Alex Gavin Yale

I don’t know about you, but when I have to make a pretty vital decision, I try to get as many opinions as possible. As many educated opinions from people far smarter than I. Maybe we need to do this on the Trinity Parkway/Tollway/Parkway?

Thursday night in New York City (where I am attending Inman Connect NYC), I attended a lecture by Alexander Garvin, a noted American urban planner, educator, and author. He has a private architectural practice at Alexander Garvin & Associates in New York City, and is an adjunct professor at the Yale School of Architecture. He also happens to be the man responsible for Atlanta’s greenbelt system. We saw the system in action at NAREE a year and a half ago when the conference was held in Atlanta. Basically, Atlanta had this railroad track running almost a circle around the city, and it was Garvin who suggested turning it into a connected greenbelt. When I told him how we had toured the Ponce City Market (an old Sears Roebuck warehouse turned multi-use foodie nirvana), he was charmed. I told him how I saw joggers utilizing those trails and how they were inspiring private development real estate projects. He, in turn, told me that his book, The Planning Game: Lessons From Great Cities, has a picture of our own Katy Trail in Dallas, which he admires. That too, I told him, is stimulating development.

planning game (more…)

Dense apartments

141% since 2000? This according to a study by UCLA researchers, who say it is the highest price increase in the nation.

Without adjusting for inflation, other cities to see jumps are Washington, D.C. at 105 percent, San Diego at 101 percent, San Francisco at 89 percent, New York City at 73 percent, Seattle at 67 percent, and Chicago at 25 percent. Dallas barely squeaked onto the list at 39%, but at least we nudged out other Texas cities. Plus all these cities built more housing units than Los Angeles did during this time frame. (more…)

BA Norrgard is taking her tiny house on tour, but the Dallas native is hoping living small will catch on in her hometown.

BA Norrgard is taking her tiny house on tour, but the Dallas native is hoping living small will catch on in her hometown.

We’ve been following BA Norrgard and her quest to live small — tiny even! — in a hand-built home after divesting herself of her mortgage and working to help people simplify, simplify, simplify. And as much as I love her mission, I have to wonder if Norrgard’s work is ever going to pay off. Can the people of Dallas, a place whose very motto is “Big Things Happen Here,” live small?

Perhaps the real question is this: Can we appreciate time outside, putting more emphasis on experience and less on material things? That’s what Katie Arnold asked in her essay for Outside magazine:


Uptown Then and Now

For the longest time, the story of how Uptown came to be successful centered around greedy developers wanting to build towers and condos for only those who could afford it. But Patrick Kennedy of “Car Free in Big D” paints a much more nuanced picture of how Dallas’ most walkable neighborhood came about.

Jump for an excerpt.


1717 One Arts LRWell I failed to tell you when Angie Barrett sold her 3200 ish square foot penthouse condo at One Arts Plaza last December 13. (Spank me!) The condo, which was beautifully decked out in a stunning contemporary style by Droese and Raney Architecture Inc. was listed for $2,575,000. It had been on the market for a bit. The place was and still is just a palace in the sky: Edelman-leather walls, Tully Weis, Muse Integration, Poliform, Miele and Sub-Zero throughout, there is also 673 square feet of terrace to enjoy, custom cabinetry and motorized window treatments.

The master suite is enormous: 18 by 14 with a study, custom closets ( OF COURSE!), a bathroom with a contemporary vessel tub and shower fed by ceiling-mounted spouts and multiple showerheads.

Joan Crawford, eat your heart out on this one. (more…)

The apartments at Sylvan|Thirty are some of the 1,300 projected units that will be built in West Dallas.

The apartments at Sylvan|Thirty are some of the 1,300 projected units that will be built in West Dallas.

Steve Brown’s dissection of the new apartment projects in West Dallas says that this area with incredible views of downtown and the Calatrava bridge will become the next big industrial-to-residential transition in Dallas. But what impact will these 1,300 brand new apartments have on the existing infrastructure? And will this redevelopment become a model for other areas?



