Articles by

Joanna England

If Executive Editor Joanna England could house hunt forever, she absolutely would. Instead she covers the North Texas housing market and the economy for CandysDirt.com. While she started out with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, Joanna's work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News as well as several local media outlets. When she's not knitting or hooping, or enjoying White Rock Lake, she's behind the lens of her camera. She lives in East Dallas with her husband, son, and their furry and feathered menagerie.

05/25/16 4:42pm
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David Blum, Director of Development, Terra Verde Group; Craig Martin, Partner, Terra Verde Group; Lauren Stephan, Lifestyle Director, Windsong Ranch (Photo: Chris Blumenshine/BellissimoFoto)

Congratulations are in order for Windsong Ranch in Prosper, which snagged “People’s Choice Community of the Year” at the 37th annual McSAM Awards from the Dallas Builders Association. The event, which recognizes “maximum creativity in sales and marketing,” drew more than 300 entries this year with winners named in 58 categories and jurists from all over the nation.

“The People’s Choice Award is THE coveted award of the night because it is a customer satisfaction award that shows our success in creating the best community for our homeowners,” said Craig Martin, Founding Partner of Terra Verde Group, the developer of Windsong Ranch. “Our residents ranked Windsong highest in overall lifestyle, amenities and customer service compared to all the other communities in DFW.”

We’re thrilled at the news, as it’s another trophy in Windsong Ranch’s growing awards case.

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05/25/16 3:24pm

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Renting is often considered to be more affordable than homeownership, but the gap between affordable rentals and affordable homes for sale is widening. According to SmartAsset’s 2016 rental affordability survey, there’s a massive income gap for renters. This year’s survey shows that, in Dallas, renters need to make $62,700 to meet HUD guidelines for affordable rentals. That’s an increase of $5,829 from a year ago, and equates to about $1,463 a month on rent alone.

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Headshot 2014 Hi Rez Micky

There’s so much more to the real estate business in North Texas than sales numbers, notable listings, and a brokerage pedigree, but we don’t often get to focus on who our neighborhood Realtors really are, what they’re passionate about, and what inspires them.

That’s the goal of our High-Caliber Agent series, which takes a more introspective look at some of the best real estate agents the our region has to offer. These agents don’t just focus on closings and contracts, but instead treasure and appreciate the people who make the business.

Our second High-Caliber Agent sponsored by Lisa Peters of Caliber Home Loans has succeeded at pretty much every aspect of the real estate business, but returned to his roots as a builder. Micky Carr, who founded Spruce Designs with two of his childhood friends, not only has a thriving real estate business with David Griffin & Company Realtors, but has taken his brand to a whole new level with his design-build firm. See what inspires this real estate Renaissance man, our High-Caliber Agent sponsored by Lisa Peters of Caliber Home Loans after the jump!

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05/20/16 4:25pm

14 - Exterior Final #1

It was first built in 1958 as the home of the Relief and Annuity Board of the Baptist General Convention. The building has a 15-story tower and a three-story side structure with a rooftop deck. It has all the hallmarks of a midcentury office building — sleek, striking, floor-to-ceiling marble panels in the lobby, panels on the facade, and aluminum windows throughout.

I had no idea about the history the first time I toured one of the penthouses at 511 N. Akard. One of the original owners, Andrew Foster, was getting ready to put his unit on the market. He took time to explain to me how the building was redeveloped by CitySquare into CityWalk@Akard.

12 - Interior Studio Apartment

CityWalk@Akard features 200 affordable housing units for the formerly homeless.

It’s a mixed-use building, and one of the primary uses is 200 apartments functioning as permanent supportive housing for the formerly homeless. The first three stories are office and commercial, housing CitySquare’s support services for CityWalk@Akard’s tenants as well as offices for UNT Dallas, and on top of the building are six penthouse units with unique, two-story floorplans.

According to John Greenan, executive director of Central Dallas Community Development Corporation, the project was essentially a gut rehab for floors four through 15. Main contractors included Key Construction, Central Dallas CDC, Brent A. Brown Associates, and WKMC Architects.

