New Task Force Will Study City’s Teardown Policy

The group will study the city’s policy on preservation, as well as look at how other cities balance preservation and development, and make change suggestions to the city.

There’s a new mayoral task force in town. Yes, we all know about the so-called “Dream Team” task force that is studying the Trinity River Toll Way. Today the mayor and City Councilmember Philip Kingston announced the creation of another task force to look at the city’s current historic preservation policy. The task force is being created in response to the recent demolition of a 19th century Romanesque Revival building on Main St. in Downtown Dallas. The Headington Company demolished 1611 Main Street back in September to make way for the construction of a new building that will house a Forty Five Ten boutique. At the time, there was much gnashing of teeth and confusion over the destruction of one of the oldest buildings in Dallas (even if those surprised by the event missed the long lead up). The Headington Company has said they tried to avoid demolition but couldn’t make the building work.

The new task force will be headed by Katherine D. Seale, the current Landmark Commission chair and former Preservation Dallas executive director. Joining her will be a number developers, planers, and members of groups like Preservation Dallas. Notable names include developers Larry Hamilton and Jack Matthews, as well as architect Bob Meckfessell. Worth noting: no one from the Headington Companies is on the task force.

The task force will hold a number of public meetings over the course of 90 days to study the city’s current preservation and development policies, as well as look at how other cities handle these issues. Then they will present their findings to the city. The goal is to evaluate the city’s current preservation program for their “effectiveness to protect Dallas’ heritage while encouraging the management and growth of downtown and surrounding areas.” Here’s the full release:


Group Brings Together Preservationists, Developers and Other
Downtown Experts to Outline and Propose Action Plan

DALLAS (January 7, 2015) – In response to the recent demolitions in downtown Dallas, Mayor Rawlings and City Councilmember Kingston have authorized the creation of a task force to look at the current programs and policies of the city’s historic preservation program and evaluate them for their effectiveness to protect Dallas’ heritage while encouraging the management and growth of downtown and surrounding areas.

The chair of the task force will be Katherine D. Seale, current Landmark Commission chair and former Preservation Dallas executive director. Task force members draw from a range of downtown developers, property owners, and representatives from local organizations from the preservation, planning and architecture community.

“The task force will start by looking inwardly at where we are now as a city with preservation and development policies, where we have been over time, and the major moments in between,” said Seale. “From there, the group will look outwardly at how other cities blend development with preservation for mutual benefit and come back to the city with recommendations and best practices.”

An introduction meeting of the task force is set for Wednesday, January 14. The group will meet multiple times over 90 days including a kick-off meeting and final meeting with the presentation of findings. All meetings will be recorded and part of public record as part of the Texas Open Meetings Act.

In addition to Seale, the other task force members and represented organizations  include: Larry Hamilton, founder and CEO of Hamilton Properties Corporation; Mitch Paradise, president of Paradise Development and The Real Estate Council (TREC) representative; Jack Matthews, president of Matthews Southwest and Downtown Dallas, Inc. representative; Brian Keith, director of Urban Design/Planning at JHP Architecture/Urban Design and Greater Dallas Planning Council representative; Brian Adams, principal at Callison; Scott Remphrey, president of The Brytar Companies; Todd Watson, vice president at Hunt Realty Investments; Bob Meckfessel, president DSGN Associates and AIA Dallas representative; Connie Cooper, owner of Cooper Consulting Company, Inc. representing the North Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association; and David Preziosi, executive director of Preservation Dallas.

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