Photo of 7800 N. Stemmons Freeway via CBRE

The City of Dallas voted last week to fund relocation of its messy building-permits center to North Dallas after 36 years on Jefferson Boulevard in Oak Cliff.

City Council authorized spending more than $14.1-million for the purchase of 7800 Ricchi Tower, an 11-story building at 7800 N. Stemmons Freeway at Mockingbird. The building has a garage with 700 parking spaces. Redesign and renovation of the first, second, fifth and ninth floors is expected to begin in October, according to an email update from Mayor Pro-Tem Chad West.

The office environment at the Oak Cliff Municipal Building at 320 E. Jefferson was described as “depressing” by several people who testified earlier this year about the city’s ongoing problems with costly building-permit delays.

That’s also one way West described it.

“Having visited the City’s current permit office on countless occasions, I can attest to the terrible conditions there — the work environment is depressing and antiquated, and it is long past time to provide our most important department in the city with better facilities,” West wrote in the email.

Oak Cliff Municipal Center

This “one-stop” permit office represents the city’s efforts to get a handle on the problem that builders say costs them amid a booming construction market. Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson appointed a group of City Council members to work on the problem earlier this year.

The purchase leaves open to redevelopment the Oak Cliff Municipal Center at 320 E. Jefferson, where the city has been operating its permit center since 1986.

Some ideas for the property are being put together, West says.

The city wants to hold onto the land but could offer a 99-year ground lease for future development.

“It will almost assuredly include a mixed income housing component,” he says.