and I see his point.  Monday afternoon DEEP founder Lisa Marie Gala and I walked up on the porch and were spooked by a homeless man, nice enough, just camping out on the porch.
An attic fire has all but destroyed the roof. The windows are boarded up, and weeds run as wild as a bunch of teenagers whose parents are out of town. But the owner, Rick Leggio, a former Dallas Plan Commissioner, has been impossible to reach to determine repairs or interest in selling the property.
The home is sorely in need of care. Preservationists want the home restored and preserved, not razed, as the city is apt to do to a place with an endless list of code violations and a tarp on the roof.
Since September (2015), the house has been on Preservation Dallas’s most-endangered list. Its roof is decorated with tattered strips of blue tarp after an attic fire almost three years ago. A giant concrete hunk of the house has fallen into the weeds.
Leggio has, or someone has, however, paid the property taxes.

As the process moves forward to secure the fate of the Bianchi House, DEEP – the Dallas Endowment for Endangered Properties, Inc., has committed to following the journey and fundraising toward the effort of receiving or purchasing the home for restoration, deed restriction, and re-sale.

Bianchi House plaque (more…)

 

NeilEmmons

City Plan Commissioner Neil Emmons was found dead in his home this morning. Photo: Twitter

The political and real estate worlds of Dallas were rocked today with the news that tireless advocate of neighborhoods and preservation of Dallas’ architectural history Neil Emmons apparently passed away in his sleep overnight. He was 45.

Robert Wilonksy reported in the Dallas Morning News that Emmons, who has been serving as a City Plan Commissioner, was found dead by his mother this morning.  As city officials and others who have worked closely with Emmons in his 15-plus years serving the city learned the news, their reactions were overwhelmingly of shock.

“We did not always agree, but I always knew Neil was up for the fight. I learned a lot from you over the years, and I am sad that our hidden notes at the horseshoe will not continue. You will be missed greatly my friend,” said councilman Adam McGough on Facebook.

Dallas Planning Commissioner Neil Emmons was found dead in his home this morning. Photo: Rockwall Pets

Dallas Planning Commissioner Neil Emmons was found dead in his home this morning. Photo: Rockwall Pets

Councilman Philip Kingston also took to Facebook to eulogize Emmons, saying, “No single person in Dallas has done more to affect land use in recent history, and the changes he fought for were overwhelmingly positive. His philosophy was always to side with the neighbor and the neighborhood because doing so produced the best result for the city.

The result? Billions of dollars of economic development that may not have happened without his input and probably would have looked like crap if it did happen. It is not an exaggeration to say that Uptown, Turtle Creek, Oak Lawn, Lower Greenville, and Downtown owe much of their success to Neil Emmons.”

“I don’t think most of the city knows how sad a day this is for Dallas,” Kingston concluded.

In February, our Leah Shafer wrote about the historic Mayrath House and the formation of Dallas Endowment for Endangered Properties (DEEP) by Emmons and three other preservationists.Four preservationists, Virginia McAlester, Jim Rogers, Lisa Marie Gala, and Neil Emmons, together founded the Dallas Endowment for Endangered Properties (DEEP) fund last month. Joanna England wrote more in-depth about DEEP, which would be a fund to buy up endangered historic properties to save them from the wrecking ball.

Emmons served several terms on the City Plan Commission, starting in 2001 when he was appointed by then-councilwoman Veletta Lill. He served from 2001 until he left in 2009 due to term limits, and then was appointed again in 2014.