Source: WalletHub

Today is the International Day of Happiness! Yes, that’s totally a thing. You feel it, right? While it may feel a bit more like summer here, the first day of spring does tend to put a little pep in our step. And to celebrate, we’re sharing with you the results of a national study that ranks one of our fair cities among the happiest in the land. According to WalletHub, that magical place is (drum roll)… Plano!

(Tell that to the folks fighting over the Plano Tomorrow Plan. Ahem.)

In a recent study, Plano, at number 19, is the only Texas city to break the top 20 happiest places to live in 2017. Dallas ranks number 86, which isn’t too shabby, either.

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Plano Tomorrow Plan

Following a year of court battles, the future of the Plano Tomorrow Plan remains unclear after an appellate court ruling last week. The fight centers on the city’s comprehensive, long-range land development plan and unhappy Plano citizens who feel their opinions on the matter went ignored. The plan, they say, describes a city completely unrecognizable to its long-time residents.

“The whole plan is terribly flawed,” said Ed Acklin, when asked about Plano Tomorrow. Acklin is running for Plano City Council Place 4 (Mayor Pro Tem Lissa Smith, whose term comes to an end this year, currently occupies the seat). “The city it describes is not — and never will be — Plano.”

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Collinwood house

All photos courtesy of Plano Magazine. Photos by Jennifer Shertzer.

We recently told you about the precarious situation of the historic Collinwood House. It is the oldest structure still standing in the city of Plano, and it faced demolition to make way for a recreational pavilion in a new park being built by the city.

But after a community-based campaign to save this historically significant house, Plano City Council says it will leave the decision up to voters in the May 2017 bond election.

At last week’s council meeting, they ditched an earlier ultimatum that gave friends of the Collinwood House until Aug. 5 to raise $1.5 million for restoration of the house, and to present a viable preservation plan.

The estimated $3.5 million it will take to restore the Collinwood House will be placed in the future bond election. Council also asked the Plano Heritage Commission to continue their research into the historic significance of the structure, and council agreed to secure the house by building a fence and installing an alarm.

“We were pleased to hear that the council decided to follow the direction recommended by the Heritage Commission, which entailed securing the house, putting the restoration costs on a bond election in 2017, and allowing research into the site and structure to continue,” said Candace Fountoulakis, a board member for Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation. “Council members added to that with their statements about needing confirmation of the facts, staying focused on the Heritage Commission’s role, and refusing to agree to move the house if the bond election passed. We hope to inform Plano’s citizenry about the house so that they will know exactly how valuable the house truly is and what the costs of restoration will be, based on further research.”

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All photos courtesy of Plano Magazine.

All photos courtesy of Plano Magazine. Photos by Jennifer Shertzer.

The Collinwood House is the oldest structure still standing in the city of Plano, and it faces demolition to make way for a structure in a new park.

The 1860’s era house sits on city land being developed for a 124-acre park, which will include hike-and-bike trails, a dog park, and parking spaces. Plano officials are planning to tear down the Collinwood house to build a recreational pavilion.

The only thing that can save the historically significant house at 5400 Windhaven Dr. is if Plano City Council intervenes.

Collinwood House

Original hand hewn timbers and square nails peek out from under the brick skirting added in the 1940s; Concentric tree rings can be seen, accentuated by weathering at the ends of the two timbers.

“The Collinwood House is an extremely significant house due to the fact that it is the oldest house remaining in Plano dating back to the 1860s, still sits on its original site, and is an outstanding example of the rare Gothic Revival style of residential architecture,” said David Preziosi, executive director of Preservation Dallas. “The city of Plano has been progressive in other areas of historic preservation in the city and hope that can extend to saving the irreplaceable Collinwood House—they have a great treasure with the Collinwood House and they need to work to save such an important piece of Texas’ history from being lost.”

Candace Fountoulakis, a board member for Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation, has been very involved in efforts to save this property. There have been multiple calls from the Plano City Council for RFPs, none of which have been accepted.

“The more we learn about it, the more we find out it’s a unique, rare, and special look into that era of Plano’s history and we don’t have anything like that left,” Fountoulakis said. “ It’s a huge learning experience, a picture of early frontier history and when you stand in there and look at it, it’s a visceral experience.”

