HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – The historic Eldorado Ballroom building in Houston’s Third Ward will be restored and an annex added in a $9.6 million renovation project spearheaded by Project Row House and led by Hines.
One of the nation’s most acclaimed venues for Black musicians during segregation, “The Rado” was founded by Houstonians Anna Johnson Dupree and Clarence A. Dupree in 1939.
As planned, the project restores the 10,000-square-foot modernist-style building as well as its role as a cultural, social and economic hub.
Although two fires destroyed much of the interior of the building, its original wood paneling, stucco, finishes and fixtures will be rehabilitated and preserved whenever possible, project materials said.
Meanwhile, the building’s second floor, will regain its “ribbon windows,” large spans that initially ran the length of the ballroom, located along Elgin Street, facing Emancipation Park. The first floor, which had initially housed retail, will be renovated for use by a café, community market, non-profit art gallery and flex space for meetings and community use.
The project includes a 5,000-square-foot annex to accommodate modern features and functions, including a green room, a space for brides and grooms to prepare for weddings, an elevator and upgraded bathroom facilities. Work is expected to be completed in early 2023.
In the 1940s and 1950s, the Eldorado Ballroom was one of the nation’s most acclaimed live venues for Black musicians and audiences. It hosted performances from stars like Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, B.B. King, and local legend Lightnin’ Hopkins.
Following its closure in the early ‘70s after a period of economic stagnation, the bull-nosed building was donated in 1999 to Project Row Houses. It received a Texas Historical Marker in 2011.
The project team includes Stern and Bucek Architects and Forney Construction.
The funding campaign has received support from the Project Row Houses board of directors, Kinder Foundation, Houston Endowment, Brown Foundation, and a diverse range of long-time and newly-engaged Project Row Houses supporters.
“The Eldorado Ballroom, from the moment its doors open, has always been the soul of the Third Ward,” said Eureka Gilkey, executive director of Project Row Houses in press materials. The organization is proud to preserve the venue and to prepare it to serve once more as a center for Black art, culture and community, she said.
It’s rare for such a building to have survived, said David Bucek, Principal at Stern & Bucek Architects. “The building exudes optimism. It was quality space and it is going to be returning to that, and will allow for generations of residents to be in the space together creating new memories.”
May 5, 2022 Realty News Report Copyright 2022
Credit: Photo courtesy of Project Row Houses
File: Redo at Eldorado Ballroom