Mercantile National Bank

Photograph by Justin Terveen:

Photograph by Justin Terveen:

Original base exposed:

Mercantile National Bank Complex

1700 Main

Mercantile National Bank Building - 1942
Mercantile Securities Building - 1949 (Demolition in Progress)
Mercantile Dallas Building - 1958 (Demolition in Progress)
Mercantile Securities Annex Building - 1972 (Demolished 2006)

Shortly before World War II had started, the Mercantile National Bank, located in the Magnolia Building, announced that it was constructing a new headquarters structure at the corner of Main and Ervay Streets.  World War II soon started while the site work was underway and the steel had been ordered, with some of it actually fabricated.  The U.S. government at the time had called a halt to all private construction in order to provide materials for the war.  The bank received special permission to continue steel fabrication and construction.  The 31 story building opened in 1942 and was the only major skyscraper in the U.S. that was completed during the war. 

The design of the skyscraper features Moderne styling from the Art Deco era, including a number of setbacks that are crowned by a neon clock and 115 foot tall ornamental tower.  Over the years, the bank expanded several times, eventually occupying the entire block and also constructing two additional buildings across Commerce Street.  In  1949,  the Mercantile Securities Building was constructed immediately to the east of the original bank.  The Securities Building is 14 stories.  In 1954, the bank expanded again by constructing the 22 story Mercantile Dallas Building.  Finally, in 1972, the complex expanded to include the entire block with construction of the 5 story Security Annex Building.  This building was designed to be expanded vertically at some point in time.  All four buildings connect and have a unified base.  In 1987, the bank opened their new headquarters across Main Street, and through a series of bank mergers, the building is now known as the Bank One Center.  Since that time, the buildings have been mostly vacant.  Recently, a deal has been made between the city and a Forest City Enterprises to redevelop the block.  The developer has plans to convert the complex into a mixed use development with retail and residential uses.  Their current plans call for the demolition of all buildings but the original bank building.  However, there will be construction of a new residential tower on the site of the Securities Annex Building and a plaza on the site of the Mercantile Dallas Building.  The clock tower and spire will be restored as a part of this project.  The Securities Annex Building has now been demolished, and demolition is underway on the Dallas and Securities buildings.  BGO Architects designed the redevelopment project.  Forest City has also entered a deal with the City of Dallas to convert the Atmos Energy site into residential buildings.  That complex includes the Dallas Gas Company and the Lone Star Gas Co. Building

The Mercantile National Bank Building is 430 feet tall with a 115 feet tower.  The overall height including the tower is 545 feet.  The building is the 27th tallest in the city.  The Mercantile Dallas Building was 360 feet tall.

Mercantile National Bank Building from the southwest photographed by Justin Terveen
Mercantile Spire with Bank One Center photographed by Justin Terveen
Cutting of Balconies on East Side of Building taken November 24, 2006

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