Deep Sixed

Reports of Deep Ellum's death are exaggerated, but not by much

"What really hurt Deep Ellum was the competition," says the Dallas Office of Economic Development's Karl Stundins, who has been working with Annino and others to create the TIF. "And if you get a few bad neighbors, which make the competition look better, it's going to have an effect. That's why you set up a TIF--to have a future neighborhood, something you want to see in five, 10 years."

But will Deep Ellum as we know it--as we knewit--even exist by then, or will it once more look as it did in the early 1980s, when it was a sad, desolate assortment of empty buildings? Perhaps, some suggest, it might be better to start all over, to go back to a time when Deep Ellum was a promise, not a threat. Perhaps, they say, only then the city would see the error of its ways, when it didn't send in enough police and keep a watchful eye on property owners who got away with murder on the outskirts of downtown. Tear the whole thing down, they say. It's already halfway there.

"We have to cleanse the palate," says property owner Lou Reese. "There is tremendous goodwill for the area, and we're headed in the right direction. But it's a little Pollyanna-ish to think you can get there without further decline. Nobody wants to go down there now and be a victim. I've been down there ever since we started there in the 1970s, and for the first time I've seen it get scary. But there will be an evolution." He pauses. "We were lucky for a long time. Maybe that's another way to look at it."

Tom Henvey and Doak Boettiger were among the founders of Club Dada, which they sold to Steve Shin two years ago.
Mark Graham
Tom Henvey and Doak Boettiger were among the founders of Club Dada, which they sold to Steve Shin two years ago.
Before Christmas, the state seized Dada from Shin, who owes thousands in taxes and back rent.
Before Christmas, the state seized Dada from Shin, who owes thousands in taxes and back rent.

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