Articles by

Jon Anderson

Jon Anderson is CandysDirt.com's condo/HOA and developer columnist, but also covers second home trends on SecondShelters.com. An award-winning columnist, Jon has earned silver and bronze awards for his columns from the National Association of Real Estate Editors in both 2016, 2017 and 2018. When he isn't in Hawaii, Jon enjoys life in the sky in Dallas.

01/15/19 9:15am

Turtle Creek Terrace doesn’t look as dilapidated as Lincoln claimed

After a long and winding road, Lincoln Property’s proposed Lincoln Katy Trail project was denied by city council (I assume they will re-apply). That project would have replaced the Turtle Creek Terrace condo complex. Today, Turtle Creek Terrace unit #168, located at 3203 Carlisle – the intersection of Oak Lawn and Uptown – was listed.

It’s a perfect illustration of my point that replacing 115 existing market-rate affordable housing units with 45 was a bad deal. This one-bedroom, two-bathroom unit has 824 square feet and is listed for $149,000 with Tyler Hagood from Small World Realty. Using basic mortgage tools, that breaks down into a monthly payment of approximately $925 assuming a 30-year mortgage or ~$1,250 for a 15 year payoff. These monthly costs include mortgage, taxes, insurance, and HOA fees.

According to Zillow calculators, using Dallas’ average household income of $54,727, a couple could afford a monthly payment of $1,629/month. Using the 80 percent average median income required for listed affordable housing ($43,781), this home is purchasable by someone earning just $42,000 – less than a qualified affordable unit.

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01/09/19 8:38pm

City Council took up the long in the tooth Lincoln Katy Trail project at Wednesday’s evening meeting after failing City Plan Commission in November. In an attempt to sweeten the deal to an affordable housing-hungry city council, Lincoln raised their affordable component from five percent to 15 percent (from 15 to 45 units). And many council members, including Mayor Mike Rawlings took the bait.

Mayor Rawlings was so obviously hot to pass this project, he literally asked Oak Lawn District 14 Council Member Philip Kingston if he would support the deal if Lincoln purchased a home for a blind woman living in the complex referenced by Kingston. Others wanted to know what affordable percentage would cause Kingston to support the project.

“It’s math,” they said. Why yes, it is …

The council couldn’t (or wouldn’t) figure out that the existing complex contains 115 market-rate affordable housing units. Raising the affordable housing giveback to 15 percent still leaves the neighborhood with 70 fewer affordable units. They also ignore the positive self-esteem of being able to rent or purchase a market rate affordable home versus having to qualify through an invasive application process to prove you’re poor enough.

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01/09/19 9:45am

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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01/08/19 12:00pm

Recommendation carves Preston Tower separated to maintain existing commercial office space

The original, decades-old PD-15 documentation is faulted for its lack of clarity. Unfortunately, the new document reflecting city staff’s recommendations has its own issues with clarity (Draft PD and Presentation).  You will recall that last November, Council Member Jennifer Gates sent the second neighborhood committee home after being bogged down a second time by non-negotiable towers’ representatives. During the two ensuing months, city staff were to have created their own recommendations based on their research and experience. Unfortunately, given the output, I suspect work only began after the Christmas wrapping paper was cleared.

First, the document doesn’t stand on its own as an obviously understandable document. Instead, questions abound, requiring significant explanation by city staff at last night’s meeting. Hopefully as the draft tightens, these ambiguities are made clear to future readers.

For those who enjoy spoilers, the city’s recommendations call for the area between northwest Highway and Diamond Head Circle to support 240-foot heights, while from Diamond Head Circle northward to the alley could build to 96 feet in height. Overall, the PD would equalize density at 90 units per acre. The rough result would be 540-750 total units (405-615 new). Why the spread? You’ll have to read to the end.

