…and you still happily shop here.

One of life’s joys is the “I told you so,” because it is so often precluded by a period of scorn and disbelief. Last week I had a bumper crop, but let’s talk about Amazon’s HQ2.

You remember that? The corporate welfare pageant where municipalities fell over themselves, checkbooks flailing in the breeze, trying to lure Amazon to places its corporate relocation team had already picked? Yeah, that.

The Metroplex was one of those entries, and we even made it past the first culling before being sent home roseless, our taxpayer checkbook tucked firmly between our legs. New York may have kicked them out, but Amazon continues to hire there, albeit fewer than the 25,000 expected from their half of HQ2. Amazon wanted a presence in New York regardless of the freebies.

On the other hand, Virginia, happy to accept the Amazon bouquet, has seen home prices surge by 17 percent while property owners hoping for more, have caused new listings to crater – one zip code near HQ2 saw an 85.3 percent decrease in new listings. This has essentially frozen the market and caused property tax bills to swell.  Everyone’s expecting that once hiring picks up with HQ2, the lid will be blown off valuations. The same thing is playing out in the rental market especially in areas with the lowest rents as REITs and investors move in.

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Favela

(Photo courtesy City of Dallas)

Raquel Favela, Dallas’ Chief of Economic Development and Neighborhood Services, has given City Manager T.C. Broadnax her resignation, the city announced yesterday. Her resignation is effective Sept. 3.

Under her tenure, which began April 2017, Favela oversaw the city’s first data-driven Market Value Analysis framework, which helped city leaders, residents and others better suss out the local residential real estate market. That framework would also be valuable in crafting housing program policy. (more…)

Dallas Center for Architecture is Now AD EX with Newly Expanded Vision, Location | CandysDirt.com

The Dallas Center for Architecture has changed its name and expanded its vision, moving to a new location in downtown Dallas and setting its sights on being an integral part of the community. 

DCFA is now AD EX, shorthand for The Architecture and Design Exchange. They are taking new roost in the historic midcentury architectural icon Republic Center with the goal of being both a physical space and mechanism for spurring conversation about walkability, mobility, historic preservation, affordable housing, economic development, and other civic challenges related to architecture and urban design that impact the city. 

“Building on the momentum created over the past ten years, we look forward to AD EX becoming a critical force in an ever-growing conversation on the design and livability of our cities,” says Jan Blackmon, FAIA, executive director of The Architecture and Design Foundation and AIA Dallas. “We believe this storefront space in the middle of a new epicenter for downtown will give us opportunities to reach new audiences. Our hope is that AD EX will inspire our community to see its surroundings differently and imagine new possibilities for design as a solution.”

AD EX’s street-level location in the dense urban core of Dallas and adjacency to downtown’s next planned public park, Pacific Plaza, is intended to break down barriers and facilitate informal exchange of ideas about design and architecture. Its interior space, outside terrace, open floorplan, and floor-to-ceiling windows will showcase design-focused exhibitions, films, book and panel discussions, student workshops, policy symposia, and other programming. 

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Farmers Branch

A Todd Bonneau custom home. Photo: Todd Bonneau Homes

Once upon a time, a decade or two ago, Farmers Branch was a sleepy suburb with older homes, older shopping centers, and older infrastructure. It wasn’t a bad place to live, but it wasn’t exactly topping the charts of vibrant cities in DFW.

The housing stock, in particular, was fraying around the edges and many aging residences needed a total overhaul. But Farmers Branch reached buildout in the 1970s, so if something new was to go in, something old needed to leave.

But then the city woke up. They adopted a forward-thinking, progressive approach, and builders and developers took notice. The city, which already had parks and green space, has started better utilizing those areas for residents and visitors. Shopping centers and other commercial buildings are getting facelifts, partially funded by the city. Dilapidated houses are being torn down on the city’s dime and the empty land sold to encourage better homes with a higher tax base. Multi-family developments are in phased developments to create a work-play-live, walkable atmosphere.

The result? A Renaissance, of sorts, showing up across all sectors of the Farmers Branch community. This suburb is sleepy no more.

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old town 2

Old Town Lewisville. Photo courtesy of the city of Lewisville

When you think of hip, fun destinations to live, work, and play in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the city of Lewisville is not usually at the top of the list.

But city leaders in this northern suburb of almost 100,000 residents are changing that as redevelopment moves into full swing in the Old Town area. New houses, townhomes, restaurants, and retail shops are all in the works as developers and entrepreneurs take note of the changing atmosphere.

“Everybody has been hyper-focused on Collin County, but these changes in Lewisville will give people another option,” said David Maez, Broker and Co-Owner at VIVO Realty, which represents the developer Belleville Village, the builders of Uptown Village Lewisville townhomes near East Main Street and East Mill Street in Old Town. “It’s close to Lewisville Lake, close to the airport, close to I-35, which makes it easy to get to Dallas. These changes will make that area more appealing for buyers, especially younger professionals.”  (more…)