Pink Wall “accountants” using the latest technology

Attention developers! Forget LinkedIn — if you’re looking for accountants and financial analysts anxious to help you avoid monetary missteps, look no further than the PD-15 authorized hearing steering committee. Sure, they’re (very) long in the tooth, but last night’s meeting showcased a half hour of endless financial advice and “deep” research into how precisely PD-15 should be developed to avoid catastrophe.  After decades of unending failure, their assistance would be a comfort, no?

To reiterate, it is not the purview of the committee to make amateur stabs in the dark as to what product a developer should build (except that the buildable envelope is capable of supporting a project of reasonable profitability). It’s not up to the committee to decide the appropriate level of risk, the market timing or whether Dallas is overbuilding. The same way you don’t waltz into an operating room and bump the surgeon out of the way.

So the first half hour and untold amounts of oxygen were essentially wasted. Where was the city’s guiding hand of the last meeting?

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Tower Spacing: Through Thick and Thin, Thick Matters

There’s a bit of a special language being formulated between the Authorized Hearing committee members. For example, when the city facilitator recaps a prior discussion by saying, “We agreed on X,” a committee member or two will pipe up “We didn’t agree on that.”  What they really mean is they didn’t. And since they didn’t agree, there could be no agreement. Everyone believing they’re getting 100 percent out of this is a recipe for nothing ever being decided. Ancient children not wanting to share their toys.

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When you’re a man about town with a penchant for dramatic, luxe style, what kind of space do you design for entertaining and as a showcase for travel acquisitions? 

The answer is at 8526 Baltimore Dr. Apt 202, our Tuesday Two Hundred and the European-style pied-à-terre for a prominent Dallas jewelry designer. He arrived at this location after closing his Fifth Avenue apartment in New York City, seeking a discreet building in Dallas to house his expansive collection of art and antiques, throw fabulous parties, and provide a guest house for visitors.

“He was attracted to the natural flow of the layout, conducive for entertaining with large rooms and a lovely breakfast room or study off the kitchen,” said listing agent Catherine Gravel with Action Realty. “The condo was a blank canvas with great bones and structure in need of a little updating and color.”

It got both in its two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and 1,359 square feet. The space now is a jewel box of rich colors and textures, from dramatic gray walls and and sumptuous ruby drapes to ornate gold-framed mirrors and art. There is nothing like it on the market in North Texas. 

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Weeks ago, I began telling people that I already knew what should happen to PD-15 to make the most people happy. I said I was going to write it down, put it in an envelope that I would open at the end to see how accurate I was.  Now that I’m not part of the task force, screw it, I’m opening the envelope.

In this first part, I will explain how my plan was formed using some key information.  In the second part, I will go building-by-building and explain how the information in this section informs that plan.

Note: To burst bubbles from the outset, my opinion is based on uplifting the area, not personal gain.  While it’s true I would benefit from any financial uplift, over the past 15 years, there are only two people who paid less per square foot in my building. So I’m good financially.

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When a document, supposedly crafted for long-term use, proves to be a barrier to the same long-term goals it was created to guide, it’s safe to call it a failure.  If that failure occurs within a year of its adoption by the city, I suppose we can just call that Dallas.

Yes folks, the Preston Center area plan I’d figured for a dust bunny playground has leapt off the shelf in time for Halloween. Like all good frights, I think the authors are just as surprised and perhaps a little scared.

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home moving

Moving a house today is largely the same process, albeit more precise and without the horses.

It’s been estimated that two acres of forest are cut down for each 1,200 square feet of house built. It’s also estimated that for every 2,200 pounds of cement produced, 1,980 pounds of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere. Cement production accounts for approximately 10 percent of man-made carbon dioxide emissions and over 15 percent of landfill space.  And trust me, you don’t want to know the quantity of pollutants cement kilns (factories) throw into the air.

Sure, some building materials are recycled today, but nowhere near all that can be.

On the flipside, booming development in Dallas equates to a lot of demolition of sometimes interesting structures worth preserving.  Some are architectural wonders but many are lower-density structures someone wants to McMansion, or more likely, McApartment.  Many of these smaller structures would be at home elsewhere.

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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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Last night marked the second meeting of the Pink Wall PD-15 task force gathered together to address increased density in the area. As a reminder, the Pink Wall is essentially the northeast corner of Preston and Northwest Hwy.  PD-15 is roughly the space between the Preston Tower and Athena residential high-rises. If you missed last week’s roundup, click here.

This second meeting began to tackle the issue of density and what the neighborhood’s desires are for the area.  Of course before we got there, we heard more on the shifting sands of how this could play out procedurally within city government.  I’m not going to go into detail here (again) because questions remain and I want to be crystal clear versus continually negating what was said previously.  It’s annoying that city officials just don’t know this. Do we need to lock them in a room until their story is straight?

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