Four Months After the Old Dallas High School Went on the Market, It's Under Contract

Below, in yesterday's item about Dallas ISD finding a buyer for Davy Crockett, a Friend of Unfair Park brought up another historically designated city landmark: the old Dallas High School (or Main High School or Bryan Street High School or, most recently, Crozier Tech) at Pearl and Bryan, which opened in 1908. No need to recap the sad tale of that boarded-up structure; we've done plenty of that in years past. But long story short: Los Angeles-based investor Robert Yu bought the building in '99 for $6.1 mil with the intention of razing the Lang-and-Witchell building, only to have the city designate it as a historic landmark. And after much legal wrangling, Yu vowed to hold on to it for generations just to spite the city. Or so the story went.

But in April, Realtor Newt Walker told us: Yu has decided to part with the oldest remaining DISD high school after all. The time, Walker said, was right: "There's a lot of activity going on in the inner-city, in Uptown. ... I told him, 'If you're going to do something with it, now's the time.'" In April, Walker had yet to put a price tag on the property. Says on LoopNet that it's going for $15 million, which is about $8 mil more than its DCAD valuation; around what the Statler sold for ... and almost the exact same thing Yu asked for the property once before, when preservationists didn't think he was really serious about selling.

This time, though, not so much: Word is the building's under contract, which Walker confirms. When asked about a certain potential buyer whose name has surfaced, the Realtor won't confirm or deny. And, no, it's not an out-of-town investor with an unproven track record; quite the opposite on all fronts. But until we reach this certain buyer (or his son, cough), we'll hold off. Walker also says the would-be sale price isn't as high as the asking price.

"It'll be an adaptive reuse of the old building," Walker says, should the deal go through. Maybe there'll be a museum -- definitely some retail and housing, he says, "given its spot on the DART line. But we're under contract."

Update: Michael Jackson -- vice president at Wynne/Jackson and son of Plaza of the Americas developer Clyde Jackson -- confirms: "We have it under contract and have a lot of work in front of us. We're excited about the location. We like the site. My dad's father went to school there, and we drive by it every day. Since my dad built Plaza, he's been driving past it since the '70s and has been trying to figure out what to do with it.

"We are working in association with Ken Hughes, who did Mockingbird Station. We like to joke are the largest TOD developer in Dallas, because Plaza of the Americas is on Pearl, and now Ken's involved. There's been quite a bit of interest from some users, so we'll try to piece it together and see what we can do." He says it'll "be a while" before they close, and reiterates: "We have a lot of work to do." But, he adds, "We plan on working closely with Crozier Tech alumni association." More to come, sooner than later.

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