Police spokesman, Crime Watch representative say demolition of 4242 Cedar Springs, Douglas Park will help reduce crime in area
Two large apartment complexes on the edge of the Cedar Springs strip that have sat vacant for more than a year are finally being razed.
But the developer still hasn’t secured financing for new construction, meaning roughly 4 acres northeast of Cedar Springs between Wycliff and Douglas avenues will lie fallow indefinitely after the buildings come down.
Still, a Dallas police lieutenant and a local Crime Watch organizer expressed relief that the 4242 Cedar Springs and Douglas Park apartment complexes are being demolished. In addition to creating a major eyesore, the vacant complexes have attracted vagrants and served as a hideout for wanted criminals.
Mark McHenry, Southwest Region development partner for The Lane Co., said the demolition began a few weeks ago.
"The intent is to try to get both of them knocked down over the next few months," McHenry said. "We’re just trying to be good neighbors. They’re fairly secure and boarded up, but they’re much less management-intensive for me personally if they’re knocked down. You don’t have to maintain a piece of vacant land as much as you do boarded-up apartments."
The Lane Co. announced two years ago that it plans to build a $40 million, 240-unit multifamily development at the site, and the two aging complexes were closed in March 2008. But McHenry said the company was unable to obtain construction loans before the credit crunch took hold.
"The financial markets are still pretty much in a state of lockdown for new real estate development," he said. "It’s kind of out of our control, unfortunately. We’re hopeful that things will turn and we’ll still be able to build a nice product. I don’t know what that timing is going to be from where we sit right now, though."
Even if the property isn’t developed in the near future, Crime Watch organizer Nancy Weinberger said she thinks the demolition is a step in the right direction.
"At least then we don’t have people in the buildings," Weinberger said. "It’s slow, but it’s progress. I’m just thinking that everybody is going to be pleased, even if it’s just a cleared piece of ground."
Lt. Thon Overstreet, of the Dallas Police Department’s Northwest Division, confirmed that DPD has conducted multiple sweeps of the vacant buildings and made numerous arrests for trespassing and other offenses.
Overstreet added that within the last month, police found two people in the buildings who were wanted for parole violations.
"I am pleased to see the structures razed," Overstreet said. "I feel it will be one less hiding place for persons evading detection while continuing criminal activities and avoiding police."
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 26, 2009.