South Dallas Part 2: Is South Blvd. the Next Swiss Avenue?

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2501 South Blvd.: One of the great homes available in this historic area

Ever wish you’d bought on Swiss Avenue in the 1970s and 1980s, long before you needed nearly a million smackers to buy a mansion?  Well, step right up …

If Part One was a bit of a Cliff Notes version of the South Blvd and Park Row historic neighborhood, then this column gets you into the game.  While purchasing one of the current listings can’t be considered the “ground floor” of this burgeoning area, there’s still plenty of sweat to be turned into equity. For those truly seeking the ground floor, keep your eyes peeled one of the area’s derelict properties to hit the market.

There are many reasons I feel this neighborhood is about to pop.  The first stop for the Jewish community in Dallas appears to be the Cedars and we all know how hot that’s become.  At just a mile away, can the revitalization of the South Blvd. area be far off?  Also, add-up the mojo being rustled around Fair Park these days combined with an area that’s spitting distance from downtown, highways and public transit … what do you get?  A powder keg of potential.

But don’t take my word for it. One block north of Park Row Avenue a bunch of brand new townhouses is being built. So stop moaning about how you missed Swiss Avenue …

Currently there are three homes in various stages of restoration and one empty lot on South Blvd.  There are currently no listings on Park Row.

2423 South Front 1

2423 South Blvd.

Let’s start with a bang.  This home, at 2423 South Blvd. has been restored by Dr. Longshaw (the neighborhood flipper/savior) and is listed for $499,995 with Tina George Cole of Champions Real Estate Group.  Its 4,200 square feet sits on a 60 x 183 lot and contains four bedrooms, two full and two half bathrooms.  The home has also been fitted with central HVAC (something the original owners would’ve killed for).

2423 South Living 1

You want period detail?  Here ya go.  High coffered ceilings, mahogany trim, arts and crafts pottery fireplace surround (I’m betting Rookwood, though it could be Batchelder), pocket doors to the dining room, and windows galore.  Not convinced?

2423 South Living 2

Entryway with pony wall bookcases, pillars with Louis Sullivan-esque cartouches, more ginormous windows and a beautiful flying staircase leading to the second floor.  All original.  All for under half a mil.

2423 South Kitchen 2

The kitchen is a generous size with granite counters and oak cabinets.  I will be honest and say that the modern backsplash isn’t exactly of the era, but many a happy meal is ready to be prepared here. Out of frame is a very large walk-in pantry.  (Period kitchens are difficult. True period kitchens were almost a scullery)

All-in-all a move-in-ready buyer gets quite a bit of Swiss Avenue along with a DART station at the end of the street and a view of the Texas Star Ferris wheel for half the price.

2501 South Blvd. Note the checkerboard chimney accent

2501 South Blvd. Note the checkerboard chimney accent

2501 South Blvd.

A pinch smaller at 4,616 square feet and sitting on a pinch larger 69 x 183 lot is 2501 South Blvd also marketed by Tina George Cole of Champions Real Estate Group and listed for $575,000. This six bedroom, three full and one half bathroom home was renovated by Dr. Longshaw back in 2007 and is currently owned by his contractor.  South Blvd and Park row is definitely a small and friendly world.

2501 South Stairs 2

The staircase is very cool.  Instead of facing towards the front door, it faces the back of the home.  The porthole doorway leads to the kitchen and, aside from being really cool, brings unexpected light to the center hallway.  Also visible is an original built-in storage cupboard and an air return for the central HVAC.

2501 South Living-Dining 1

The living and dining areas sport many original features like trim, fireplace surround and floors.  Out of frame are original built-in bookcases, beamed ceiling and wood archways.

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The kitchen is quite large with all the modern conveniences including granite counters and slate floors. I might play with the island and cooktop, but that’s not a huge deal (and if you’re a Dallas non-cook, leave it be).

The second floor houses a multitude of bedrooms with good sized closets (good sized by today’s standards; not good sized for the era).

2500 South Front 1

2500 South Blvd.

Last on our list are 2500 and 2510 South Blvd.  I’m grouping them together because one is a house and one is its neighboring empty lot.  The combined 185 x 156 lot would give an owner .66 of an acre and a house for a combined cost of $386,680.  I make this plea because I don’t think the neighborhood has the economic umph for a builder to construct a home in keeping with the area. This way, one owner can have an expansive garden, pool, whatever and then sell the lot (if desired) later when the neighborhood’s economics can attract the right builder.

That said, this 2500 South Blvd. needs the most love.  At 2,234 square feet it’s the smallest of the three homes currently on the market and sits on a 75 x 156 lot.  It’s has four bedroom and two full baths and is also listed with Tina George Cole of Champions Real Estate Group.

While the home was renovated several years ago, tenants trashed the place.  Expect many projects from the mundane (painting) to more extensive work on the kitchen, baths, floors, etc.  There’s also a fallow garage in the back of the property that must be demolished and replaced along with the driveway.

2500 South Living 1

It still retains much of its period details. The living room is almost the spitting image of my first home in California with a fireplace flanked by build-in bookcases and small casement windows.

2500 South Kitchen

The kitchen is serviceable but cabinetry style and tile are unsuited to the home. Original cabinetry would have matched the original built in seen on the right edge of the photograph. It also looks barer than it is due to the lack of appliances.

This is definitely a home where sweat equity will play a big role.

2150 Lot 1

2510 South Blvd.

A fire several years ago reduced the original home to ash.  Now a new owner of this 110 x 156 lot can rebuilt (or as I suggest become part of the neighboring property). The lot is listed with Dara Abbot-Payne of Keller Williams for $61,680.

In another indication of the potential of this area, this lot is priced at $156k per acre. Compare that with two lots currently for sale in the Cedars that are listed between $1.135-$1.9m per acre for dirt one mile away.

Summary

In the South Blvd and Park Row area you will not see the finish outs you might expect given the exteriors of these homes.  There’s a reason for that. Buyers in the 1970s and 1980s rescued Swiss Avenue homes and made them livable again … they didn’t immediately zoom to $1 million finish-outs. That wasn’t their budget nor was it in line with the area’s economics.  Over time, as the area appreciated, so did the finish out, either via updates from the original renovators or new buyers.  South Blvd and Park Row are the same.

This is what bootstrapping a neighborhood looks like.  As time passes, steps are taken. What this neighborhood needs are owners excited to take it to the next level while living in a picturesque and changing area of Dallas.

Remember:  Do you have an HOA story to tell?  A little high-rise history? Realtors, want to feature a listing in need of renovation or one that’s complete with flying colors?  How about hosting a Candy’s Dirt Staff Meeting?  Shoot Jon an email.  Marriage proposals accepted (they’re legal)!  sharewithjon@candysdirt.com