You know those “NO” signs all over Preston Hollow? Maybe you’ll start seeing them out as far as Central Expressway and as far west as Webb’s Chapel. Laura Miller and Mitchell Rasansky, both former Dallas City Council persons, Rasansky 6 years on the Council, Laura Miller 4 plus a Mayoral term, now think folks who live along Northwest Highway ought to have a say. They contacted City Councilman Lee Kleinman, District 11, who is pitch-hitting for Jennifer Gates, District 13, who recused herself because of a conflict of interest,  to tell him he needs to expand the group scrutinizing the proposed Transwestern multi-family development at Preston and Northwest Highway to other neighborhood associations from Central Expressway to Stemmons. (Taking a breath, that sentence was about as long as Northwest Highway.) The following letter sent to Kleinman was also signed by John Carona, Steve Wolens, Will Hartnett, and Mike Cantrell. Miller apparently proposed a 600 people strong meeting to cover the entire Northwest Highway area and development. They want total community input on a master plan for the little strip of land Behind the Pink Wall. And they would like Kleinman to be there to listen. I spoke with Lee Kleinman. Stay tuned.

Letter from Councilman Lee Kleinmann


Meet Garrett Bass, one of the newest, hardest-working members of the Ben Jones group, who — I hope you have a drink in your hand — sold $3 plus million dollars worth of real estate last year and is all of 23 years old. Toast! He is a Texas state champion Trombone player, no kidding! That’s right, he’s a baby with great skin, an adorable face, dimples AND a great real estate brain. Oh my, it must have been his mom’s super duper pre-natal vitamins.

Garrett took a break from a busy day to answer a few questions for us to be our featured Realtors, sponsored by Jeff Lindigrin of Great Western Home Loans. Of course, every sale should have a lender that works just as hard to get a great deal as their Realtor. What has your lender done for you lately? Find out what you’re missing by contacting Jeff Lindigrin with Great Western Home Loans today.

Read more about Garrett after the jump! Inquiring minds want to know: Where are you from?

Garrett Bass: Carrollton, home of the original Babe’s Chicken!

CD: Love that place? How did you get into real estate?

GB: I have wanted to work in real estate since I was 15. I worked as an underwriter for Bank of America.

CD:  So a mortgage background. Nice. You specialize in…

GB: Everything. The first home I sold was $1,250,000 right off the phone.

CD: First home sold is over a million? Wow, you don’t mess around, do you? Tell us: What are some unique challenges that Realtors face in this market?

GB: The market is so hot, bidding wars, it’s such a fast market you have to be on top of everything to get your client into a home quickly!

CD: Where is home for you in Dallas?

GB: Uptown, I live across from the West Village condos.

CD: You lease?

GB: Yes, right now I lease because I move around so much.

CD: And you drive a … let me guess, Range Rover?

GB: Infinity Q50

CD: What’s your favorite ‘hood in Dallas and why?

GB: Park Cities and Highland Park, Lakewood. I love historical, 1920-style homes. I do love contemporary, too, but kind of a classic guy here.

CD: What was your best/highest sale?

GB: My very first sale — $1,250,000.

CD: Likewise, what was your most challenging or memorable transaction?

GB: Selling my parents’ home. We had four offers in two days, it was nuts. My mother was excited, upset, crying, happy, I told her it would all be OK, Mom.

CD: How quickly have you ever turned a house?

GB: Two days

CD: How much did you sell last year?

GB: Three plus million (oh how I like the sound of that!)

CD: What words of wisdom do you often share with clients?

GB: Selling your home is a process, an important and serious process, but I will make it as enjoyable and smooth as possible. Also you need a lot of patience. One of my sales, the lender pulled that night before closing surprise with “we cannot fund this loan.” I didn’t panic, I called Ben and we found a private lender. We postponed closing a week, but we got her done. Easy.

CD: If you ever change careers for an encore you’ll…

GB: I have been in this career for a year and I love it!

CD: Do you have a second home? If so, where?

GB: Not yet, but when I do it will be London and it will be a smart home loaded with technology. As much as I love history and everything old, I am all about high tech. But I will live in London one day, love the history.

CD: Just don’t go over by sea…

GB: Ha! That is my other passion: I am a Titanic historian.

CD: Really? How many people died on the Titanic?

GB: 1,500. Ask me anything about Molly Brown…