Recently I had the extraordinary opportunity to visit the 72nd floor of the
Bank of America building in downtown Dallas. Since there isn't the slightest
chance that the average person could ever visit this site, I'm posting the pictures
here as a public service.
If you're one of those "urban exploration" people who likes to go places you're not
supposed to be, you can forget about visiting the 72nd floor because the security is
very tight. There are cameras and guards everywhere. Every door is locked,
and only the security guards (not even the regular visitors) have keys to some of them.
A substantial percentage of the value of this building is in its height. Not only
is it enormously valuable as a platform for all these racks of radio gear, there is a
traditional competition amongst bankers to have the tallest bank building in any big
city. This is part of the reason for the vertical growth of downtown Dallas
during the 1980's and 1990's.
Update: Another broadcast engineer recently pointed out that the facilities pictured here
are actually on the 73rd floor. The elevator stops at 72, and then there's another
flight of stairs up to a (locked) door on the 73rd floor. I don't know... the KDFW suite
is Room 7206, so maybe the 72nd floor itself is just really tall.
Click to enlarge but note: the full-size
pictures are over 400 k-bytes each.
The 72nd floor holds an amazing array of equipment racks containing radio and TV equipment
of every sort. This is a really nice facility.
This appears to be an assortment of microwave relays, cell phones, two-way radios,
amateur radio (and ham TV), and government communications equipment.
The hallway on the west side of the 72nd floor has one unusual feature: Each window
has a number. Figuring out the purpose of these numbers is left to the reader as
an exercise. The view from here is great, even on a smoggy day, which this
was. Airplanes approaching Love Field sometimes fly rather close to these
windows, adding to the excitement.
Here is Dennis, the KDFW-TV technician who keeps the "Tower Cams" clean and fixes them
when lightning wipes them out. Notice that he is keeping one hand on his shirt
pocket This is because he doesn't want to drop anything from this height. From
this point, it isn't quite straight down to the street, because there is another balcony
a few floors below, but it's close enough to vertical, believe me.
You can imagine the view from here on a clear day. The most spectacular viewing
happens on a winter morning after the arrival of a cold front, when the air is really
clear. At times when there is heavy fog, only the upper floors of the downtown
buildings remain above the clouds, which looks weird.
You can see we're looking down on Reunion Tower, which is the highest observation deck
open to the public in Dallas. Lightning is a major concern to people like Dennis,
because this building gets hit by lightning frequently, and it often results in damage to
Here is an overview of the Belo broadcasting (WFAA-TV) complex to the southwest, a
view rarely shown on the KDFW camera.
These pictures were taken (and this page was constructed) in 2003. The parking lot in
the lower left is now the site of the Omni Hotel.
Looking south (and almost straight down) there is another office building with an interesting
array of solar panels of some sort, possibly a skylight. I would have taken more pictures,
but the security guard was waiting for us to come in from the "balcony".
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NCNB, Bank of America building, downtown Dallas, urban exploration,
restricted access, tight security, very tall building, 72nd floor.