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Photo courtesy publicdomainpictures.net

Photo courtesy publicdomainpictures.net

I had more than one person message me to ask what I thought of the story about Plano Senior High and the fact that the school does not use the National Honor Society stoles at graduation.  One person in the real estate business even asked me what kind of impact this might have on parents looking for homes – would they want to send their child to a school that seemingly doesn’t recognize hard work and apparently wants things homogenous?

And I’ll admit, after reading this story, I was all ready with my comparisons of Harrison Bergeron.

But then I started poking around. And as with much outrage, there is another part of this story, one that was not mentioned. And since I really would rather be right than first, I actually asked both Plano Senior High and the National Honor Society for some more details.

So here’s the deal. (more…)

Al_Coker_Windrose_Hero_Perspective_Final

Windrose Tower at Legacy West is currently open for pre-sales, but the sales center is slated to open just next month.

No one could be more excited about the new Windrose Tower at Legacy West than us here at CandysDirt.com.

Pre-sales have already launched for the luxurious 24-story high-rise, and the all-new sales center for the ground-breaking building — the only luxury condo development built north of LBJ since the Bonaventure — slated to open next month. The building will offer 85 to 95 condos ranging from 1,300 to 11,000 square feet with sleek, unparalleled finish-out.

The pre-sale campaign has been expertly spearheaded by Al Coker and Fernando Gonzalez of Al Coker & Associates. The marketing and brokerage firm is thrilled to show off vignettes of the property, so that prospective buyers can really picture themselves in the spaces. And the center is conveniently located, too, just across from the future site of Windrose Tower at Headquarters and the Tollway, 7800 N. Dallas Parkway, Suite 156.

The estimated completion date for the residences will be in the fourth quarter of 2018, but if you want to see the units before they’re built, make sure you’re the first person in the door of the sales center. Stay tuned right here to CandysDirt.com for more on Windrose Tower and the incredible, game-changing Legacy West development.

 

Photo: Legacy West

Photo: Legacy West

Scott Felder Homes has been trying to get its $100 million single-family project at Legacy West off the ground since October, but it took Republic Property Group‘s help to get it done. The Dallas-based developer just closed on the 12-acre property that will accommodate 127 new homes ranging from 1,900 to 3,600 square feet, complete with rooftop decks to view the nearby $2 billion mixed-use development that just attracted JPMorgan Chase, Fannie Mae, FedEx, and myriad others.

It’s the latest in a growing list of projects slated for the Plano hub, and it surely won’t be the last. In fact, Legacy West and Plano are so hot they are practically scalding. Who would have thought that, after years of chasing the tails of Frisco, McKinney, and Allen, that Plano would see such a robust rebirth?

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Photo: Karahan Cos.

JPMorgan Chase signed a letter of intent to build at Plano’s Legacy West development, moving 6,000 employees there over the next three years. Photo: Karahan Cos.

It’s been a rumored deal for months now, but now, Plano has another reason to celebrate. JPMorgan Chase has selected an anchor corner in Legacy West to build a $300-million, 1-million-square-foot high-rise campus to house 6,000 relocated employees from around DFW.

JPMorgan Chase signed a letter of intent Thursday to build at Legacy West, Plano’s 240-acre development. Construction is slated to start later this year, Chase spokesman Greg Hassell told Steve Brown at the Dallas Morning News.

The empty lot, located near the Dallas North Tollway and State Highway 121, is next to the new Liberty Mutual Insurance development, a $325-million office campus under construction now.

The letter of intent ends months of searching by Chase to find a location to consolidate some North Texas workers from Farmers Branch, downtown Dallas, Lewisville, Coppell, and other locations into a corporate office complex.

“We expect the first employees to start moving in to the new campus in the second half of 2017—total move-in will last through 2018 and 2019,” Hassell told Brown. “Over time, we expect 6,000 employees to work at the new campus — roughly half of our employee population in the Metroplex. We haven’t figured out where everybody comes from yet. We have people in a number of buildings across the Metroplex.”

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