City News Roundup

Preservation of old Dallas places paces this edition of city news

Preservation of old Dallas places paces this edition of city news

Braniff, Love Field
Braniff building in Dallas has a notable design legacy. Photo courtesy of Preservation Dallas

Preservation of iconic Dallas places came up not once but twice this week. The Nasher Sculpture Center got jilted by the city, and the district attorney is taking some time off. Here's the highlights from this week's Dallas city news:

Hawk watching
Following three weeks of no-showing at her office, Dallas' troubled District Attorney Susan Hawk announced she is taking a four-week leave of absence to get treatment for depression. Friends of Hawk say that her circle of influencers including handler Mari Woodlief are enabling her. The Observer says that her pattern of lying is an indicator of someone suffering from a drug problem and that Hawk should resign. The Dallas County Democratic Party says she should do her job or quit.

Museum Tower bail-out
Dallas Police and Fire Pension Fund called a rather fishy last-minute meeting on August 27 and voted to bail itself out on the glare problem being inflicted on the Nasher Sculpture Center by the neighboring Museum Tower residential high-rise, which the Fund owns. The DPFP board had previously agreed to seek ways to fix the reflection of the Museum Tower on Nasher's artwork and gardens, such as a reflective skin on the building.

According to city council member Scott Griggs, the vote represented an inexplicable turnabout, since the board voted on August 13 to continue negotiating with Nasher to find a solution.

Four city council members are on the board. Two — Griggs and Philip Kingston — did not attend the meeting. Lee Kleinman voted to continue negotiations; he called the outcome "disappointing." New council member Erik Wilson voted to bail. What's up with that.

Lakewood Theater play
The controversy over what should happen to the Lakewood Theater continues with the revelation that a claim by current owners Craig Kinney and Bill Willingham wasn't entirely true. The building's fortunes are of grave interest to Lakewood, which treasures the iconic old theater in the heart of the neighborhood.

The owners previously said that in order for them to rent the theater to favored candidate Alamo Drafthouse, they needed an additional 150 parking spaces. But Alamo says it would rent the property without that requirement, but for a lower rent — 25 percent lower rent than what the owners could get from restaurants. They want more money.

The removal of the theater's seats got people alarmed last week, but the owners promise that the murals and sculptures inside the building, as well as the neon tower, won't be destroyed.

Braniff fate
The old Braniff building at Dallas Love Field has sat mostly vacant for many years, and that will continue for now. The city council voted against signing a lease with car dealer Randall Reed to redevelop the old Braniff building at Dallas Love Field. Reed had been working on the plan for four years, and expected his development, which included a car dealership, office building, restaurant, and jet hangar, to pass.

The council objected to the fact that Aviation Director Mark Duebner never opened the process to alternative bidders. The building has nostalgic value to many former Braniff employees, and also has a name-brand design by William Pereira and Charles Luckman, who also did CBS Television City in Hollywood, Los Angeles International Airport and Madison Square Garden. The site is currently used for employee parking.