Dallas Nonprofit Pushing Park Between Trinity River's Levees Has Bought Old State Jail Nearby

The former Dawson State Jail on the banks of the Trinity River has a new owner: the Trinity Park Conservancy, the nonprofit tasked with building a park in the floodway.What will become of the building on W. Commerce Street remained unclear after the sale. Brent Brown, the conservancy's CEO and president, said Wednesday evening that many options are on the table, including mixed-income housing and office space. But for now, Brown said the conservancy would likely move its offices into the former jail. And in the future, he imagines ground-floor amenities for park and trail users ranging from a bike-repair shop to a cafe or refreshment stand."We've been working very diligently to understand the community development needs around the park," Brown said Wednesday. "When the building came back on the market, we thought it was important to see how it could be turned into service for the community, and we were fortunate to be able to do that."Brown said the conservancy paid the state "around $3 million" for the jail — the same price Statler Hotel developer Mehrdad Moayedi said he offered for the building in February 2018, when he flirted with converting the vacant 10-story, 238,000-square foot structure into a campus for the homeless. Moayedi dropped those plans nine months later, when he said he "couldn't get a fire lane around the building," a requirement to house people there.  Continue reading...

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