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City in talks to buy southern Dallas hotel for housing the homeless

This story, originally published in The Dallas Morning News, is reprinted as part of a collaborative partnership between The Dallas Morning News and Texas Metro News. The partnership seeks to boost coverage of Dallas’ communities of color, particularly in southern Dallas.

The Dallas City Council will vote this week on whether to spend $5 million in bond money on a 108-room hotel near RedBird mall.

TownHouse Suites at RedBird
The city of Dallas is considering spending $5 million to buy the TownHouse Suites, an extended stay hotel in Red Bird. The city is planning to renovate it into a transitional housing facility for people experiencing homelessness.

By Everton Bailey Jr.

Dallas officials may spend $5 million to buy a hotel near RedBird mall and turn it into transitional housing for people experiencing homelessness. If the purchase is approved on Wednesday, it would be the fourth hotel in the city bought for homelessness services.

The city plans to use 2017 bond money to buy the TownHouse Suites, a 108-room extended stay hotel along Independence Drive in southern Dallas near the Duncanville border. The nearly 82,000-square-foot site is bordered by three other hotels, at least one apartment complex and Interstate 20.

The RedBird mall site sits about a mile east of the TownHouse Suites, which is off a stretch of West Camp Wisdom Road that has several sets of strip malls with restaurants, auto stores and other businesses.

Council member Tennell Atkins, who represents the area where the hotel is based, told The Dallas Morning News that the city plans to use the hotel to add to Dallas’ homeless shelter options. He said he believes the city intends to contract with a nonprofit to help people who stay at the hotel with support for mental health or substance use as well as job placement services and to help get and keep permanent housing elsewhere.

Christine Crossley, director of Dallas’ office of homeless solutions, didn’t immediately respond to a message for comment.

The hotel could be the second property bought this month with bond money to help aid the homeless.

Dallas voters in November 2017 approved a $1.05 billion bond package designed to improve streets, parks, homelessness assistance, public safety facilities and other city amenities.

The city originally had a five-year plan to spend the money but extended that by one year to September 2023 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The city allocated $20 million of the bond package to pay for permanent and transitional housing for people experiencing homelessness, but it only started committing money toward those projects last year.

City officials have approved at least $12.6 million as of Monday for four projects that provide a combination of overnight shelter and transitional and permanent supportive housing.

About $3.3 million went toward helping renovate the former Gateway Hotel on Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway in North Dallas into the 180-unit St. Jude Center Park-Central. The city committed $2.8 million for buying and renovating two more hotels, Hotel Miramar on Fort Worth Avenue in Kessler Stevens and the Candlewood Suites on Preston Road in Far North Dallas.

The renovations called for Miramar having 40 units and 50 rooms for Candlewood. Both hotels were bought by the city in December 2020 with federal COVID-19 relief money and initially served as quarantine sites for homeless people who tested positive or were exposed to the coronavirus. More money was later committed to upgrade the sites to provide supportive housing.

Earlier this month, the City Council approved spending $6.5 million to buy the 12-acre former University General Hospital site on South Hampton Road in west Oak Cliff.

The city hasn’t yet finalized plans for how to use that site, but officials have said they plan to create long-term housing for people experiencing homelessness with support to help keep them in stable housing as well as provide other services such as medical care.

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