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City Says Knights of Pythias Isn't in Jeopardy. Not Yet, Anyway.

This is a nice photo of the Knights of Pythias. Have you seen the more current pictures?

Over on the Save Deep Ellum Web site last week, there was mention of one of my favorite Dallas landmarks -- the Knights of Pythias Temple on Elm Street, about which we've written, oh, a couple of times. Says the item, "The Deep Ellum TIFF proposal (made by the Deep Ellum Foundation) shows all new development where the Knights of Pythias now stands, with a boutique hotel planned for development in the area where the Pythias now stands." Once more, louder than ever, the D.E.E.P. thinkers are calling for the building to be saved, lest it further crumble into nothingness.

Michael Pumphrey, manager of the city's Long Range Planning Division in the Development Services Department, says he's heard nothing of a boutique hotel planned in the spot -- and he insists it's not in danger of being torn down. Not yet, anyway.

"There has been nothing submitted to us to demolish it," he tells Unfair Park this morning, and "even if they were try to go and get one, it'd be red-flagged because it's historic, and there'd be a very involved procedure, assuming the city ever did grant permission for it to be taken down."

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Fact is, Pumphrey says, he and his staff "have heard absolutely nothing" concerning plans for the building, which sits right on top of the new DART Green Line station in Deep Ellum. "The silence," he says, "has been deafening on it."

Especially from the owners of the building, Westdale Asset Management, which hasn't responded to the city's requests to tour the building to make sure it's being properly mothballed in accordance with its historic-landmark designation. Pumphrey has seen the photos taken by Pawn Gallery's Mark Roberts, but says, "On these old buildings, until you know what to look for, pictures don't do justice usually to what the actual condition is."

But Westdale's been "very close-lipped about" the building and its plans for it, says Pumphrey. Hey, at least they didn't hang up on him. --Robert Wilonsky

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