The City of Dallas Hates Love Field

November 15, 2012 on 9:09 am | In Airports | 1 Comment

Love Field Airport in Dallas has been a source of a lot of pain for the City of Dallas and, in particular, the city council.  It was an airport that was supposed to go away and thanks to Southwest Airlines, it’s an airport valued by quite a few people even today.

I’ve never understood why this city hates its airport as much as Dallas does.  When I worked at Love Field in the late 1980′s and early 1990′s, the disrepair that much of those facilities were in was shocking.  It was if the landlord was doing everything it can to make the airport unattractive so that the one tenant hanging on (Southwest) would just leave, damn it.

Even after the compromise on the Wright Amendment, we’re not seeing Dallas build an excellent airport designed to serve the needs of the area, it’s building an airport designed to constrain operations at the airport.   When I look at how Dallas treats Love Field and compare it to, say, Midway Airport in Chicago, I become ashamed of the greater Dallas Metroplex and it’s attitude towards an asset that could be a jewel.

Love Field has some history to it.  Braniff’s Dallas Operations and Maintenance base building is located on the east side of the airport on Lemmon Avenue.  It was an airline building with many firsts and for quite some time represented the connection between Dallas and its airline, Braniff International.

The building was occupied and used even after Braniff’s bankruptcy and dissolution but has been unoccupied for about 20 years.  Now the city wants to tear it down.

I’ll be honest, I’m not completely invested in the idea that that building must remain at Love Field.  I am, however, invested in the idea that Love Field should be developed and related businesses ought to be encouraged and focused in a manner such that the airport looks more like an asset that represents a strong city.  The eastern side of the airport along Lemmon Avenue isn’t that attractive today and hasn’t been for 25 years.  That’s the city’s fault.  It ignored the airport and the properties along that side for years and largely because the neighborhood immediately bordering that side is comprised of very long income families.

Or it was until that neighborhood started to be revitalized.

Here is the building today:

A not for profit organization has started a campaign to save this building.  The Flying Cr0wn Land Group has this website:

http://www.savebraniff.com/

They have submitted numerous proposals to the City of Dallas’ Director of Aviation, Mark Duebner, whereby the property would be taken over, re-developed with the existing building and done at no cost to the city.  They want to preserve the building and use it for mixed businesses and even preserve the Braniff name in its remodeling.

They have investors lined up, a list of tenants lined up and have made several attempts to get Mr. Duebner to pay attention.  Curiously, he has refused to do so over and over and over again.

I also just like these guy’s plans.  It’s an attractive idea, it fits better than a car dealer and we ought to take chances on the out of the ordinary idea because it is those ideas that can often become the germ of real revitalization.

Now I understand why.  Mr. Duebner has made a deal with a Dallas BidnessMan, Randall Reed, to demolish the building and redevelop it into a Lincoln car dealer as well as a hanger and fuel farm.  A car dealer is the last thing Lemmon Avenue needs more of.  If you live in the Dallas area, you know this.  And it doesn’t strike me as “good” for the city’s Good Neighbor Policy towards surrounding residents either.

What’s the difference between a garish car lot and a redeveloped business center?  One hell of a lot.

Can the Flying Crown Land Group truly do all it thinks it can do?  They appear to have a plan, they assert they have the money lined up necessary for development and they not only submitted a proposal that exceed that which Randall Reed has proposed, it’s better in tax revenue for the city and better for the neighborhood.

So why are we ignoring this?  What harms comes to the city when a building that is BUILT FOR THE AIRPORT AND IS CONSISTENT WITH ARCHITECTURE AND THE SURROUNDING CITY ARCHITECTURE is kept and made new and useful again with the same or better tax revenues?  How does the city benefit with another car dealer and particularly so on Lemmon Avenue?

I smell a rat and I suspect that smell may be coming from those running Dallas’ airport.  Pay close attention because if the razing occurs and the deal is done with Randall Reed, I would ask us all to find out who Mr. Duebner is working for one year from now.

So, I’m going to ask something of readers I’ve never asked for.

1) Please forward links to this blog entry to your aviation friends.  Create a stir and I don’t care if you know someone in Dallas or not.  Let’s get Dallas people aware of this brand of stupid by creating as much of a stir as possible.

2) Go sign the petition.  Particularly if you are local to Dallas.  Save Braniff is the link.

3) Contact your Council-Critter on the Dallas City Council and protest the stupid. It’s your airport and you do have a voice.

4) Call Mr. Duebner and ask him how his brand of stupid is better for you, a Dallas citizen.  His office number is (214) 670-6080

You can also read stories in the Dallas Morning News about this Here and Here.

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