Thursday, July 28, 2011

605 Elsbeth apartment may be demolished

Judge orders demolition of north Oak Cliff apartments; owner says she will appeal

A Dallas municipal judge has approved demolition of a vacant,
dilapidated apartment building in north Oak Cliff where accused
presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald briefly lived.

Align LP owns the property at 600 Elsbeth St. Last November, company
president Jane Anne Bryant agreed with city Administrative Judge Victor
Lander's order that she repair the structure to meet city standards by
June 13 or to show progress toward that goal.

But in a decision issued Tuesday, Lander said she had not complied with
the agreement. The brick building, which has been boarded up and
surrounded by a chain-link fence, was a safety hazard and "urban
nuisance," one "worthy of demolition," he wrote in authorizing the city
to clear the property.

When told of the decision Wednesday morning, Bryant said she had
obtained a feasibility study for the building and was attempting to
secure funding, demonstrating progress toward renovation, and would
appeal the decision.

"It's not surprising. He's done nothing for me," she said of the judge.
"He's just a puppet of the city."

The Dallas city attorney's office declined to comment on the decision.

Bryant has said she bought the property at the corner of Elsbeth and
Davis Street in August 2007 but was later told by the city that she had
lost the right to keep operating apartments there because the 10 units
had been vacant for six months. The property at the time was zoned for
commercial use.

The city filed suit against the building in March 2008, alleging 26
violations of minimum housing standards and asking that the two-story
structure be repaired or demolished.

Bryant has disputed the findings of city code inspectors and said the
city unfairly targeted her property.

At a hearing before Lander in April 2010, she agreed that the
86-year-old building was unfit for habitation. She also said she had a
plan and funding to renovate the building but didn't want to spend more
money at the site until the proper zoning was in place. The City Council
later approved a zoning change to allow residential uses of the property.

At the April 2010 hearing, Lander said he wanted to avoid demolition of
the building if possible. "I am loath to requiring the destruction of
housing, particularly if it can be renovated and repaired and has some
historic value," he said. "The most important thing here is that we save
this housing."

Oswald and his wife, Marina, lived in an apartment there for four
months in 1962-63. In his order Tuesday, Lander said that despite the
fact the apartment "is mentioned in the Warren Commission Report on the
Assassination of President John F. Kennedy," it "is not designated as a
historical site."

Lander went on to authorize the city to remove all barriers that prevent
entry to the building, raze the structure and place a lien on the
property to cover its demolition expenses.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Joeseph,

    Is there any more on the story, is Elsbeth still standing?

    What do the owners of Neely (Moon's) have planned?

    Thanks, Ed Ledoux