Mosaic

The Mosaic is just one stop on the Celebrate Downtown DIVE IN tour.

Get your walking shoes and camera ready! Preservation Dallas and Downtown Dallas, Inc. will host Celebrate Downtown DIVE IN on May 6. This tour highlights truly amazing Dallas historical gems, many of which offer spectacular views of downtown Dallas. It’s a photographer’s dream come true! And if the turnout is anything like it was two years ago, you’ll want to reserve your tickets ASAP.

“Celebrate Downtown remains one of our most anticipated architectural tours because you get to experience Dallas’ center from the ground, from up above it all and from every angle,” said Preservation Dallas’ Donovan Westover. “Access to eight exclusive historic properties and rooftops with a party afterward – where else can you do that in four hours for $35?”

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Museum Tower Party

Museum Tower Party Line Real Estate at the Penthouse!

As we told you a few weeks ago, Museum Tower has now sold more than HALF of the luxury high end condo units available, and by the time you read this the number could be 55 percent or even 60. The sales team has pushed, but most buyers are just in love with the building so much that they want even bigger homes, or they want friends to buy next door. Buyers have included VIPs to multiple home owners to  sprinkling of Millennials who think Museum Tower is the best possible place to live not just in Dallas, but anywhere.

And of course, the 10,000-square-foot penthouse is available on the tip top floor marketed for about $21 million. Pricey, yes, but you have a raw shell to do whatever you want in, including rooftop space for a patio, pool, even a heli-pad. The possibilities are endless.

Here’s your chance to take a look at the Museum Tower penthouse, with our latest Party Line Real Estate show. This time, we talked not just to the agents and buyers, but press — Jeff Crilley came — and urban living experts like Kourtny Garrett, President of Downtown Dallas Inc., who tells us about the growing urban culture in Dallas — cycling, trails, parks, downtown recreation and even kids:

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Photo: Google Maps

1401 Elm as it looks today. Even though developers started some work on the skyscraper, redevelopment efforts ground to a halt last week and lenders are forcing a foreclosure auction. Photo: Google Maps

Last week, we told you about the mess happening at 1401 Elm, a landmark $240 million redevelopment deal in downtown Dallas facing forced foreclosure after a developer pulled out.

The city of Dallas had committed $50 million in economic incentives to further progress. But with of the departure of New York-based Olympic Property Partners from the project, early lenders, who shelled out $53.5 million in loans to start redevelopment efforts, are forcing a foreclosure sale Dec. 1.

Rendering courtesy of Olympic Property

City leaders say they’re still committed to the redevelopment of 1401 Elm. Rendering courtesy of Olympic Property

But city officials say they feel compelled to try and help the skyscraper. The deal is considered to be a major milestone in downtown Dallas’ forward progress, and they reiterated their support for the planned mixed-use redevelopment project, which was supposed to create a combination of commercial space and apartments.

“We are absolutely committed to the redevelopment of the 1401 building, but will need to see how the ownership situation shakes out before making a specific recommendation to the city council,” Karl Zavitkovsky, directory of the Office of Economic Development, told Steve Brown of the Dallas Morning News. “The good news from the city’s perspective is that almost all the environmental mitigation and interior demolition is completed. Redevelopment of 1401 Elm remains a high priority for the city.”

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Photo: Google Maps

Photo: Google Maps

Downtown Dallas’ 1401 Elm was once touted as the tallest building west of the Mississippi River, with 52 stories and 1.5 million square feet of office space.

This Central Business District skyscraper, formerly the First National Bank, has stood depressingly vacant since 2010. Plywood boards and “keep out” signs mar the once-impressive edifice.

Rendering courtesy of Olympic Property

Here’s what the redevelopment of 1401 Elm was supposed to look like. Will a foreclosure sale make these plans go down the drain? Rendering courtesy of Olympic Property Partners

Plans were underway for an encompassing $240-million redevelopment until this week, when the New York-based developer leading the deal announced it was pulling out. Because of that, 1401 Elm is now slated for a foreclosure auction to meet the demands of lenders, who shelled out $53.5 million in loans to start redevelopment efforts.

