Years ago, when writing about efforts to revitalize a neighborhood near Fair Park, I came across the building you see above: the former Pete's Sandwich Shop at 4702 Baldwin, sandwiched between Starplex and Julia Frazer Elementary. At the time, Habitat for Humanity was building new homes nearby, on Jamaica, but I was told Pete's was doing the neighborhood no favors.
A woman who lived next door explained that it was a late-night hangout for a rough crowd that would congregate to drink, play dominoes and shoot pool. Neighbors were appalled that the city let the out-of-town owner (she lived in Itasca) get away with owning and operating a crime-ridden bunker frequently visited by police, who most recently showed up in February of this year after someone pried off the burglar bars and got away with a TV, the refrigerator and a gas heater.
In recent months the building has served as an HQ for the 4-Lyfe Ryders Motorcycle Club, but today we get word that tomorrow, the building, now a dingy shade of gray slab, will be no more. Thursday at 10:30 a.m. Bill Hall, CEO of Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity, will stand in front of the place and announce an initiative called "Dallas: Fight the Blight," which will involve the razing of 25 "blighted, run-down properties" throughout the city. At which point he will unleash the bulldozers to demolish the building, which county records show Dallas Neighborhood Alliance for Habitat bought in May.
"Fight the Blight is part of Dallas Habitat's celebration of their 25th anniversary," says the release we received earlier today. "The plan is to tear down at least 25 old, dingy structures in Dallas that are hidey-holes for drugs and other criminal activity." We'll be there, if only because we can't resist the site of bulldozers dozing.
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