Robert Johnson Recorded Here – But Can The Building Be Saved?
TheDeltaBlues has covered this topic numerous times. We figure it’s time for an update. So what is to become of the property at 508 Park Ave where Robert Johnson – and countless others- recorded?
The area is still plagued by homelessness, and this particular area of Dallas is falling apart. So here’s the recap.
Colby Properties, which currently owns the building, has it just sitting there, presumably while they tried to find a buyer . So, the building started to fall apart. Naturally. What happened next? Well, the long and short of it is this: They started getting nailed with fines for not keeping the building up to code. Violation after violation came pouring in. So what are they to do?
Naturally, they file for a demolition permit, which, thankfully, gets denied. Now the crazy stuff begins.
The latest, as seen at Unfair Park, it is all going to end up in court. There is an ongoing legal battle over the property. Colby Properties, in reality, just wants the code violations to stop. They are starting to amass more in violations than the property is worth. They want to sell it, destroy it, heck, give it away, so long as they stop getting the fines.
Basically, the city of Dallas filed a suit with Colby last June telling them to pay up, or clean up. This led to Colby trying to find a city entity that would allow it to tear down the building. Yeah, they all said no. Colby’s attorney, Robert Miller, filed what’s called an affirmative defense on December 21. In the docs, Colby claims the city is “requiring the expenditure of private funds for a public use with no benefit to the defendants” and says the code clampdown constitutes “an unconstitutional taking of the property.” In other words, Colby is being forced to pay fines that no one is getting the benefit from. Paying money just to sit there.
Last reported, a trial date has been set for this June. Hopefully, however, both sides hope to reach a settlement before that date.
The only good thing to come of this? Perhaps the collective voice of the blues world has spoken and been heard.
Miller, the attorney for Colby, said Colby does not want to tear down the building if it can be avoided. What Colby wants, and I understand their position – is to do something! Sell it, get out, hit the road, whatever – just stop accumulating the fees!
Hopefully someone can step up and buy this building, and preserve it. At the very least, maybe someone out there can help pay the money this building needs to bring it up to code. That should allow Colby to at least keep the building from being leveled.
Save 508 Park!
Oh yeah – a lot of the photos in this post should be credited to Justin Terveen. He’s the man!
Author: Jason Rewald
Jason is an avid blues musician, scholar, and fan based out of the Tampa Bay area.