City Hall

Buy This: Closing the Door on Lee Harvey and Marina Oswald's Former Oak Cliff Apartment

Initially I thought this would be just an oddball novelty item: Heritage Auction Galleries is selling the door to Lee Harvey and Marina Oswald's old Oak Cliff apartment -- the one on Elsbeth and Davis Streets, more or less across the street from the Bishop Arts District. It doesn't officially go on the auction block till next week, and it'll be sold off during a Signature Music & Entertainment Auction in Beverly Hills next month. The opening bid hasn't even been set yet. From the description:

This is the original back door to the Elsbeth St. apartment rented by Oswald and his wife Maria when they first moved to Dallas. The original glass panel was punched out by Oswald during an argument with Maria, an incident recounted by members of the Tobias family, who managed the property and lived across the courtyard from the Oswalds, during testimony to the Warren Commission. The door is in Fine condition and is accompanied by the three hinges that held it in the frame.
Thing is, this very property's been tied up in litigation for years, with the owner of the apartment complex trying to keep City Hall from razing a structure she'd hoped to rehab. And so a novelty items turns into a legal matter, baby, with some Oak Cliff zoning issues thrown in. Sexy!

Jane Bryant, as Align L.P., bought it three years ago, intending to spruce up the boarded-up apartment complex built in '25. But the city said it was dangerous and needed to go, and when city attorneys and Bryant squared off in municipal court in April, Administrative Judge Victor Lander "tried to take her side," says Alan Harlan, Bryant's former attorney, pending the passing of the Bishop Davis Land Use and Zoning plan. At which point the case kind of went into limbo: The city was ready to haul out the wrecking ball; Bryant was all set to appeal sans attorney.

The building's still standing -- and, matter of fact, says the 600 Elsbeth Facebook page, which contains conceptual renderings for the planned makeover, the city and Bryant reached a tentative agreement only last week that'll allow her to redo the building per the newly approved Bishop Davis zoning. "The property is now Zoned Multi-Use, which allows both residential, retail and well as greater building height," says Bryant's page. "Ideally, Align, LP will add a third floor to the existing structure to take advantage of the pristine views of downtown Dallas."

We're awaiting comment from the City Attorney's Office to see if that's so. Messages have also been left for Bryant -- who's the one selling the door at auction.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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