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Following Public Outcry, Landmark Commission And Developer Saving Art Deco On Ross Avenue

The old Dallas Independent School District headquarters is going to become The Academic, a luxury multifamily development with a splash of history. The Dallas Landmarks Commission and Leon Capital Group have decided to preserve the Art Deco facade and main structure of the building at 3700 Ross Ave.

The Academic rendering

According to Dallas Landmarks Commission Chair Katherine Seale, there was a huge outcry from the public after DISD obtained a legal demolition permit for the site. A petition was submitted to the LMC with hundreds of signatures, and the commission held a hearing to initiate the site as a landmark. Ultimately, the building did not qualify as a landmark, but the LMC and Leon Capital Group have been working over the last several months to identify and incorporate the most significant parts of the old DISD headquarters in the new development. 

“Historic preservation is a process, and it begins with identifying the essential parts of the development that make it unique. DISD headquarters is defined by its Art Deco architecture and as a development pattern establishing one of the grand streets of Dallas. We, therefore, challenged the developer to think about the characteristics of the Art Deco style, as well as the way in which the building meets the street,” Seale said.

The Academic rendering

The aspects that made the cut are the general structure and the main entrance facade.

Leon Capital Group Managing Director of Multifamily David Cocanougher said the interior core of the original building will be incorporated into the new leasing office and amenity area.  

“The balance of the architecture of the new construction will be set back from the existing structure to increase the prominence of the preserved component,” he said.

The Academic rendering

Seale said she and the LMC made this site a target because of their mission to preserve diverse architectural styles, patterns of development and design preferences reflecting phases of the city's history.

“The decisions made at DISD headquarters shaped the city as we know it. Major issues for the city, including school desegregation, were debated and decided here,” Seale said.

Construction on The Academic is to begin in July, and the first of the 365 multifamily units planned for the project are supposed to be move-in-ready in January 2020.