Valton and Jennifer Morgan with their son at Klyde Warren Park.

When you hear of someone moving to Uptown you probably assume, like me, it’s not because it will save them money. And not because it’s a great place to raise kids. For Jennifer Morgan and her family, though, both of those proved to be true. She and her husband and son are are saving money, are happier than ever, and are even finally planning a long-anticipated family vacation.

It all started with a spreadsheet of family expenses — and the recognition that life was not as satisfying as they’d planned. Jennifer had worked in Uptown for 13 years and her husband, Valton, had begun working in Uptown about 2.5 years ago. Which meant they both commuted almost an hour and a half, each way, to their home near Frisco. Even though they worked in the same area, their son’s school schedule made it impossible to carpool.

By the time they got home, their 8-year-old son had been at school or daycare all day and was over sitting still, over doing homework, and was a rowdy, moody handful. And they had just enough time for dinner, bath, and bed. They missed spending quality time with their son. And each other.

But it was this spreadsheet (after the jump) that convinced them to seriously consider making a move — then every other question mark fell into place one by one, better than they could’ve imagined.

(more…)

SamsCityplace

Interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal (sub req.) on Sunday raised a sacreligious question: are the billions we are spending on light rail really worth it, especially real-estate wise? Los Angeles and other auto-heavy Sunbelt cities such as Phoenix, Denver and Charlotte, N.C., are building out expensive light rail systems costing billions of dollars, funded by sales taxes and federal dollars. Urban experts tell us light rail encourages dense development, helps unclog traffic arteries, and boosts real estate values and development at station points. And of course, it’s so green.

In fact,

A 2014 study of the Phoenix area’s light-rail system co-written by Arizona State University professor Michael Kuby showed an increase in residential and commercial property values after the system was introduced, extending more than a mile from stations.

But not so in Charlotte, where a 2012 study of property values near the light-rail system stations there produced a “mixed bag of results.” Apparently a few high end developers put up some fancy digs near the stations that would have been built anyhow. As for creating a real estate boom, light rail may be like robbing Peter to pay Paul: just pilfers real estate values from another part of the city:

Randal O’Toole, a transportation and land use expert for the conservative Cato Institute, said he believes local governments are investing in light rail only “because the federal government is offering money for it.” If proximity to transit lines does boost property values, “it does so at the expense of values somewhere else in the same city or urban area,” he said.

Of course, we have a DART station on Central Expressway at CityPlace. And what do we have across from it? A big box Sam’s Club. Yeah, don’t get me started. Haskell is becoming a whole new world. But no, we couldn’t have some mixed-use something with housing, developer went for the quick buck. (more…)

IdeaBoard

By Amanda Popken
Special Contributor

It’s been 4 years since the Downtown360 plan was created, and so much has changed! It’s time for an update. This week, Downtown Dallas Inc. held the kickoff meeting to begin soliciting input. The input phase will last through October, then the technical studies, microplans, and implementation plans phase will continue through May of 2016. We should have an updated plan by next summer.

If you’d like to give your two cents, keep checking the calendar (be patient – the project website just launched so it’s not fully updated and bug-free yet), or just join DDI’s email newsletter list.

You might already know that Downtown Dallas Inc. manages the Public Improvement District for downtown Dallas. That gives them funding to support the district with things like marketing, security, events, and even bigger substantial changes (like purchasing city rights-of-way.) But they really see their role as more than just a leader in downtown, but the connecting force between all the neighborhoods surrounding downtown. These nine neighborhoods, plus the seven in downtown proper, make up the 16 ‘hoods in the 360 plan. So if you live in, work in, or care about any of these places, you’re invited to participate.
Map-website

(more…)

Vivo Retro

David Maez and his Vivo Uptown team want you to don your best 60s formal attire for a swinging evening of cocktails and real estate.

When David Maez launched Vivo Realty, his vision was a smart, nimble brokerage that could turn on a dime to meet the needs of today’s real estate buyer, who is increasingly drawn to mobile devices and has little patience for long waits. So it was only a matter of time before the firm, which started in West Plano, branched out into Dallas’ hot Uptown market.

“It was important for our company to have a brand presence in such a pivotal location like Uptown,” Maez said. “We weren’t looking for the most expensive or largest space but rather a unique space where agents can come in, use conference room, pick up or drop off signs and plug and play.  We also wanted a space that allowed our agents to take advantage of walking and being in the heart of the city.”
It’s a fantastic location, and one we can’t wait to see at the launch of Vivo Uptown. The brokerage will be hosting a small soiree to kick off the new location from 7 to 10:30 Feb. 5, and attendees are encouraged to slip into pencil skirts, skinny ties, and add a little pomade to their ‘dos for a Mad Men theme. If you’re interested in imbibing in a few cocktails, taking a few fun photos, and learning more about the distinctive Vivo brand, you can RSVP here.
Jump for more on the new office!

(more…)