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Mosaic Family Services is opening a new, larger facility that will require some security upgrades for their clients escaping violent situations.

Thank goodness for organizations like Mosaic Family Services. This nonprofit, which runs Mosaic House, helps people escape challenging and abusive situations, victims of human trafficking and exploitation, and refugees. The organization just moved to a new facility, and thanks to volunteers and generous donations, has been able to provide a beautiful, calm, and safe place for their clients to land.

“The demand for our services is increasing every day. We’re the only shelter in Texas that provides help in more than two dozen languages to multicultural victims. These are people who across the country have been discriminated against and denied access to safe shelter because of language or immigration barriers,” said Mirjana Omeragic, Multicultural Family Violence Program Director at Mosaic Family Services, “but we believe that freedom from violence is a human right.”

When the new Mosaic House opens, not only will the caseworkers be able to serve more than 400 women and children each ear — a large increase from its previous capacity — but it will do so in a more welcoming space, thanks to the help of more than 500 volunteers from United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, Sabre, Altrusa International of Dallas, Bank of Texas, and many more than have helped with painting, cosmetic repairs, and decorating the facility’s nine bedrooms. Designers have supplied linens and housewares to make the rooms and common areas comfortable and cozy.

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3705 Haynie Front

Looking for a place with personality that can easily showcase a diverse collection? You should consider 3705 Haynie in University Park. This four-bedroom, four full and one half-bath home is full of windows and skylights, making the entire home a more than inspiring vessel for your antiques and art.

3705 Haynie Formal

It’s listed by Ebby Halliday Realtor Ashley McRae-Ross for $1.295 million, a fitting price considering this home’s ample size at 3,943 square feet. A soft contemporary built in 1979 and updated for today’s modern family, you’ll love the details and personal touches that make this home a wonderful and imaginative substitute for your bland, everyday McMansion.

3705 Haynie Living

This is a wonderful home for a family, considering how close it is to University Park’s Goar Park and of course, Highland Park ISD schools. This home feeds into Armstrong Elementary, a fabulous campus with a wonderful parent group in the Armstrong Bradfield Preschool Association.

If you’re security oriented, you’ll love this house’s proximity to the University Park Fire Department and University Park Police station. Of course, it’s adjacent to the town hall, which does draw a bit of a crowd during city council meetings, so you can expect some congestion every other week, but not enough to detract from this amazing property.

3705 Haynie Kitchen

I am absolutely over the moon with this home’s kitchen, which is open to the breakfast area and family room, has tons of storage, upgraded stainless steel appliances, and the most beautiful shade of green lacquer on the cabinets. You’ll adore the unique fireplace that is open on three sides, which will definitely heat this area come another icepocalypse or similarly tragic storm that knocks out power regardless of zip code.

3705 Haynie Master 3705 Haynie Master Bath

Now, you’ll probably consider the master bath a bit polarizing, and it could use a few updates. I do like the peninsula-style double vanity, but I would like it even more if there were mirrors separating the two sides instead of making me put my glasses on to see my reflection across the room. Still, it has steam and plenty of room to avoid anyone who happens to cross your path in the morning (just ask my husband how important that is!). Still, the closets are huge and there’s tons of stone. Good assets for any bathroom.

3705 Haynie Master

But what really makes me swoon is the gobs and gobs of windows, which, along with the soaring ceilings, gives this home a feeling of lightness and airiness that you swear this home just might float away. Buy it before it floats away with someone else!

 

 

Plaza Retail Looking East Along State Street

Less than a decade ago, “transit-oriented development” was a buzzword you couldn’t escape. It was heralded by DART Rail boosters as a way to make mass transit and greater urban density more palatable and accessible. Since then we haven’t seen much in the way of successful transit-oriented development, as even Mockingbird Station — the project that was touted as a model for such building concepts — has had ups and downs.

But with more people moving to Dallas, and many of them coming from areas where mass transit is a way of life, not just a talking point, transit-oriented development is resurfacing, too.

