Add international hostel to the long list of businesses coming to Deep Ellum.
Two entrepreneurs from Austin plan to open Deep Ellum Hostel in summer 2017 next-door to Serious Pizza at Elm and Crowdus streets. The owners already converted a 19th-century firehouse in Austin into a hostel three years ago.
"We really want to reflect the culture of Deep Ellum and highlight the unique history," co-owner Collin Ballard says. "It's always been a melting pot."
The building itself is part of Deep Ellum's history. Built sometime between 1901 and 1911, 2801 Elm is on the National Register of Historical Places. According to a record of tenants, it was home to a saloon back in 1911 and a syrup manufacturer in 1922. By 1938, the building was an auto repair shop called the Long Machine Tool Company. The business relocated to Ferris, Texas, in 1996, but its name is still displayed on the front of the two-story brick structure.
"There's a lot of nostalgia associated with this building in Deep Ellum," Ballard says.
The original old-world charms inside, which include wooden ceilings and exposed brick, will be highlighted. The exterior will be changed as little as possible, Ballard says.
Deep Ellum Hostel will also include a restaurant and lounge, the owners say. Leased in April, the property is 8,000 square feet with a 2,000-foot addition planned in the back. There will be 15 rooms total, a mix of shared and some private. (Comparable to a dorm room with bunk beds for four to six people, the shared rooms are the more traditional hostel option.)
Hostels are less expensive, sociable alternatives to hotels. There are a few in Austin and Houston; major cities all over the world have dozens each. But the closest one to Dallas is in Irving. This surprised Ballard:
"I think there's room for a hostel in any major city. Dallas is such a big hub for a lot of international travel," says the co-owner.
The search for a location started a year ago, and the owners say Deep Ellum was the natural choice. "The typical hostel traveler will prefer Deep Ellum as a home base in Dallas. It's such a unique part of town," Ballard says.
Bands sometimes seek out the Firehouse in Austin -- particularly during SXSW -- and Ballard expects a little of that in Deep Ellum. But he expects most customers to be backpackers and sightseers.
"I've walked around and seen some international folks in Deep Ellum," Ballard says. "Us opening there will make it more conducive for international travelers to experience what Deep Ellum has to offer."
By JEREMY HALLOCK/SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR