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Vacant Mid-Century Modern Building Gets High Tech Tenants

211 N. Ervay

Startup accelerators Tech Wildcatters and Health Wildcatters are moving downtown, into a building that’s been vacant for decades.

Since 2011, Dallas tech startups have lived and worked in Uptown — calling on angel investors for money and support from an old three-story church nicknamed the “Tech Church.”

Now, Tech Wildcatters and Health Wildcatters are moving downtown, into an empty office building best known for its red “211” signage on N. Ervay and checkerboard blue paneling.

The building has been vacant for decades, so it’s essentially a shell on the inside, says Hubert Zajicek. Zajicek is co-founder of health-wildcatters, an accelerator that’s helped startups developing everything from a non-invasive blood glucose test to a physical therapy app.

“It’s really a blank canvas,” he says. “Our goal is to attract other startups and really create more of an ecosystem there.”

Credit Lauren Silverman / KERA News
Startup accelerators Health Wildcatters and Tech Wildcatters have been located at the "Tech Church" in Uptown Dallas. Now, they're relocating to 211 Ervay, which has long been vacant.

One of the benefits of the new building, Zajicek says, is there’s a lot of open space, which means opportunities for co-working.

New Life For An Old Building

Mark Lamster, Architecture critic for the Dallas Morning News and professor at UTA School of Architecture says there’s been debate about whether to tear down 211 Ervay.

“I think it’s a big victory for the city to have somebody come up with a plan for it,” he says. “I think it’s a wonderful little building that’s colorful and has a nice place in the city.”

Dallas developer Leo Corrigan designed the building, which was built in 1958. Corrigan also designed a tower a block away which has also long been vacant. Still, Lamster sees a future for downtown:

“This entire area is undergoing a renaissance,” Lamster says, “There’s a new plan for Thanksgiving Square, we’re seeing that Statler Hilton come back, so with this building regenerated I think there’s a whole new energy to this little corner of the city.”

Both Tech and Health wildcatters plan to move in to the second and third floors of the downtown office on July 1.

Lauren Silverman was the Health, Science & Technology reporter/blogger at KERA News. She was also the primary backup host for KERA’s Think and the statewide newsmagazine  Texas Standard. In 2016, Lauren was recognized as Texas Health Journalist of the Year by the Texas Medical Association. She was part of the Peabody Award-winning team that covered Ebola for NPR in 2014. She also hosted "Surviving Ebola," a special that won Best Long Documentary honors from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). And she's won a number of regional awards, including an honorable mention for Edward R. Murrow award (for her project “The Broken Hip”), as well as the Texas Veterans Commission’s Excellence in Media Awards in the radio category.