Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Downtown Dallas' decaying Statler Hilton may be in for a bright future

FILE 2008/Staff photo
The Statler Hilton has floors and walls made from poured concrete - which will be a challenge in its redo.
More than any other building, the historic but decaying Statler Hilton on Commerce Street has symbolized downtown's longtime stagnation and the enormous challenge of turning it into the vibrant heart the city needs.
Now, after years of inaction, there is new hope the Statler may be restored - perhaps sooner than anyone thought possible.
Mayor Tom Leppert and council member Ron Natinsky confirmed that the Statler's owners have approached City Hall about drawing up a restoration plan that would preserve the building's well-known facade.
Leppert said engineers and architects are looking at scenarios for the building, and City Hall expects to see plans in early 2010.
The scenarios being discussed include some mix of retail, residential and hotel space. But Leppert said he expects the project to lean heavily toward residential.
Richard Chiu, president of Warwick International Hotels, holds the building along with family members in Hong Kong.
According to Leppert and Natinsky, Chiu, who lives in Paris, is expected to take over full control of the building soon.
Ending inertia
At City Hall, there is hope that shift could help shake the torpor that...