As you know, Mark Cuban has a lot of Preston Hollow residents anxious over alleged plans to redevelop about 8.5ish acres of primo Preston Hollow residential dirt he has acquired over the years, since about 1988, and more recently this year, at the northwest corner of Preston and Northwest Highway. He’s got them in the palm of his hands now when Preston Hollow acres are at an all-time record high, about $2 million per acre.
At last week’s meeting to discuss a master plan for Preston Center traffic and development, City Councilman Jennifer Gates reiterated that Mark Cuban has not applied for any zoning changes and that the corner is pretty sacred ground. After all, those acreages are highly unusual and valuable estate properties in a growing city, one of the few places where buyers can have it both ways: a country-like home setting minutes from civilization.
Neighbors are particularly wary of Mark Cuban’s plans for the northwest corner. “What is the process Mr. Cuban has to go through to zone his property commercial?” one woman asked. “And how do we stop him?” Gates told the crowd she can’t stop Cuban from filing a zoning case but said she considers that corner’s single-family zoning “sacred ground.” She got more applause for that line, though the murmur of disapproval that greeted a reference to the Shelton as an apartment (rather than condo) tower suggested she lost some points on that one.
And I do recall Jennifer Gates telling a woman after one of the Highland House meetings that she is not afraid to say no to Mark Cuban.
Well, she may have to start practicing. One person who attended last week’s meeting, and who has a home next to Cuban’s new property, had a recent email exchange with him and Cuban told him yes, he plans to continue with his plans.
“I had a recent email conversation with Mr Cuban,” says Andrew Sommerman. “He told me he intends to continue with his plans. He intends to tear down the remainder of the wall he controls that divides Northwest Highway from Preston Hollow. He also intends to tear down two homes he owns on Averill and Jourdan. He further intends to clear the land he owns. He does not seem too worried about complying with ordinances that require him to remediate the trees.”
Sommerman says he asked Cuban nicely to replace the wall/fence and trees. Cuban politely refused.
Cuban or his real estate consultants/agent have reportedly told others that if he is unsuccessful in building his office complex, he intends to sell the land to a “mega church.”
“I know churches can be zoned for just about anywhere,” says Sommerman. “However, if they try to build by connecting lots, it would require a re plat. That could be fought.”
Then I have heard conflicting reports that Mark Cuban has approached the large church at Douglas and the Tollway, Northwest Bible Church, about buying their parking lot to add to his land mass. Two years ago he showed them his plans for re-devlopment. The Church said hey, you need to get City Council approval. Then I heard there has been no formal offer, but the minister of the church, perhaps ministers, have asked for a meeting THIS WEEK with Neighbor Cuban to discuss his land plans. Cuban apparently wants to demo 5830 Averill Way pretty quick.
(Guess the last thing one church wants is a competitor next door. Besides, what church would pay $18 million for dirt?)
Again, nothing has been filed yet. The neighborhood is zoned not just for single family residential BUT a minimum of one acre single family residential.
(Part of me hopes Cuban is just pulling chains and will build eight stunning mansions on those lots. April Fools!)
But a few of the neighbors I have spoken to in the area are frustrated. They are furious at Cuban and frustrated with the approach Gates has taken. They say she seems to be leaving it to the seven zones to duke it out. They would like to see a leadership position.
“Without our council member in the fight, residents are left without political leadership and without help. On the one hand Ms. Gates tells us she opposes Mr. Cuban plan to rezone Preston Hollow, and on the other hand she states she is a neutral. She has thrust us unwittingly into the shark tank,” said one neighbor, who wishes to remain anonymous.
There are 7 zones. Each zone will elect a pair of representatives to form a task force to guide transportation, land-use planning, competitive bids, basically the fate of the whole area. Interestingly, and I hope you can see it on the map, area 7 includes BOTH Laura Miller’s and Mark Cuban’s residences. So yes, they could both be on the committee! Duke it out!
Who will the others be? Who approves them?
We purchased our homes subject to the zoning, another neighbor told me, and abided by it. When we tore down trees, we replaced them because the City told us we had to. Others say they feel like Cuban, a billionaire, someone more powerful than even a pooling of Preston Hollow residents, wants to change the zoning and maybe, just maybe, that’s what this Preston Center development plan is all about.
Mark Cuban makes a move after 20 years, AFTER Transwestern and Highland House are shot down. Now there’s an area plan study. Every time a committee meets and pores over a neighborhood, a zoning change has taken place, say neighbors. Something is in the air.
“While it may not be Cuban she wishes to accommodate, Jennifer Gates has something in mind,” said Neighbor Deep Throat. “I pray good people like Laura Miller, Lisa Blue, and Baxter Brinkmann will join this fight. With my city council member either neutral or clandestinely wanting re-zoning to take place, we need all the help we can get.”