In fact, a completely new development slated for a 186-acre tract adjacent to the Bush Turnpike DART Rail station and straddling Plano Road. Developer KDC has dubbed the project “CityLine” as it sits between both Richardson and Plano.

State Farm has already signed on to lease 1.5 million square feet inside its three office towers, which will total 2.3 million square feet in the project’s initial phase. There will be 92,000 square feet of retail as well as 3,925 multi-family housing units.

According to Walkable DFW’s Patrick Kennedy, the success of this development is as yet unclear, especially considering that this project “has changed hands several times already,” he said via Twitter. The big winner, according to him, will be downtown Plano.

You can read the buzzword-laden press release in full below. Do you think that this project is the kind of “new urbanism” that will make suburbs more sustainable?

KDC ANNOUNCES PROJECT NAME AND PLANS FOR INITIAL PHASE OF 186- ACRE TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT IN RICHARDSON, TEXAS 

Newly named “CityLine” development to feature hotel, retail, multi-family, fitness,

medical and office space 

RICHARDSON, Texas – (October 24, 2013)  – Developer KDC today announced plans for the initial phase of its transit-oriented development located on 186 acres in Richardson, Texas.  The company also announced the name of the development: CityLine. 

“The name CityLine was a natural choice as the development is on the border of two great cities: Richardson and Plano,” said KDC’s Walt Mountford.  “It’s adjacent to DART’s existing light rail station and is also surrounded by key highways and two major thoroughfares.  CityLine will be an instant city with a true urban environment.”

The $600 million, 2.3 million-square-foot initial phase of CityLine is slated for completion in early 2015.  It includes KDC’s property west of Plano Road and adjacent to the DART light rail station.  Project specifics include dense urban restaurant, retail and entertainment space; a contemporary 150-room select service hotel; 520 new urbanism multi-family residential units; an 18,000-square-foot wellness and fitness facility; a 41,000-square-foot medical office building; and a 3.5-acre park with trails, all woven within the recently announced 1.5 million square feet of office towers leased by State Farm. 

“CityLine has been a team sport, and KDC has been fortunate to work with great designers and development partners to create an outstanding place for the community,” said Steve Van Amburgh, KDC’s CEO.  “I can’t think of another development that, upon opening, will completely integrate over 1.5 million square feet of office with retail, restaurant, entertainment, multi-family, medical, fitness, and hospitality uses into an exciting experience for all who live in DFW.”

The focal point of the initial phase will be CityLine Plaza, a centrally located urban plaza designed by Office of James Burnett (OJB), the landscape architect of Dallas’ signature Klyde Warren Park.  Framing CityLine Plaza, fronting Plano Road, and located along State Street will be more than 92,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space.  KDC has selected Dallas-based Retail Street Advisors to start pre-leasing and marketing.

“KDC and its design team have created a truly compelling urban environment that will attract a dynamic mix of dining and entertainment options,” said Aaron Stephenson of Retail Street Advisors.  “State Street and CityLine Plaza are oriented and scaled specifically for pedestrians to encourage sidewalk and patio activity and to promote community interaction and gathering throughout the day.”

Buildings that incorporate several uses are central to the CityLine master plan. Restaurant, retail and entertainment spaces are integrated into the base of the office towers, the multi-family residential, and the hotel, allowing CityLine Plaza and both sides of State Street to be surrounded by activity.  The master plan also focuses on creating a walkable, pedestrian-friendly environment, while providing easy access for vehicles and ample parking in the 7,700 spaces within CityLine parking garages.

In July, KDC broke ground on the project and announced State Farm will lease 1.5 million square feet in three office towers. The Class A office buildings consist of a 13-story tower, 15-story tower and 21-story tower.  Each tower is situated on a five-level parking structure along with ground floor retail space.

KDC acquired the land for the Richardson master-planned project in December 2012.  The project, adjacent to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s (DART) Bush Turnpike Station on its Red Line, will be a transit-oriented development on the east and west sides of Plano Road. The east side includes the 147.5 acres of land on the north side of Renner Road, between Plano Road and Wyndham Lane.  The west side includes 38.5 acres of land south of President George Bush Turnpike between Plano Road and the DART light rail tracks.  

