writing on the Wall

A month has come and gone since the inaugural performance of The Writing on the Wall, an obsession with true life tales for Nicole Stewart and Anton Schlesinger’s Oral Fixation. If you missed the show, you missed a great chance to throw tomatoes at me and get some nice juices all over my horse hair.

But never fear, we have the video right here.

Sit back for a few and hear the hilarious story how,  after putting family first for many years, Candy Evans finally harvested her passion for writing, conquered the world of blogging and social media, and created the first real estate blog in Dallas, CandysDirt.com!

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HalfPriceBooksNorthwestHighway

In this rendering from Cunningham Architects, you can see the 34,000-square-foot REI campus that will open this spring across from the Half Price Books flagship store on Northwest Highway and Shadybrook.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should go ahead and say that my husband works for Half Price Books. But honestly, I’d be a fan of the company regardless. I’ve always been interested in how Pat Anderson grew a company from a 1,000-square-foot laundromat into a national brand, all without relinquishing the used bookstore feel that makes the brand so familiar and cool. And while the company knows how to run a successful chain of paperback-filled, nostalgia-laden stores, is it ready for the world of real estate?

As you may know, Half Price Books is developing the lot opposite of its flagship store at Shadybrook and Northwest Highway. Outdoor retailer REI has already committed to anchoring the development with a 34,000-square-foot store set to open March 3, and there is an additional 13,000 square feet for other retail. Designed by Cunningham Architects, the center will definitely stand out with a cool modern facade.

It’s all in a very unique part of Dallas, Vickery Meadow, which is mostly dense apartment communities roughly bounded by Greenville Avenue on the west, Northwest Highway on the south, Park Lane to the north, and Skillman on the east. It’s a very ethnically diverse area that is sorely lacking quality retail, and is yet over-populated with bodegas, check-cashing stores, and sketchy corner stores.

“Half Price Books has always had a great relationship with Vickery Meadow residents, and we’re excited to help bring more retail options to the area,” said Half Price Books Executive Vice President Kathy Doyle Thomas. “Every Sunday this fall, we hosted the Vickery Meadow Local Market in the parking lot of our Half Price Books Flagship store. Our neighbors, businesses in the area, and the city of Dallas are very excited about our new development.”

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Back in the early 1990s, developers, who were attracted to the Third Ward’s prime location at the southeast corner of downtown Houston, began tearing down the shotgun houses and displacing residents. It was then that Rick Lowe decided to act. Lowe, a contemporary artist, helped purchase and renovate 22 shotgun houses in Houston’s Third Ward for what was supposed to be a temporary, guerrilla-style project. Twenty years later, the structures still shine as a beacon in a neighborhood that has survived institutional racism, unemployment, crime, and neglect.

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NotInMLS_2The day started with a few tweets from Rob Hahn, the founder and managing partner of 7DS Associates, a boutique management consulting firm specializing in corporate strategy, product management, and strategic marketing for real estate and related industries. Gosh, that’s a mouthful. Rob is one of the nation’s loudest voices for change in the real estate industry, whipping the MLS’s of the nation into shape and technology.

“The MLS industry needs focus and strong leadership to turn its attention away from the noise and concentrate on the serious challenges it faces. It needs a plan of action, one that contains some new and perhaps radical (at least by traditional conservative thinking) ideas.  It needs to focus on that plan, execute on that plan, daily – not just once or twice each year at convention time.”

Rob is a Yalie with a law degree. Anyhow, he was tweeting about Dallas this a.m:

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I-345 MeetingDallas is a fascinating place to live right now. Downtown, urbanists are lobbying for the tear-down of a short but squirrely elevated highway they believe is choking urban living, creating a schism of disruption between neighborhoods and sucking up dirt that could be developed as housing units. Go north of the Park Cities to the junction of Preston Hollow and University Park, an entire neighborhood is battling MORE housing units: a proposed luxury, 220 unit apartment complex that would replace dilapidated, tired housing built in the 1950′s. “No” signs can be seen all the way north to Forest Lane, west to Midway Road. Homeowners with ranches valued from $300,000 to $3 million dollar plus estates are so worried about increased traffic, so protective of the peace of their neighborhood, they have hired a seasoned attorney to represent them before the Dallas Plan Commission. Even former mayor Laura Miller is piping in, demanding a new proxy City Councilman to replace the current proxy. East of Central Expressway, investors want to build a restaurant on park land at the northern end of White Rock Lake, just off Mockingbird Road. Though they are just “feeling out” the neighborhood before plowing ahead, most of the feedback has been pretty negative, especially in a neighborhood known for fiercely defending it’s urban lake. Two years ago this ‘hood battled a plan to mow a meadow called Winfrey Point and turn it into a commercial parking lot. Don’t mess with Lakewood. (more…)

Athena exteriorYou know all about the fracas Behind the Pink Wall, the “No” signs all over Preston Hollow. And you know that former Mayor Laura Miller (and former City Councilman Mitchell Rasanksy, both of whom live in Preston Hollow) have asked Jennifer Gates to get another proxy beside City Councilman Lee Kleinman because he isn’t “willing to listen enough” to homeowners who live up and down Northwest Highway who are concerned about increased traffic from this project, homeowners from as far away as Central and Midway Hollow. (more…)

4646 Chapel Hill Lake viewAs I was driving to the Mad hatters luncheon at The Dallas Arboretum last week, I passed by this house and stopped dead in my tracks on West Lawther Drive. In fact, it was the reason why I missed half of Jam Strimple’s fabulous fashion show. Entirely worth it. I was driving in front of 4646 Chapel Hill Road, one of the most beautifully situated homes in Dallas. Set on 1.03 acres, this home fronts on Chapel Hill but overlooks White Rock Lake with clear, 180-degree lake views. (more…)