Three projects were reviewed at this month’s Oak Lawn Committee. One was a school addition, one was yet another apartment building, and the third was this looker of an office building. Since I feel pretty (oh so pretty?) tonight, I’m going to walk you through the looker first. That’s not to say the school isn’t nice, too … it’s just not this.

(more…)

Oak Lawn Heights

A hail of early morning gunfire disrupted and terrified residents on one street in Oak Lawn Heights Sunday (photos courtesy Sharmin Ashtaputre)

Sharmin Ashtaputre’s family has never really felt unsafe in their Oak Lawn Heights neighborhood in the four years they’ve lived there. But early Sunday morning, that sense of safety was shattered as bullets rained down in their daughter’s nursery.

“At 5:30 a.m. today, we were woken up by what sounded like fireworks,” Ashtaputre said. “Well, it was two moving cars shooting at each other, and they picked our street.”

“My husband and I woke up within the first couple of shots and there were over 40.” (more…)

Last night’s Oak Lawn Committee meeting was different. There was no developer wanting to build a 500-unit apartment building in a teacup. There was only a neighbor seeking support for a worthy cause.

Preservation architect Ann Abernathy spoke to the OLC about a conservancy group’s masterplan for the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Kalita Humphreys Theater that sits on the banks of Turtle Creek between Blackburn Street and Lemmon Avenue. I give the location because unless you recognized Wright’s font lettering the building or grasped some of the few remaining interior Wright elements, the only way you know the building is a Wright is because someone told you.

Today the building, once the toast of Dallas live theater, might understandably be pictured as part of an architectural thesis covering bastardization. The 1959 building dates from the last period of Wright’s career when his style turned to circles. In fact, Wright died before the theater was complete.

(more…)

Homage to The Melrose (“oops” on all those cars in the rendering … foreshadowing?)

Last night’s Oak Lawn Committee meeting was a little more precise with their Robert’s Rules than prior meetings.  Given the past few tense months (here, here), I’m not surprised that precision is being used to combat disruption. However, while not disruptive, one member seemed hell-bent on chucking the evening’s projects through the chute by calling for a vote on both projects presented with his first breath.  Presenting projects and gaining support from the OLC isn’t a race nor a duty to be dispatched.

The first project is so far known as 2929 Oak Lawn Avenue, but Dallas folks will know it as the awful Office Depot next to the historic Melrose Hotel. The hotel, originally known as the Melrose Court Apartment and Hotel was built in 1924 and granted Dallas Landmark status in 1983.  Prior to the hotel, the corner was the homestead of the Mellersh farm.

(more…)

It’s difficult to be in two places at once.  That’s what a reporter’s contacts are for. In addition to last night’s Pink Wall towers’ meeting at the Athena, the Oak Lawn Committee held their monthly clambake (their first since the Lincoln Katy Trail ordeal).

As if to bookend that contention, Prescott arrived with their proposal to redevelop 5.5 acres on Turtle Creek sandwiched between The Mansion on Turtle Creek and the Turtle Creek Gardens condos.  The site at 2727 Turtle Creek is the former home of Republic Insurance.

(more…)

Capacity crowd on hand to watch the OLC fritter away its credibility

By a narrow margin, Lincoln Property won support from the Oak Lawn Committee in a 16-to-14 vote for their Lincoln Katy Trail project on Carlisle and Hall Streets Wednesday night.  This pivotal vote essentially opens up MF-2 zoned properties (36 feet in height) in the area east of the Katy Trail, from Uptown to West Village (if not further afield), for redevelopment.  I say “opens” because, should City Plan Commission and Council approve this project, developers will use it as exemplar for increased density in Oak Lawn and the OLC will have lost their credibility to stop them.

Already we know that the Carlisle on the Katy, located across from the Lincoln project, plans their own up-zone. The last plans called for a pair of high-rises with former Dallas City Council member Angela Hunt signed on to help. Additionally, on the next block, Sutton Place had been seeking a developer buyout for several years.

(more…)

At last week’s Lincoln meeting at Turtle Creek Terrace concerning their Lincoln Katy Trail project a question was asked about affordable housing units.  It was asked how many Toll Brothers was providing.  Some didn’t think there were any affordable units in that project.  I volunteered that there was a 10 percent affordable component.

I was wrong.

Toll Brothers is reserving three percent of their units as affordable (9 units) but they are also going to accept Section 8 vouchers (“over 12”) making for a combined 7-ish percent of units that will be available below market rates.

My mixup was from a proposed project by Alliance at Cole and Armstrong (Broadstone) that is offering a 10 percent affordable component (and who, along with Lincoln, will be presenting at tomorrow’s Oak Lawn Committee meeting at the Melrose Hotel at 6:30 p.m. … open to all).

I’m writing this to clarify (I don’t like being inaccurate), but also to propitiate a note from Angela Hunt correcting my 10 percent claim by noting the city told her the number was 3 percent affordable … though she did not account for the Section 8 component. 

 

Remember:  High-rises, HOAs and renovation are my beat. But I also appreciate modern and historical architecture balanced against the YIMBY movement.  If you’re interested in hosting a Candysdirt.com Staff Meeting event, I’m your guy. In 2016 and 2017, the National Association of Real Estate Editors has recognized my writing with two Bronze (2016, 2017) and two Silver (2016, 2017) awards.  Have a story to tell or a marriage proposal to make?  Shoot me an email sharewithjon@candysdirt.com.

Gridlock traffic on Hall Street walking to 6 p.m. Lincoln meeting

I could open by saying this was a full house, but the room in question wasn’t large, seating approximately 30 people.  So “full” would be misleading.  Most of the attendees appeared to be owners hoping to sell their property to Lincoln for their Lincoln Katy Trail project on Carlisle and Hall Streets. There was some friction from neighbors opposed to the project.

That friction mostly boiled down to the traffic study supplied. It states delays from the project would not result in more than 35 additional trips and a second of added delay during peak traffic hour. After the meeting I chatted with Lincoln representative Angela Hunt about the traffic conclusions and why they make no sense to most people.

(more…)