Dallas Third-Generation Stone & Masonry Company Starting Pre-Construction Planning on AT&T Tower Restoration
Dee Brown Inc. (DBI) has wrapped up masonry work on the 12-story Weir’s Plaza on Knox Street in Dallas. DBI was contracted by JE Dunn Construction to furnish and install all cast stone, brick, salvaged brick masonry and concrete masonry units (CMU) along with 4,000 square feet of restorative cleaning on the historic Highland Park Pharmacy, an old-fashioned soda fountain operating since 1912.
“The construction site was very constrained, which provided challenges to safely deliver materials to their intended place for installation,” said Rob Barnes, President & CEO of Dee Brown, Inc. “We furnished motorized scaffolding to install 190,000 Belden Ambassador bricks for the Tower and 8,500 Pacific Clay Ambassador bricks for the Tower’s base. We also re-installed 1,500 bricks which had been salvaged from the century-old pharmacy. We used 20,000 custom bricks to tie the pharmacy in with the new project. We also installed cast stone sills, water tables, and coping on the Tower; as well as column surrounds, entablature and exterior steps at the pharmacy.”
Located on the former site of the 70-year-old Weir’s Furniture store, Weir's Plaza is expected to open Fall 2021, and will include 250,000 square feet of office space, 12,500 square feet retail/restaurant, and a new 28,000-square-feet Weir's Furniture flagship store.
DBI is now working on pre-construction plans to restore the exterior of the 37-story AT&T Whitacre Tower (also known as One AT&T Plaza) in downtown Dallas. DBI installed the original Travertine panels 40 years ago. The restoration is expected to take about two years from start to finish.
“Our greatest challenge remains hiring and training the next generation of workers,” explained Barnes. “We’ve had success partnering with several high school trade programs, and we’ve developed an on-the-job training program to provide a career path for non-skilled workers. We are continually looking for people who are interested in our industry.”
Barnes began his career in 1986 working as a non-skilled laborer at the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas. He later trained to become a stonemason’s helper. In 1992, he received a Bachelor’s in Business Management from John Brown University and got his M.B.A. from Southern Methodist University in 2007.
The past 18 months have had its challenges for the third-generation stone and masonry business which has helped shape the Dallas-Fort Worth landscape for seven decades. Like most companies, DBI has experienced supply chain issues, workforce challenges, and keeping their staff safe in their Richardson headquarters, the Garland Fabrication Plant, and on job sites across DFW and Houston. But they continue to find new ways to navigate an ever-changing landscape.
DBI recently opened a storefront employment office in the Bishop Arts District to attract younger workers. Interested parties can call 214-321-6443 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment.
“We are flexible on interview times and locations,” explained Barnes. “In addition to our Bishop Arts storefront, qualified workers can make an appointment to apply at our offices in Garland, South Dallas, and Richardson. We have bilingual staff in our Garland and South Dallas locations.”
DBI is listed at number eight among the Top 20 Masonry Firms in the country as rated by Engineering-News Record (ENR). DBI recently won two international Pinnacle Awards for Excellence by the Natural Stone Institute, and several Texas Masonry Council Golden Trowel Awards for projects completed in the Dallas area.
Founded in Dallas circa 1955, Dee Brown, Inc. is responsible for the masonry and stonework on iconic projects, including the American Airlines Center; Nasher Sculpture Center; George W. Bush Presidential Center; Old Red Courthouse; The Getty Center in Los Angeles; Meyerson Symphony Center; Houston Museum of Natural Science; Dallas Country Club; Hunt Oil Headquarters; Trammel Crow Center; AT&T Stadium and many others. More information about the company can be found at deebrowncompanies.com.
WEIR’S PLAZA - BY THE NUMBERS:
- 190,000 pcs - ACME Belden Ambassador (3 5/8”x2 ¼”x15 5/8”) Brick for Tower
- 8,500 pcs - ACME Pacific Clay Ambassador Brick from for Podium at base of Tower
- 20,000 pcs - ACME Modular Custom Tumbled Brick Blend for Historic Pharmacy Addition
- 1,500 pcs - Salvaged Modular Brick for Historic Highland Park Pharmacy Repair
- 4,000 square feet - Cleaning Historic Highland Park Pharmacy
- 40,000 pcs – CMU
- 40 pcs – Cast Stone Interior Fireplace
- 56 pcs – Wet Cast Stone Exterior Steps
- 296 pcs – Cast Stone Banding
- 515 pcs – Cast Stone Sill/Water Table
- 400 pcs – Cast Stone Coping
- 490 pcs – Cast Stone Column Surrounds and Entablature - Pharmacy Addition