Who doesn’t like a bit of demolition in the morning?

A hot, sweaty Friday groundbreaking seemed the perfect bookend to Dallas Midtown’s four years of sweating through politics and planning. It’s not that the city didn’t want it — heck, the renderings and plans are a wonderful and productive reimagining of what had become another tumbledown mall unable to compete in today’s retail environment.  Given the news stories lately about the demise of retail, it surely won’t be the last air-conditioned ghost town to give way to today’s vision of progress.

(more…)

4939 Harvest Hill extSometimes, there really IS more to a home than photos. There are sounds. I have often advised people to drive to a neighborhood they are interested in, park the car, roll down the windows and LISTEN to the neighborhood.

Of course, this being the Dallas urban suburban clone we have become, you will hear traffic, sirens, ambulances, firetrucks and honks. It’s part of what I call the urban waterfall: it lets me know that others are nearby. As much as I love my ranches and the country, sometimes the quiet out there is just spooky.

But there is another sound you don’t get in every part of town, or you hear only faintly: church bells. Nothing is as soothing or beautiful, at least to me. Perhaps it brings back memories of the home my grandmother had (owned 100%, Roosevelt helped her save it, she said) right next to a Catholic Church. The bells rang every hour on the hour.

So when I left 4939 Harvest Hill Road, I paused to hear the bells of Jesuit clearly — not over-powerful, but beautiful chimes you would hear every day if you lived in this neighborhood. That, to me, is a huge plus for this home and neighborhood.4939 Harvest Hill porch (more…)

ULI impact awards

The North Texas to Houston High Speed Rail was the winner of the Next Big Idea Award at the Urban Land Institute Impact Awards gala Tuesday night. Photo: Texas Central

Big thinkers and dreamers have shaped North Texas development since John Neely Bryan wandered into the area in 1839.

Last week, more than 700 gathered at an gala and soirée to celebrate vibrant, innovative projects that have a positive impact on the built environment in North Texas.

ULI impact awards

Margaret and Trammell Crow

This was the Urban Land Institute of North Texas‘ second annual Impact Awards, held at the Hilton Anatole. The event recognized several people and companies, as well as honored the legacy of one of the world’s most influential couples in local real estate, Trammell and Margaret Crow.

“The Impact Awards have gained an enthusiastic following in North Texas, attracting those interested in celebrating vibrant, innovative projects that have a positive impact on the built environment in our region,” said Pamela Stein, Executive Director of the Urban Land Institute’s North District Council.

The ULI Impact Awards support transformative land use developments, best real estate practices, and creative visioning in the region. Owners, developers, architects, engineers or other professionals enter the awards, and are not required to be a ULI member to compete. Twenty-seven applications were submitted for the second annual awards competition.

The Vision Award went to Trammell and Margaret Crow, who transformed North Texas real estate during their lives. Crow family members accepted the award on their parents’ behalf, Harlan Crow, Lucy Billingsley, and Trammell S. Crow, all active in the real estate and environmental sectors. Clyde Jackson, chairman and CEO of Wynne Jackson, led informal, on-stage interviews of individuals, who knew, loved, and worked with Mr. and Mrs. Crow over the years.

(more…)

Midtown Valley View

Valley View Shopping Center is shaping up on paper like a Victoria’s Secret glossy ad, but one thing’s for sure: it may never again look like the Valley View Mall many of us grew up with! I will never forget the opening of Bloomingdales over there, how cool was that? Alas, now Valley View is suffering behind the road hell that is LBJ is and you almost cannot even see it anymore. But like I tell myself every time my tires touch LBJ, this too shall pass and something way better will be here. Well, after a year working closely with the City of Dallas, neighborhood stakeholders and internationally respected architects, i.e. everyone, Beck Ventures is giving us a first look at detailed plans for the transformation of Dallas Midtown. And it is, to say the least, ambitious!

Dallas Midtown gondolas

Yes, that is a gondola! Dallas Midtown will soon be a community within a community, another depot for shopping, entertainment, working, high density living or gondola riding.

The plan covers all the land from Galleria Dallas on the west to Preston Road on the east, and from LBJ Freeway on the south to even a couple of blocks north of Alpha Road. Over the next couple decades – yes, twenty years — about 60 percent of the existing buildings could be torn down.

Eventually, the potentially $10 billion project could include 14 million square feet of commercial —  30 story high-rise office commercial towers,  mixed-use and residential buildings, green space including a park four times the size of Klyde Warren Park, and the “entertainment destination” still holding the last prime remnants of the old mall. More than 10,000 people potentially could live there.

Scott Beck, you may recall, is the dude who purchased the rather sorry Valley View Shopping Center last year, and has sworn $2 billion to revive the largest continuous tract north of 635 into a vibrant, bustling center of activity. If you don’t remember, read up on my interview with him here. It’s called Midtown even though it’s not really in the middle of Dallas. In fact, if we looked at a map of Dallas, what would be “Midtown”? University Park? Highland Park Village? I don’t think it really matters because everyone’s perception is that the intersection of LBJ and Preston Road is the middle of Dallas. I like the name. Sorry!

Yes, Scott has big plans to revamp “Midtown” but also connect it to the city. There will be hike and bike trails connecting to White Rock Lake, the parks, open spaces, a trolley system and Gondola rides to Galleria (what? Don’t drop me on LBJ!), interactive water features throughout the development, including a wave pool and Ariel Show Fountains, two luxury hotels, upscale condos and rental apartments, office towers, 16 screen movie theater, boutiques, restaurant and entertainment venues.

