Old Buildings In The Way of Dallas Progress - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Old Buildings In The Way of Dallas Progress

Property records show the buildings are at least 80 years old.



    Three Old Buildings In The Way of Dallas Progress

    Expansion of Cesar Chavez Boulevard depends on historic buildings. (Published Monday, July 2, 2012)

    Three old buildings on Elm Street in Dallas are a step closer to the wrecking ball after a City Council vote the last week in June.

    The buildings at the southwest corner of Elm Street and Cesar Chavez Boulevard are in the way of progress on a road widening project planned years ago.

    They sit beside a narrow three lane, one way bottleneck of Cesar Chavez Boulevard, which is a six lane divided two-way street a few blocks south.

    Some neighbors welcome the widening project to remove the bottleneck. 

    "There's a wreck there quite often and they bang up into that light standard quite a bit," said Blake Martensen, who works nearby.

    Several Dallas City Council Members voted against it June 27, but the majority reaffirmed the real estate condemnation needed for the street plan.

    A change is state law required a new City Council vote to take the property.
    The building owners have been fighting the city for years over previous condemnation plans.

    Pete Fonberg, an owner of the building at 2226 Elm, said the city has always made it difficult to make changes at the property because the building is historic, but now offers less than half what he thinks it is worth to tear it down.

    "The city it their infinite wisdom thinks, because the city needs it or wants it, that they can acquire it at a price that to me is inappropriate," Fonberg said.

    Caught in the middle of the dispute is the Bra Jay Salon.

    Salon owner Terri Duncan said years of talk about the road widening have been difficult for her business.

    "Because of people thinking that we may not be here, and of course for me getting stylists in here thinking we may not be here," Duncan said.

    Neighbor Blake Martensen wants to see the city get on with the road project.

    "I haven't noticed any buildings that are that great so, I don't think I'd miss them," he said.

    An ongoing court battle between the building owners and the city to determine a fair price for the buildings is likely to delay construction many months longer.