The former home of Braniff Airlines and Frito-Lay was demolished at 8 a.m. Sunday morning. The lot near the intersection of Mockingbird and Harry Hines will be the home for the new pediatric campus in the works from the joint pediatric venture between Children’s Health and UT Southwestern, according to comments from UT Southwestern President and the University of Texas Board of Regents notes.
Cheers throughout the neighborhood followed a series of explosions reverberated off surrounding buildings as onlookers took positions from nearby apartments, parking garages, and UT Southwestern buildings with views of the implosion. The ensuing cloud of dust left from the two buildings overtook the 24-acre plot of land today called the Paul M. Bass Administrative and Clinical Center. According to posted signs, Dallas-based Devenney Group and Atlanta-based Batson-Cook Construction handled the demolition work.
In 2008, UTSW purchased what was known as Exchange Park, which opened in 1956 as one of the first mixed-use developments developer William Blakley called “a self-contained business community—America’s first completely integrated and weather-controlled commercial development,” according to AIA Dallas. It included an office building, retail stores, a bank, and fully enclosed air-conditioned “streets” connected to the towers.
According to original solicitation documents, UTSW and Children’s Health are planning a $2.5 billion pediatric hospital to replace the existing Dallas campus of Children’s Health with 532 beds, a medical office building, and at least one parking garage. Described services include an emergency department with 90 bays and more than 90 newborn intensive care unit beds. The original solicitation describes a hospital with services to support a new labor and delivery program with approximately 30 beds. The current Children’s Medical Center Dallas hospital has 490 beds and no labor and delivery unit. The documents said construction was expected to begin in 2024 and finish in 2028.
The Board of Regents records say the new development will provide access to a new outpatient cancer care building from Harry Hines Boulevard and will be “a major conduit for access to the new Pediatric Campus.” The hospital is located across the main entrance to Clements University Hospital and will “serve as a gateway to a major portion of the UT Southwestern Medical Center campus.”
Neither UT Southwestern nor Children’s Health has made any official comment about the new hospital, despite the demolition and public announcements from Podoslky. In previous requests for more information about the campus from UTSW and Children’s Health, the organizations have responded with this joint statement:
“Our joint pediatric enterprise is always pursuing opportunities to bolster capacity to provide care in response to record population growth and demand for pediatric specialty services in North Texas. To meet these needs, we are exploring a possible new pediatric campus. Specific details on a project of this magnitude are not final or approved and may not be for some time. We look forward to sharing accurate, finalized information with the community if it is approved by both our institutions and associated boards.”
“The actual plans for the pediatric campus remain a work in progress but are advancing, I can tell you, in a very compelling way,” Podolsky said in a public address.
Watch the full implosion below, or a link from UTSW here.