Seemed impolite not to cross Maple Avenue this a.m. for the big Parkland Hospital announcement: $50 million from Annette and Harold Simmons; $25 million from Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones; millions more from the combined contributions of Nexen Petroleum, Balfour Beatty Construction, Nancy and Jeremy Halbreich, and Joan and Alan Walne. Which is but a fraction of a fraction of the money needed for the new Parkland, set to cost at least $1.3 billion. Taxpayers will be asked for some $747 million on November 4, when Dallas County Commissioners have called for a bond election. Said Trevor Rees-Jones of his family's contribution, it's essential to the well-being of "the safety net for so many people."
It was quite the impressive gathering, not only because of who attended -- several Dallas County Commissioners, including John Wiley Price; Central Dallas Ministries' Larry James, State Rep. Helen Giddings, Tom Dunning -- but because of where it was held: in the renovated Parkland Hospital that was built in 1913 at the corner of Oak Lawn and Maple, 41 years before the county moved into its current digs. This morning's announcement was also the coming-out party for the historic building, soon to become the HQ for Crow Holdings. Indeed, Harlan Crow was in the front foyer, greeting the wowed and wide-eyed who didn't believe anyone would ever come to the rescue of the haunt filled, till recently, with cat corpses, graffiti and the occasional copper thief. Some photos after the jump.
Trammell gave Unfair Park a quick, casual tour this morning, and he pointed out with tremendous pride the attention to detail Harlan's put into the place -- from the bricks in the ceiling in Harlan's office to the original banisters still worn from decades of use to the wide-open bullpen in which Crow Holdings employees will work once the building's finished in coming months. "Nobody else woulda done this," Trammell said, clearly proud of his bro's work. "Nobody else woulda spent the extra money to make sure this old building was saved the right way."
The hall in which announcement was made this morning is bright, polished and expansive -- and expensive -- and will serve as the bullpen for Crow Holdings' employees once the building opens, most likely by year's end. (It looks much like the company's current digs -- wide-open.) A balcony overlooks the area; so too do towering stone walls and a glass elevator.
The building, whose redo was done by Larry Good at Good Fulton & Farrell (mentioned in our Deep Ellum cover story today, matter of fact), now sits on an expanded 9.5 acres. And whether or not it will include all the amenities once suggested -- including "the old, greasy spoon" diner Harlan wanted earlier -- remains to be seen. But, finally, the haunted hospital lives again. --Robert Wilonsky
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