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.

09/25/18 11:55am

Uptown’s next high-rise

Even sitting on a beach chair in North Africa, I felt this. A few days ago (hey, I’m on vacation), a 53,000-square-foot McKinney Avenue parcel lifted its skirt to the market.  I phrase it that way because 2523 McKinney has an asking price of $34 million … for 1.216712 acres.

Good lord, you could buy Walnut Place for that.

We’re talking about four lots owned by OR Asset Holdings that are being marketed as one development plot. OR Holdings is Oscar Renda, who purchased three of the lots in May 2010, picking up the final one in November 2013. The lots are:

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09/25/18 8:25am

There are only two homes currently for sale at the Ritz Residences in tower one, and they’re both skirting 3,000 square feet. And they both have one-of-a-kind floor plans. And they’re both listed with the same agent – Sharon Quist with Dave Perry-Miller. And one’s on the 18th floor, the other the penthouse 19th. And yes, 51 square feet is (sorta) all that separates them.

Since we’re at the Ritz, let’s start at the top. Unit 1901 clocks in at 2,928 square feet with two bedrooms and two full and one half bathroom. Pretty standard stuff at the Ritz. But how about 12-foot ceilings, and as you can see above, 891 square feet of terrace. And yes, it’s a terrace. You and I have balconies. It’s co-listed with Dave Perry-Miller agents Sharon Quist and Curt Elliott for a straight $3 million.

I think it’s safe to say that in urban living and especially Ritzy urban living, that nearly a grand of terrace space might just be worth the $300,000 more than the other unit, but I’m outdoorsy. So outdoorsy that when I viewed the units with Quist, we decided to sample the amenities of living at the Ritz-Carlton — room service.

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09/21/18 9:40am

One of the main criticisms for Pink Wall redevelopment is the fear (real or imagined) that the traffic that results from increased PD-15 density will overwhelm the neighborhood. But does it have to?

With a little creative reimagining, I think increased density could be virtually unnoticeable on the Pink Wall’s interior roads. I sense the same sneers of disbelief produced by reading studies that show traffic along Northwest Highway and Preston Road has been decreasing for nearly 20 years.

Let me explain.

The graphic above shows PD-15 (light yellow) and the major interior streets north of Northwest Highway. There is currently a traffic signal at Pickwick Lane and Northwest Highway. On the western end, the first signaled intersection is at Thackery (off the map). Edgemere Road is not signaled.

Any rejigging of the traffic pattern has to address fears and offer a solution.

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09/19/18 9:30am

Preston Center

Back in 2016, I took St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church to task on a bunch of things. The biggest being that while their representative was sitting silent on the Preston Center Task Force they were secretly negotiating with developers to plonk a 250,000 square foot office building on Douglas Avenue. After that scathing take-down, I was surprised when they reached out to me to review their new and improved plans for the site.

You’ve likely read the press release in the DMN from Sept. 6, but I wanted to sit down and get some additional detail. I met with the church’s team fairly quickly, so this delayed column is my fault (busy, busy).

The press release piqued my snark when I noted that in the scant two-page release the Preston Center Area Plan was mentioned eight times … eight … times. When I sat down with the team, it was one of the first things I said … eight times? Their spin was that it showed their commitment. I told them it raised my suspicion meter that there was something to hide. They were surprised at my reaction assuring me there was no hiding … but eight times.

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09/17/18 9:00am

Manafort’s Long Island Home at 174 Jobs Lane, Water Mill, New York

In the first of two trials, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty in August on eight of 18 counts of fraud. All that kept him from being found guilty on all 18 counts was a lone juror.

The “witch hunt” had found another witch. Not eager for a potentially worse repeat at his upcoming second trial, Manafort cut a deal with the feds pleading guilty (admitting his witchcraft) and agreeing to surrender a bunch of assets including some real estate some are valuing at $22 million.

In a “birds of a feather” twist, Manafort’s spec builder son-in-law Jeffrey Yohai filed for bankruptcy in 2016 as four multi-million dollar (unsold) spec homes fell into foreclosure. The whole affair also ignited lawsuits by Dustin Hoffman and others claiming Yohai was running a Ponzi scheme. No stranger to legal troubles, Yohai and wife Jessica Manafort were sued for running an illegal Airbnb operation from their three New York apartments – in the middle of divorce proceedings.

But hey, it’s easy to get lost down a rat hole, let’s just concentrate on what the elder Manafort is forfeiting … over on SecondShelters.com.

09/14/18 9:45am

The latest PD-15 meeting was interesting and odd. Unlike in prior meetings, this session was more of a conversation between committee members and city staffers Andrew Ruegg, Neva Dean and City Plan Commissioner Margot Murphy. It was a chance to ask questions of staff and each other to explore the next steps and possibilities moving forward.

It was also a time to debunk some misinformation. Personally, I think the more free-flowing conversation was needed. The committee had absorbed plenty of information from the city and the neighborhood, and needed to make some sense of it to begin piecing it together. (more…)

09/12/18 3:36pm

There are two columns today on the Oak Lawn Committee’s (OLC) latest meeting because there were really two agendas. First, was the business of reviewing the Crescent’s proposed redo of 2401 Cedar Springs and then the internal battle to wrest control of the committee towards a more developer-heavy make-up.

It began with a few bylaw changes proposed by a committee made up of four prior OLC presidents and Kyle Lyon who was later nominated as vice-president for the coming year. The changes were simple enough and targeted at strengthening the OLC’s position within the city’s development process. Those three changes were:

  1. Limiting membership to people who live, operate a business or own property within the PD-193 boundaries, but excluding investors who own shares in an entity that holds title to property. While every owner views their ownership as an asset, it was viewed that those who are merely investors (e.g. stockholders) were most interested in their investment over the neighborhood as a whole. It was said this change would affect one member.

In large part because of this proposed change, OLC vice-president Leland Burk sent an email to The Melrose Hotel, without OLC board knowledge, alerting them to the coming change and broadly hinting they would not be welcome under the new rules. The OLC board only found out when The Melrose started calling for answers. It was a disrespectful action, meant to whip up controversy.

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09/12/18 3:19pm

Before the hostilities erupted surrounding the eventual control of the Oak Lawn Committee, Crescent Properties presented a project to refresh 2401 Cedar Springs Road. It’s a 1987 building at Maple Avenue and Cedar Springs Road that’s across the street from both Coalvines Pizza and another recent OLC-vetted project, Granite’s Cedar Maple.

The biggest visual change is the reimagining of the terribly dated, granite-clad turret with its odd bell tower-shaped cupola. As you see above, the granite is gone, revealing a glass cylinder. However, there’s more to see on the ground level. On the left side (Maple Avenue) will be a new white tablecloth restaurant anchoring a new, more transparent ground floor lobby.

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