For years, millions of travelers saw the aging Ramada Plaza hotel off Interstate 30 in Dallas and just looked the other way.
But Larry Hamilton is giving them reason to look back.
“I saw the same thing they did, but I guess I saw the possibilities of changing it,” he said.
His unique perspective comes from a 20-year mission to use old buildings to lay a new foundation.
“We’re into changing neighborhoods, not just changing a building,” he said.
Larry started his urban renewal with the Magnolia Building, when downtown Dallas was still a ghost town.
“When we first came here, there were only 200 residents downtown inside the loop,” he said. “At 5 o’clock the streets emptied. There was no one.”
Once he fixed it up, people moved back and businesses returned. The Wall Street Journal even said Larry was the reason downtown Dallas came back to life.
Which is why he’s now focusing his attention on the south side.
“It’s like a visit to a hotel and museum at the same time,” he said while walking through his latest hotel project.
What was once a declining Ramada is now a thriving Lorenzo. It’s a hotel with old bones but a new style.
“It’s where Andy Warhol meets Alice in Wonderland,” Larry said.
Larry’s whimsical spin on art and design is everywhere, including a painting of Albert Einstein that shoots water out of his mouth near the pool.
Larry remains so focused on supporting and developing the neighborhood around the hotel that every piece of art was created by local artists. He says the Lorenzo is already bringing people back to the area.
And he plans to keep rebuilding until every neighborhood in Dallas is booming.
“That’s what life is about. Trying to leave the place better than you found it," he said.
We can’t wait to see what he finds next.
© 2017 WFAA-TV