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.

09/05/17 8:30am

Snapshot of some Southern Dallas neighborhoods east of the Dallas Zoo.

Recently, I wrote that buyers looking for reasonably-priced homes close to the Dallas core needed to start looking south, specifically south of I-30 from I-35E to east of Fair Park. These are the areas that particularly fell prey to redlining. Once thriving areas in the midst of renewal, they offer some fab bargains and the opportunity to be part of rebuilding some neglected areas … deals unheard of in Oak Cliff and further north these days.  My self-imposed challenge was to use the DART’s light rail stops as a guide to southern Dallas.  Part of using DART was obviously the catchiness of the hook, but also because the folks most likely to move to this area are of a generation wanting more transit options outside a personal automobile.

It’s worth noting that there is an element of political will required as areas revitalize.  Because of that, it’s equally worth noting that notes were sent to the Dallas City Council members representing these districts (Rick Callahan, Dwaine Caraway, Kevin Felder, and Tennell Atkins) seeking community contacts and perhaps a chat about the areas they represent.  Over a week later, none have responded. Thankfully, I have blundered into some neighborhood contacts to add color and educate me.

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09/01/17 2:30pm

[Editor’s Note: This column reflects the opinion of the writer. It is not to be interpreted as the editorial position of CandysDirt.com]

The recent brouhaha surrounding Confederate monuments is a furtherance of the elimination of the Confederate flag that has gained steam in reaction to the white-supremacist leanings of our president and his supporters. It’s a pretty easy series of events to break down, made easier when our sitting president has David Duke stumping for him.  Ahh, David Duke, whose Wikipedia page opens with, “David Ernest Duke is an American white nationalist, politician, anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist, Holocaust denier, convicted felon, and former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.”
(Every parent’s dream.)

Prior to a few months ago, when you didn’t think about Confederate monuments at all, you may have thought these statues were the last remnants of a bygone and painful era never to be repeated again.  You’d be wrong.  Humanity habitually repeats history by changing the lyrics to the same tune.

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08/31/17 8:30am

Map of PD-15

For those just joining our story, the Pink Wall is pocket of multi-family condominiums bordering the mansions and McMansions of Preston Hollow located at the northeast corner of Northwest Highway and Preston Road.  Within the area is Planned Development District 15 (PD-15) that includes the buildings above and fronts Northwest Highway between the Preston Tower and Athena high-rises.

Because PDs operate differently than straight city zoning, a task force has been formed by Dallas City Council member Jennifer Gates and includes Plan Commissioner Margot Murphy with representatives from each of the PD-15 buildings as well as buildings in the neighborhood outside the PD.  The group is addressing the development issues facing the area since March’s Preston Place fire and a developer’s interest in the Diplomat property.  PD-15 began in 1947 and, as you can imagine, needs some updating to reflect the realities of this century. You can get up to speed here, here, here, here, here.

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08/30/17 8:30am

JEE-O’s Pure wall mount faucet

“There are two things that Jack Bauer never does. Show mercy and go to the bathroom.”

Kiefer Sutherland

In light of Hurricane Harvey, I thought we’d explore some of the better, less overwhelming aspects of water.  The first (OK, second) place we encounter water each day is our bathroom faucets. It should be functional, sure, but it should also be a beautiful way to kick off the day.

Faucets have long been my weakness since seeing Kallista ads in Architectural Digest in the 1980s (yes, I was that kid). Since then, as I renovate homes, I take special fun in picking really great faucets.  Sometimes I buy them in strange and exotic places like eBay, but I always get a deal.

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08/25/17 12:00pm

The Texas Trees Foundation, in conjunction with the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Urban Climate Lab, recently released a report on Dallas’ susceptibility to increased heat and ways to mitigate the impacts.  Titled, Dallas 2017: Urban Heat Management Study, it details the current expectations surrounding heat and climate change. But while most numbers you read about climate change talk in generalities, this report drills down into the ramifications for Dallas to areas approximately six blocks square.

The reason for the drill down is simple — vague doesn’t serve anyone.  In that vein, the report doesn’t evaluate the plethora of green technologies available, but instead focuses on trees/vegetation and reflective and porous roofing and roadway materials.  In the past few months, CandysDirt.com has talked about green roofing and other technologies (here, here) as part of flood mitigation. This report mentions but discards these due to cost and complexity … oh, and the Texas Tree Foundation sponsored the report, so sticking with what they know and all.

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Are Zestimates an invasion of privacy?

Back in May, Zillow was sued by several flippers in Chicago who were annoyed that Zestimates were undervaluing their flips (likely because the system hadn’t caught up) and bringing in bottom feeders using Zestimates as holy writ on appraised value and therefore purchase price.

In my May coverage, I noted that Zillow seemed to have an easily winnable case because Illinois law makes exceptions for using an “automated valuation model.” Simply, because it’s an algorithm analyzing data and not someone physically evaluating a property, it’s OK.  This morning, U.S. District Court Judge Amy St. Eve agreed with me when she dismissed that count of the lawsuit with prejudice (haha). Note: “with prejudice” means it can’t be tried again … it’s done.

However she also dismissed counts II-IV without prejudice, meaning they could be tried again, even though she ranks the odds of success as slim.

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08/24/17 9:18am

Yesterday’s Dallas City Council meeting saw Toll Brothers present their project that has wound its way for 18 months through the Oak Lawn Committee, an Oak Lawn Committee sub-committee, and back to the Oak Lawn Committee before last month being unanimously passed by City Plan Commission.

Throughout, we’ve seen various arguments against the project thrown at the wall only to slide off with a splat from either a lack of evidence or contradictory statements and actions.

Given that so little opposition showed up at Plan Commission and even fewer at yesterday’s council meeting, it seemed to be a fait acompli.

Nope.

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08/22/17 8:23am

If it’s Red, full steam ahead; if it’s Yellow, say “hello;” if it’s Blue, you might’ve missed your queue.

Last week, Seth Fowler wrote about a client of his looking for a home in the sub-$200,000 market close to his job in Bedford.  “Ted” had been on a roller coaster of 43 showings and 11 contract offers … still without a home eight months on and counting. In today’s Dallas, it’s a story that’s been accelerating since the housing market began recovering in 2013. While slacking in the upper end of the market, the entry level remains full steam ahead.

Also last week, Alex Macon posted on D Magazine’s Frontburner about the legacy of redlining and a new set of charts overlaying 1930s redline maps against the current racial makeup of Dallas (U.S. Census data).  It’s clear that the 30-year pox of redlining, from the 1930s until 1968, still infects the Dallas landscape (as it does nationwide in many previously redlined areas).

But what’s the reality? I’m going to find out.

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