Kessler Park

Photos courtesy East Kessler Park Neighborhood Association

By Deb R. Brimer
Contributing Writer

East Kessler Park is a breathtaking mix of storied historic homes and natural beauty. The neighborhood not only contains the largest collection of eclectic architecture within the city of Dallas, its residential patriarch The Rock Lodge – is among the oldest masonry structures in Dallas County.

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Community residents attended an information session regarding the authorized hearing process that could completely transform the neighborhood surrounding Hampton and Clarendon roads.

By Michael Amonett
Guest Columnist

An authorized hearing has been set in motion to rezone an area in Oak Cliff at the intersection of Hampton and Clarendon roads.  The area was once a small farming community settled in the 1870s called Jimtown. Clarendon Road was Jimtown Road, and was built along the old Santa Fe Railroad right of way.  Historic buildings and car repair shops dot the area, including the Sunset Theater built in 1922 at 1112 S. Hampton. The theater partially burned in 1957 and today is part of the M.S. Lumber Yard.  Oak Cliff was annexed into Dallas in 1903, and Jimtown was annexed later in 1915.

Authorized hearings can be initiated by an applicant, the City Council, or can start with the City Planning Commission.  This particular one was authorized by the CPC and former CPC member Chad West at the behest of some of the area commercial property owners.  The area fronting Hampton is currently zoned Community Retail (CR). Clarendon is also zoned CR as well as Community Services (CS). There is a small parcel adjacent to the CS zoning on Clarendon that is zoned exclusively for parking and approximately 45 single-family homes in the southwest corner are zoned multi-family.  

These zoning classifications are outdated and unstable.  The single-family homes can become apartments or shared-access condos by right at any time.  The one- and two-story historic buildings that sit directly on Clarendon and Hampton roads can be torn down for a CVS or a Wells Fargo and pulled back away from the street with parking in the front.  Not only would you lose irreplaceable historic resources, you’d lose the current urban streetscape forms that interact with pedestrians and cyclists and replace them with parking lots that break up the historic block-face.  The businesses inside these buildings currently are stable mom-and-pop businesses; most of them Latino.

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Davis St looking west to N. Zang Blvd. from the CVS sidewalk.

If it’s been a few months since you last drove through the Davis/Zang intersection near the Bishop Arts District, you likely wouldn’t recognize where you are now. Buildings five stories tall are going up on three of the four corners, and a new CVS stands where El Corazón was. Melba St., on the other side of the district, is beginning to feel like the State Thomas neighborhood of Uptown: mid-rise apartments and town homes on all sides with a small historic home here or there.

Not only are the streets torn up from increasing utility sizes to accommodate the growth and reconstructing complete streets, but there are about 20 large-scale residential and commercial projects currently under construction in North Oak Cliff, totaling more than a quarter of a billion dollars of investment and adding more than 1,200 units.

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From the 1940s through the 1960s, developers slung together a small development northwest of the Dallas Executive (Redbird) Airport called Kimball Estates, complete with relaxing street names like Oak Arbor and Shoreline Drives along with Shady Hollow and Drowsy Lanes. The two homes on Telstar Drive were among the last, named after the first satellites to carry “tele” signals … graph, phone, and vision. In 1948 when 3848 Shady Hollow Lane was built, it was pretty much radio all the way.

The homes in this neighborhood are generally good-sized, ranch-style designs with a few dormered second stories here and there.  Prices are pretty sweet, too.  For example, 3848 Shady Hollow is a three-bedroom ranch with two bathrooms and 1,746 square feet on an 85- by 129-foot lot.  It’s listed for $169,900 by Patty Tafoya Valenzuela of Century 21 Judge Fite.

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This morning’s panel discussion on Oak Cliff: Challenges + Opportunities for the Urban Neighborhood was a strikingly honest — almost uncomfortably honest — conversation, both between the panelists and in the Q&A. The panel brought together two well-established Oak Cliff developers — David Spence of Good Space and Monte Anderson of Options Real Estate — and two newer developers — Michael Nazerian of Exxir Capital and Wade Johns of Alamo Manhattan. The DFW REimagined breakfast seminar was hosted by one of Munsch, Hardt, Kopf, & Harr’s recent additions to their law team, Angela Hunt, who is overseeing zoning and development regulations.

Conversation cues were well-curated. We learned of Anderson’s “gentle-fication” process, Nazerian’s pivotal “ah-ha!” moment in the West Village, and the stark contrast in development processes Johns has experienced in Seattle and Portland versus Dallas.

They all seemed to agree that “Developers create the canvas for people to bring the place alive,” as Nazerian put it. And that even developers with good intentions can get “pushed around by the market,” Anderson said.

The agreement began to unravel when Hunt started asking about gentrification, which resulted in one of the most educated discussions on this topic as I’ve ever heard. Many who think of developing in Oak Cliff imagine the pushback from engaged citizen activists, such as those who attended the first community meeting with Alamo Manhattan in the Second story of Eno’s years ago.

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Everything from an Eames Lounge Chair to a refurbished stereo system can be found at Lula B's Oak Cliff. Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography

Everything from an Eames Lounge Chair to a refurbished stereo system can be found at Lula B’s Oak Cliff. Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography

The thrill of the hunt — finding the perfect personality piece for your home is a never-ending journey. The lure of finding something really special, getting it for a bargain price, and having a great story about where it came from is priceless. It makes you want another, and another, and another. Fortunately for all of us Dallas Dwellers we have two Lula B’s locations where we can treasure hunt to our hearts content, and possibly do what this Lifestylist has done — become part of the Lula B’s family. (more…)

3822 Treeline - Exterior 1

Driving up to this home, many thoughts pop into your head:

“Quick, call Elon Musk, I’ve got a Solar Shingles test house for him.”  

“Did the first floor fall into a sinkhole?” 

“One slip and Santa’s dead.”

“Honey, if the roof ain’t new, keep driving.”

Well, the roof is new … along with most everything else.

The home was listed in July 2016 for $138,000 and sold about two months later.  A pinch over three months after that, 3822 Treeline Drive is back on the market for $285,000 with Laura Gambini Anderson of William Davis Realty. So yeah, it’s a flip.  But it’s also a spacious 2,025 square foot “new” home with three bedrooms and two full bathrooms waiting for a no-fuss, no-muss buyer.

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Looks like there could be a new mixed-use or multi-family development coming, as Charlie Perdue of Perdue Equities Company has listed this 2 acre site on Greenbrier with unobstructed downtown Dallas views. Trust me, this is an incredible lot, and is right in the Oak Cliff Gateway.

“The site would be ideal for a seven- to 10-story (three to four stories of parking included) multi-family project that could take advantage of the maximum height allowances and unobstructed views of downtown Dallas,” Perdue said. “Within the Oak Cliff Gateway zoning ordinance, this site is one of the only places you can achieve maximum height (20 stories) without the residential proximity slope restricting the number of feet you can build up.”

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