I called up David Preziosi, Executive Director of Preservation Dallas, to see if he thought the Maple Terrace might qualify for landmark status to keep it from being swallowed up by a developer who would tear it down.
Does he even think the building could qualify? Yes, he does.
“The Maple Terrace would definitely qualify,” he says. “To be considered historic, a building has to be at least 50 years old, or if less than 50 years it must have something associated with it such as technology, civil rights, or a person of extreme significance related to the site.”
I was glad to hear that Dallas has at least 1000 historic buildings (like the Adolphus Hotel, the Magnolia Building and the Wales Apartments), 21 historic districts (Lake Cliff, the Sears Building and Swiss Avenue), and 17 conservation districts. There are 25 National Register Districts in Dallas — Dealey Plaza, Fair Park and all City of Dallas historic districts.
The procedure is to go through the Designation Committee for nomination to the Landmark Commision, to the Landmark Commission to get approval, then to the Dallas City Council for final approval.
Owners have to maintain some of the original features and character of the building, and all changes to exterior appearance to a landmark-designated property require a Certificate of Appropriateness from the City.
Now here’s the deal: the property owner has to be on board, and approve of the designation.
In some cases landmark status can be granted over the objection of the owner — such was the case with the Dallas High School Crozier Tech in 2000.
There are nice tax incentives for preservation, and more coming down the pike: obtaining a historic designation on National Register of Historical Places (Texas Historical Commission and National Park Service), you can get tax credits for rehabing a building — up to 20% of the cost. The rehab must be substantial, not just cursory and slapping on some paint.
Staring January 1, 2015, the state tax credit will be 25%. Since we don’t have an income tax in Texas, the credit goes towards a franchise tax credit. This might be the perfect scenario for the Maple Terrace.