A year-old crackdown on dangerous downtown Dallas buildings has produced results and is expanding according to city leaders.
“All of a sudden, people saw that they couldn’t just leave a vacant building sitting there,” said Mayor Tom Leppert. “All of a sudden, there was going to be a cost attached to it.”
The crackdown began in the fall of 2008 with 7 structures that had a history of serious building and fire code violations. The city threatens lawsuits and large fines for owners who do not voluntarily comply with city rules.
“Our goal is to work with the property owners to get them up to code, get the properties up to code, not to cost them fines and penalties, but rather to encourage compliance,” said City Attorney Tom Perkins.
Among the initial seven was the abandoned Statler Hilton Hotel at 1902 Commerce Street. It was still filled with furniture. Inspectors said the water system in the building was insufficient for firefighting.
Now officials say the basic safety code violations have been solved and the current building owners are in conversations with the city about a total renovation for residential development.
“I think that’s a good example of trying to bring people to the table to see some good things happen to the downtown,” said Mayor Leppert.
Six new buildings being added to the crack down include an old commercial structure at 807 Elm Street.
“I think it looks pretty dangerous,” said Johnny Johnson as he passed the building Tuesday. “I think if they’re trying to rejuvenate downtown, fixing up all the surrounding buildings is a big part of that.”