oak cliff municipal center
The city’s “front door” for development, the Oak Cliff Municipal Center, could get a $20 million addition, including a parking garage.

The municipal center, at 300 E. Jefferson, houses the city’s Sustainable Development and Construction Department. Building permits, inspections, property records and anything related to building in Dallas is headquartered there.

And building in Dallas is hotter than ever.

Permits for projects totaling about $4.3 billion were pulled here in 2015, compared to $2.3 billion in 2005 and $3 billion in 2011. Building inspections alone drew 49,500 customers to the center last year, an average of 200 a day. The center averages about 250 customers a day across all departments, which also include public works, Trinity watershed management, code compliance and parking enforcement.

The center was built in 1955 as a Southwestern Bell facility, and the city bought it in 1985.

With increased staffing to handle the uptick in building, the departments have outgrown the space. There’s also a lack of parking availability for customers and employees. There are 254 designated parking spaces for 530 employees.

The city is proposing to build an addition directly behind the existing building. It would comprise 38,000-42,000 square feet, including an above-ground parking garage for employees and customers. The $20 million cost also includes coming up with conceptual design, structural review and cost estimate for a future renovation of the existing municipal center.

The project would be funded from the city’s building inspection enterprise fund, which is composed of building inspection fees.

City Council is expected on June 22 to consider spending a little over $2 million to finalize the design of the expansion. A construction contract for the project could be awarded in November, and it would be completed in November 2019.