Arts / Museums

Dallas’ Hippest ‘New’ Neighborhood?

Historic Ice Cream Area Made Over With Restaurants and Game-Changing Art

BY // 04.05.16

One of the most eagerly watched urban redevelopment stories in the Southwest is happening in Dallas: two high-profile projects with an arts and preservation focus in the red-hot district of The Cedars. In the arc of downtown, south of I-30, the area flourished from the 1870s through the 1920s; first citizens such as the legendary retailer Stanley Marcus were born there. The Cedars’ name came from the trees that once predominated amidst stately Victorian homes.

In the modern era, it’s been known for its proximity to the Farmers Market and Dallas Heritage Village, and the best reasons to visit are the dive bar Lee Harvey’s and James Cope’s And Now Gallery. Then Claude Albritton III and the Bowdon Family Foundation stepped up, with their respective projects for The MAC and The Cedars Union. The  former, the historic Ben Griffin Ford dealership, once sold Deco-era and mid-century wheels; now The MAC will be an anchor tenant in a prime 4,000-square-foot space in a new arts complex at 1601 South Ervay Street, which will also include restaurants, retail, and at least one gallery, Ro2.

MAC director Rachel Rogerson expects a late-2016 opening. Until then, watch for pop-up programming in its raw space. (Now on view: “New Urban Landscape,” through September.)

Blocks away, the Bowdon Foundation, spearheaded by CEO/COO Terrell Falk (the fundraising force who led the charge on the Perot Museum), is looking at several years and a budget of $10 to $12 million to create a game-changing arts incubator out of the 40,000-square-foot decayed industrial splendor of the ’20s-era Boedeker Ice Cream plant.

The plan for the three-story brick building at 1201 South Ervay Street includes, Falk says, “studio space for approximately 80 artists, tools they need to create their art, an exhibition space to host traveling exhibits and meeting space for art organizations and groups.” Projects are also in the pipeline for the neighboring Gulf Cone Building, which once manufactured cones for the ice cream biz, and Dallas’ oldest luxury hotel, The Ambassador.

Boedeker Ice Cream plant, circa 1929, soon to be The Cedars Union.

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