After pandemic and fire delays, AIDS Services Dallas has begun moving dirt on its latest residence

DAVID TAFFET | Senior Staff Writer

AIDS Services Dallas has finally received its order to proceed from the city to begin construction on its independent living complex at 511 Lancaster Ave. The project is located just a few blocks from the agency’s other housing properties.

The 511 Lancaster project has been delayed more than a year because of a fire that destroyed one of two buildings on the property in August 2020. The second building was heavily damaged. That was after breaking ground in February just before the beginning of the lockdown because of the pandemic.

At the time of the fire, ASD was just finalizing details with its general contractor of what was to be a renovation when the property was destroyed.

During the year since the fire happened, ASD CEO Traswell Livingston said, they have been able to rethink parts of the design and even add amenities. For example, the renovation originally called for construction of a laundry room. Now each unit will have a stackable washer and dryer instead.

He said the layout of each apartment has been reconfigured into a more modern design, including balconies.

Instead of retrofitting, the new building will be built with better insulation and modern insulating brick. Windows will be uniform in size.

Outside, the complex will feature additional seating area, and parking will be laid out more efficiently.

Once permits were issued, because of the source of some of the funding for the project, ASD had to submit contracts and other paperwork to the Office of Homeless Solutions, which issued the order to proceed.

“We are moving dirt — literally,” Livingston said, explaining that contractors began clearing the site within days of getting the clearance to begin work. But, he added, “Supply chain delays are our concern now.”

The expected wait for the shipment of lumber is 12 weeks. The good news on that, though, is the price of lumber has fallen dramatically since it reached its pandemic high in July.

Livingston said ASD residents are excited about the construction activity and other renovations going on in the neighborhood by other developers.

Fundraising for the project is in its final stage with money needed for some of the amenities like a fenced dog park on the property. Livingston said additional donations for and groups of volunteers up to about 15 people are needed to do some beautification projects on the existing properties. █

For more information on how your group can volunteer, visit