We all know the Gold Crest on Turtle Creek.  Even though it’s just 11 stories tall, its design overshadows many taller buildings on the boulevard.  It was built in 1964 by George Dahl and it was his home for the last decades of his life.

Fresh on the market after over 34 years with the same owner is unit 1101 on the penthouse level.  While other buildings belled and whistled their penthouse levels with jumbo combined units, the 11th floor of the Gold Crest is like any other. It’s a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit with 1,630 square feet and listed with Janet Rone of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate for $725,000.  Don’t bother clicking on the link for pictures, there’s one and it’s of the exterior. But I do have the floor plan and my crayons …

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Original Hillcrest State Bank building peels back its skin

In 1930, the Hillcrest State Bank was formed. Doing well, as banks do, by 1938 they were able to open a George Dahl-designed location on Hillcrest Avenue between Daniel and Haynie avenues. In 1981, Hillcrest State Bank changed its name to Texas Commerce Bank.  In 1998, the name was changed again to Chase Bank of Texas and was folded into Chase Manhattan Bank in 2000.  In 2004, Ohio’s Bank One was acquired by Chase foreshadowing the bank’s headquarters move to Ohio in 2004 where it remains today.

As you can see, for all the name changes, this building never actually changed hands until the bank had abandoned it.  First to try redevelopment was Dallasite Albert Huddleston who envisioned a mixed-use project that never gained traction with University Park officials or neighbors.  After a decade he gave up and in 2015 local developer Jim Strode decided to try his luck, which eventually succeeded.

Along with ownership and name changes, there have been structural changes.  As the picture above hints, over the years there was some pretty major tinkering to this building.

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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 …

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FLW Rogers Lacy 2

Having run around a lot of high-rises in Dallas over the years as a potential buyer, open house voyeur, and CandysDirt.com roving reporter, people ask me what I think of “X” building. With that in mind, here’s my list of the top Dallas high-rises in different categories.

1. Best Unbuilt high-rise: Rogers Lacy Hotel

Long before I moved to Dallas, I saw the Rogers Lacy Hotel images in a 1985 book about architect Frank Lloyd Wright titled, “Treasures of Taliesin: Seventy-Seven Unbuilt Designs” by Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer.

The 64-story mixed-use building was to have housed a hotel on the first nine floors before transitioning to a stepped-back high-rise column containing residential condos/apartments.  Wright didn’t think much of Dallas summers or its 1940s cityscape and so the glass exterior was to have been double-thickness with translucent insulation between the panels.  This way, light was transmitted without having to see the outside.  Some panels were moveable and some were operable windows, but the general “face” of the building was towards the interior where an amazing atrium was to have been. Lush plants and interior-facing windows offered what Wright thought were the best “views” of Dallas.  The building was never built because during negotiations to convince oilman Rogers Lacy of the daring design, Mr. Lacy died.

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City Council 2

In what I expect was a piece of theater, last night, the Dallas City Council trucked over to Fair Park to meet with the people in an open-door session. The goal was for citizens to voice their opinions about the Fair Park task force’s plans. As one black community leader pointed out, a two-hour session with the neighborhood after a year of work by a largely secretive task force was “a slap in the face.”

Before I continue, I ended my last piece on Fair Park wondering how much rent the city was generating from the State Fair.

In 2013 (the most recent financial statements I could find), the State Fair generated $42,411,006 in revenues (up $4.5-million from 2012) and paid the city $1,784,185 in rent for its 3.5 month lease of Fair Park. That would place an annual rental value on Fair Park of $5,947,283 or just $1,789 per acre per month. Does that seem a terrifically low price for a National Register property?

Put in perspective, the nonprofit State Fair pays its top nine executives just over $3 million in salaries and perks, not quite double what they pay the entire city of Dallas. Also keep in mind, for $1,789 a month you could either rent a 917 square foot, 1-bedroom apartment in West Village or an ACRE at Fair Park with all its accompanying historical buildings. How’s that for perspective?

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One of the architectural gems in Dallas is Fair Park, a 277-acre recreational and educational complex southeast of downtown Dallas. It is home to many George Dahl-designed Art Deco buildings constructed for the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936, and is registered as a Dallas Landmark and National Historic Landmark.

Mark Lamster

Mark Lamster

But this park, home to the Texas State Fair each fall, is underperforming the rest of the year.

The next Dallas Architecture Forum event will address “Making Fair Park Work,” a panel discussion moderated by Dallas Morning News architecture critic Mark Lamster, who is also a professor in the College of Architecture Planning and Public Affairs (CAPPA) at the University of Texas at Arlington.

The main question will be, “how can Dallas transform Fair Park into a year-round destination and economic engine for its South Dallas area?” The city is now faced with several options for its redevelopment, and must choose the best path forward.

“The Dallas Architecture Forum is pleased to present this next panel in its 2015-16 series of thought-provoking panel discussions on topics impacting the citizens of Dallas both locally and globally,” said forum executive director Nate Eudaly. “Moderator Mark Lamster will be joined by a panel of well-respected community leaders to discuss this extremely important topic. The result will be engaging and thought-provoking discussions for our attendees.”

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1010 W Kiest copy

The Old Oak Cliff Conservation League has added a beautiful Church building located at the corner of Kiest and Polk at 1010 West Kiest Blvd. (diagonally across from the Barbara Jordan Elementary School and across from the Kiest Polk Shopping Village) to its “Architecture at Risk” List.

The Church building is architecturally and culturally significant. It was designed by renowned Dallas architect George Dahl in 1953 as Church of the Master, Evangelical and Reformed Church serving a congregation of German/Swiss Immigrants of Oak Cliff who came to Texas by way of Galveston.

George Dahl also designed the Titche-Goettinger Building, Hillcrest State Bank, The Dallas Morning News building, Southwestern Life building, LTV Aerospace Center and the Dallas Public Library. He also designed the Art Deco buildings of Fair Park while he oversaw planning and construction of the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition. The church building has served as a church for 62 years and has also been home to Kiest/Polk School and daycare. The site features mature live oaks, magnolia and other native Texas trees. (more…)

Cliff Welch

Cliff Welch’s E. Lake Highlands Drive home featured in next weekend’s tenth annual White Rock Home Tour. Photos of house: Eric Homes

In our ongoing series, Interview with an Architect, we speak with leading voices in the North Texas architecture community and learn about their work, development issues in our community, and good design practices and principals (you can read the first one here and the second one here).

Cliff Welch

Photo: Cliff Welch

Cliff Welch, AIA, is a Dallas-based architect who champions modern architecture and designs with inspiration drawn from modern architecture of the last century.

His background includes working with the late Dallas modernist Bud Oglesby, later becoming a principal at Design International before starting his own firm, Welch Architecture, in January 2000.

One of his designs, located on East Lake Highlands Drive, is featured on the 10th annual White Rock Home Tour April 25-26. When the tour started in 2005, it showcased midcentury modern homes in the White Rock area; it has now expanded to include new construction, as well.

Welch earned his Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Master of Architecture from the University of Texas at Arlington. His work has received multiple Merit and Citation Awards from the Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), as well as their coveted Young Architect of the Year award. He has also earned honors from Preservation Dallas, the Texas Society of Architects, D Home magazine, and the AIA.

Welch is the past president of the Dallas Architectural Foundation and taught graduate-level architecture classes at UT Arlington. He is a past executive board member of the Dallas Chapter AIA, also serving two years as their Commissioner of Design, and has chaired multiple chapter events, including various home tours. He also served as a design awards juror for other chapters around the state.

Welch’s White Rock Home Tour house’s elegant simplicity and open spaces incorporate modern design to create an exception environment.

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