Rita Sweeney, R.I.P.

Sad news today. Real estate developer Rita Sweeney died this weekend after battling cancer. I only met Ms. Sweeney once, about six years ago, but she was very memorable — a vivacious, intelligent woman. We were in a group of about 15 people or so taking a walking tour of downtown Dallas. Every half block, it seemed, she’d point to a building she owned or one she wanted to buy or one that needed a storefront or a restaurant or a florist. She had huge ideas for urban renewal; she was a fan of Jane Jacobs, if I recall correctly. Her ideas, as Dave Levinthal writes, weren’t always popular, especially with then-Mayor Laura Miller. (Most notably, the two clashed over Sweeney’s nightclub Blue.) She and her husband were working on big projects at the Tower Petroleum Building and 1900 Pacific Ave. I assume he’ll continue the projects in her honor.

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