The views from LTV Tower are incredible. You can see some of Dallas’ most famous landmarks, including the Mercantile Building and I.M. Pei’s Dallas City Hall. (Photo: LTV Tower)

By Chase Heckendorn
Special Contributor

There’s a growing trend nationwide toward restoring and repurposing historic buildings — celebrating the old and introducing the new. Nowhere is this more apparent than in downtown Dallas, which is home to two exciting restorations. Properties steeped in history live on as residential high-rises, where generations to come can create their personal histories.


downtown loft

If stellar downtown views are on your “must-have” list, then today’s Tuesday Two Hundred will exceed your expectations.

With south-facing, eight-foot windows and a rooftop pool deck, the Soco Urban Loft Condo at 1122 Jackson St. No. 904 offers splendid skyline views of downtown Dallas.

But the appeal of this condo isn’t confined to views. Think polished concrete floors, cool-burning LED lighting, a huge custom walk-in California closet with desk and safe, and lots of authentic details that remind you of the building’s 1925 construction (the building was once a railroad terminal and warehouse, completely reimagined as hip condos 11 years ago).

Unit 904 is technically a 1-1, but because it’s a loft, the 1,272 square feet flow together and feel open. It was listed June 3 by Jennifer Shindler at Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate for $224,000, the largest and most expensive of the four units in this building currently for sale. Its price-per-square-foot is $176, which is on the low end compared to the other three, listed at $174, $184, and $209 per square foot. With such a great look and solid price, we think unit 904 won’t be on the market long.


1505 Elm

There’s a new downtown property on the market that’s got the kind of luxury amenities you usually see on Turtle Creek, but for under $300K: a sixth-floor corner unit on Elm Street at North Akard with a stellar view, modern interior, and prime location.

The condo at 1505 Elm St. #604 is pretty much everything I imagine people desire in a downtown Dallas address: big, open floorplans; high-end appliances; awesome amenities; and easy access a DART light rail station across the street.

This 1-1.5 with a study is 1,482 square feet, listed by Gregory Iker at Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate for $235,000.

1505 Elm Y

Dallas architect George Dahl designed 1505 Elm, which was constructed in 1957 and served as Dallas Federal Savings bank for years before being abandoned. In 2002, it was part of the first wave of residential redevelopment in downtown Dallas, bringing 68 units to the market.

They didn’t cut corners in this building: it has an incredible level of amenities, which helps explain the whopping HOA fees of $1,001 per month. But those fees earn access to a 24-hour concierge, valet parking for residents and guests, a pool, sauna, private dog run, fitness center, Moroccan-style party room with billiard table and caterer’s kitchen, three high-speed elevators, and a super cool former bank vault that is now a wine cellar with a large dining table and individual wine lockers for residents. There’s even access to downtown tunnel system through lobby.


The Cedars

The Cedars is quickly transforming into an urban hot spot, with 11 new real estate developments in the pipeline. But how will this neighborhood just south of downtown Dallas work to capitalize on this energy?

One of Dallas’ huge strengths is its neighborhoods, and one of the most unique is downtown. Make that Downtown with a capital D. With its walkable blocks, great density, and mix of classic and modern architecture, Downtown is similar to the nearby Uptown neighborhood. But at Wednesday night’s community roundtable hosted by the Dallas Homeowners League, Downtown was commiserating and collaborating with Deep Ellum, the Cedars and the Farmers Market neighborhoods. Why so glum? All are trying to poke their heads up as residential nirvanas for a new style of living.

As Peter Simek, last night’s roundtable moderator, put it, all areas “suffered the effects of de-economization of the core in the 60s, and are now coming into their own.”


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!


Hughes Brothers Candy Factory 1401 S. Ervay

According to Steve Brown, folks in the Cedars can expect more loft housing thanks to a recent purchase from SkyWalker Property Partners out of Arlington. The firm, which buys up distressed industrial, retail, and historic properties in Texas, just bought the 110-year-old Hughes Brothers Candy Factory building on South Ervay Street.

