Articles by

Amanda Popken

Amanda is a community strategist & economic development specialist focused on incremental urbanism: promoting, inspiring, teaching & engaging communities to grow their own social capital. She can be found at amandapopken.com

07/02/18 7:30am

This is about to become a common sight in our beloved Bishop Arts District neighborhood. In fact this sight is just off Bishop, across from the Laughing Willow. There are demo’d vacant lots in the middle of neighborhoods all over North Oak Cliff’s most popular entertainment district. I’ve found three new ones within the last week. Here’s the skinny on the last 10 projects under construction now, for a grand total of 27 individual projects.

“How did this happen?” you might ask. Perhaps it was the local option election that made North Oak Cliff “wet” in 2010? Or the nearby Trinity Groves’ explosion into Dallas’ culinary scene? Or Bishop Arts’ own explosion onto the ‘great neighborhood’ scene? Maybe the Bishop/Davis Rezoning Plan in 2010 or the Oak Cliff Gateway zoning changes in 2014 (and then updated in 2015)? Or did it all start in 2002 with the Bishop Street reconstruction? Maybe it’s a bit of all of this — and great neighbors who throw great, big annual events. For sure, that.

Your favorite restaurants and shops need your support more than ever before — with all the construction, sales are down about 30 percent across the board.  Seventeen (and counting) separate construction sites are underway within a half-mile of the district! From now on you need to make weekly trips — to gauge progress on these, have a bite to eat, and find something you can’t live without. There are some GREAT new shops opening too — ALL owned by Dallas and Oak Cliff locals. Legit.

Click to enlarge

In Part 1 we covered the big development projects under construction immediately around the Bishop Arts District (projects numbered 1-8 on the map.) Part 2 covered the projects mostly west of Bishop Arts (projects 9-16.) Here are projects numbered 17-26 below. (Yes! 26! Though more like 28 actually….) Note that project numbers correspond to the map above.

(more…)

06/25/18 8:45am

A new familiar sight in North Oak Cliff.

In the first part of this overview we covered the big development projects under construction immediately around the Bishop Arts District (projects numbered 1-8 on the map below.) Driving through the neighborhood, it’s unbelievable how much construction is occurring simultaneously. Over $330 million according to my calculations. Not to mention all the road work and utility work: the extension of parallel parking further south on Bishop Ave has wrapped up, Adams Street has been widened, Melba and Madison will get a facelift as soon as the utility work is complete, and Jefferson’s having new brick crosswalks and beautified medians constructed.

Real Estate projects under construction or in development in North Oak Cliff.

The road reconstruction in North Oak Cliff isn’t over yet though: soon the Tyler-Polk Two-Way conversion will be under construction (planned completion in 2019) and a “complete streets” redesign of Davis Street was on the agenda in 2014 when the City Design Studio completed a thoroughfare study. Who knows when that will get funded. Hopefully not for a while — we’re all getting a bit of construction-fatigue.

Here’s the skinny on the development projects sprinkled all over the North Oak Cliff neighborhood, in various phases of development. Note the project numbers corresponding to the map above.

(more…)

Photo by Simon Luna photography

Corsicana invites you into their booming downtown and onto the porches of their historic Carriage District this weekend with their Inaugural Porchfest and Crafternoon. You may have heard of the Porchfest craze sweeping the nation musicians playing on grand porches of neighborhood homes for a family-friendly afternoon of socializing and entertainment. (more…)

06/01/18 7:30am

 

Davis St looking west to N. Zang Blvd. from the CVS sidewalk.

If it’s been a few months since you last drove through the Davis/Zang intersection near the Bishop Arts District, you likely wouldn’t recognize where you are now. Buildings five stories tall are going up on three of the four corners, and a new CVS stands where El Corazón was. Melba St., on the other side of the district, is beginning to feel like the State Thomas neighborhood of Uptown: mid-rise apartments and town homes on all sides with a small historic home here or there.

