Dallas Pegasus landmark in need of costly repairs, city says

Dallas city leaders say a Dallas landmark is corroded and could pose a danger to the public if repairs are not made quickly. 

The 15-ton Pegasus is mounted on an oil derrick on top of the city's first skyscraper in Downtown Dallas at the Magnolia Hotel.

Some Dallas City Council members argued the hotel and not taxpayers should help fit the bill. 

The Pegasus on top of Dallas' first skyscraper is one of the things that makes the skyline unique. It also serves as a selling point for the historic Magnolia Hotel, which is why some council members argued the hotel should pony up for the repairs. 

Dallas city staff said the hotel has refused to help pay for repairs totaling more than $650,000.

City staff said the repairs are an emergency after a preliminary study was released back in November that found corrosion so bad, the structure could potentially topple to the ground. 

The hotel is not legally obligated to pay for the repairs. That’s because the city owns the sign.

"If there is a corrosive issue and a belief that there is a safety and concern around it falling off and hurting someone, I and staff do not want to be in the position where we cannot make those improvements," said Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax.

Council members argued if the hotel doesn’t want to invest in the maintaining the mythical creature, the city could always move it.

"Why don’t we put it on our new convention center or library?" asked Councilwoman Paula Blackmon.

Built in 1922, the 29-story Magnolia Oil Company Headquarters was the first skyscraper in the country to have air conditioning.

When the Magnolia opened as a hotel in 1999, the original Pegasus was taken down and restored. That one is now in front of the Omni Hotel. A replica was installed in 2000. When the city later sold the building, it maintained an easement to the iconic sign. 

Councilwoman Cara Mendelsohn argued now is the time to fix the city’s one-sided relationship. 

"There is no way we should allocate this money without the partnership in writing, signed, sealed and delivered," she said.

Councilman Omar Narvaez argued the city needed to vote to approve the repairs immediately to prevent a potential tragedy.

"It could literally fall off because of strong winds," he said. "And we’re saying as a city, let’s not worry about that."

In the end, Dallas City Council members approved the repairs Wednesday. The city manager added it is possible additional funds could be needed later.

"For the record, if there are more challenges, we will have to come back to you. At this point in time, there are none identified," Broadnax said.

City staff said removing the Pegasus from this historic building could be difficult due to the age of the building, and it would likely be very costly. 

FOX 4 reached out to Magnolia Dallas for comment but have not heard back.