Banister Court closet

You might buy this West Plano home for the unbelievable walk-in closet alone, but that’s not to say the rest of this 10,256-square-foot home isn’t fantastic in its own right. This six-bedroom, eight-bath home at 5609 Banister Court is listed at $3.95 million by Matthew Rice of The Trophy Group. But first, a little delayed gratification.

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Collinwood House moves

Driving a house down Spring Creek Parkway takes patience and a lot more shimmying than you’d think. “Nudge over to the left a foot,” Billy Lemons yells out over the radio. “I don’t want to jump that curb if I don’t have to.”

Lemons moves houses for a living. His company, Lemons House Moving of Whitesboro, Texas, has been moving large structures like these since 1963, when his father first founded the business.

On this day, Billy is moving the Collinwood House, Plano’s oldest home built in 1862, about a mile down the road. For years, the city has tried to figure out what to do with the Gothic revival home that belonged to one of Plano’s founding families. The Civil War-era home was almost torn down because the city and voting taxpayers didn’t want to foot the bill for restoring it. But Collinwood got its happy ending when Clint Haggard and the Haggard family stepped forward to move the home onto their nearby farmland.

Collinwood

At left, Billy Lemons talks to his crew during the Collinwood House move on Sept. 19.

Clint Haggard drives a tractor to aid the truck that’s carrying the Collinwood house.

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Harry!

I met Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere at a beautiful dinner party last Thursday evening, and I am besmitten. Not only do we share the same city route to life in Dallas —  via New York City —  he is one of the most dedicated young politicos I have ever met. The fact that he is The One guiding Plano through its super growth spurt fascinated me. Who is this interesting man running the show in what was once a sleepy farm bedroom community of Dallas, a suburb the Dallas elite very much disdained in the 1990s? Get a load of this quote from a story written about Plano housing in 1998:

Jeff Witt, the long-range planner for the city of Frisco who held the same job in Plano for 2/2 years, fears a manufactured slum. “1 was always concerned with the housing stock in Piano,” he says. “You have people who don*l want to invest in their houses. Ultimately, you have a very expensive deteriorating structure.” Witt says that the irony of the looming problem of shoddy Piano (sic, I think they mean Plano) housing is that it is a direct result of the city’s incredible growth and success. Perhaps the biggest reason the city has been able to attract some of the best companies in America is the affordable housing. Developers who erected hundreds of homes a year and kept unit costs down could sell for cheap and still maintain a solid profit margin, and employees transferred from Los Angeles or Phoenix or Boston were amazed to find 3.000 square feet for $250,000. The waves of migratory rich moved to North Texas, and, in a state where unions have always been weak, the work of laying bricks or installing carpentry-jobs traditionally performed by trained, unionized craftsmen-was done by workers with no specialized training. Although cheap labor almost always equals cheap workmanship, all the elements necessary for an unparalleled building boom were there: an abundance of low-wage immigrant workers, low interest rates, and great schools. The race was on.

Well then, cheap houses and all —

But the halcyon present is every day inching its way toward a precarious future. Jeff Witt, for one, is worried about that. “Plano is perceived as a very affluent town,” he says. “It’s a nice ZIP code to have. But that perception can change very quickly.”

Really? Now Plano is a near world-class city competing for, and snagging, some of the top businesses in the U.S.A. And where the hell is Jeff Witt?

And Plano has Harry! (more…)

2010-lexus-hs-250h_9I knew the news was hot when my nephew, who works in the film industry in LA, texted me that Toyota was moving its headquarters to Dallas. No, I texted back, they are moving to Plano. It’s a big change, he said, and also thinks California taxes and cost of living may have played a role.

Whatever, we will soon be welcoming 4,000 newcomers to North Texas.  A press release from the Japanese-based car manufacturer says the move said is “designed to better serve customers and position Toyota for sustainable, long-term growth.” According to the LA Times article James sent me, Torrance California will lose 3,000 employees to “macho” Texas and leave it’s 2 million square foot office complex in Torrance, well, empty. (more…)

Dallas Housing Prices Go up

According to the most recent report from CoreLogic, the Dallas-Plano-Irving MSA ranked seventh in year-over-year home price growth among the 100 statistical areas the firm measures in its Housing Price Index with a 9.4 percent increase in prices (excluding distressed sales) through the year ending in December 2013.

Houston, which ranked sixth, showed a 10.7 percent increase in prices YoY. Leading the pack was the East Los Angeles suburban MSA of Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.

