6015 Bryan Parkway

This beautiful historic home at 6015 Bryan Pkwy. just hit the market. It’s located inside the Old East Dallas neighborhood of Munger Place.

Even being a long-time Dallas resident, you might not be familiar with the official lines of Old East Dallas, unless perhaps looking at homes in the area. Looking at the neighborhood’s past is like a fascinating history lesson! Four adjacent, amazing historic neighborhoods are all part of Old East DallasSwiss Avenue Historic District, Peak’s Suburban Addition, Munger Place, and Junius Heights.

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The Natural Grocers at Casa Linda Plaza was once home to a three-screen theater, one of the first to be integrated into a shopping center back in 1945. It closed in 1999, much to the chagrin of the neighborhood. 

East Dallas keeps on truckin’ up the list of the most popular parts of the city, and its neighborhood Casa Linda is no different. If you haven’t been around this little area of the land for awhile, you may be surprised at the growth and increasing coolness.

Fairly recently, the Casa Linda area has acquired new bars, restaurants, and shops. Goodfriend Package (an extension of the big guys across the street), 20 Feet Seafood Joint, Steel City Pops, and Savor Patisserie (for macaroons) are among the newbies.   (more…)

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It’s not over, but once again a neighborhood is squawking about the same things we hear so often with re-zoning and new development I should really create and market a NIMBY PACKET:

Logo: Name of development with a red line slashed through it. Put on yard signs and plant them in every yard all over North Dallas. Create buttons to wear on baseball caps, lapels, etc.

Premium package: bumper stickers.

Methodology: mass quantities of email communication, calls to local bloggers and reporters (good luck there!), call City Councilwoman every day, fill busses to plan committee and City Council hearings. Take friends to all meetings (offer to drive them) and stay for at least 1 hour, loud applause, louder boos.

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Zip Code 75235

West Love: Inwood, Harry Hines and Denton Drive

Let’s get our noses out of house porn for a minute to wander through an up and coming neighborhood. DCAD calls it Lovedale 2 (or unappetizingly Slaughters Brookdale), but as far as I know, it has no fancy name to woo buyers to its hipness. It’s pre-hip. If other hip locales cool, maybe this area becomes a hip replacement (boooo, bad pun, bad Jon).

I’ll call it West Love Field or West Love … hmmm, I like that … West Love … and homes are selling FAST! In the hours it took to write this, two of the properties featured below went under contract.

East of Love Field has been in full-on gentrification mode for a while now, only pausing for the recession (as did we all), but West Love hasn’t really gotten any lovin’. It’s loosely bounded by Denton Drive, Harry Hines and Inwood. There are plenty of warehouses on Denton Drive, but there are also a lot of smaller cute starter homes that are a hop from downtown, UTSW and the monkeyshines of the Gayborhood … oh, and Love Field. Perfect for medical folks or air mattresses, trolley dollies in-flight personnel.

Speaking of the airport … I said, SPEAKING OF THE AIRPORT … Oaklawnians have lived cheek by jowl with Love Field since the beginning (well, since 1917 when it opened as an army pilot training facility). The “Oaklawn Pause” is what happens when a plane flies over during a conversation; it pauses. Homes east and west of Love Field are somewhat better off. Planes take-off and land from the north-south, meaning these east and west areas are not being directly flown over – but what a cool place for a roof deck.

For many years when homes hit the market, they were in somewhat calamitous condition. That’s changing, but things are still wonderfully affordable here and sure to rise. How wonderfully affordable? Try $125,000 to $135,000 for 1,100 to 2,031 square feet, many on pretty sizeable lots 50-foot lots!

Here’s a smattering of what’s available and going gone fast.

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West End 1

Community activism seems to be in full swing everywhere despite the heat.  Jason Roberts is in New York City, taking part in The New York Times’ Cities For Tomorrow Conference, rubbing shoulders with Julián Castro (secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development), William J. Bratton (New York City’s police commissioner), Muriel Bowser (mayor of Washington, D.C.), and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Fox among other VIPs. Roberts is the community activist who ignored city zoning to introduce his “The Better Block Project” — or, as he describes it, “a ‘living block’ art installation” to parts of “light industrial” Oak Cliff. His point was to prove it’s possible to turn an area zoned “light industrial” into something that’s actually livable and walkable. (more…)

Courtesy Kirwan Institute This 1937 Home Owners' Loan Corp. map of Dallas (laid over a current map for reference) shows who could get a loan, and who couldn't.

