Suite 200 Living

Are you a self-employed creative? Then live/work space might be right for you says Chase Heckendorn. (Photos: Chase Heckendorn)

By Chase Heckendorn
Special Contributor

The growing culture of self-employed folks, creatives/freelancers and start-up businesses in Dallas has spurred quite a bit of demand for live/work space. Pioneered by some early loft developers in Deep Ellum, we’re now seeing a widespread trend of property owners and developers following in their footsteps. The idea of having an eclectic mix of commercial and residential tenants is appealing to both the tenant and property owner alike.

So what exactly is a live/work space, and why is it so appealing?



As predicted, we are all two-weeks older since the Planning Commission fobbed-off the vote on the proposed Transwestern development at the northeast corner of Preston Road and Northwest Highway. What, if any, votes changed in those two weeks is unknown, but I suspect few. Certainly attendees were not treated to German band Texas Lightening popping out of a cake as I’d hoped.

In those two weeks Transwestern held a meeting largely for angry single-family homeowners upset that the proposal had moved on without them paying attention and seemingly their neighborhood association not informing them. Thankfully I was busy elsewhere that evening. However, I invited Candy over after the fireworks to spill the beans while I plied her with wine.

Also in those two weeks the opposition became a bit more organized and vocal, certainly putting up more of a show at today’s Planning Commission meeting.

And a show it was… hours of tedium and speechifying. It was like church without the wine and crackers.

The same tired rubrics about density, traffic and parking ultimately found no purchase with the Commission. Especially after both the Transwestern-hired traffic engineering representative and the City traffic planning representative spoke. Those arguments were shot, gutted, stuffed and mounted on the rumpus room wall. (more…)

Monaco on The Trail is a fantastic development for those who want a home that feels like a vacation.

Monaco on The Trail is a fantastic development for those who want a home that feels like a vacation.

By Grant Bynum
Special Contributor

Ready to live in a place that you can truly have a staycation every day? Then think about a move to Uptown. So many people are making the move to Uptown Dallas to enjoy the convenient and walkable lifestyle that only Uptown Dallas offers.  And, this year, Uptown Dallas got bigger and better, with the expansion of the West Village and the addition of Whole Foods on McKinney Avenue.  Put that together with the free McKinney Avenue Trolley and hundreds of shops, restaurants and nightlife.  This gives you an amazing lifestyle to help achieve that “work/life” balance we all need.

Uptown has a huge amount of choices for renting! Let’s explore just a few of the choices you might want to consider.


Photos: Jo England

Photos: Jo England

I just chatted with Denise Edmondson, sales director at the Shelby Residences. This building, which wraps around the Twisted Root Burger Company on SMU Boulevard, is a rare bird in Dallas — it’s an apartment building that, in our hot rental market, is converting to condos.

“We did a lot of market analysis,” Edmondson said. What the developer, the Marquis Group, noticed was the severe lack of ownership opportunities in the University Crossing District. It’s a desirable neighborhood for Millennials, recent college graduates, and young professionals or graduate students thanks to its proximity to mass transit, walkability, and nearby grocery and restaurant options. “In this location, there’s nothing for less than $400,000.”

That may seem too steep for someone who is paying off a hefty amount of student loan debt, and the attractiveness of investing in ownership instead of renting, along with living a car-free lifestyle, might be too much to pass up. Interest in the 10 available units has been through the roof, Edmondson added, and they expect the market debut tomorrow, April 18 from 11-7, to be a feeding frenzy.


Blind 6

(Editor’s Note: This is the second installment in a hopefully regular series from Jon Anderson, in which he dishes on the inner-workings of life in the sky. Anderson’s take on Dallas high rise living is both entertaining and educational. You can read his first installment here.)

By Jon Anderson
Special Contributor

Driving up and down our High and increasingly Toll “ways” one can’t help but be proud of the number of housing units built for deaf and blind people. This has picked up considerably since the recession and something we can be proud of.

Or course I’m kidding about the deaf and blind, but how else can you explain the huge numbers of apartment blocks and condominiums lining our dirty and unendingly noisy six-lane thoroughfares? Otherwise, I’d be forced to think developers actually believe people with functioning ears and eyes would not only want to live facing a high-speed motorway but use a balcony overlooking it all.

Here’s just a sample…


2900 Mckinnon 506 Living Dining

Word comes from that Dallas is the second to only Atlanta as one of the best cities for new college graduates to thrive in. Our average starting salary, reasonable rents, low unemployment rate, and higher-than-average number of nearby colleges and universities makes us a great place to live for debt-crippled former students who have developed a taste for ramen noodles and cheap beer.

“In a still-recovering economy, where the job market remains uncertain and the repayment of student loans is a daunting reality for many recent grads, the ideal place for many may be wherever that first job is landed,” according to “Nonetheless, some cities are more promising than others, providing college grads exceptional opportunities for growing careers and affordable housing.”


Renting Vs. Buying screenshot

A friend of mine has been following our recent analysis of demographic groups more likely to rent or buy, especially this story by Candace Tharp and this breakdown of Census info, and sent me a link to this online lecture from a Khan Academy instructor that dissects the costs associated with renting versus buying a home.

The instructor, who lives in Northern California’s Silicon Valley, attempts to compare the cost of renting versus buying two identical homes. About 40 seconds in, though, my journalist spidey sense went off when the instructor started making generalizations and using absolutes, saying “Well isn’t buying always better than renting?”

Well, isn’t Veuve Clicquot always better than Cook’s? I may think so, but that’s just my opinion. 

That’s where the instructor jumps off into criticizing homeowners for peer pressure, Realtors for, you know, wanting you to buy so they can make a living making sure you get the best deal possible for your new home/home you are selling.

Really, this looks to me like not only an oversimplification of a naturally cyclical market, but a gross oversimplification of a very complicated buying process. Heck, the instructor even admits that he’s oversimplifying things. He’s basically bending his logic to his assumptions.

So, watch the lectures and tell me what you think: Is it always better to buy than rent, and what is up with the ridiculous rents in Silicon Valley? I’d move to Texas instead!

Tumbleweed Tiny Home

We’re seeing Jed Kolko’s name pop up all over the place nowadays. This time it was in this Wall Street Journal piece comparing how the word “cozy” is often used to denote “small” properties in real estate markets.

“Cozy is one of those words that means very different things in different markets. Cozy in Texas is not what’s cozy in San Francisco,” says Jed Kolko, chief economist at TruliaTRLA +0.02% a real-estate website.

Trulia examined for-sale listings, excluding foreclosures, in 100 U.S. metro areas between Jan. 1, 2011, and Nov. 30, 2012. “In every metro area, homes that mention cozy are smaller than listings that do not,” Mr. Kolko says.

Tiny Apartment

I love how the story compares Dallas “cozy” to New York “cozy” (read: claustrophobic). Of course, we get the total cliche out of the way thanks to Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s agent Christy Berry:

“Cozy almost means small, and we don’t have small. Everything is bigger in Texas,” she says.

Maybe it’s true: We do have some gigantic properties in Texas, but really, can Texas do “cozy” justice?