White Rock estateProperty around White Rock Lake rarely comes on the market, so I’m very excited to let our readers know about this incredible listing from Dave Perry-Miller’s luxury agent Sharon Redd. It is none other than televangelist T.D. Jakes’ former White Rock estate at 4001 West Lawther Drive. It can be yours for $5.75 million.

For those that may not know Bishop Jakes, he’s the charismatic personality behind The Potter’s House, a congregation of oh, about 30,000 devoted followers. He’s been written about in almost every newspaper and magazine. And he’s a pal of Oprah Winfrey’s. Yep, he’s a mover and a shaker. He chose this home years ago because, according to a D Magazine article by Tim Rogers, it was where he went to regain his peace of mind.
White Rock estate


Monday Morning Millionaire

When we imagine the perfect country home outside a scenic little European village, this eclectic country French estate is exactly what comes to mind. Fortunately, you won’t need a passport to enjoy 6803 Lakewood Boulevard. You need to give David Bush with David Bush Real Estate a call and book an appointment.

Bush has this iconic house, named one of D Magazine‘s “Ten Most Beautiful Homes in Dallas” in 2008, listed for $2.3 million. This lovely, picturesque property has not been on the market for 40 years. (more…)

102 Skyline A

Gone with the Wind was a childhood favorite of mine, with its winding storyline, genteel fashion, and dramatic romances. In one memorable scene, Scarlett’s father, Gerald O’Hara, an Irish peasant immigrant, proclaims in his rough brogue, “The land is the only thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for, because it’s the only thing that lasts.”

That sort of mentality about the importance of land to heritage, identity, and wealth still exists, and there’s something visceral and deeply gratifying about owning actual land, as opposed to, say, stocks, which seem to exist in the ether.

If you’re an urban homeowner, the amount of land you’re likely to own is quite small, as plantations like Tara don’t exist within city limits. But there are properties in DFW with actual land, and for today’s Tuesday Two Hundred, I found one sitting on almost an acre in Collin County.

The house at 102 Skyline Dr. in Murphy is listed by William Duke of Carrington Real Estate Service for $259,000 and sits on 0.98 acres. It is located near the intersection of Farm-to-Market Road 544 and S. Murphy Road.

Murphy is a fast-growing bedroom community of about 18,000 residents, bordered by Plano, Richardson, Wylie, Sachse, and Parker. It’s about 20 miles from Downtown Dallas, 35 miles from DFW Airport, and 25 miles from Love Field Airport.

This house is a 2,496 square foot fixer-upper with three bedrooms, three full bathrooms, and a pool. At $104 per square foot with all that land, I think it’s got huge potential. Jump to read all about it!



By now I’m sure you’ve read just about all of the postmortems on the infamous shout fest of a town hall last month regarding a proposed restaurant at Boy Scout Hill. But even if you’ve had your fill, I implore you, find room for just one more: Eric Celeste’s “Whose Lake is it Anyway?” in the June issue of D Magazine. 

This is an important column to read because residents of Old Lake Highlands and other White Rock Lake-adjacent neighborhoods need to see what other Dallasites see, from the outside looking in. Whereas Lyle Burgin and Richard Knopf just wanted to build a restaurant atop what they thought was an underused portion of White Rock Lake Park, residents saw it as an abominable incursion on public space that was a slippery slope toward turning the “Crown Jewel of Dallas” into an amusement park.



This morning when I was doing my regularly scheduled RSS blog-reading binge, I noticed this post from D Magazine‘s Tim Rogers, asking just where Museum Tower officials came up with the figures in their recent marketing email:

In 2013, growth in Dallas’ high-rise neighborhoods was truly remarkable. According to MLS there was a 36.4 percent increase in the number of units sold, and a 49.6 percent increase in volume.

Increasing demand for luxury high-rise homes generated a 9.7 percent rise in prices during the same time period. Nearly 25 percent of Museum Tower’s square footage has been claimed by residents with an appreciation for the unconventional and uncompromising.

Tim asks in his FrontBurner post, just where the Museum Tower folks came up with that number? According to his calculations using Dallas Central Appraisal District data, only 13 percent of the Dallas Arts District highrise is actually sold.

