In Context: 2800 Deep Ellum

For much of our city’s recent history, Dallas developers and residents have seemed to equate “quality” with “newness.” But some projects are challenging that misconception. The 2800 Deep Ellum master plan and revitalization project, designed by Reid Mulligan, AIA, of Droese Raney Architecture, demonstrates that reviving century-old buildings not only elevates the quality of life for those in the neighborhood, but also brings back vibrancy and life to the urban core.

2800 Deep Ellum, named for the 2800 block sandwiched by Main and Elm streets, is an adaptive reuse project comprising several vacant buildings at the east end of a rapidly changing neighborhood. In disrepair from years of neglect, the buildings needed structural overhauls, their facades restored, and new utilities. Most important, the site needed a greater vision for stitching the individual properties together to seamlessly integrate with the rest of Deep Ellum.

Mulligan saw an opportunity with the empty space between the buildings to create a network of pedestrian passageways linking Malcolm X Boulevard, Elm Street and Main Street. The passageways converge into a central courtyard, providing an element of surprise and respite in a noisy urban block.

Photo: Michael Cagle

Neighborhood long-timers appreciate the character and grittiness of the brick facades and the quirkiness that comes with the district. As more people flock to Deep Ellum for that sense of authenticity, Droese Raney, along with developer Westdale, have added quality by maintaining the materials and scale that make the neighborhood so unique and desirable.

Contributed by Carolyn Mulligan, AIA, an associate at Corgan

Originally published in the Spring 2019/ Belief issue of AIA Dallas’ Columns magazine.

Contributed by:
Carolyn Mulligan

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Daniel Driensky
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Michael Cagle
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Michael Cagle
Credit: Michael Cagle