The building, which has been boarded up for quite some time, was being used for unauthorized parties and was sometimes used by squatters. To the delight of preservationists, SkyWalker will convert the building into housing.

The new owners plan to spend $3.2 million converting the former manufacturing building into residential units.

“We just love the area, its growth and momentum,” SkyWalker Property’s Clint Holland said in a statement. “It’s got phenomenal views of Downtown Dallas that will always be unobstructed.”

The new owners bought the building from Frieda Bosh, the mother of Miami Heat basketball player Chris Bosh. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

The 5-story building contains about 7,000 square feet.

Loft housing is very popular in this area, which is a hot spot for artists. I think this will be a very successful development for SkyWalker if they keep prices affordable. What do you think?



Livin' it up at Bolsa on Davis Street -- delicious!

I will just lay it right out: David Griffin and Keith Cox are two of my most favorite people in the world. David and I go way back to when he was marketing the W Residences — God, that makes me feel old! (But David looks so young!) He has always, always been bullish on downtown Dallas real estate and property south of the bridge, Oak Cliff/Kessler/Bishop Arts. David started selling real estate with Virginia Cook and re-joined the firm as a luxury boutique division (like Dave Perry-Miller is to Ebby) in August of 2010. David Griffin & Company Realtors was founded by David Griffin in 1982, known as niche boutique firm for buying and selling homes in Uptown, the Park Cities, Lakewood and Kessler Park. During the most difficult real estate market since the Great Depression, David has marketed landmark properties, such as The House by Phillip Starck, The W at Victory, and Kessler Woods.

Keith Cox is a powerhouse of sales and personality force. In fact, when our real estate reality show lands a network, I so want Keith on that show! He started selling real estate at age 12 — no joke! He was riding home from school on his bike, he told his parents about a house he found and they closed on it a month later. Not sure whether he collected that commission check. Here’s what else makes Keith extraordinary: he worked as a banker in the early 1990’s, selling off a real estate portfolio of almost half a million. Getting his start in Dallas with John Whiteside, he side-tracked to Atlanta ( you and Al Hill III!) with Coldwell banker. Back to Dallas in 1999 he came, then took Keller Williams by storm where his prowess is feared in North Oak Cliff. No seriously, I have heard that agents TREMBLE when he hits a listing. Try 25 million in production per year, ranked in the top 1% of agents worldwide. I wrote his name so much on so many listings when I was at D Magazine, that keyboard is embedded with his letters.

So what happened? David and Keith got smarter –(“I’m inspired by intelligent people,” says David) and started a team for Oak Cliff real estate, their combed forces “knocking it out of the ballpark”, as David says. Meantime, both live there — David in an exquisite home in Kessler Woods, Keith somewhere (where do you live, my dear?). When Keith and I get together, the neurons sort of fly and ideas zip out of our heads like shooting stars — this at noon over iced tea. Anyhoo, this is the TEAM, folks, this is the story: David Griffin + Keith Cox now under David’s brokerage, under the Virginia Cook umbrella. Officing North Oak Cliff.

Little bit ’bout Virginia Cook Realtors: founded by Virginia Cook and Sheila Rice in 1999. Virginia Cook, an outstanding broker, as well as one of the most caring real estate executives I have ever met, enjoyed a distinguished 28-year career as president of Henry S. Miller, Realtors — she founded the residential division to sell homes to Dallas-bound executives who were utilizing Miller’s commercial services. (It was all his Henry’s wife’s idea, a story I will tell you someday.) Henry S. Miller Residential sold to Coldwell Banker in 2001. Founded in 1919, Henry S. Miller Company remains one of the largest independent brokerage and property management firms in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Mr. Miller, who died at the age of 95 in 2009, was named one of the leading 20 Dallasites of the 20th Century, and is widely known as “the master of real estate brokerage.”

Virginia Cook Realtors is one of the largest independently owned real estate firms in North Texas, with full-service offices in a multi-county region from the Park Cities to Sherman, Denison and Fort Worth. Virginia Cook has global relocation services utilized by hundreds of corporations.

And now, Virginia has David plus Keith. The world will truly never be the same!