Well, we know that DCAD data isn’t always the most current information when it comes to real estate. MLS data is updated every nano-second it seems, so that would seem more pertinent. But regardless, we wanted to know where the figures came from, too. That’s why we asked Barbara Buzzell of the Buzzell Company, Museum Tower’s PR rep, where the marketing information came from. As you might expect, the real explanation is a lot less sensational:

“Not every home at Museum Tower is the same size,” Buzzell explained. “As you may know, we have nine different published floor plans. Because of the many variable home sizes sold, we have released the aggregate amount of saleable square footage sold. That number is nearly 25% of the building’s total saleable square footage.”

Seems logical, especially considering how many different floorplans there are. I’m not a math major (understatement of the decade), but this seems kosher to me, especially considering that Buzzell would have access to the most recent sales figures, which won’t post to DCAD for some time.

So the questions we pose to the Realtors out there in the field: are you showing Museum Tower? Are people buying? How long is the lag time between sales and what is recorded in DCAD — Candy has been told six to eight weeks. And finally, are Museum Tower sales unusually slow for a luxury high-rise condo building priced at just under $1,000 per square foot that has been open for sales now for just one month over a year?

(Full Disclosure: Museum Tower is an advertiser on CandysDirt.com)

Michael Cook inside his chicken "ark" his partner, Chris, built for their Oak Cliff home.

Perhaps I’m biased because my flock wasn’t featured in the June 2012 D Magazine story by Michelle Saunders, but it feels like East Dallas was a little over-represented. There are plenty more avid chicken keepers in Oak Cliff, specifically in the little nook just north of Ledbetter called Hideaway Valley. That’s where you’ll find Michael Cook, who not only has a flock of heritage hens in his backyard, but keeps — get this — silkworms!

Michael Cook raises silkworms, which are actually caterpillars, and harvests their cocoons for their fiber.

Michael tends to his own blog, dubbed “Wormspit” after how caterpillars create silk, and gives occasional updates on his organic garden, his silkworms, and his flock. Cook has been harvesting and spinning silk for more than a decade, but chicken keeping is a new hobby for him.

Cook keeps black copper Marans, which lay dark brown eggs.

“We started in 2010 with five Ameraucana chicks about a week old,” Cook said. ” Three of them turned out to be roosters, so we took them back to the man who sold them to us, which was part of our deal when we got them.”

From there, Cook has tried his hand at hatching chicks, and now has three French Marans, two Americaunas, one Rhode Island red, and another little mixed breed sold to them by a man in Quinlan.

“He purchased her as part of a mixed lot, so he didn’t know what breed she was,” Cook said. “After looking at pictures, I think she’s a breed called Golden Phoenix.  We called her Sue Sylvester, because she’s blond, mannish, and a little strident.”

Michael Cook raises birds, bees, worms, and vegetables in his Oak Cliff backyard.

For Cook and his partner, Chris, chicken keeping was an extension of their organic garden, where they also keep bees. Chris built their very classy chicken tractor, too.

“We based it on a style called an “Ark,” popular in England and parts of Europe; it is supposed to be moveable, but it ended up being too heavy to move easily, so it sits in one spot, and we just move it a couple of times a year to remove the compost from beneath it,” Cook said.

Of course, Cook loves keeping chickens for myriad reasons, but first and foremost is cheap entertainment. They also help him dispose of pests from his huge garden.

“We have always been ‘those weird guys,'” Cook said. “I’ve always had many strange hobbies, and chickens fit right in.  The eggs are now a standard present for whenever we go visiting – we package them up in beautiful clear containers to show off the cool colors, tuck in a couple of bars of homemade soap, and they’re always a hit. ”

So, how do most people react when they hear that Cook is rearing birds and bees (and worms!) all in his Oak Cliff backyard?

Cook also raises bees, which pollinate his extensive vegetable garden.

“I interact with a lot of people who are in various ways part of a more organic, hand-made, grow-your-own counter-culture.  If I am picking up the vegetables from the Urban Acres co-op and somebody offers me eggs and we get into a conversation about chickens, it’s perfectly normal. If I’m at a festival reeling silk, and I start talking with somebody there about the silkworms, and the chickens come up in conversation, it’s just another facet of my obvious weirdness,” Cook said. ” The main thing that people are surprised to hear, is that we don’t live in the country — they can’t picture all this happening in a little quarter-acre neighborhood lot in Oak Cliff.”

