Neither Teixeira Duarte Version is Awaiting Planning Approval

Neither Teixeira Duarte Version is Awaiting Planning Approval

On July 26, Teixeira Duarte and Masterplan had what would be their final meeting with the neighborhood to negotiate a better plan for their lots on Hood and Dickason tentatively called Turtle Creek Haus.  The following week, Masterplan presented to the Oak Lawn Committee about the progress being made.  All seemed to be progressing well.

Apparently not.

In September, Teixeira Duarte filed plans with the city for a within-zoning (by-right) plan for the lots.  Because the plans have not been approved, the public can’t see what’s going to be built.  The permitting office told me it was to be an 18-story apartment tower. Another source who’s been through permitting a time or two told me that a September by-right plan still awaiting approval is a little odd.

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"New" logo designed by 30-year resident Robert Emery offers youthful vibe

“New” logo designed by 30-year resident Robert Emery offers youthful vibe

The Pink Wall has been dominated by Preston Tower for 50 years.  Oddly, it’s first residents were welcomed into this modern high-rise in the same year viewers welcomed Star Trek!  Preston Tower is a pinch older than the neighboring Athena, but the Pink Wall’s two-story walk-ups were already swinging when Preston Tower leapt from the ground.  My unofficial guess is that in 1966, at 29 stories, it was the tallest building between Dallas and Oklahoma City.

I had a chance to speak with one of its loooong time residents, Robert Emery, who’s called Preston Tower home for nigh-on 30 years.  Like many happy high-rise residents, he’s bounced around in the building before winding up on top of it all in one of the penthouses. At the precise moment a wet and windy hell broke loose, I was walking over to meet Emery. I can say with confidence that I saw no leaks during my tour.

Preston Tower was built by Hal Anderson (no relation), designed by architect Jacob Anderson (Hal’s brother?), and currently contains 362 units.  In the beginning there were a few more, but over time some units have been combined (high-rise owners can’t build additions, so we absorb our neighbors).

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FLW Rogers Lacy 2

Having run around a lot of high-rises in Dallas over the years as a potential buyer, open house voyeur, and CandysDirt.com roving reporter, people ask me what I think of “X” building. With that in mind, here’s my list of the top Dallas high-rises in different categories.

1. Best Unbuilt high-rise: Rogers Lacy Hotel

Long before I moved to Dallas, I saw the Rogers Lacy Hotel images in a 1985 book about architect Frank Lloyd Wright titled, “Treasures of Taliesin: Seventy-Seven Unbuilt Designs” by Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer.

The 64-story mixed-use building was to have housed a hotel on the first nine floors before transitioning to a stepped-back high-rise column containing residential condos/apartments.  Wright didn’t think much of Dallas summers or its 1940s cityscape and so the glass exterior was to have been double-thickness with translucent insulation between the panels.  This way, light was transmitted without having to see the outside.  Some panels were moveable and some were operable windows, but the general “face” of the building was towards the interior where an amazing atrium was to have been. Lush plants and interior-facing windows offered what Wright thought were the best “views” of Dallas.  The building was never built because during negotiations to convince oilman Rogers Lacy of the daring design, Mr. Lacy died.

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Map Labeled 1

Teixeira Duarte, founded in 1921, is a Portugal-based conglomerate with significant operations in real estate and construction. Revenues in 2015 were €1.49 billion, down 13 percent from 2014’s €1.71 billion.

The company operates in 17 countries, but their main real estate spheres are in Portugal and Brazil, with a smattering in Africa.  The company intends to construct a residential tower at Dickason and Hood Streets. Award winning, Dallas-based architect Javier Espinoza will design the building currently named Turtle Creek Haus. “Residential tower” could mean rental or condominium, depending on which plan moves forward.

Last night at the Reverchon Park Recreation Center, about 30 local residents met with representatives of Teixeira Duarte and Masterplan, as well as architect Javier Espinoza.  It was the second meeting with the community.

I was unimpressed.

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Bubbles, Margaritas and Beautiful Views

Bubbles, Margaritas and Beautiful Views

Ya know, I probably could have thought a bit more about the potential logistics of having a Cinco de Mayo event on top of a large Mexican restaurant. To say that parking was an event in itself, even with a garage and valet parking, would be an understatement.

That said, 66 brave souls charged the gauntlet and were treated to two wonderful homes that prove my contention that the higher the home, the closer to paradise.  It was a Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty double play with unit 1208 hosted by Pam Brannon and unit 1304 (wo)manned by Gayle Schneider.

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Centrum Exterior 3

You haven’t been in The Centrum in years (or ever), right?  Well, you should, and you can.  On May 5, CandysDirt.com will be hosting a double open house “Staff Meeting” event at The Centrum we’re calling Centrum de Mayo – with Mattito’s on the ground floor, how could we not? Watch your inbox for your invitation.

History Lesson:  The Centrum certainly has a history stretching back to the days of 1980s grey melamine cabinetry.  The Centrum was developed as a mixed-use building with floors below 12 being office and those above 12 being residential.  From the exterior, the boxy part is offices, the stair-steps residential.

The Centrum started life in 1985 on the eve of Texas’ banking crisis which would push nearly every bank in the state to insolvency by the end of the decade. As Judy Pittman told me months ago, at that time you couldn’t give a condo away.  Mirroring our recent recession, units in The Centrum were pushed into service as rental units.

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21 Exterior

The first installment of this transformation story can be found here.

Aside from the hard-dollar utility bill savings, this overhaul delivered other benefits to residents as well as uncovered some interesting history.

Temperature Control

In 21, the building at 3883 Turtle Creek, units on one side froze in winter while the other side baked in the summer.  Some residents had gone so far as to install auxiliary HVAC units on their patios.  After the upgrade, owners happily removed those units.

They told me another part of the issue was that back in the 1960s, HVAC building codes only called for air-conditioning to lower indoor temperatures by 20 degrees.  On 105 degree days, 85 degrees was A-OK. Codes have changed and that just doesn’t fly today.  Sitting in front of an open refrigerator, TV propped in on the vegetable bin, is no way to live.

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Judy Pittman Flanked by Candysdirt.com Staff who stayed a pinch past sunset!

Judy Pittman surrounded by CandysDirt.com staff who stayed a pinch past sunset! (Photos: Lisa Stewart Photography)

Tuesday night, 64 of our closest CandysDirt.com friends spent the evening exploring the Claridge and celebrating the first anniversary of the Staff Meeting events.

As you recall, this was a humdinger event with four simultaneous open houses in the beautiful Claridge on Turtle Creek and Lemmon Avenue (my “Four R” homes).  We all ended up in the wrap-around penthouse for a stunning sunset champagne toast (or two … with a little chocolate, natch!).  For those who may have missed an “R” or two:  REHAB, REMODEL, REFRESH and REJOICE.

Before we see more party pics, I must praise the Claridge staff who valeted all those cars and long-time manager Shirley Black for being so very gracious to our event and guests.

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