At full build-out, the $1.5 billion CityLine project will contain approximately six million square feet of office space, two hotels, 3,925 multi-family residential units, 300,000 square feet of grocery, restaurant, entertainment and retail space, and three parks.

Corgan is the State Farm office architect and Omniplan is the CityLine retail architect and master planner.  Kimley-Horn is the civil engineer and OJB is the landscape architect.

PV14 Exterior

We’re still waiting for that interview with the homeowners, but until then, we’d like to show you the progress on the Peavy Road home we talked about a few months ago.

We heard rumors from neighbors inside the Old Lake Highlands Neighborhood Association that there was a home planned for Peavy Road that would be made from several shipping containers. Well, after watching construction and hearing from baffled onlookers, we can confirm — this modern house overlooking White Rock Lake will stand out.

PV14 Crane Lift PV14 Placing Containers

Constructed out of seven 40-foot shipping containers stacked on a steel base, this home is not shy design wise. The crew from Michael Gooden Design and Herman Darden Custom Homes are welding the containers together and using a plasma cutter (you can watch it work in a video on the website) to construct the second floor. It’s starting to take shape, too. My favorite feature of the home? The rooftop deck. Imagine the view from there!

PV14 Site Plan

You can follow the saga of the PV14 house as it’s called on the website, but we hope to hear the story behind the design and its future residents soon.

Grandwick 3 JoEngland

You already know that Grandwick, the former Dallas headquarters of the Church of Scientology, was reduced to ashes by a three-alarm fire Thursday. The owner, David D. Anderson, said that he was unable to obtain insurance on the property because it was vacant.

It would seem like this is a tragic, singular occurrence, but the truth is that Anderson owns several homes throughout east and southern Dallas, and many of them are vacant, overgrown, and generally eyesores.

In total, Anderson, who also owns two music stores in the area, has 23 residential properties in Dallas County according to records pulled from the Dallas County Appraisal District website. Of those 23 properties, four are rated “Unsound,” seven are rated “Poor,” and seven are rated “Fair.” Only five are rated either “Average” or “Good.” Grandwick, which is considered a commercial property, is not rated using the same system.

David Anderson East Dallas Properties

According to an official with DCAD, a property that is rated “Poor” often has more than a few code violations, the most common of which is peeling paint, overgrown landscaping, broken windows, as well as some structural issues. An “Unsound” property is often considered unfit for occupation, with serious structural issues, boarded up windows, along with a significant number of code violations.

Grandwick 2 JoEngland

A firefighter whose station responded to the blaze at Grandwick said that while they are unsure what caused the blaze that reduced the stucco-clad 1950s Spanish estate to a pile of rubble, Anderson told firefighters he suspects students from nearby Gaston Middle School. It’s a popular theory, especially considering the number of nearby residents who complain of vandalism and graffiti, as well as the previous 911 calls to Grandwick after break-ins.

So, if a property is sitting vacant and is a magnet for vandals, why not sell it to someone who could put the time and money into refurbishing it? It’s a good question, especially since vacant properties are many times more likely to be broken into and suffer catastrophic damage.

A neighbor to one of Anderson’s East Dallas homes in Forest Hills said that he visits his property at 8310 Forest Hills Blvd. regularly, but doesn’t live there. According to DCAD, this is the home Anderson uses as his primary address. The neighbor, who declined to be identified, didn’t think Anderson was acquiring all these properties just to let them rot, though. Instead, she said Anderson was amassing an estate for his daughter to inherit.

8310 Forest Hills 3 JoEngland8310 Forest Hills Blvd. is rated in “Poor” condition.

It kind of makes sense, but wouldn’t his daughter benefit more from property that is properly maintained? For example, 8310 Forest Hills Blvd. is rated in “Poor” condition by DCAD. On the flip side, Anderson bought his daughter Belle Nora at 8254 Garland Road, just a few blocks from his Forest Hills Boulevard home, for her 16th birthday. Since then, though, it’s sat empty save for Christmas dinner last year.

