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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Vision - Ground Level & Overall Site Plan-2

Site Plan (top is West), courtesy of Crescent Communities

Crescent Communities released more details about its project planned at Zang and Davis near the Bishop Arts District. The residential components offer a variety of types and sizes to appeal to a range of budgets and lifestyles.

Most controversially, the second phase North Site plan includes a set of 30-38 brownstones with single units — each three to three-and-a-half stories high, made of high quality materials, and with walk-out roof terraces. The Towns on Zang product would likely be a great addition to the neighborhood if the front entrance stoops weren’t so devoid of character, but the question is whether Crescent would develop the property themselves, or sell to another developer. Their portfolio doesn’t include multi-level brownstones currently, and according to neighborhood watchdog Councilman Scott Griggs, their plan is to change the overlay to allow residential, then sell.

The current zoning overlay requires one-story retail frontage all along Zang Blvd. Removing the requirement for retail frontage would allow even dingy apartments to be built. Griggs insists upon including stipulations for street-access units if/when changing the zoning overlay. If this is the plan, let’s just make it part of the plans! But Crescent seems unwilling to make that concession. All we have is their word — and better pictures promised in a few months.

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Crescent-placeholder rendering

Just as our trolley track construction wraps up and the Bishop Arts stop comes online, expect the building construction to begin.

Developer Alamo Manhattan has made headlines with their infamous Bishop Arts project, hopefully designed a bit better now than at first. Their Phase 1 plans would create a five-story full city block with residential above ground-floor retail right at the newly minted trolley stop along Zang, at two corners of the Zang-Davis intersection.

Details are now coming together on the Crescent Communities development at the third northeast corner of Zang-Davis, scheduled for construction to begin December 2016 with a 22-month buildout.

Currently a Dallas County Schools property, the Crescent project would span two blocks east across Beckley Ave to Crawford St, and north just past Neely St. It could be another massive block of a project, but it appears the folks at Crescent understand “good” walkable design and what makes a place work for people. One example, since they own both sides of Beckley, is their focus on making the street feel like a real Avenue — emphasizing the importance of the way the buildings relate to the pedestrian realm along the street.

Site map

Phase 1 in red and just north of Neely. Phase 2 between Beckley Ave and Crawford St.

All that’s been made public is the site plan below, but an off-the-record conversation with the Crescent’s regional director and a handful of North Oak Cliff neighbors revealed a masterplan with an attention to detail. Oh, and the President & CEO, Todd Mansfield was Executive VP of Disney real estate worldwide. If Disney can be lauded for doing something right, it’s creating a pedestrian environment that, though fake, scores high on the principals of great walkable commercial environments. He “gets it,” and the company has a decent track record. And they quote Jane Jacobs, the mother of great urbanism.

 

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The site plan here is a bit different from the placeholder project image on their website — the project’s clearly still in development.

But it’s about ready for Prime Time, and I think we’re going to like what we see. They’ve enlisted design firm Lake-Flato, and you can see a few architectural elements in the site plan — a “flatiron” building corner comes to Zang and Davis where a  3,800-square-foot “gateway” plaza leads you from historic Bishop Arts and the trolley stop into a larger plaza between the fivee-story building along Davis and the five- and six-story building behind it.

First life. Then places. Then buildings.  – Jane Jacobs

At some point a developer’s vision is in the hands of its tenants — the goal is to flank the larger plaza with restaurants and great patios spilling into the plaza. They’re still on the hunt for the right tenant mix. More details coming soon, but I’ll leave you with: makers space (and other unique retail uses), boutique retail spaces, walk-up brownstone condos (as well as an emphasis on more affordable rental units), boutique hotel (inspired by the lobby of the renowned historic Ace Hotel in Portland), brewery, and grocer. Fingers crossed! It’s an ambitious vision.

Ace Hotel in Portland. By Kari Sullivan via Wiki Media

The historic Ace Hotel in Portland. By Kari Sullivan via Wiki Media

 

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Recently former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert sold his $6.2 million ski-in, ski-out house, right near the Dreamcatcher Lift in Park City Utah. It was sold at auction to another Dallas family who bought it for their grandchildren. Now here is the best part of the story: the family already owns a home in Deer Valley. They just wanted a place for the grandchildren to ski where snowboarding was allowed. So of course, they bought a house in Park City. Got a good deal, too: $4.2 million. The auction was conducted by the good folks at Heritage Auction here in Dallas.

The vacation home market is estimated to be at $100 billion worldwide, and a lot of it is because of grandparents wanting fun for their grandkids. In New Orleans at NAREE this month, I gathered five top vacation home experts, including Bill Furlong of HomeAway, Jackie Doak of Dart Enterprises Ltd., the developer of Camana Bay on Grand Cayman Island, Hunter Harman, Broker/Owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida, Tina Necrason of Montage Hotels & Resorts, and Tyler Niess of Crescent Communities.

Vacation home sales are robust but not as furious as they were in 2014. Still, 920,000 vacation homes were sold in the U.S. in 2015, the 4th highest number in NAR survey’s 13-years. In 20015, 16 percent of all US home sales were vacation homes. In 2014, 21 percent of all were vacation homes, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The median price vacation home is now up to $210,000 in 2015 from $197,200 in 2014. To find out where the hottest markets are — surprising! —  and see the entire panel in full video, click on over to our sweet sister blog, SecondShelters.com.