Last night, city council member Philip Kingston spoke at The Mansion in an attempt to bring clarity to the Toll Brothers project. Unfortunately, after a good start, he failed to seal the deal. Kingston presented the big picture on the project – namely that Toll Brothers is completely within their rights to build a high-rise that’s uglier, boxier, more dense, with worse parking, and that looks terrible on the street. In fact Toll Brothers delivered a letter to Kingston and the plot sellers stating that they have every intention of building the worse-in-every-way plan should this better-in-every-way plan be shot down at city council.
Kingston’s question to the audience was simple and rational. Essentially, given the two alternatives, why should he support the worse “by right” plan? “By right” does what it says on the tin; no neighborhood or city involvement period. It’s a simple enough question. But for people for whom the only answer was “neither,” that question was rationally unanswerable. “Neither” isn’t an option, something rich folks ain’t used to hearing.
Dallas zoning map. Don’t worry, we’ll zoom in for a closer look.
As the City of Dallas grows, it will grow up and become more dense. Neighborhoods that were thought to be fully developed aren’t. Streetscapes and views, unchanged for decades, are changing. And honestly, it’s a good thing overall.
The only way to grow and leave everything alone is to continue to build out into the unsustainable money pits of the suburbs. Their miles and miles of endless roadways, sewers, water pipes, and bridges make these low-density spaces impossible to support from their tax base. If you think Dallas has potholes, visit a built-out, middle-income suburb on its 50th birthday.
Besides, you really want to live inside LBJ, right? And even if you don’t, you still need to understand zoning.
Do you find it difficult to imagine the ugly duckling becoming a swan before lights come on at last call? In real estate, lots of people are just like you. Watching, watching, watching as HGTV’s parade of annoying renovators turn a curse into a blessing. But walk into the aforementioned cursed property and you’re reaching for a smelling salt boilermaker instead of seeing the possible blessing.
In 2004, the Hotel Zaza was built along with 37 condos branded as the Metropolitan Club (map). Today it sits in the thick of Uptown with the Rattlesnake Bar within a fang’s throw (the center pin in my Uptown map). Being a hotel, residents get all the whistles like room service, ZaSpa access and the like. There’s also Dragonfly when you need some Friday lamb lollipops washed down with a Whiskey Business or two … OK three.
There are two units on the market that offer a rare simultaneous peek at the curse and the blessing at the same time. Units 404 and 504 are identical in size (2,145 square feet) and configuration (two bedrooms with two full and one half bath) except for a minor view uplift on the fifth floor unit.
Where they diverge is that 404 is a fairly well-demolished, aborted renovation project.
At the last PD-15 meeting, Preston Tower and Athena high-rises asked to meet to come up with a plan they thought they could “sell” to their residents. This was a direct reaction to the massing study shown at that meeting which pictured a development the towers felt would not be supported. I called that first massing study “a high water mark” in density. Perhaps the tower’s plan showed, in some respects, a low water mark. (And no, I’m not showing you that either because it’s just as polarizing as the other one. If you want to drink from that trough, come to the meetings.)
Les femmes d’Alger
In 2015, a Picasso painting sold for a record $179 million. It was painted in 1955 and titled “Les femmes d’Alger” and was a tribute to friend and rival painter Henri Matisse. Compared to that, the auction of Picasso’s last home should be a breeze where bidding will start at € 20.2 million tomorrow at Residence365.com, a Christies affiliate. Coming full circle, Les femmes d’Alger was also sold by Christies.
Unassuming, yet stunning main entrance (door behind tree)
The home, known locally as Mas de Notre Dame de Vie was the artist’s home from 1961 until his death at 93 in 1973. It’s located in the hills about four miles north of Cannes, France. When Picasso purchased the home it already had 24 rooms. His first addition was a studio space with its own terrace. Over the ensuing years, the home grew several more times. The main house encompasses 13,000 square feet with five bedrooms and nine full and one half baths … oh, and two kitchens. A guest house and gatekeeper’s cottage clock in at another 4,000 square feet. Not to worry, the home sits on eight acres spread across a hillside offering mind-boggling views over Cannes and the sea.
Head over to SecondShelters.com for pics of this stunning property.
Moving a house today is largely the same process, albeit more precise and without the horses.
It’s been estimated that two acres of forest are cut down for each 1,200 square feet of house built. It’s also estimated that for every 2,200 pounds of cement produced, 1,980 pounds of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere. Cement production accounts for approximately 10 percent of man-made carbon dioxide emissions and over 15 percent of landfill space. And trust me, you don’t want to know the quantity of pollutants cement kilns (factories) throw into the air.
Sure, some building materials are recycled today, but nowhere near all that can be.
On the flipside, booming development in Dallas equates to a lot of demolition of sometimes interesting structures worth preserving. Some are architectural wonders but many are lower-density structures someone wants to McMansion, or more likely, McApartment. Many of these smaller structures would be at home elsewhere.
I had to feature one renovation candidate
Let’s pause and enjoy our halfway point — this fifth installment of the Southern Dallas Buyer’s Guide marks the end of the DART Blue Line. For those just joining us, you can get going here.
A lot of folks tell me that while they enjoy watching all those renovation shows in HGTV, the thought of picking up a hammer gives ‘em the willies. Since Halloween is fast approaching, I decided to comfort those move-in folks by moving just south of I-20 and into the jagged borderland of Dallas and Lancaster. You’re still a close to the UNT DART Blue Line Station making public transit an option.
Legacy of Love across from The Melrose Hotel
Amid all the brouhaha about the negative connotations surrounding some monuments, one Dallas monument with a positive message needs our help. The Legacy of Love monument has resided at the corner of Oak Lawn Avenue and Cedar Springs Road since 2006. Y’all know where I mean — that triangle of land resulting from the clumsy turn onto Cedar Springs.
All monuments are symbols, but not all people like those symbols. The Legacy of Love monument has certainly been a sometime magnet for people who disagree with its message of inclusion. It’s been spray painted repeatedly and most recently the letter “L” has been stolen. While one imagines some troubled Laverne & Shirley fan as the culprit, with a replacement cost of $3,000, it’s no joke. On the more benign, but equally damaging note, it’s also served as a hard bumper in multiple car accidents (I said that corner is clumsy). Of course time also takes its toll.
On Nov. 2, the Oak Lawn Committee, caretakers of the monument, will have a fundraiser to fund the ongoing maintenance (and sometimes repair) of the monument. Sadly, the first $3,000 will now go to repair the latest stupid vandalism.