For tomorrow’s tour (You have your tickets, right? If not, go ahead and buy them here.) four of the six top-floor penthouse units will be open, including two owned by Greenan and his wife. the third floor common areas, including the open-air deck, will be open, too.

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05/19/16 6:28pm
Looking for more green acres and less barn drama? This home in Bluebonnet Ridge could be just the solution.

Looking for more green acres and less barn drama? This home in Bluebonnet Ridge could be just the solution.

“For better or worse, current boarding barn arrangements are often front-and-center on the list of concerns brought to me by virgin horse property buyers,” says Farm and Ranch columnist Kathryn Roan. “Moving to horse property represents freedom — freedom to feed your horses whatever you’d like, turn them out whenever you’d like, provide as many shavings in their stalls as you want, feed any supplement you want … The list goes on.”

But when choosing to leave “barn drama” behind, sometimes horse owners are worried about the tradeoffs, about being lonely, about having people to ride with.

Could equestrian subdivisions be the answer? See Roan’s latest column on SecondShelters.com.

 

05/19/16 10:30am
Parkland Hospital-Historic

Parkland Hospital’s main building was constructed in 1913, but was left to fallow for several years until Crow Holdings purchased the campus in 2006.

Ahead of this Saturday’s Preservation Dallas Architectural Tour, I’m counting down the days, featuring my favorites as we get closer to the event. Yesterday I chatted about the Parks Estate, an iconic East Dallas building that was carefully restored after it was converted to a YMCA in 1957. Today we look at Parkland Hospital and Nurses Quarters.

If you want to see some incredible historic architecture this weekend, go and buy your tickets to the Preservation Dallas Spring Architectural Tour today. Tickets are $35 for Preservation Dallas members and $50 for non-members.

Me? I got a personal tour with some communications and facilities staff last week, walking the route you’ll be tracing if you’re smart and buy a ticket to the tour. Now, I moved to Dallas in 2005, just ahead of Crow Holdings’ purchase of the Parkland Hospital campus. I really had no personal or historical context of the estate, just that it was really old and used to be the county hospital.

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05/18/16 12:20am

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As we’ve been telling you, May is Preservation Month. And while there have been just skads of events on the calendar, the one you absolutely should not miss is the May 21 Preservation Dallas Architectural Tour featuring some of the literal “best of” Preservation Achievement Award winners.

This year, I was afforded the opportunity to play a small role in putting together this tour, which will include some of the incredible success stories in Dallas historic preservation. Tour stops include the Parks Estate (pictured above), the Relief and Annuity Building (511 N. Akard), 203 N. Willomet, Parkland Hospital and Nurses Quarters, and Continental Lofts.

For the tour, I was asked to write the verbiage describing each stop (now you know where to send your complaints). It was a treat for me, as I got an advance, personal tour of each featured stop. I got a chance to have the nooks and crannies, the character and details, all pointed out to me by the people who know these buildings best.

Of course, I have my favorites, and I have to say that the Parks Estate is one of those stories that will make you beam with preservationist pride. I could not be more grateful to the homeowner, Mark Rogers, for opening his home to me and to all of you lucky folks who bought tickets to the tour. Wait … you don’t have a ticket yet? You’ll want to get on that now.

Jump with me to find out more about this cool home that you can see in person on Saturday.

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05/17/16 10:24pm

Katherine Seale

One of Dallas’ great advocates for historic preservation is slated to speak at the fifth annual Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society(PCHPS) Distinguished Speaker Luncheon on Thursday, May 19. Katherine Seale, an architectural historian and preservationist in Dallas who was executive director of Preservation Dallas from 2007 until 2011, currently serves as Mayor Mike Rawlings’ appointee and chair of the Dallas Landmarks Commission.

Katherine Seale

Katherine Seale

Seale will host a talk on Historic Preservation in the Context of Change on Thursday, May 19. Registration is at 11:15 a.m. and the luncheon is from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Dallas Country Club, 4155 Mockingbird Ln. Seats are still available, and you can purchase them online here.

The Distinguished Speaker Luncheon is one of two fundraisers each year for PCHPS. The proceeds are allocated for scholarships and to help further their mission to promote, protect and preserve the historic, architectural, cultural, and aesthetic legacy of the Park Cities.