211 N. Ervay

Startup accelerators Tech Wildcatters and Health Wildcatters are moving downtown, into a building that’s been vacant for decades.

The KERA radio story.

Startup accelerators Health Wildcatters and Tech Wildcatters have been located at the "Tech Church" in Uptown Dallas, now they'll relocate to 211 Ervay, which has long been vacant.

Lauren Silverman/KERA News

Startup accelerators Health Wildcatters and Tech Wildcatters have been located at the “Tech Church” in Uptown Dallas, now they’ll relocate to 211 Ervay, which has long been vacant.

Since 2011, Dallas tech startups have lived and worked in Uptown — calling on angel investors for money and support from an old three-story church nicknamed the “Tech Church.”

Now, Tech Wildcatters and Health Wildcatters are moving downtown, into an empty office building best known for its red “211″ signage on N. Ervay and checkerboard blue paneling.

The building has been vacant for decades, so it’s essentially a shell on the inside, says Hubert Zajicek. Zajicek is co-founder of health-wildcatters, an accelerator that’s helped startups developing everything from a non-invasive blood glucose test to a physical therapy app.

“It’s really a blank canvas,” he says. “Our goal is to attract other startups and really create more of an ecosystem there.”

One of the benefits of the new building, Zajicek says, is there’s a lot of open space, which means opportunities for co-working.

New Life For An Old Building

Mark Lamster, Architecture critic for the Dallas Morning News and professor at UTA School of Architecture says there’s been debate about whether to tear down 211 Ervay.

“I think it’s a big victory for the city to have somebody come up with a plan for it,” he says. “I think it’s a wonderful little building that’s colorful and has a nice place in the city.”

Dallas developer Leo Corrigan designed the building, which was built in 1958. Corrigan also designed a tower a block away which has also long been vacant. Still, Lamster sees a future for downtown:

“This entire area is undergoing a renaissance,” Lamster says, “There’s a new plan for Thanksgiving Square, we’re seeing that Statler Hilton come back, so with this building regenerated I think there’s a whole new energy to this little corner of the city.”

Both Tech and Health wildcatters plan to move in to the second and third floors of the downtown office on July 1st.