After reports from passers by and Forest Hills residents that the property wasn’t being maintained, we asked Realtor Vicki White if she had heard anything adverse about Belle Nora. In a Jan. 28 email, White said that while Anderson wanted to move into the stately mansion overlooking White Rock Lake, he couldn’t move his parents there, who are in poor health.

“He does own several houses, and some of them are in disrepair,” White added. “I don’t think that’s the case with Belle Nora.”

However, since that date, much of the property has become overgrown, and the wrought-iron fence facing White Rock Lake has been held together with some nylon rope for months, rusting without repair. It is rated in “Average” condition by DCAD.

Belle Nora Fence

Is it a pattern of neglect, or is it a property owner spread too thin? As Anderson’s Forest Hills neighbor claims, he’s spending much of his time with his ailing parents, and only visits other homes. She called the fire at Grandwick “a tragedy,” too.

But for some people who have visited his Garland Road music store, they say it’s a pattern of disorganized neglect. Patrons and East Dallas residents have likened the store to a hoarder’s home, with stacks and piles of equipment and very little concern for the structure or contents.

We tried to contact Anderson for this story, but our calls were not returned before deadline. Our attempts to contact Anderson at two different nearby Zoo Music locations were not returned. 

1608 Crest Ridge JoEnglandThe home at 1608 Crest Ridge is considered “Unsound” by DCAD.

 

David Griffin for sale

(Photo: David Woo/The Dallas Morning News)

Rarely do you see both home prices and rents grow in the same market where, as we reported earlier this week, net migration is in the red. And yet that’s what Local Market Monitor is projecting for Dallas-Irving-Plano area over the next 12 months.

That’s partially due to unemployment rates dropping and a strong financial and service job market in the Dallas area. Local Market Monitor projections show 9 percent growth in housing prices over the next 12 months and 12 percent growth over the next three years. And demand for housing, both buying and renting, will grow thanks to overall population growth that is outpacing the national average.

For these reasons, Local Market Monitor is categorizing the Dallas-Plano-Irving area as “Low Risk” for investors, which is good news for international real estate investors, a growing market in DFW.

Boots on the ground reports from Realtors still show sales as somewhat brisk, but according to RedFin reports, the fall season is showing its traditional slowdown from a hot sellers market to a better buyers market.

“At the end of this summer, you could smell the rubber on the road from buyers hitting the breaks,” said Redfin San Diego agent Sara Fischer. “The cutthroat competition and frenzied demand has relaxed considerably.”

So with prices reaching equilibrium and short inventory, those homebuyers who were waiting for the right time to find their dream home will be happy to hear that today’s the day.

For Rent Scam

As more homes hit the market, more rental scams hit CraigsList and other free classified sites, asking for deposits and fees before a potential tenant has seen a contract, or the property for that matter. Scammers are finding plenty of material on home searching sites that they then hijack for their own purposes, which makes this a truly difficult situation for both renters and Realtors.

We asked veteran Realtor, broker and founder of LocalDwelling.com, Colin Lardner, if he had any tips or tricks to help avoid scammers who might poach a listing or photos to bilk an unwitting renter.

“Keep a close tab on the syndicate sites (Trulia, Zillow, etc.) and inform them immediately when you see something wrong,” Lardner offered. “We have also contacted the FBI when we see a poached listing.”

On the flipside, Lardner says that it’s unlikely a scammer will poach listing information from Craigslist. “We have found that higher quality prospects come from other sources,” Lardner said. Still, tenants should watch out for fake listings as “Craigslist seems to get a fair amount of abuse from scam artists.”

But how do homeowners protect themselves from scammers spreading photos and information on their homes all over the Internet? Well, they don’t have too much to worry about, Lardner said, as prospective renters are more often victims of fraud than sellers or homeowners.

