Jason Wright/for the Itemizer-Observer
Workers install framing for the new facade at the Dallas Forty on Main Street, which will soon be Corby’s again.
As of Tuesday, December 11, 2018
DALLAS — The Dallas Forty in downtown is steadily making its way back to Corby’s, both in name and appearance.
It may difficult to imagine now, because the facade is a giant hole after workers stripped away layers of what used to be the face of Corby’s.
“It had to be removed because that was all stuff they put up in the 1960s,” said owner Jason Wright. “It’s not historically accurate, and it’s ugly.”
Wright, who owns the bar with his wife Christine, said workers are framing in the new facade, which will add side columns and large windows.
The work on the building, 962 Main St., is paid for with a state grant, Diamonds in the Rough, and a Dallas Urban Renewal District facade grant.
Adding the windows to the front is more than just a way to let in more natural light, it also helped the couple get the state grant, with the assistance of the Dallas Downtown Association.
“All the windows are being custom-made for the project to bring it back to what it looked like originally, which is part of what the Diamonds in the Rough grant wants,” said Eddie Nelson, the DDA treasurer who helped write the grant application. “They are really wanting those transom windows open and exposed in the downtown areas. We have a lot of them.”
The original storefront windows on many of the buildings have been covered up after decades of remodeling, Nelson said. That was the case with Dallas Forty.
“They were under there, but they were rotten and beyond repair, so they have to be re-created,” Nelson said.
Wright said measurements from the new windows will be taken this week after framing is complete. He said the project included a seismic retrofit of the concrete on the front of the building. It’s been there since the 1920s and has cracks.
“Our engineer was concerned with that, so they installed seven steel beams behind it which will tie in to the new roof that’s going onto the place, which will keep it from collapsing in case of an earthquake,” Wright said.
He said the next steps in the project are rebuilding the masonry, adding an awning, and installing the long-awaited new Corby’s sign. It’s modeled after the sign in old photos the couple found.
Wright said he’s looking for more photos or items that were at the bar when it was Corby’s in the 1940s to the 1990s. Nelson said any photos and memorabilia from Dallas downtown that people wouldn’t mind donating would help with the cause of restoring downtown to its former glory.
“It’s really, really important that people don’t throw these pictures away. We are looking for them,” Nelson said. “The downtown association is looking for them, because when we go to write the grants, they have to have stuff like that.”
Wright said he’s willing to help other building owners with the grant process and has joined the DDA’s economic development committee.
“The more businesses we can get working together in the downtown area, I think is beneficial to the area,” Wright said.
The sign may be installed early next year. Wright is looking forward to that occasion.
“That sign is under construction right now. They are not going to put it up until these guys are complete with the masonry and probably the paint as well,” he said. “We’re excited. It’s been a long process.”
Of note: The Dallas Forty is open during construction.
Customers can use the back door to avoid the construction zone.