508 Park Ave – Is it Saved?!?!

By Jason  //  Blues, blues history, Robert Johnson  //  3 Comments

We all know 508 Park Ave in Dallas – Where Mr. Johnson recorded.  Is it to be saved?

According to the latest news from the Dallas Observer, it looks like there is hope.

The Landmark Commission met January 2nd of 2011 to help determine the fate of the building where Robert Johnson once recorded.  It turns out that First Presbyterian Church of Dallas asked for a courtesy review in advance of a decision to buy the 508 Park Ave property from the Glazers.  Buying this property would also include the purchase of the properties that border the site — 1900 Young and 1905 Canton Street.  The plan seems quite simple.

The church plans to renovate 508 Park Avenue to usable, habitable space.  Yeay!   However, the church also plans to raze 1900 Young to build an amphitheater, and 1905 Canton, presently an empty lot, would be converted into greenspace.

The Landmark Commission fine with the Canton and Park proposals. But both the task force and preservation staff have the same thoughts when it comes to 1900 Young. From the staff recommendation:

Staff recommends that the existing structure is retained for another use or portions of the Young Street and Park Avenue facades are incorporated into the amphitheater design to make it more compatible with the historic overlay district, with the finding the existing structure is a contributing structure to the Dallas Downtown National Register District with the final plans, elevations, and details submitted for Landmark Commission approval.

And, per the landmark task force:

Support the church’s overall concept for 1900 Young St. 508 Park & 1905 Canton, but would ask for consideration of retaining the 1900 Young building or CR 1 -2 some of its components such as the corner tower and vertical sunshade elements if possible.

Of course, this all sounds well and good, but for any of this to happen, the property must first actually be bought.  Let’s not overlook that….  Hopefully the church steps up to the plate and goes through with the deal, because we all know the Glazers want to demo the building if it is not sold.

Who says religion and the blues can’t get along?

Here is an arial graphic of the proposed solution for the property:

Here’s a profile view – click for a larger image:

Let’s all hope that the plan goes through, and we start of 2011 with a bang, and not a demolition.


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