The Ambassador Hotel in Dallas Destroyed by Fire Mid-Renovation

Early yesterday morning, a fire destroyed the Ambassador Hotel in the Cedars district in the south of Dallas. When the fire started the hotel was empty, but a caretaker lived in a trailer on the property. Firefighters reported no injuries and the fire was under control by 5 a.m.

The hotel, which has been designated a historic landmark, was once one of the city’s leading luxury hotels: it had housed Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft and Woodrow Wilson. The building, which represents the traditional architecture of Dallas, is said to be one of the first suburban hotels. It opened in 1904 and was converted into a retirement home and apartments over the course of the century. When the fire broke out, the building was in the middle of a massive renovation project that began in 2017 to add shops, restaurants, and apartment buildings. Although the cause of the fire has not been determined, renovation projects on historic buildings can make them vulnerable to accidents of this type, which can escalate quickly.

Thick black smoke reportedly continued to pour into the neighborhood even after the fire was controlled, closing facilities on several surrounding streets, namely Ervay and Griffin Streets, for the day.

Jim Lake Jr., a developer who worked on the renovation, told the local NBC News partner that there are plans to continue the project, but the work must now start over. He added, “You cannot recreate a story. History is history. It will never be reclaimed. We can tell the story in whatever comes next.”

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