The three-bedroom, one-bath gem at 1611 Centerville Road offers a unique combination of midcentury charm and modern amenities. The home was originally built in 1950.  Its previous owner, who also just happened to have grown up there, remodeled it after his parents passed away. The renovations he made added necessary updates while restoring much of the original character.

Dallas City Center Realtor Scott Noblett helped him sell the house a few years ago, and was impressed with the pride he took in renovating it. Now that the current owner is moving on, he’s looking forward to finding another family who will fall in love with this one-of-a-kind property.

“It’s such a charming little house,” Dallas City Center Realtor Scott Noblett said. “It has a lot of the original hardwood floors that have been beautifully refurbished. It’s super inviting and makes you feel really comfortable.”

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By Deb R. Brimer

Redeveloper Jim Lake can write a book about red tape. Another year has come and gone since Jim Lake Companies (JLC) purchased the historic Ambassador Hotel in 2015 to redevelop into chic apartments, and the only visible sign of progress is that the once-grand 115-year-old landmark just got another year older.

According to the Dallas Morning News, JLC initially planned to start construction around the middle of 2016 after moving through the state and federal historic landmark processes, but the Ambassador didn’t receive official designations until the end of 2018.

The only things that move slower than history are the processes for preserving it, it would seem.

Back when it was known as the Park Hotel, and as the Majestic before that, the building hosted all sorts of dignitaries and celebrities.

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“Big” and “cheap” are two of the words I use to describe my current home. Far from pejorative, they’re watch words for folks who want to live somewhere better than they thought they could afford. In my case, “big” and “cheap” were what I needed to renovate. But this big and cheap condo was already renovated in 2016.

We’re talking about a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo boasting 1,204 square feet for $145,000 that’s listed with Apryl Jolas of Coldwell Banker Residential. For cooks, there’s a Tom Thumb two blocks away and Preston Hollow Village’s Trader Joes is five minutes away. I’m talking about 10562 High Hollows Drive, unit #147. That’s west of Central Expressway between Walnut Hill and Royal Lanes. On the plus side, it’s in a multi-family area mixed with condos and apartments. On the upside, it looks like no one’s selling out for redevelopment — I see that plenty of cash has been splashed out on condo and apartment renovations. Stability is a good thing.

Another good thing?  The $596-per-month HOA dues include utilities! Crank up the air in August and have a parka party. All totaled, with a 30-year mortgage, HOA dues and taxes, you’re looking at about $1,500 per month. Drop the mortgage to 15-years and you’re looking at about $1,800 per month.

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Windmass Capital’s Vision for Colorado Blvd at Marsalis Ave in North Oak Cliff

After over a year of meeting with neighbors, stakeholders, and City of Dallas staff, the WindMass Capital development team has thrown in the towel just before this Wednesday’s City Council meeting where they would have been on the agenda to move forward on a very complicated deal.

WindMass owns the Founders Square Apartments. Over the decades the building became surrounded on three sides by Oak Cliff‘s Founders Park. Long story short, they hoped to swap their 1.37 acres for the adjacent 1.37 acres on the corner of Colorado Blvd. and Marsalis Ave., build a new mixed-use apartment building with retail on the ground floor, then demolish their old building, give it to the city all cleaned up like park land should be, and give a half million dollars to the city for additional park improvements. Sounds pretty crazy amazing, doesn’t it?

As Willis Winters, Director of the Park Department, said at the last Park Board meeting, the city has tried to purchase this property for years to make Founders Park more contiguous, but hasn’t been able to afford it.  This project would essentially accomplish that goal for the Parks Department.

Even neighbors and stakeholders were in support, a rare feat in itself!

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saragosa

Builders of Hope CDC’s affordable condo project in the Bishop Arts District, the Saragosa (seen in the foreground), will make homeowners of Dallasites that might not otherwise be able to afford to enter the market (Photos courtesy 3D Immersion Tours).

[Editor’s note: Merry Christmas! This week, we’re taking time off to focus on our loved ones, so we are sharing some of our favorite stories from this year. Keep an eye out for our top features from the archives as we rest and get ready for a brilliant 2019! Cheers, from Candy and the entire staff at CandysDirt.com!]

As new construction of single-family homes continues to become more expensive, even existing homes in affordable price points can be as fine as hen’s teeth in high-demand areas like the Bishop Arts District of Oak Cliff. But one community development corporation is aiming to change that — starting with one condo development.

It’s been a steady refrain for almost a year among economists and builders — construction nationally isn’t getting any cheaper, with tariffs, skilled labor shortages, increases in land costs, and increased costs in construction materials. In February, it was almost certainly the consensus at an affordable housing conference at the Dallas Federal Reserve that one entire segment of new single-family home construction — homes priced less than $200,000 — had virtually disappeared from the market. A study in May of the area all but confirmed it. (more…)

The US Census Bureau, along with researchers from Harvard and Brown universities, tracked the economic trajectories of 20 million children beginning in the mid-1980s (aged mid-30s today). The result is the Opportunity Atlas, an interactive map that overlays multiple data points onto each of the 70,000 Census tracks in the country (a Census tract contains 4,200 people). Data tracked includes parental income level, race and gender along with incarceration rates.

The most interesting conclusions showed that while average neighborhood income is certainly a key indicator, neighborhoods with similar incomes, in close proximity, produced startlingly different outcomes for children. It’s here where I’ll say that while the data collected can be used by policymakers to influence spending and programs, there is no specific “eureka” that turns around the economic trajectories of a neighborhood’s children. Bethany Erickson already looked at this issue thoroughly, but there is more to be said about the numbers.

The major levers are neighborhood income (what I’ll call “hope”), two-parent households (familial stability), rates of incarceration (despair) and, of course, race and gender. What’s interesting is that easy conclusions can’t really be made. There’s a “secret sauce” at work.

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shipping container homes

Cotton Groves in McKinney is the nation’s first residential neighborhood made entirely of shipping containers.

Repurposing shipping containers into buildings, so-called cargotecture, isn’t a brand new concept, but it’s groundbreaking for Habitat for Humanity of Collin County, which hopes to build 35 affordable homes in Cotton Groves, the nation’s first residential neighborhood built entirely from upcycled steel containers.

Habitat affiliates in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Ohio have explored building affordable housing from shipping containers. Collin County’s Habitat CEO, Celeste Cox, says the first model townhouse should be ready by the end of October or mid-November.

When complete next year, the Cotton Groves neighborhood will contain 35 shipping container homes, a community center, and a playground on the 2.75 acre plot near McKinney’s small airport on the east side of town. But first, Habitat must raise the $4.5 million during an upcoming capital campaign needed to fund the complete development. (more…)

Even though housing sales in Texas fell 3.2 percent, demand is still strong, the Texas A&M Real Estate Center’s June Housing Insight revealed. The same report revealed that Dallas’ affordable housing problems aren’t anywhere close to abating.

The report said that the Texas Residential Construction Cycle (Coincident) Index reached its highest level since 2008 last month, largely thanks to construction employment and wages. The index measures current construction activity in the state.

Housing shortages seem to have spurred an increase in supply activity, as the inventory of vacant developed lots rose 3.3 percent in Dallas-Fort Worth. However, single-family housing construction fell 1.8 percent in the second quarter. Texas is still at the top of the market with 16 percent of the national total for permits, though, and Dallas-Fort worth comes in at a strong second to Houston’s permit activity with 3,295. (more…)