CoreLogic’s report showed some pretty optimistic predictions for 2014, saying that home prices, excluding distressed sales, should rise 9.4 percent over the next year, or 10.2 percent overall. That’s a decline from 2013 numbers, which had 11 percent growth in home prices nationwide. Still, national housing prices are 18 percent below their August 2006 peak.

“Last year, home prices rose 11 percent, the highest rate of annual increase since 2005, and 10 states and the District of Columbia reached all-time price peaks,”said CoreLogic chief economist Dr. Mark Fleming. “We expect the rising prices to attract more sellers, unlocking this pent-up supply, which will have a moderating effect on prices in 2014.”

Goodness knows we could use some of that moderating effect in Dallas, where investors have bought up many of the homes usually purchased by first-time homebuyers, and the prices of single-family homes are keeping younger buyers out of the market.

9812 Saint Annes Front

There’s a subtle line with traditional decor that you don’t want to cross. Often what starts out as a great traditional formal living room sometimes veers into the over-done swag curtain abyss. Luckily, this gorgeous West Plano home inside Ridgeview Ranch Estates is on the tasteful side of traditional.

Things you’ll love about this home right off the bat: The two-sided fireplace that adds warmth and ambiance to both the den and formal living rooms; the open formal dining room that blends seamlessly with the formal living room; the lovely golf course views.

9812 Saint Annes Formal L

Listed by Vivo Real Estate’s Bernice Maez for $289,900, this West Plano home is in perfect shape for a family to move right in and start living. It has four bedrooms, three baths, and 2,700 square feet. There’s a two-plus car garage, perfect for parking both family vehicles and even a golf cart, too, should you want to take advantage of the links in this fantastic community.

9812 Saint Annes Fireplace 9812 Saint Annes Kitchen

Another great feature of Ridgeview Ranch is that it feeds into top-scoring Frisco ISD schools. And considering that there is plenty of space in this home, you’ll have tons of room for your teenagers to be close, but not too close. The kitchen is a great hangout place for doing homework, thanks to the great breakfast area and open layout. With custom backsplash, granite counters, and stainless steel appliances, it’s an eyeful, too.

9812 Saint Annes Master

The master suite is well-appointed, but I’m not in love with the carpet (full disclosure: I am rarely ever in love with carpet). Still, the tray ceiling makes it feel elegant. The color on the walls is a bit overpowering. It’d look fantastic in a neutral gray or greenish beige with a bright white paint on the ceiling and maybe a graphic rug beneath the bed to add symmetry.

9812 Saint Annes Master Bath

The master bath is huge, but thanks to the wallpaper, it feels a bit dated. Don’t let that discourage you, though, as these spacious vanities, separate garden tub and shower, as well as walk-in closets, should be enough to persuade you to buy and do a tiny bit of work remodeling. Trust me, it’ll be worth it!

 

9812 Saint Annes Backyard 9812 Saint Annes Golf CourseOutside you’ve got that fantastic view of the course, which is absolutely verdant come spring. You’ve also got room for a lovely garden, and a rear patio that is fantastic for grilling with friends.

 

While Trulia consider’s Dallas to be overvalued, Local Market Monitor‘s report says that the Dallas-Irving-Plano market is actually under-priced in the neighborhood of 12 percent.

That’s interesting news from these economic analysts. Local Market Monitor is predicting that home prices will grow 9 percent over the next 12 months, but will top out at 10 percent total growth for 2015 and beyond. Still, the firm considers our fair burg to be “low risk” for investment, and a strong rental market, too. That’s good news for all of the multifamily projects slated to come on line this year.

Economic growth has been strong since the recession. Growth was strong in the past year, with good job gains in almost all sectors, including the important finance sector (banking). Unemployment is below average. Expect strong growth the next few years.

There have been small waves of home price increases in response to surges of in-migration in the past. Prices were higher in the past year. Population growth continues high, with high in-migration. Home prices are high. There is a large renter population. Expect a strong housing market the next few years.

How does that wash with your predictions for 2014? Will job growth in Dallas-Plano-Irving continue to top the national average, fueling greater price growth? Or will prices stabilize, and investors find more niches in transitioning neighborhoods?

Tell us your thoughts!

Plaza Retail Looking East Along State Street

Less than a decade ago, “transit-oriented development” was a buzzword you couldn’t escape. It was heralded by DART Rail boosters as a way to make mass transit and greater urban density more palatable and accessible. Since then we haven’t seen much in the way of successful transit-oriented development, as even Mockingbird Station — the project that was touted as a model for such building concepts — has had ups and downs.

But with more people moving to Dallas, and many of them coming from areas where mass transit is a way of life, not just a talking point, transit-oriented development is resurfacing, too.

