The “Green” Rehabiliation of 5207 McKinney Avenue, Dallas, Texas
Above: Rear entrance to 5207 McKinney, oriented to Katy Trail
If you walk, don’t run, along The Katy Trail in Dallas near the northernmost section, almost to McCommas Street, a sleek modern building with an exterior steel staircase and second-floor deck captures your imagination. “Didn’t a 70s-style recycled brick and wood two-story office building used to be here?” you ask yourself. The tone of the new building is vastly different from what used to be there. This newly remodeled building at 5207 McKinney Avenue orients to the Katy Trail and looks as though it’s someone’s residence…and it is. It’s the new home of Thackeray Partners, a company formed in January 2005 by Mary Hager and Tony Dona to acquire and invest in a diversified portfolio of real estate investments. Mary and Tony spent 16 and 20 years respectively in the real estate industry prior to Thackeray’s formation and were instrumental in the management of a large real estate private equity business. Today, Thackeray has 20 employees. Because this building is their home office as well as an investment property, they have made the commitment to create a sustainable design.
Tony Dona says it best, “we wanted to make the remodeled building as ‘green’ as possible because we plan to be the long-term owners of this space, we live in the Park Cities, love the Knox-Henderson area, and well, it’s just the right thing to do.” Tony goes on to say, “we now have a quieter, more serene and healthy environment in which most of us spend the larger part of our days and some evenings.” They worked diligently to keep all of the trees, even the giant Sycamore around which a second-story balcony had to be positioned, put roofs and sunscreens up to reduce the heat load on the west wall, and placed a shower and an exercise space in the building for their employees who are also encouraged to use the Katy Trail for daily exercise.
The expansive arched skylight (see photos below) on the roof illuminates an interior court that also holds a water feature and natural decorative elements. The building changes moods as the weather and angle of the sun add or diminish the daylighting. As good stewards of their community, Thackeray Partners donates pro bono space to the non-profit organization, The Friends of Katy Trail.
Margaret Christensen, M. D., a board-certified Obstetrician Gynecologist and new building tenant, founded The Christensen Center for Whole Life Health. She describes why she chose 5207 McKinney for her office space, “I closed my practice at a large Dallas hospital because of its ‘sick building syndrome.’ It was a leaky old building with mold growing under the floorboards. My next office was a remodeled building with synthetic carpet and wallpaper that gave off formaldehyde fumes that were toxic to some of the people who worked there. I was determined,” she states firmly, “to establish a new practice with women’s health foremost in my mind. This building is light, open, and airy. There is a Zen garden feel to it with great circulation, hard surface flooring that doesn’t capture dust and mold, and the windows open to the outdoors, orientating to a wellness feature, The Katy Trail.” The McKinney Avenue building helps her achieve her mission to provide impeccable medical care within a safe haven that supports the whole woman physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Steve Chambers, AIA, is a Dallas architect who is also at home at 5207 McKinney Avenue. “Any architect who believes in sustainable design should do their best to support building owners/developers who go the expense and effort to build or remodel “green” by leasing in their buildings. Instead of demolishing the structure and starting over, Thackeray Partners utilized the embodied energy of a building with a solid structure and created this inviting space, which contributes to the quality of life of all of their tenants.” Steve continues, “The Seven R’s of sustainable design are all here:
Respect--for what came before them;
Receive—they properly borrowed the best of what was already there;
Reduce—and used the smallest amount of resources possible in the new construction;
Reuse—the building structure, exterior and interior spaces, and natural features that existed on the site;
Recycle—the brick (on its third iteration: Chicago Antique; Plano LaSalle dealership and 5207 McKinney) and basic form of the older building;
Restore-–removed hazardous materials and oriented the building to The Katy Trail, thereby returning it to a better state than the one in which they found it;
Remember—Tony Dona and Thackeray Partners shared with us how they used the best of what they found and improved on what they could. We all benefit from their efforts on this building: the owners, the tenants, and the community.”
Architect: Architecture Demarest, David Demarest, AIA; Contractor: Gordon Highlander
5207 McKinney Avenue features seasonal landscaping, access to The Katy Trail, and uses the ’embodied energy’ of the building’s original form.
Recycled Antique Chicago brick (with oil still visible on some bricks) from original LaSalle dealership, in interior of SBC Architects’ offices.