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Oswald Apartment Cleared For Teardown While West End Builds Up

Fitz C.

Plans for the first new construction in five years in DallasWest End – an apartment building –  got a green light at City Hall this morning, while the storied Oak Cliff apartment building where Lee Harvey Oswald once lived is officially on its way down.

Mayor Pro Tem Pauline Medrano told the economic development committee the proposed Fairfield on Ross apartment building is just what the doctor ordered for the ailing West End.

“I think it’s a shot of Vitamin B-12 to the West End.  It’ll probably be at least 400 people living in the development,” he said.

She says that should throw some weight to restaurants and retail in the area.  Planet Hollywood and an outdoor ice rink are just two of the attractions that made the area memorable in years past before closing. The full city council will vote later this month on a $5.5 million tax break for the project.

The new building will go up on a parking lot at Ross and Houston. The historic Katy Railroad freight depot used to stand there. It was illegally demolished one weekend in 2006 – sparking outrage at City Hall and sending lawyers to court.

Legit demolition crews hired by the city of Dallas began the final countdown for the Oak Cliff apartment building where Lee Harvey Oswald once lived.

A judge ordered demolition of the building at 600 Elsbeth last summer. The owner spent the past six months fighting it.

A letter dated today informs the owner that time’s up. City officials say the building is a nuisance “that threatens to harm health, safety and welfare”.  They are also concerned about possible asbestos in the old two story building.

Weather permitting, the historic abandoned building could be gone by the end of the week.

Lee Harvey and Marina Oswald moved out eight months before the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.