In fact, a completely new development slated for a 186-acre tract adjacent to the Bush Turnpike DART Rail station and straddling Plano Road. Developer KDC has dubbed the project “CityLine” as it sits between both Richardson and Plano.

State Farm has already signed on to lease 1.5 million square feet inside its three office towers, which will total 2.3 million square feet in the project’s initial phase. There will be 92,000 square feet of retail as well as 3,925 multi-family housing units.

According to Walkable DFW’s Patrick Kennedy, the success of this development is as yet unclear, especially considering that this project “has changed hands several times already,” he said via Twitter. The big winner, according to him, will be downtown Plano.

You can read the buzzword-laden press release in full below. Do you think that this project is the kind of “new urbanism” that will make suburbs more sustainable?

KDC ANNOUNCES PROJECT NAME AND PLANS FOR INITIAL PHASE OF 186- ACRE TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT IN RICHARDSON, TEXAS 

Newly named “CityLine” development to feature hotel, retail, multi-family, fitness,

medical and office space 

RICHARDSON, Texas – (October 24, 2013)  – Developer KDC today announced plans for the initial phase of its transit-oriented development located on 186 acres in Richardson, Texas.  The company also announced the name of the development: CityLine. 

“The name CityLine was a natural choice as the development is on the border of two great cities: Richardson and Plano,” said KDC’s Walt Mountford.  “It’s adjacent to DART’s existing light rail station and is also surrounded by key highways and two major thoroughfares.  CityLine will be an instant city with a true urban environment.”

The $600 million, 2.3 million-square-foot initial phase of CityLine is slated for completion in early 2015.  It includes KDC’s property west of Plano Road and adjacent to the DART light rail station.  Project specifics include dense urban restaurant, retail and entertainment space; a contemporary 150-room select service hotel; 520 new urbanism multi-family residential units; an 18,000-square-foot wellness and fitness facility; a 41,000-square-foot medical office building; and a 3.5-acre park with trails, all woven within the recently announced 1.5 million square feet of office towers leased by State Farm. 

“CityLine has been a team sport, and KDC has been fortunate to work with great designers and development partners to create an outstanding place for the community,” said Steve Van Amburgh, KDC’s CEO.  “I can’t think of another development that, upon opening, will completely integrate over 1.5 million square feet of office with retail, restaurant, entertainment, multi-family, medical, fitness, and hospitality uses into an exciting experience for all who live in DFW.”

The focal point of the initial phase will be CityLine Plaza, a centrally located urban plaza designed by Office of James Burnett (OJB), the landscape architect of Dallas’ signature Klyde Warren Park.  Framing CityLine Plaza, fronting Plano Road, and located along State Street will be more than 92,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space.  KDC has selected Dallas-based Retail Street Advisors to start pre-leasing and marketing.

“KDC and its design team have created a truly compelling urban environment that will attract a dynamic mix of dining and entertainment options,” said Aaron Stephenson of Retail Street Advisors.  “State Street and CityLine Plaza are oriented and scaled specifically for pedestrians to encourage sidewalk and patio activity and to promote community interaction and gathering throughout the day.”

Buildings that incorporate several uses are central to the CityLine master plan. Restaurant, retail and entertainment spaces are integrated into the base of the office towers, the multi-family residential, and the hotel, allowing CityLine Plaza and both sides of State Street to be surrounded by activity.  The master plan also focuses on creating a walkable, pedestrian-friendly environment, while providing easy access for vehicles and ample parking in the 7,700 spaces within CityLine parking garages.

In July, KDC broke ground on the project and announced State Farm will lease 1.5 million square feet in three office towers. The Class A office buildings consist of a 13-story tower, 15-story tower and 21-story tower.  Each tower is situated on a five-level parking structure along with ground floor retail space.

KDC acquired the land for the Richardson master-planned project in December 2012.  The project, adjacent to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s (DART) Bush Turnpike Station on its Red Line, will be a transit-oriented development on the east and west sides of Plano Road. The east side includes the 147.5 acres of land on the north side of Renner Road, between Plano Road and Wyndham Lane.  The west side includes 38.5 acres of land south of President George Bush Turnpike between Plano Road and the DART light rail tracks.  

At full build-out, the $1.5 billion CityLine project will contain approximately six million square feet of office space, two hotels, 3,925 multi-family residential units, 300,000 square feet of grocery, restaurant, entertainment and retail space, and three parks.

Corgan is the State Farm office architect and Omniplan is the CityLine retail architect and master planner.  Kimley-Horn is the civil engineer and OJB is the landscape architect.