Awards Honor Efforts to Save Irreplaceable Historic Sites

February 28, 2019

A total of 19 restoration, rehabilitation and preservation planning projects throughout Texas were recognized at awards ceremonies this week including four Merriman Anderson/Architects projects.

DALLAS—Preservation Texas is dedicated to protecting the historic resources of Texas. A total of 19 restoration, rehabilitation and preservation planning projects throughout Texas were recognized at annual awards ceremonies this week, spanning cities of Abilene, Amarillo, Austin, Cisco, Dallas, El Paso, Karnes City, Houston, Morgan’s Point, Nacogdoches and Plano.

The organization also honored four Merriman Anderson/Architects’ historic projects at the ceremonies. These projects include the Mercantile Commerce Building (1712 Commerce St.), Old Dallas High School (2218 Bryan St.), Old Dallas Central Library (1954 Commerce St.) and Tower Petroleum (1907 Elm St.). All four buildings were also honored with 2018 Preservation Dallas Achievement Awards.

“These historical buildings are icons to downtown Dallas,” said Jerry Merriman, president and founder of Merriman Anderson/Architects. “Restoring these historically significant buildings allows us to preserve Dallas’ history while adapting these buildings into modern and useful spaces.”

The Mercantile Commerce Building was revamped from a 1952 office building into a 209-room Marriott Residence Inn and AC Hotel after being vacant for 25 years. The building at 1712 Commerce St. was originally constructed in two parts, eventually reaching 21 stories.

“The original two-story first floor with mezzanine with curving edge and refurbished ornamental stair has been converted into a restaurant, bar and hotel lobby,” Jennifer Picquet-Reyes, Merriman Anderson/Architects principal and team leader, tells “These features are showcased in the new glass at the entrance. The indoor/outdoor decorative mosaic tile has been restored and remains a distinctive feature.”

The Old Dallas High School at Pearl and Bryan streets was built in 1907 and is one of the oldest institutional buildings on the local school district property list and remained in continuous use until September 1995. While vacant for 20 years, it was designated a city landmark in 2000. The building was subsequently purchased by MSW Crozier Tech LP in 2015 for office development and restoration, according to city records.

The Neoclassical architecture boasts a two-story volume auditorium space flanked with Corinthian Columns and decorative plasterwork that was meticulously restored. Dallas High School is LEED Gold certified.
“More than 99.64% of the existing core and shell were reused, and products were installed that possessed recycled content, reducing the amount of construction waste,” Aimee Sanborn, Merriman Anderson/Architects principal and team leader, tells “To improve the environmental health throughout the building, MAA installed low-emitting materials.”

The Old Dallas Central Library was built in 1955 as a public library with exhibit area, work rooms, rooftop terrace and an auditorium. It was renovated into office space and is now home to the Dallas Morning News.

“The Old Dallas Central Library is connected to the Statler Hotel and Residences, and together they occupy an entire city block,” Adam Jones, Merriman Anderson/Architects principal and team leader, tells “Like the Statler, the library was built in 1956 and is considered one of the best examples of mid-century architecture in the region. The redevelopment has energized and reactivated a derelict portion of downtown and serves as a connection between the central business district, Arts District, Farmers Market and Deep Ellum.”

Another Merriman Anderson/Architects preservation project, The Statler, opened in 1956 as a 1,001-room luxury hotel, convention center, and now features a 159-room Curio Hilton Hotel and 219 luxury rental apartments. The Statler received a Preservation Texas Honor Award in 2018.

Tower Petroleum is a 1931 Art Deco building that was renovated and converted for hotel use, becoming the Cambria Dallas Downtown. The Tower Petroleum Cambria building once comprised Theater Row, an entertainment district on Elm Street in downtown. The ground floor of the building was formerly the Tower Theater entrance.

“As part of the renovation, the Tower Theater Blade Sign on Elm Street was recreated. Ground floors include hotel registration and the Art Deco-inspired Petro Grill,” Patrick Hazard, Merriman Anderson/Architects senior associate and team leader, tells “The office space of the tower was renovated to include meeting space and 177 guestrooms. Terrazzo flooring was restored and refinished in the original elevator lobbies and corridors.”

The Preservation Texas honor awards reception and ceremony are taking place tonight after another ceremony last night at the Paramount Theatre at 713 Congress Ave. in Austin. The 2019 honor awards, selected by a jury of preservationists, recognize successful efforts to save irreplaceable and authentic historic places in Texas. Preservation Texas honors individuals, government officials, businesses, organizations and news media that have made significant contributions to preservation efforts in Texas.

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