I’m not talking about what they sell, I am talking about who they are — the hottest real estate agents in Dallas. The real “hot properties”.

Consumers have asked me for years: who are the best real estate agents in town? Hard to answer because we are blessed with so many. The only way to find your chemistry is to get to know them. Forget those dubious surveys out there who ask God knows who God knows what. 

To help you, I’m going to be totally shallow and just flat out pick top agents like we do our properties — for how they look! Then we’ll look at how much they produce.

Today: Bobby Dhillon, of, who is single-handedly kicking butt over at The House

CD: So I looked up your stats. You are kicking butt in Uptown, Area 17. From July 1, 2011 to September 13 you sold 3!

BD: I’ve sold 9 since May, 2011.

CD: Jeeze Louise! How many House units left to sell?

BD: The House is now close to 25% occupancy.

CD: That’s up from…

BD: Less than 10% when I got here…

CD: Whose buying?

BD: Empty nesters, young business folks, lots of physicians because we have access to so many hospitals, hedge fund guys, and believe or not… families — we have several families here! They are moving here from Park Cities, Preston Hollow and North Dallas

CD: I saw the kids downstairs in the lobby and it blew my mind! They do private school! You were last in Atlanta, where Al Hill III just moved. What brought you back?

BD: I pre-sold the Ritz (Phase 1 and 2).  I was called by a developer in Atlanta to get a Mandarin Oriental Residences going and assisted in a Rosewood property along with several other high rise buildings that John Williams (founder of Post Properties) asked me to attend to.  John Sughrue, a close friend,  convinced me to come back to Dallas to run sales at Museum Tower.  As we waited for financing on the building, I was asked by Hillwood to help make a difference at The House in Victory Park.  I am committed to seeing The House continue to succeed and flourish.

CD: How are you getting these units sold when they are perceived as — wrongly, I may add —  Hillwood’s step children?

BD: The single most important thing for me to get through is confidence in the building, lifestyle and surrounding neighborhood.  You can see for yourself — there are people here today looking, interested, buying.

CD: How are you instilling that confidence?

BD: Cousins Properties (asset managers) along with the Victory Park Owners are fully committed to making Victory a master-planned community. They want the community to work together harmoniously to take it from being a local destination to a national destination with a true pedestrian lifestyle. They are looking for partners for the long haul.  They want it to all tie together, and it is.   With the additon of restaurants like Neo’s Pizza, the eateries now range from Italian, Thai, Japanese, Morrocan, Mexican, etc.  In fact, Hard Rock Cafe’ serves The House pool deck as well as does our room service.  Other new additions include the The Fan (105.3) and Cumulus!  

CD: But we have way more condos in Dallas still, yes?

BD: That’s the market perception, but its not true! There are 250 new condos in Dallas for a total market of $6 million, that’s it. And folks are moving here from everywhere –  Dallas is an international city. We get buyers from South America, Mexico, Europe. Our prices are very competitive and with the Phillipe Starck brand, the value resonates beyond just Dallas.

CD: How is your foot traffic?

BD: Suprisingly well. I attribute it to word spreading that sales are taking place and confidence to purchase has increased.  People are still buying in Dallas and real estate seems to be a great alternative to the stock market these days.   

CD: So where do you live?

BD: Off Oak Lawn on the edge of Highland Park.

CD: Where did you grow up?

BD: Born in Indiana, raised in South Carolina and went to The Citadel, Military College of South Carolina.

CD: Wow, the Citadel! What kind of car do you drive?

BD: Lexus GS350 and Mercedes GL450

CD: What is your fantasy car?

BD: The Audi R8

CD: Fantasy second home?

BD:  Carmel, CA

CD: I’m with you there! How is selling in Dallas different than Atlanta?

BD: Selling is similar, but environment is very different.  Dallas is not saturated with similar product, although we think we are.  Not nearly as much supply.  The Atlanta economy is struggling in comparison, and the developers over built in the main areas (Buckhead, Midtown and Downtown).  With Musem Tower in the works, that will be the last condo building. With urban growth and the continued influx of residents, supply will diminish fairly quickly.  Dallas is in good shape.