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Dallas Delays Controversial Downtown Demolitions

In what is described as a "Penn Station moment," Dallas has approved a demolition delay ordinance for historic buildings downtown. This is an uncharacteristic victory for preservation.
October 7, 2015, 6am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Architecture critic Mike Lamster compares what's happening in Dallas to New York's 1964 demolition of the old Pennsylvania Station. "When it was razed, and then replaced with a lifeless office tower and a subterranean rats-nest for commuters, the public finally began to grasp what it had been losing in the name of progress."

A year ago, Lamster reports, "developer Tim Headington began demolition of a series of century-old downtown buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places [...] That outrage prompted Mayor Mike Rawlings to form the Downtown Historic Preservation Task Force."

Recently, acting on the Task Force's recommendation, "City Council has approved a demolition delay ordinance that will place a 10-day moratorium on razings to allow for review by the city's Landmarks Commission, which can halt proceedings further if a property is determined to be of historic significance."

Despite the ordinance's limits, Lamster writes that it is sorely needed in a city that often replaces classic buildings with something bigger, but not necessarily better.

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Published on Friday, September 25, 2015 in The Dallas Morning News
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