Uptown Marriott on Fairmount, with west-facing, fifth-floor pool deck.

There was just one project slated for last night’s Oak Lawn Committee and it was about a variance needed for a pair of awnings by the Uptown Marriott being built by Alamo Manhattan on Fairmount Street in back of Nick & Sam’s restaurant. The pre-awning project gained support from the OLC in December 2016. At first glance I figured the awning was a yawning – I mean one was for an 11-inch variance. Whoo-hoo! Stop the presses!

But when you go to OLC for one variance, any question becomes open mic night.

This past summer marked the migration from Las Vegas of the hotel day party by the pool. For a modest entry fee, lush bodies swerve to the thumping beats of an outdoor nightclub. Unfortunately, unlike Las Vegas, Dallas hotels aren’t located in entertainment districts. Some, like the Stoneleigh’s Splash parties, are in more densely residential Uptown.

It was with those sharp memories that residents (and OLC members) of the Stoneleigh Residences asked Alamo Manhattan if Marriott would ban amplified music outdoors. Having lived through weekly raucous parties literally out their windows, they don’t want another hotel offering a similar noise issue.

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Marriott Uptown Exterior 1

Being on the Oak Lawn Committee (OLC) must get tiring in the way a parent gets tired of a child who expects an OK for sitting down with a gallon of ice cream and a spoon … every day.  Developers go before the OLC to present their arguments for a “gallon of ice cream” development to be blessed.  They do this because they know that while they’re entitled to two scoops, they want three and would jump for joy at four.  The gallon is just a starting point to ensure they don’t get two or … gasp … one scoop.

There are two hotels courting Uptown these days.  The Dream and a Marriott.  The Dream got there first with their gallon and got a list of items to ratchet back on.  They returned to the OLC and seemingly checked the OLC’s items off their design.  The end result appears to be a compromise that’s likely more than the OLC wanted but a whole lot less than the gallon.

Enter Marriott

First, to clarify, it’s not Marriott making the request.  It’s Alamo Manhattan who will build and own the hotel that will be managed by Marriott for a specified period of time (perhaps decades).  Alamo Manhattan recently made their first case for a gallon of development, spilling out like melting ice cream on many zoning criteria.

I think Alamo Manhattan knew they wouldn’t get most of it … but maybe some of the spillage.  And it’s nearing Christmas and loading up your wish list for Santa … or the OLC … is time-honored.

Tuesday, they returned with their second iteration where they checked a lot of the OLC boxes.  However, there’s still more melted ice cream to mop up.

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Before I begin, I have to give a shout-out to my Chicago brethren who have upped the bar for project location mapping. Usually we’re treated to a line drawing or a Google Maps image with various shaded boxes. The above map was supplied for Ari Rastegar’s project at 1900 McKinney Avenue. We have an earthquake-like epicenter where the project will go and well-labeled, shaded city neighborhoods.

If that wasn’t enough, they placed the building in situ to show its relationship to Klyde Warren and the heights of adjacent buildings and their proposal’s impacts (pretty minimal from this angle).

Dallas developers and architects, take note.

Anyway.

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Representation and advocacy matters, says Coldwell Banker Realtor Alex Prins.

A few months ago, Alex Prins of Coldwell Banker Lakewood attended Global Luxury training at JW Marriott in Austin. As three of the top trainers stepped on stage, each shared pictures of their families, husbands, and children. It was a tremendous moment for Prins because each of the presenters was gay.

Fifteen years ago, Alex Prins remembers coming out to his parents with the words, “I understand I won’t legally be able to marry and likely won’t have children.”  And now, look at his reality. Gay marriage is legal, acceptance is headed in the right direction, and we’ve definitely come a long way. BUT, we’re not there yet and we still have a little way to go.

According to a study from Iowa State University, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) borrowers are more likely to be denied mortgage loans. And those that do get approved pay higher interest rates and fees. As of 2019, only 22 states plus D.C. prohibit housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

But when legislation falls short, advocacy steps up. This time in the form of NAGLREP – National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals.

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When the grand Aledo estate at 107 Nueces Trail was listed for the first time ever, Southern Living magazine called it “Every Texan’s Dream.” They quoted listing agent John Zimmerman, who was with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty at the time, telling the Dallas Morning News it was “the biggest residential estate in Parker County that I can remember in the last 25 years.” He likened it to the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill County Resort, just north of SA’s outer 1604 loop. Methinks it’s more reminiscent of the La Cantera Resort and exotic like the Eagles’ Hotel California album cover — without all the connotation.

The Mediterranean estate naturally piques the interest of neighbors and all that see it on the horizon, and rightfully so. With a mission style silhouette set against the rolling plains west of Fort Worth, this 19,265-square-foot custom estate was meticulously-built for a Texas oilman and philanthropist. But simply type the first few letters of a Google search about the property and you’ll understand the folklore that surrounds the home: Who owns 107 Nueces Trail Aledo Tx, Nueces Trail Aledo builder, Biggest house in Aledo all pop up as popular search suggestions. Here’s a look inside the seven-bedroom, 12-bath “biggest house in Aledo” now on the market for $6.99 million, marketed by John Zimmerman of Compass Real Estate Texas.

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Crescent Court

Editor’s note: Jon Anderson is a columnist for CandysDirt.com. His opinions are his own.

It was with sadness that I saw the proposed development slated for the old Old Warsaw restaurant lot on Maple Avenue across from the Crescent Court. My sadness increased when I realized Kairoi Residential wasn’t visiting the Oak Lawn Committee to vet the building itself, but rather for a “landscape special exception.”

Architects and builders tell me that the exterior of the building is pretty easy to change in the grand scheme of things.  While it has no impact on the interior leasable space, it has a tremendous impact on everyone who walks and drives by.

Given the existing and announced components of the four-corner intersection, constructing what appears to be a low-slung chair of “blah” is an opportunity wasted.

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Uptown

What do you do when every lot around you is redeveloped? In a single-family neighborhood, you hold out for last, assuming your lot gets more valuable with each sale and rebuild. However, when you’re in a commercial area, waiting too long often has a price, not a reward.

As you can see highlighted above, one lot is surrounded by the Gables Uptown Trail apartment building. You know that Gables tried desperately to acquire that Uptown parcel well before it came online in 2011.

Today, a new Marriott is under construction by Alamo Manhattan. When it was first announced, there was a lone holdout on the corner of their half-block parcel. It was an old house-turned-art gallery. Ultimately Alamo Manhattan persuaded the owners that selling was better than being an orphan on a tiny, un-developable lot.

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Were the architects colluding with the Russians on this design?

Are you a good news first kind of person, or do you want the needle before the lollipop?  Heck, I’m jetlagged and feeling woozy, so let’s go with the needle. (From the picture above, you guessed that, right?)  

At last night’s Oak Lawn Committee meeting, there were a trio of projects presented by Masterplan for various clients.  One client appeared to have not gotten the memo and showed up, shall we say, inappropriately attired.

You know what I mean.  You send invitations for an evening boat ride with big letters, “slacks, rubber-sole shoes, and bring a coat because it gets chilly when the sun goes down.” And invariably, someone shows up in 6-inch stilettos, a mini-skirt, and a tube top, who an hour and chattering teeth later, scams a coat from some chivalrous doofus.

The proposal for an apartment building at McKinney and Hester avenues (north of Knox Street) was full-on heels, skirt, and bare midriff, however the OLC didn’t offer Masterplan’s Dallas Cothrum a coat. And in truth, he knew it would be cold. This wasn’t his first cruise on the lake.

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