Federal Building, Dallas, TX
Location:1114 Commerce St, Dallas, TX 75202
The Federal Building at 1114 Commerce Street in the Central Business District of Dallas is significant as a representative of the Art Deco style in the downtown area; and for its contribution to, and continuing presence in, the downtown area. The building was planned and built as the first of a group of four buildings for the Santa Fe Railroad. The site was originally acquired in 1882 (forty years after the founding of Dallas) by the Gulf, Colorado, and Santa Fe Railroad Company at a cost of approximately $5000. Shortly after acquisition, a passenger station, freight depot and tracks were built on the site. The area became a focal point of downtown and included a popular restaurant located in the terminal. Due to the growth of the railroad,
and of Dallas, the railroad erected a new freight depot on Young Street and, in January of 1923, the railroad sold the property to the Terminal Building Corporation of Dallas for $700,000. The Terminal Building Corporation was a wholly owned subsidiary of the Atchison System, parent company of the original owner of the property.
The idea for a Santa Fe Building group came from a bank teller-turned-promoter, who persuaded an architect to prepare drawings of his ideas, formed a syndicate of a group of businessmen, and went on to complete four buildings with total area of 14,000,000 square feet. The railroad assisted in the promotion and received 40% of the common stock in the holding corporation. By 1925, the railroad's holding increased to 50% of the common stock and, finally, in 1929 the railroad acquired all of the stock in the Terminal Building Corporation through a payment of $550,000 to the developers.
TX0058DA is building number 1 of the group. It is currently owned by the U.S. Government and is used as a Federal office building. It was designed by Lloyd R. Whitson and F. Cowderoidale, Architects, and was constructed by Watson Company Builders. Then known as the "Santa Fe Building", it was completed in 1925. It was constructed as a combination office and loft building which the planners visualized as similar to the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. When the Merchandise Mart concept failed, it became necessary to offer office and warehouse (loft) space in competition with buildings located in more "desirable" areas of the Central Business District. One method of attracting tenants was to cut the price of rental space in the building. Another method was to air-condition the building in 1938. Lining the north/south corridor of the first floor were retail showrooms. Still, the owners had a difficult time maintaining a reasonable occupancy until 1941.
In 1942 during an effort to house the Eighth Service Command, condemnation proceedings were filed in the U.S. District Court and possession of the building passed from the railroad to the U.S. Government for a compensation of $1,200,000. The Army Corp of Engineers assumed occupancy of the building in 1942 and passed it on to GSA in 1948. GSA remains the owner the building.
The entire interior of the building was demolished and modernized in 1978. No original features were left except some elevator finishes in the loft area. The original plaster ceiling in the first floor lobby was obscured by dropped acoustical ceilings. The reconstruction finished the Basement through tenth floors for use as Federal agency office space. The 11th through 19th floors in the loft were left in a "shell" condition and are used as agency storage.
- Architects: Whitson and Cowderoidale
- Construction Dates: 1923-1925
- GSA Building Number: TX0058DA
- National Register of Historic Places Landmark Status: National Register Listed