“Scammers are putting themselves out there as the owner and taking rent and deposit money from the prospect,” Lardner said, adding that LocalDwelling.com vets all owners and tenants rigorously, filtering through most scam artists and cons.

So, how do Realtors protect themselves from scams? By using MLS, Lardner said.

“MLS is hard to scam. If Realtors are searching for listings there they should be protected from the type of scams we see from people posing as owners,” Lardner said. “We are always available to the Realtor community to facilitate any property management and leasing issues.”

Have other questions about buying, selling, and leasing? Send us an email at jo@candysdirt.com.

DHA Property MapThere used to be a time when I decried “NIMBYism.” It seemed shallow for some people to object to city developments that would be good for several people just because it would impact a nearby homeowner.

That was before I bought my first home. Now, I’ll admit to having a few NIMBY moments of my own. Why? Because I bought a house, signed a mortgage, and even though I’m not trying to flip it or make money off of it, it’s still an investment I want to keep healthy. That means looking out for my home and my neighborhood.

I no longer see NIMBY as a pejorative. Instead, I see objecting as an step toward compromise and education, and I think that’s what the folks objecting to the expanded Dallas Housing Authority development in Oak Lawn are doing. They’re voicing opposition, and thereby taking a step toward compromise and education.

That’s the vibe I get from Alan Shaffer, a Clay Stapp & Co. agent who specializes in the area. In fact, Shaffer used to live directly across the street from the former DHA development that was razed to make room for the new one.

“I used to live directly across from this project years ago at Kings Quarters and saw first hand how run down the community was, the level of crime in the area (including a number of break ins at our gated community), drug busts nearby and even drug dealers living in our community,” Shaffer said in a letter to the zoning board. “I think enlarging this community and making it even more dense would be detrimental to the surrounding neighborhoods.”

I asked Shaffer what he thought of a smaller development in the area, one that better fit the scale of the site and neighborhood. Specifically, what kind of development would Shaffer welcome on the site? I was surprised by his response.

“I would like to see it more mixed with some units at market rates and some subsidized. I think then the community would have a better chance of being a good neighbor and would help keep out some of the bad element that can come with these projects,” Shaffer said. “It’s been public housing for years and I know we need it but I’d hate to see them make it so dense and reduce the parking. I don’t think that’s the right recipe for a good neighbor.”

It’s a sensitive subject, one that has commenters on blogs lobbing accusations of racism and classism at one another, but Shaffer poses a nuanced solution that DHA should try to adopt — a more integrated model that puts market-rate apartments next to subsidized housing.

Another issue is maintenance and upkeep, which nearby residents have brought up again and again as not just lax, but negligent. If the city wants to build a housing development that will become a part of the neighborhood, than it needs to adhere to the standards of the neighborhood, says Mike Harper, who, along with many other concerned neighbors, has launched a website.

“When I spoke to the management on the property about my concerns, there was little to no assurance of anything being done as she went on about how she had bigger issues to deal with,” Harper said in an email. “So I personally think that DHA needs to prove themselves to the community with their existing property before they add over 400 more units across the street.”

That doesn’t sound terribly unreasonable, to me. In fact, I think a “good neighbor” agreement, as the Rezoning DHA website puts it, is a great social contract between the new development and surrounding community.

On the flipside (and there is always a flipside), everyone needs to realize that while the 410 proposed units for the site would make this project the most dense public housing development in Dallas, it still doesn’t even come close to evening out the disparity of public housing developments in northern Dallas versus those located in the southern sector.

In the Uptown area, this one project is only one of two DHA projects in one of the most dense areas of the city, with the glut falling to East Dallas, West Dallas, South Dallas, Oak Cliff, and Southeast Dallas. So while it would stand to reason to add more low-income housing to the Uptown/Oak Lawn/Cedar Springs area, they shouldn’t all be in one place, and they shouldn’t eschew the parking and maintenance standards the rest of the area holds.

Attempts to contact Dallas Housing Authority director Mary Ann Russ for this story were not returned.