- Steve Brown, Dallas Morning News

The wreckage of the 1980s real estate crash is still lying in a field south of Dallas.

Scattered across more than an acre of land near Seagoville, stacks of granite slabs and polished stone columns are all that’s left of grand plans for a Dallas skyscraper.

More than 30 years ago, when developers started the huge Cityplace project just north of downtown, they envisioned two 42-story towers as the centerpiece of the new urban center.

Unfortunately, the building boom went bust before the first tower was even finished.

Piled in that yard south of town is all the finely cut stone that was to cover a second Cityplace skyscraper.

 


The stone was purchased to build a twin of the Cityplace tower north of downtown Dallas. (File Photo/Staff)

 

“For every piece of granite you see on the first tower, there was another one made for the second tower,” said Neal Sleeper, president of Cityplace Co.

Enough pink and red Brazilian granite to cover a 1.4 million-square-foot high-rise has been owned by Sleeper’s firm since 1990.

The cut stone came with about 130 acres of vacant land Cityplace Co. bought after the original developer — Dallas’ 7-Eleven Corp — dumped the unfinished $300 million development for $24 million.

Cityplace Co. — headed by Dallas investor Don McNamara and Sleeper — has slowly sold and developed almost all of the land that came with its purchase 27 years ago.

But the company’s never figured out what to do with all that fancy carved rock.

“Some of it was still sitting in block form in Italy” at the finishing plant, Sleeper said. “It had never been finished and shipped over. It was sold.”

Sleeper said all the finished stonework was originally in a big warehouse. But the sellers required that it all be moved.

“We probably spent as much moving it as it was worth,” Sleeper said. “We sold a little bit of it.

“We’ve had a few people who have bought pieces to do everything from bathrooms to driveways and pool decks.”

Hopes of unloading every ton of it for a single project never worked out.

“We’ve came close on two or three occasions with people who were going to build big buildings,” Sleeper said.

Now the grasshoppers and sunflowers keep company to millions of dollars of stonework once destined for Dallas’ skyline.

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