This morning’s panel discussion on Oak Cliff: Challenges + Opportunities for the Urban Neighborhood was a strikingly honest — almost uncomfortably honest — conversation, both between the panelists and in the Q&A. The panel brought together two well-established Oak Cliff developers — David Spence of Good Space and Monte Anderson of Options Real Estate — and two newer developers — Michael Nazerian of Exxir Capital and Wade Johns of Alamo Manhattan. The DFW REimagined breakfast seminar was hosted by one of Munsch, Hardt, Kopf, & Harr’s recent additions to their law team, Angela Hunt, who is overseeing zoning and development regulations.

Conversation cues were well-curated. We learned of Anderson’s “gentle-fication” process, Nazerian’s pivotal “ah-ha!” moment in the West Village, and the stark contrast in development processes Johns has experienced in Seattle and Portland versus Dallas.

They all seemed to agree that “Developers create the canvas for people to bring the place alive,” as Nazerian put it. And that even developers with good intentions can get “pushed around by the market,” Anderson said.

The agreement began to unravel when Hunt started asking about gentrification, which resulted in one of the most educated discussions on this topic as I’ve ever heard. Many who think of developing in Oak Cliff imagine the pushback from engaged citizen activists, such as those who attended the first community meeting with Alamo Manhattan in the Second story of Eno’s years ago.

(more…)

Monte Anderson, right, with Wana Smith, an agent for Options Real Estate that focuses on Oak Cliff. Photo: Monte Anderson

Monte Anderson, right, with Wana Smith, an agent for Options Real Estate who focuses on Oak Cliff, champion the idea of small business ownership to rebuild communities. Photo: Monte Anderson

Monte Anderson thrives on shaking up standard ways of thinking about development in Dallas.

After he sold the historic Belmont Hotel five months ago, a bellwether renovation and restoration project that put his name on the map in 2005, he got right back to work doing what he does best.

“I took all the money from the hotel sale, and we invested it into more ugly properties to turn around, every penny of it,” he said.

Those “ugly properties” are in south Oak Cliff, around South Polk Street and South Beckley Avenue, and Anderson is ready to perform microsurgery.

“With microsurgery, you go into an area that has good bones, like Elmwood southwest of Bishop Arts, and you start by buying one property and fixing it up or building one small building and making it into a good retail or residential space,” he said.

He’s one of the original Dallas pioneers of urban “gentlefication,” moving into distressed neighborhoods and slowly redeveloping in an effort to reduce crime, create harmony, and build community.

This is radically different from gentrification, which usually forces out low-income residents with high-income folks seeking the next hip place. Gentlefication helps long-term residents take back their neighborhoods, stabilize property values, and build safe communities for their families.

It’s also different from what Dallas is doing with its Grow South plan, Anderson said.

“The mayor’s Grow South plan is nothing but superficial marketing—it has no sustainable wealth-building characteristics,” he said. “Find the one deal that has changed somebody’s life that lives in South Dallas. It’s typical Dallas thinking: the rich people in Dallas think it’s got to be big; it can’t be good unless it’s big. Yet all the special places we love are small.”

Anderson is a self-proclaimed “hard-core new urbanist,” spreading his message of gentlefication with his company Options Real Estate, which specializes in southern Dallas County.

“Owner-occupied neighborhoods is really the message I have for gentlefication,” he said. “The only way they can get in and own is to get in early…I’ve got so many of these kind of business success stories, everything from pet stores to call centers and yoga studios to insurance offices and restaurants, all kinds of people that own their own buildings now, not to mention the housing.”

(more…)

love field apartments

Image: Google Maps

Developers have their eye on the Love Field-Medical District areas, and a new residential community is underway.

Fairfield Residential recently purchased about six acres near Denton Drive and Inwood Road for a 350-unit apartment complex. Fairfield has ten residential developments in the DFW area, including the upscale 21 Forty Medical DistrictCantabria at Turtle Creek, and Rienzi at Turtle Creek.

Two blocks just south of Love Field along Inwood Road and Sadler Circle will be cleared for the as-yet-unnamed project. The land is currently occupied by a handful of commercial buildings. Demolition is slated for completion by the end of 2015.

Development in this area is gaining momentum, driven in part by the expanded air services at Love Field, as well as growth of the Medical District, like the Parkland expansion. The location is a big factor, too.

“That little pocket of real estate is booming right now—I actually showed a property there this morning to a woman who works at Parkland,” said David Maez, Broker, Creative Director, and Co-Founder of Vivo Realty. “It’s a great location for potential tenants, close to Uptown, downtown, and the airport, as well as the Tollway for people that need to commute up north.”

(more…)

The Trinity Village development in West Dallas will begin in 2015. Photo courtesy of Dallas Morning News.

Work will begin on the Trinity Village development in West Dallas in 2015. Rendering courtesy of StreetLights Residential.

More good news for development in West Dallas with word Thursday that Dallas-based Stonelake Capital Partners has closed on a 25-acre tract of industrial property on Singleton Boulevard, west of Sylvan Avenue.

Along with developer StreetLights Residential, Stonelake is planning a $200 million mixed-use development at 1000 Singleton Boulevard, on the southwest corner of Singleton and Sylvan.

This is 2014’s largest single redevelopment property in West Dallas, and it will bring about 1,500 new residential units to the area west of Downtown Dallas. (more…)

Monte Anderson

On Tuesday night, the Greater Dallas Planning Council honored North Texas developer Monte Anderson with its inaugural Urban Pioneer Award at the Urban Design Awards.

Anderson is the president of Options Real Estate, a multi-service real estate company that concentrates its work in southern Dallas and Ellis counties, specializing in creating sustainable neighborhoods that invite “gentlefication,” as opposed to gentrification.

Here’s a great working definition of “gentlefication”:

Moving into a neighborhood in an effort to reduce crime, create harmony, and build community. As opposed to “gentrification,” which changes neighborhoods by forcing out low-income residents with high-income folks seeking the next hip thing. Gentlefication helps long-term residents take back their neighborhoods, stabilize property values, and build safe spaces for their children and grandchildren.

“The award means a lot because it means people are staring to recognize that incremental development, or ‘microsurgery’, not big silver bullet deals, works in our southern Dallas neighborhoods,” he said. “My approach is to come in and get other small developers and entrepreneurs to come in very early and be a part of the change. These are the people who make it cool, like artists and restaurateurs, and they [usually] end up not owning anything and getting pushed out in the end.” (more…)

Statler Hilton Streetscape

Oh boy! We’re excited folks! The deal has gone through, and just as Candy predicted, Mehrdad Moayedi and his firm, Centurion American, have purchased the Statler Hilton form Leobardo Trevino’s Ricchi Investments.

Of course, there’ll be no pomp and circumstance or champagne cork popping in the streets like the celebration dance City Hall enjoyed when Trevino bought the famed midcentury modern hotel at 1914 Commerce Street. And while Ricchi Investments had ambitions plans for this incredible piece of downtown Dallas real estate, Moayedi brings an incredible plan and pairs it with a proven track record.

(more…)