Oak Lawn tower plan pays homage to Dallas’ long-lost Esquire Theater

StreetLights Residential

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The 1980s building boom remade Dallas’ skyline and gave us some of our most iconic developments.

But along the way the city lost some of its landmark buildings.

Probably no greater loss was Oak Lawn’s art deco Esquire Theater which was knocked down in 1985 for a proposed office building.

Then the real estate bust hit and the site of the cherished theater has remained a parking lot on Oak Lawn Avenue next to Eatzi’s for decades.

A proposed apartment and retail tower by Dallas’ StreetLights Residential is the first building planned for the prime Esquire site since the cinema’s demise. The planned 21-story high-rise will have 297 luxury apartments and 8,000 square feet of ground floor retail.

The revamp tower design has an art deco inspired front.

A month ago StreetLights unveiled plans for a workmanlike apartment tower that would stand on the corner of Oak Lawn and Lemmon avenues. The project would replace a gas station and fast food joint along with that empty Esquire site.

After meeting with the Oak Lawn Committee, the developer went back to the drawing board to refine its plans.

What StreetLights came up with is a more deco inspired front for the building that pays homage to the long lost Esquire.

StreetLights’ Greg Coutant said the developer is optimistic that the design changes will be a hit with the neighborhood.

There’s even the semblance of a movie theater marquee over the street front retail.

StreetLights’ architects wisely didn’t try to copy the Esquire’s old neon covered façade.

But it’s nice to see the design’s nod to the past.

The landmark Esquire Theater was demolished in the 1980s for a parking lot.

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