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 and 2017. When he isn't in Hawaii, Jon enjoys life in the sky in Dallas.

07/24/17 11:36am

After a session going well past 5 p.m. last Thursday, the City Plan Commission finally heard the case for Toll Brothers’ desired residential high-rise at the corner of Welborn Street and Congress Avenue. In the end, there were fewer fireworks than most expected.

Dallas Cothrum from Masterplan set out Toll Brothers’ case. In a nutshell, it was “here’s the bad high-rise we could build within zoning” … “here’s what a shorter, equally dense building looks like” … “here’s the better high-rise resulting from work with the neighborhood and Oak Lawn Committee.”  In numbers, they could have built over 400 units within zoning, now they’re wanting 271 units.

And as is the CPC way, the opposition spoke first …

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07/21/17 2:00pm

Quartzite-covered counters

Back in 2015, I wrote a pair of columns on countertops and specifically issues I’d been having with mine.  Based on new information, I thought a revisit was in order.

Here in Part One, I’ll talk about the various choices along with my thoughts on quartzites and calcites.  In Part Two, I’ll talk about the rest of the stone spectrum, including marble, onyx, granite, soapstone, and manufactured quartz.

There are myriad of options for kitchen and bath countertops.  Some of them are better than others for certain jobs.  Most of the better or worse comes from durability and their ability to resist staining, fading, yellowing, chipping, and my favorite, etching.

Before we dive into the stone options, there are a lot of other options available.

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Original Hillcrest State Bank building peels back its skin

In 1930, the Hillcrest State Bank was formed. Doing well, as banks do, by 1938 they were able to open a George Dahl-designed location on Hillcrest Avenue between Daniel and Haynie avenues. In 1981, Hillcrest State Bank changed its name to Texas Commerce Bank.  In 1998, the name was changed again to Chase Bank of Texas and was folded into Chase Manhattan Bank in 2000.  In 2004, Ohio’s Bank One was acquired by Chase foreshadowing the bank’s headquarters move to Ohio in 2004 where it remains today.

As you can see, for all the name changes, this building never actually changed hands until the bank had abandoned it.  First to try redevelopment was Dallasite Albert Huddleston who envisioned a mixed-use project that never gained traction with University Park officials or neighbors.  After a decade he gave up and in 2015 local developer Jim Strode decided to try his luck, which eventually succeeded.

Along with ownership and name changes, there have been structural changes.  As the picture above hints, over the years there was some pretty major tinkering to this building.

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07/18/17 2:00pm

Good, clean design. Something Dallas sees little of.

A thought has been percolating in my head recently. Having seen more than a few development proposals while stumbling around town for CandysDirt.com, developers always show the same thing: The perfect intersection of mediocrity and profitability.  It’s almost always higher than neighbors want, takes up more space than neighbors want, and is a density increase neighbors don’t want.  And it’s all wrapped in what I’ll gently call a ho-hum exterior.

I get it, you’re presenting an economic wet dream to squeeze the most profit from the least work.

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07/14/17 12:59pm

If you read Tuesday’s column, you know why this picture is blurry (poor resolution photography)

I know the market is mostly hot, but a 16,029 percent price increase … YOWZA!! That morning alert certainly sent me clicking away to 1001 Liberty Street, Unit 125 (I use an Ebby link here because Keller Williams wants you to login to see listings).  Turns out the property is also for rent and the Realtor, Gary Davis of KW Denton, entered the rental amount instead of the selling price, thus the astronomical increase when corrected. I know, let down city.  You expected something more.

Well, there is a little more … and a happy surprise.

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07/13/17 10:45am

PD-15 boundaries along Northwest Highway

I’ve written tons on the Pink Wall and its Planned Development District (PD) 15. I’ve spent many an hour trying to understand the loosey-goosey definitions found in the decades-old paperwork, even talking to a city attorney. It’s nice to finally have some official clarity … which was different from what I’d been told and I told you. So listen up …

There are 63 available units that can be built within PD-15. Period. (more…)

07/12/17 11:55am

It was a busy evening for Cole Avenue at last night’s Oak Lawn Committee meeting. There were a pair of unrelated projects proposed on the Knox Street and Armstrong Avenue cross streets.  First up, was Restoration Hardware … oops, they’ve gone all upmarket and now just use initials … RH. Oooh-la-la.

For those not in the know, RH has been on a tear upsizing their brick-and-mortar stores. Branded RH Galleries, shoppers will finally be able to see a lot of the stuff we previously had to cross our fingers and order blindly via the catalog or website. Amen. Currently there are just nine in the country, one of which is in Austin. Being a Chicagoan, I have to say the Chicago outlet is the most stunning.  It was built in the Three Arts Club building which housed female artists — musical, performing, and visual arts — beginning in 1914.  While the National Register building had been vacant for 20 years, revitalization proposals had included a hotel and a columbarium capable of storing 1,900 funereal urns containing many a great-aunt Millie. RH was definitely an improvement.

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07/11/17 9:30am

No, you didn’t leave your beer goggles on, someone needs a better camera

The MLS provides us all with a fairly regular chuckle or eye-roll. Bang-bang, two popped into my mailbox as cautionary tales of properties trying to find their way to a buyer. No, this isn’t a hatchet job. The properties aren’t bad. What it comes down to is pricing realistically and showcasing properties in their best light in a market that’s less steam-full.  Apparently neither Realtor read my recent piece deciphering the clues for an overpriced home.   Today I’ll start with a property with a mysterious and meandering series of price drops. On Friday, stay tuned for the home with the 16,029 percent price hike (if for no other reason, to be sure it’s not yours).

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