Courtesy Kirwan Institute
This 1937 Home Owners’ Loan Corp. map of Dallas shows who could get a loan, and who couldn’t.

If the lending practices of the 1940s were still in place, would you have been able to get the mortgage you currently have? In some neighborhoods in Dallas, you’d be fairly confident in saying yes. But in others, the answer might surprise you.

A week ago, I was able to attend a workshop hosted by Children’s Medical Center and Ohio State’s Kirwan Institute about (in part) lending practices in the post-Depression era. Many of these practices openly continued until 1968, when they were forbidden by law. But they continue to shape and affect some neighborhoods even today.

But first, some history on home ownership prior to the Depression. Prior to the FDR era, home finance was not the standard 80/20 30-year mortgage we are all familiar with. Home ownership tended to be for the wealthy, or those who could afford variable rates, very high down payments and short terms. Many renegotiated their mortgage every year. Many also were faced with a large balloon payment at the end of the loan.

Partly in a bid to create steady work for construction sector and partly to address pressure placed on the housing market by banks reselling foreclosures (nearly 10 percent of all homes were in foreclosure at the height of the Depression and around 250,000 homes per year were foreclosed upon between 1931 and 1935), the federal government stepped in to modify the business of financing a home.

One of the results of that intervention was the Home Owners Refinancing Act of 1933, which created the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation, or HOLC. The HOLC raised funds through government-backed bonds, purchased the defaulted mortgages and then reinstated them. The agency also changed the terms for mortgages entirely, creating the mortgage as we know it now – fully amortized mortgages that were fixed rate and long term. (more…)

two coyotes

These are the coyotes I have seen numerous times across the street, usually upon my arrival home in our Hillcrest Estates/Preston Hollow-ish neighborhood. My neighbor snapped these pics just last week. According to what wildlife experts are telling her, they may be responsible for the killing of a 25 lb dog in our neighborhood — NOT the big bobcat another neighbor tracked.

My story on the bobcat sighting brought a KXAS-TV crew out today to check out the wildlife and contacted a wildlife expert for advice on our concerns. The expert, Bonnie Bradshaw of Wildlife 911, says Bobcats are not usually dog or cat killers — squirrels, rats and rabbits, yes; dogs and kitties, no.

Stealth Coyote
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Bobcat Ricks

Preston Hollow is home to George W. and Laura Bush, Tom Hicks, Lisa Blue, Mark Cuban, T. Boone Pickens, Tom Leppert, and a host of the city’s wealthiest citizens. More if you count in Strait Lane — Ross Perot! Mike Rawlings! –which I’m not sure is really true Preston Hollow. Of course, the name has been geographically expanded But look what else you find here — the wild life, literally. Get used to wild life in the creeks, bamboo, and even in your own back yard. This Bobcat was caught by a neighbor on his phone camera just a few homes away from our’s here on Ricks Circle. In the last few weeks we have lost at least one 25lb dog, several cats, all to a predator most of us assumed was a coyote. I saw a pack of them across the street not too long ago.

But this, this is a is a big cat!

At first we thought he was carrying a rabbit, but my son pointed out rabbits don’t have tails.

And we are pretty sure this is a bobcat — look at the bobbed tail:

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Bobcats usually eat rabbits, squirrels and rodents. That’s why we thought our friend was carrying off a bunny… my neighbor’s dog was 25 lbs and we hear a dog on Kenny Lane was mangled but survived.

I know this is their land and all that, but we are watching our dogs carefully when they go out at night. Very carefully.

Anyhow, this got me to thinking: what other neighborhoods in Dallas have wild life like this Bobcat? Park Cities? The Design District (I’ve seen wild dogs down there). Preston Trails? Lakewood? Oak Cliff? Lochwood and Lake Highlands?