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01/04/19 9:15am

Honolulu

When I saw the Mandarin Oriental construction fencing go up across from the Honolulu convention center, my curiosity was piqued. First, the Mana’olana Place development isn’t a stellar location. To contradict the marketing materials, it is not “steps from the beach” and certainly not while schlepping chairs, towels and sunscreen. It’s also flanked by a bevy of stripper bars and sits across from the aforementioned convention center that’s far from the beehive of activity promised by city leaders more than 20 years ago.

Being a Mandarin Oriental, you’d expect a better, more chic location. Granted, as Kaka’ako (with its large Howard Hughes development in progress), Waikiki and downtown Honolulu inevitably merge together, the Ala Moana area will be just another part of the city, but that’s years away. Folks buying one of the 99 condos or staying in the 125 hotel rooms are unlikely to want a front row seat to a neighborhood in transition. (more…)

01/01/19 9:45am

Enough with the salt.

Regardless of your definition, the world got worse in many ways this past year. While many large problems seem out of our control to fix or influence, there are several things we can all do to make me feel better. Yes, me. In this season of giving, what have you done for me?  If you’re still looking for my belated present, there are still a few items from my gift registry that weren’t in my stocking this year.

Stop Pouring Salt In My Wound

I can’t be the only person who likes caramel – that magical concoction of sugar and milk. Making caramel from scratch is less simple than you’d imagine but with a reward unimaginably tasty. So why has the world gone mad tossing salt into the mix? Stop it. Caramel doesn’t need the help.

I get the whole salty/sweet thing, but not in caramel. Feel free to dip pretzels, chips, or blocks of salt in chocolate, but leave caramel the hell alone.

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12/24/18 9:15am

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Of the 10 U.S. states with the highest numeric growth, just one, Colorado, sees snow on a regular basis according to the latest U.S. Census data. Air-conditioning and an aversion to the cold continue to increase interest in warmer climates.

The state with the highest population growth should come as no surprise. Texas’ population grew by 1.3 percent, equaling 379,128 residents from July 1, 2017 to July 1, 2018. Texas also retains its crown as the second-most-populous state at 28,701,845, still some 11 million fewer than No. 1, California’s 39,557,045 residents. However with Texas adding more than twice the new residents as California, we may catch them yet.

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12/20/18 1:00pm

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently released their 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) that’s sent to Congress. The most striking thing about the report is how much it seems to take credit for the Obama (and Bush) eras while downplaying the Trump administration’s failings. While HUD crows about homelessness decreasing by 13.2 percent since 2010, overall homelessness has increased in both 2017 and 2018, as has the number of unsheltered homeless (living on the street versus in a shelter). I’d hazard a guess that the concerted decrease in sheltered homeless beginning in 2016 is the result of Obama-era facilities coming online to serve the homeless.

HUD blames the increases on various natural disasters, but fails to explain the 2015-2016 drop in sheltered homeless. Long-term homeless increased by 2.2 percent in the past year, but again are down 16.4 percent compared to 2010.

Just this morning it was reported that after leaving food assistance programs alone in the recently passed farm bill, Trump is using regulatory rulemaking to attempt to trim food stamp programs. This is happening because the House and Senate opposed the measures. But not all opposed, House Agriculture Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, was the primary champion for tighter SNAP work requirements and praised the proposed rule change.

Under Trump’s rules, the work requirement would be increased from 18-49 to 18-59 years old. States would lose the ability to bank unused funds for future use and waive work requirements in cities or counties during times of high unemployment (which Trump wants to set at seven percent).

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said, “We would much rather have Congress enact these important reforms for the SNAP program. However, these regulatory changes by the USDA will save hardworking taxpayers $15 billion over 10 years and give President Trump comfort enough to support a farm bill he might otherwise have opposed.” That farm bill seeks to mitigate farmers’ hardships created by Trump’s various trade wars.

Clearly this will have a negative impact on national and Texas homelessness in the coming years.

On the upside, veteran homelessness has declined under Trump due to HUD and VA programs designed to target the group. Overall, veteran homelessness was down 5.4 percent since January 2017 with the female number down 10 percent.  However, since 2010, veteran homelessness is down 49 percent.

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