Say goodbye to the 72-year-old El Fenix building on Colorado Boulevard.
A San Antonio-based builder has plans to replace the building with an 8-story development called Lake Cliff Apartments, the Dallas Morning News reports.
The development would have 352 units and cost almost $30 million, according to plans the developer filed with the State of Texas. Construction could start as soon as April and be completed in 2022. The architect is Merriman Anderson Architects.
Firebird Restaurant Group, which owns El Fenix, confirmed that the building is under contract but hasn’t sold yet. The developer, Kairoi Residential, also has a 12-story apartment building under construction in Uptown.
The restaurant group also is seeking a buyer for the original El Fenix restaurant Downtown, the newspaper reports.
El Fenix on Colorado, which was built in 1948, also made our list of the most-endangered architecture in Oak Cliff in 2018 because of its location on the streetcar line and zoning that allows for very dense development.
Here’s what we said about it then:
If your junior high club had its year-end banquet at El Fenix on Colorado, you might be from Oak Cliff.
The restaurant at 120 E. Colorado Blvd. was the second El Fenix location, opening 30 years after the original on McKinney Avenue.
When the restaurant’s “fiesta room” opened in 1952 it quickly answered a need for party space.
The Lion’s Club hosted their annual fundraising party there that year. And just about every other professional and extra-curricular club in Dallas met there through the 1950s and ’60s. There were wedding showers and rehearsal dinners galore.
Legendary Oak Cliff singer/songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard had his very first gig there while still a student at Adamson High School.
El Fenix founder Miguel Martinez Sr., known as Mike, had an inspirational immigration story. He started driving mules in his hometown in Nuevo Leon, Mexico at age 7. After moving to Dallas in 1911, he washed dishes at a Downtown hotel for 14 years, even after he started El Fenix in 1918. His eight children took over the restaurant business in the 1940s, and Martinez paid for a plaza, roads, electricity and well in his hometown, now part of Villaldama.
The Martinez family sold El Fenix to Firebird Restaurant Group for a reported $30 million in 2008.