To add a layer of drama for the landmark deal, another real estate investor based in Chicago is suing the current owners of 1401 Elm, claiming it was kept from buying the property through fraud.

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More families are choosing to live in Uptown and Downtown Dallas, and neighborhood organizations hope to connect parents with one another. (Photo: Justin Terveen)

More families are choosing to live in Uptown and Downtown Dallas, and neighborhood organizations hope to connect parents with one another. (Photo: Justin Terveen)

Mondays are hard, y’all, especially if you’re a parent. You get two days of no alarm clocks and late night shenanigans and then you have the blaring wake-up call that is a cranky kid who can’t decide if he wants Snoopy or Star Wars underwear and has a mental breakdown over what cereal to have for breakfast on Monday morning. And people wonder why I’m ambivalent about three-day weekends …

By the time 5 o’clock hits, most parents are hitting the liquor cabinet. *hiccup*

So isn’t it thoughtful that Uptown Dallas, Inc., along with other nearby neighborhood organizations, wants to get a bunch of urban-dwelling families together for a bit of commiseration over cocktails. It’s just one of the ways that the neighborhood organizations hope to foster a more tight-knit community of families in hopes to end the misconception that urban areas can’t be family friendly.

But why bother with families at all?  Uptown Dallas Inc. is working toward increasing diversity in the area.

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Photo courtesy Patrick McDonnell/Downtown Dallas Inc.

Photo courtesy Patrick McDonnell/Downtown Dallas Inc.

If the last year is any indication, 2015 is shaping up to be another banner year for real estate development in Downtown Dallas.

This is according to downtown advocates, urban planners, and real estate and development experts, who gathered Friday to talk about city living in downtown at a panel, sponsored by the Dallas Business Journal.

Moderated by John Crawford, President and CEO of Downtown Dallas Inc., an advocacy group for Downtown Dallas, the panel shared candid insights into past successes, lessons learned, and where the area is headed in the future.

“There’s a pretty distinct spirit and energy in Downtown Dallas and we’ve reached a point of permanency, as far as what downtown has become,” said Crawford. “Residentially, we continue to be about 94 percent occupancy in all the buildings that have been converted and the new construction and depending on who you talk to, we have between 6,000 and 8,000 units under construction from 2015 to 2017. There’s an urban lifestyle that is continuing to catch on down here.”

Panelists included Theresa O’Donnell, Chief Planning Officer for the city of Dallas; Yogi Patil, an Associate at HKS Architects Inc.; Steve Shepherd of the Downtown Residents Council; and Michael Tregoning, President of Headington Company. Jump to read more!

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Photo courtesy of Steve Rainwater via a Creative Commons license

Photo courtesy of Steve Rainwater via Creative Commons

When I learned to drive in the 90s, my dad had two big rules: Don’t run out of gas and don’t drive anywhere near Downtown Dallas, particularly at night.

We were suburban dwellers, used to wide streets, manicured lawns, and regularly scheduled trash pickups. Much of Downtown Dallas was gritty and graffitied, all business by day, and practically vacant at night, except for the club scene in Deep Ellum and restaurants in the West End Historic District.

It’s not just downtown that was affected—for decades, people have been moving to the suburbs in Dallas and across the country. For example, nationally, the suburbs grew at an annual average rate of 1.38 percent, compared to 0.42 percent for primary cities between 2000 and 2010, according to U.S. Census Bureau data and research by population analysts.

But that trend appears to be reversing in the past four years. Since 2010, primary cities with populations of 100,000 or more outgrew suburbs each year, according to research by William H. Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution.

Dallas is part of that trend. Certainly, many our suburbs like Frisco are seeing unprecedented growth. But our urban core—the 15 districts that make up Downtown Dallas—has seen a radical transformation as people and businesses move back downtown. 

Case in point: in 2000, the Central Business District population, one of those 15 districts, was just 14,654. It is predicted to grow to 33,139 residents in 2015, and 59,337 in 2030.  

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