Not only are the streets torn up from increasing utility sizes to accommodate the growth and reconstructing complete streets, but there are about 20 large-scale residential and commercial projects currently under construction in North Oak Cliff, totaling more than a quarter of a billion dollars of investment and adding more than 1,200 units.

(more…)

01/31/18 8:31am

Reinvestment Fund’s Market Value Analysis of Dallas neighborhoods.

On Monday, the City of Dallas hosted the first of four virtual town hall meetings to gather community input for updates to its Affordable Housing Strategy. It comes less than two weeks after the Jan. 17 Dallas City Council briefing on a Market Value Analysis report by Reinvestment Fund, a nonprofit conducting this research and analysis for cities across the U.S. The data tool is playing a leading role in the development of the City’s new 3-year rolling strategy.

The technology used for the meeting was especially impressive. I’m a little concerned how the city had my number to begin with, but once I opted in by text, it was seamless. I received a call at the appointed time, watched at dallascitynews.net or on Facebook live, could easily ask questions, indicate I wanted calls for future meetings, and even submit my email for followup info – they hired the right consultants to put this together.

The three upcoming meetings will go a little more in-depth than the first topic, “How Residential Development Gets Financed”, or what I’d call “Introduction to the Housing Market.” (more…)

10/25/17 8:11am

Valton and Jennifer Morgan with their son at Klyde Warren Park.

When you hear of someone moving to Uptown you probably assume, like me, it’s not because it will save them money. And not because it’s a great place to raise kids. For Jennifer Morgan and her family, though, both of those proved to be true. She and her husband and son are are saving money, are happier than ever, and are even finally planning a long-anticipated family vacation.

It all started with a spreadsheet of family expenses — and the recognition that life was not as satisfying as they’d planned. Jennifer had worked in Uptown for 13 years and her husband, Valton, had begun working in Uptown about 2.5 years ago. Which meant they both commuted almost an hour and a half, each way, to their home near Frisco. Even though they worked in the same area, their son’s school schedule made it impossible to carpool.

By the time they got home, their 8-year-old son had been at school or daycare all day and was over sitting still, over doing homework, and was a rowdy, moody handful. And they had just enough time for dinner, bath, and bed. They missed spending quality time with their son. And each other.

But it was this spreadsheet (after the jump) that convinced them to seriously consider making a move — then every other question mark fell into place one by one, better than they could’ve imagined.

(more…)

09/22/17 2:16pm

Dallas Housing Director David Noguera addresses members of the Greater Dallas Planning Council

The new City of Dallas director of housing and neighborhood revitalization, David Noguera, has jumped in with both feet — and seems to have a good handle on what he’s up against. The Greater Dallas Planning Council invited him to address to a group of dedicated local professionals last Thursday, and he made quite an impression.

(more…)

09/08/17 7:00am

 

Last night’s community meeting with Huffines Communities at the Golf Club of Dallas on Redbird Lane felt like a bad setup. The room was at capacity with literally hundreds more still standing in line, out to the middle of the parking lot, when the presentation began.

“I hope all these people are against the project” said one woman in front of me. Everyone seemed to be talking about how the proposed small lots and low price point were a bad fit for the neighborhood. It was a very diverse crowd – a cross-section of the diversity that people love about Oak Cliff, from very young to very old and all types and kinds of ethnicities of people. Even Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price was there.

When Donald Huffines — who is also a Texas state senator — got to the mic. he began by showing images of developments he’s built in his 30 years of experience. Water parks, waterfalls into lakes, Cape Cod-inspired town homes, and ‘no brick facades’ – so homeowners are able to paint their exteriors … Demonstrating in pictures what their website says about another project they planned, “This community will offer residents the signature Huffines Communities lifestyle along with traditional resort-style amenities, several highly regarded builders, and year-round resident activities.”

The neighbors didn’t want slick pictures of other places — they wanted to hear what was planned for their neighborhood. The presentation was cut short and the crowd got rowdy. Dallas City Council Member Casey Thomas did his best to calm the crowd. Eventually we heard, “There is no plan yet. We’re here tonight to hear what the neighborhood wants.” With over 500 people in a jam-packed audience that was a tall order. (more…)