Ariel Show Fountains? Are we thinking The Bellagio? That is exactly what they are planning at BahaMar in Nassau.

“Since our firm first announced the acquisition of Valley View Mall, the interest in this project has been unprecedented. We are attracting national and international attention. We are honored to be stewards of a crucial transformational project of this scale. The city of Dallas and our elected officials have been fantastic partners in helping this vision become a reality, ” says Scott Beck. The young president of Beck Ventures is bringing in some never-seen-befores, like a seven-story glass enclosed European style market. He says he’s focusing intently on details, and when people come to Dalla Midtown, they won’t want to leave.

Dllas Midtown glass

City Hall seems pretty pumped, as it would thinking of the expanding tax base cha-ching cha-ching. But, as The Dallas Morning News reports, this immense project will require millions for infrastructure — new sewers, water lines and roads. It will require police and protection. It is yet to be seen if the Dallas Plan Commission is on board.

“This development will create a city within a city. With restaurants, shopping, housing and office space, Dallas Midtown will completely redefine this part of Dallas, ” said Linda Koop, Dallas City Council, in the press release.

“Dallas Midtown will become a major economic driver for the city of Dallas. It will strengthen our tax base and help our city lure and retain corporate headquarters. This is an extremely desirable site and this is the perfect way to develop it,” dittoed Tennell Atkins, Dallas City Council, also in the press release.

I am so excited about this project. I mean, did you ever think you’d see a park in Dallas over a highway? I can imagine the Tweets: Let’s GG: gondola to the Galleria.

Dallas Midtown overviewImage 1

 

Midtown Valley View

Valley View Shopping Center is shaping up on paper like a Victoria’s Secret glossy ad, but one thing’s for sure: it may never again look like the Valley View Mall many of us grew up with! I will never forget the opening of Bloomingdales over there, how cool was that? Alas, now Valley View is suffering behind the road hell that is LBJ is and you almost cannot even see it anymore. But like I tell myself every time my tires touch LBJ, this too shall pass and something way better will be here. Well, after a year working closely with the City of Dallas, neighborhood stakeholders and internationally respected architects, i.e. everyone, Beck Ventures is giving us a first look at detailed plans for the transformation of Dallas Midtown. And it is, to say the least, ambitious!

Dallas Midtown gondolas

Yes, that is a gondola! Dallas Midtown will soon be a community within a community, another depot for shopping, entertainment, working, high density living or gondola riding.

The plan covers all the land from Galleria Dallas on the west to Preston Road on the east, and from LBJ Freeway on the south to even a couple of blocks north of Alpha Road. Over the next couple decades – yes, twenty years — about 60 percent of the existing buildings could be torn down.

Eventually, the potentially $10 billion project could include 14 million square feet of commercial —  30 story high-rise office commercial towers,  mixed-use and residential buildings, green space including a park four times the size of Klyde Warren Park, and the “entertainment destination” still holding the last prime remnants of the old mall. More than 10,000 people potentially could live there.

Scott Beck, you may recall, is the dude who purchased the rather sorry Valley View Shopping Center last year, and has sworn $2 billion to revive the largest continuous tract north of 635 into a vibrant, bustling center of activity. If you don’t remember, read up on my interview with him here. It’s called Midtown even though it’s not really in the middle of Dallas. In fact, if we looked at a map of Dallas, what would be “Midtown”? University Park? Highland Park Village? I don’t think it really matters because everyone’s perception is that the intersection of LBJ and Preston Road is the middle of Dallas. I like the name. Sorry!

Yes, Scott has big plans to revamp “Midtown” but also connect it to the city. There will be hike and bike trails connecting to White Rock Lake, the parks, open spaces, a trolley system and Gondola rides to Galleria (what? Don’t drop me on LBJ!), interactive water features throughout the development, including a wave pool and Ariel Show Fountains, two luxury hotels, upscale condos and rental apartments, office towers, 16 screen movie theater, boutiques, restaurant and entertainment venues.

Ariel Show Fountains? Are we thinking The Bellagio? That is exactly what they are planning at BahaMar in Nassau.

“Since our firm first announced the acquisition of Valley View Mall, the interest in this project has been unprecedented. We are attracting national and international attention. We are honored to be stewards of a crucial transformational project of this scale. The city of Dallas and our elected officials have been fantastic partners in helping this vision become a reality, ” says Scott Beck. The young president of Beck Ventures is bringing in some never-seen-befores, like a seven-story glass enclosed European style market. He says he’s focusing intently on details, and when people come to Dalla Midtown, they won’t want to leave.

Dllas Midtown glass

City Hall seems pretty pumped, as it would thinking of the expanding tax base cha-ching cha-ching. But, as The Dallas Morning News reports, this immense project will require millions for infrastructure — new sewers, water lines and roads. It will require police and protection. It is yet to be seen if the Dallas Plan Commission is on board.

“This development will create a city within a city. With restaurants, shopping, housing and office space, Dallas Midtown will completely redefine this part of Dallas, ” said Linda Koop, Dallas City Council, in the press release.

“Dallas Midtown will become a major economic driver for the city of Dallas. It will strengthen our tax base and help our city lure and retain corporate headquarters. This is an extremely desirable site and this is the perfect way to develop it,” dittoed Tennell Atkins, Dallas City Council, also in the press release.

I am so excited about this project. I mean, did you ever think you’d see a park in Dallas over a highway? I can imagine the Tweets: Let’s GG: gondola to the Galleria.

Dallas Midtown overviewImage 1