4109 Live Oak

The stately home at 4901 Live Oak was torn down by investors last year. Noted preservationist Virginia McAlester has put together a fund that will keep properties like this one from being razed.

Back in the 1970s, Munger Heights was a seedy neighborhood full of rent-by-the-room boarding houses and dilapidated old homes desperate to be shored up should they catch a stiff breeze. Homeowners and activists saw the area for what it was — full of potential — and created a revolving fund to buy the homes at risk of being lost to a wrecking ball so they could be restored to their historic beauty.

After watching perfectly useful historic homes and buildings being torn down one after the other, Virginia McAlester, Jim Rogers, Lisa Marie Gala, and Neil Emmons said that enough was enough. Together they founded the Dallas Endowment for Endangered Properties (DEEP) fund.

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This is what the 1600 block of Main Street in downtown Dallas looked like in 1909. Part of this block was razed by Headington Companies to expand their hotel. (Photo: FlashbackDallas)

This is what the 1600 block of Main Street in downtown Dallas looked like in 1909. Part of this block was razed by Headington Companies to expand their hotel. (Photo: FlashbackDallas)

I’m sure you haven’t forgotten the surprise demolition of a block’s worth of historic downtown buildings while the Cowboys played. The razing of 1611 Main and a few other beautiful old buildings on the block to make room for Headington Companies’ Joule Hotel expansion scarred many preservationists and at least one architecture critic. Pearls were clutched, and people stood aghast at the horror of it all.

And yet, there is still no solid plan to stop the wrecking balls that could take down a downtown with little to no protection. That’s part of what City Hall wants to address tomorrow.

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I’ve written about new developments in the Oak Lawn and Preston Hollow areas for a few years. Many of you have read about the PD-15 antics with the same hoary relish you watch a reality show. But as Dallas grows, and development reaches into more neighborhoods, there are lessons to be learned once you cut through the caustic tomfoolery.

By-Right vs. Zoning Cases

There are two kinds of developments – by-right and those requiring a zoning case. In a by-right situation, there’s not a lot you can do, it’s as it says on the tin, by right. A building permit is filed and they’re off to the races.

Construction requiring a zoning case is where the action is at. Whether large or small, any variance to a property’s underlying zoning requires the approval of that exception. Those cases are filed at City Hall and are then publicized in the immediate neighborhood – typically within 500 feet of the edges of the property filing the case. Those cases are taken up by and require approval from the City Plan Commission and the City Council. Between all that is the community wooing.

And if you’re going to be wooed by developers, there are some things you should know.

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If the name sounds familiar, it should. We’ve covered the beautiful, award-winning work of JLD Custom Homes and its owner, Jeff Dworkin, on these pages many times. And for good reason: Dworkin invests time and personal attention into every project his skilled team takes on, which has earned his brand a spot among our CandysDirt.com Approved Builders. With quality you can count on for 14 years running, earning accolades, leading the industry, and serving customers day in and day out, we’re excited to share even more about Dworkin and JLD Custom Homes in our Dallas Builders Association Member Spotlight.

Find out more about JLD Custom Homes as the CandysDirt.com staff highlights some of the spectacular members of Dallas Builders Association right here, asking these consummate professionals all about their business as a way to brag on the many quality, trustworthy builders in the North Texas area that can count themselves among their peers in the Dallas Builders Association.

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In this week’s Agent Migration column, we catch up with a former Virginia Cook agent from Fort Worth and meet a California newcomer. Did you make a big move? Contact Joshua Baethge.

Stephanie Quevedo Happy to be at Christie’s Ulterre

Stephanie Quevedo is settling in with the Giordano, Wegman, Walsh, & Associates (GWW) team at Christie’s Ulterre.  She started at the end of May after previously being affiliated with Virginia Cook Realtors.  While her former employer’s closing was a shock, she feels it may ultimately turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

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It is not enough that the hotly contested District 13 City Council race between Laura Miller and Jennifer Staubach Gates has frozen forward progress Behind the Pink Wall, keeping victims of the Preston Place fire in limbo as to their financial future. Now it could also stymie new home development in Northwest Dallas.

About 4.4 acres of land at 10210 Webb Chapel Road once belonged to Mi Escualita Preschool. The property has sat vacant for at least six and a half years, but was recently was purchased by developer David Gleeson with hopes to build detached single-family homes on the land with a large national homebuilder such as David Weekley Homes. The homes, perfect for downsizing Baby Boomers, will be approximately 2,000 to 3,000 square feet in size, with prices ranging from $375,000 to $475,000.

And Gleeson has followed city protocol in order to obtain zoning for the new homes, which he says will add value to the neighborhood. And though he has talked to them, as well as other builders, the development is not a David Weekley Homes project at this point.

Still, Laura Miller included the development as No. 8 on her “Top 10” reasons of why Jennifer Gates won’t debate her (there have been at least 3 debates) and why District 13 residents should vote her in and incumbent Gates out. Miller also included the proposed development in her Dallas Morning News Voter profile.

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Photo by Bethany Erickson

Last Wednesday, Candy spoke to a full house to kick off the Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society’s very busy season of events. She was the keynote luncheon speaker, weaving the theme of homes being the footprints of our history throughout a discussion that provided a few chuckles at time, but also a glimpse at ways the perservation community could address new challenges.

We are providing her speech in full here, as well as the slide show that accompanied it.  (more…)

Robert Reffkin may have announced a certain “scaling back” of Compass spending and expansion into new markets at Inman New York in January.

But when it comes to the primo properties of San Francisco’s Bay Area and the Peninsula, home to Silicon Valley, money is apparently no object.

Inman broke the story yesterday that Compass is acquiring Alain Pinel Realtors, a 30-year old, family owned innovative luxury broker headquartered in Saratoga, California. Saratoga is not far from the high tech bustling of Palo Alto, Atherton, home to the most expensive real estate in the country housing Apple, Facebook, Google, Intuit, Cisco Systems, Lockheed Martin, Advanced Micro Devices, Lockheed Martin, Hewlett Packard, Tesla, Agilent Technologies, and Oracle, to name a few, executives. This is where $1.5 teardowns are commonplace, Airbnb was born out of housing necessity, and billionsirrs like to roost between trips to their homes in Martis Camp and Hawaii.

In that tech and start-up rich environment, Alain Pinel closed more than $12 billion in sales volume in 2017, placing them seventh on the Real Trends 500.

The acquisition will build Compass’s presence in the Bay Area market enormously, because, Compass bought powerhouse Pacific Union ($14.5 billion in sales) and Paragon Real Estate ($4.5 billion) in 2018. With Alain Pinel, let’s do the math: $12 billion plus $14.5 billion plus $4.5 billion equals almost 19% of the Bay Area market, darn close to Reffkin’s stated goal of 20% market share in the top 20 markets.

Of particular interest to the Dallas-Fort Worth Market: Alain Pinel is a member of Luxury Portfolio, as is our Allie Beth Allman & Associates, Dave Perry Miller, Ebby Halliday and Williams Trew. (more…)