Eric Nicholson is in the habit of tossing babies around, so his new place will require high ceilings.

Eric Nicholson is the new Robert “Fingers of Fury” Wilonsky. The young journo, formerly of the Texarkana Gazette, has taken over the helm of Unfair Park, the Dallas Observer blog. With his new gig, he’s back in Dallas and holed up at his parents’ house in North Dallas with his wife, Megan, his 3-year-old, Connor, and another baby on the way. Obviously, he needs a great house for a great deal. Any takers?

So, where do you want to move?
Well, we’d like to be in North Oak Cliff or maybe Lakewood-ish, but we haven’t exactly gotten around to picking a house since Megan’s been in Texarkana and I’m not allowed to make decisions. For the time being we’ll be staying with my parents, using Connor, our 3-year-old, as a bargaining chip. They live in far North Dallas, Spring Creek neighborhood. Amenities include a fully-stocked refrigerator, satellite television and free childcare.

Price Range:
If we’re buying, maybe $150k (I’m a journalist), but we’re still sitting on the fence on the rent-buy question.

I’m sure Megan will find one.

Why are you moving?
Job. If you don’t read Unfair Park, then you should.

Where are you moving from?
Texarkana. The city’s motto is “Twice as nice,” presumably a reference to the fact that Texarkana is in fact two municipalities on either side of the state line. Twice as nice as what exactly is an open question.

So, you’re going to be rubbing elbows with Jim Schutze. Nervous? Do you think he keeps his shotgun hidden in his desk drawer?
Jim carries his shotgun everywhere. Story meeting? Shotgun. Trinity toll road hearing? Shotgun. But once you get past the gruff, shotgun-wielding exterior, he’s a teddy bear, albeit one who is extremely cynical about local government. For example: On my second day, as I chatted with Councilwoman Angela Hunt and a concerned citizen at said toll road hearing, he strolled up and introduced himself as my father. We all chuckled, though I had to correct the concerned citizen when he began discussing “your dad’s first book.” (aka The Accommodation, Schutze’s masterwork on Dallas race relations).

OK, back on topic: What are you looking for in a home?
Me? A roof, walls, and a kegerator. Which might point to why I’m not allowed to make decisions.

When it comes to choosing a house, what’s a deal-breaker for you?
When Megan says she hates it.

What shocked you about the search?
Real estate in Texarkana is, believe it or not, much less expensive than in Dallas, so even though we were only away for two years, it’s painful to contemplate how much more we’ll be paying.

What pleased you?
Considering I haven’t done much actual searching, it’s been really, really easy.

So far in your house hunt, what have you learned?
I actually think I have it pretty well figured out: Let the wife do it. Everyone’s happier that way.

Tom Luce, managing director and founding partner of Dallas law firm Hughes & Luce, has agreed to be the go-between as the Nasher Sculpture Center and Museum Tower look to find a solution to their very, very hot problem.

According to KERA’s Art+Seek blog, the Dallas Police and Fire Pension Fund, which owns the $200M Museum Tower, asked Luce to come on board. Here’s what Luce said:

“The Nasher Sculpture Center and the Museum Tower and the developers have jointly asked me to serve as facilitator to resolve all the open issues between the parties.  And they have affirmed to each other and to me that they want to resolve these issues as quickly as possible.  They have asked to help them do that and I’m pleased to undertake the mission.”

Italian architect Renzo Piano designed the very sensitive roof of the Nasher Sculpture Center.

If you’ve already read Tim Rogers’ May D Magazine cover story, you’ll know that this isn’t the first time that the Nasher and Museum Tower have tried to sort out their differences. Here’s how Rogers retells it:

At some point, Strick had had enough. He pushed back his chair and stood up. “As far as we’re concerned, you guys created the problem,” he said. Strick is a soft-spoken man of enormous restraint. He’d clearly hit the breaking point. “It’s your problem to fix. We’re not going to touch our building. We’re not going to study a solution on our side. That’s the end of the discussion.”

Rogers offers some follow-up to the story, in which Nasher architect Renzo Piano says he’ll make some trouble for Museum Tower if they don’t do something to rectify the impact on his creation.

Here’s what I want to know: What do you think is the best solution to the problem? Do you think Piano could win if this goes to court?