Photos: Shoot2Sell

Photos: Shoot2Sell

You may think that homes on busy Buckner Boulevard in East Dallas can be nothing more than just a place to land. Because the six-lane thoroughfare that links Loop 12 to Northwest Highway is heavily used, you may think that it’s impossible for a home on this road to be a relaxing retreat.

And you’d be wrong.

Today’s Lease of the Week is an incredible home at 1545 N. Buckner Blvd. inside Casa Linda Estates. And boy, is this property an estate! Situated on more than an acre and enclosed in an automated gate, this home is perfect for a corporate relocation, temporary housing, or someone who wants to live in Dallas in a quality home, close to White Rock Lake, but isn’t interested in the long-term commitment of home ownership.

1545 Buckner Front Door

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8630 Angora Front

By now you know the motto of East Dallas’ weirdest neighborhood: “Keep Little Forest Hills Funky.” In this neighborhood that reminds most people of Austin, you’ll find tiny cottages and bungalows with low ceilings and wood siding. Some of them have been added on, some have been remodeled, and some have been renovated inside and out. But the neighborhood remains a bastion of diversity in taste and architecture.

That’s what’s so remarkable about 8630 Angora: It’s so very different from what you’d expect to find in Little Forest Hills. This two-bedroom, two-bathroom 1980s soft contemporary has high ceilings, big windows, and open spaces — all a far cry from the typical cottage lining the hilly streets of the neighborhood.

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Grandwick 3 JoEngland

You already know that Grandwick, the former Dallas headquarters of the Church of Scientology, was reduced to ashes by a three-alarm fire Thursday. The owner, David D. Anderson, said that he was unable to obtain insurance on the property because it was vacant.

It would seem like this is a tragic, singular occurrence, but the truth is that Anderson owns several homes throughout east and southern Dallas, and many of them are vacant, overgrown, and generally eyesores.

In total, Anderson, who also owns two music stores in the area, has 23 residential properties in Dallas County according to records pulled from the Dallas County Appraisal District website. Of those 23 properties, four are rated “Unsound,” seven are rated “Poor,” and seven are rated “Fair.” Only five are rated either “Average” or “Good.” Grandwick, which is considered a commercial property, is not rated using the same system.

David Anderson East Dallas Properties

According to an official with DCAD, a property that is rated “Poor” often has more than a few code violations, the most common of which is peeling paint, overgrown landscaping, broken windows, as well as some structural issues. An “Unsound” property is often considered unfit for occupation, with serious structural issues, boarded up windows, along with a significant number of code violations.

Grandwick 2 JoEngland

A firefighter whose station responded to the blaze at Grandwick said that while they are unsure what caused the blaze that reduced the stucco-clad 1950s Spanish estate to a pile of rubble, Anderson told firefighters he suspects students from nearby Gaston Middle School. It’s a popular theory, especially considering the number of nearby residents who complain of vandalism and graffiti, as well as the previous 911 calls to Grandwick after break-ins.

So, if a property is sitting vacant and is a magnet for vandals, why not sell it to someone who could put the time and money into refurbishing it? It’s a good question, especially since vacant properties are many times more likely to be broken into and suffer catastrophic damage.

A neighbor to one of Anderson’s East Dallas homes in Forest Hills said that he visits his property at 8310 Forest Hills Blvd. regularly, but doesn’t live there. According to DCAD, this is the home Anderson uses as his primary address. The neighbor, who declined to be identified, didn’t think Anderson was acquiring all these properties just to let them rot, though. Instead, she said Anderson was amassing an estate for his daughter to inherit.

8310 Forest Hills 3 JoEngland8310 Forest Hills Blvd. is rated in “Poor” condition.

It kind of makes sense, but wouldn’t his daughter benefit more from property that is properly maintained? For example, 8310 Forest Hills Blvd. is rated in “Poor” condition by DCAD. On the flip side, Anderson bought his daughter Belle Nora at 8254 Garland Road, just a few blocks from his Forest Hills Boulevard home, for her 16th birthday. Since then, though, it’s sat empty save for Christmas dinner last year.

After reports from passers by and Forest Hills residents that the property wasn’t being maintained, we asked Realtor Vicki White if she had heard anything adverse about Belle Nora. In a Jan. 28 email, White said that while Anderson wanted to move into the stately mansion overlooking White Rock Lake, he couldn’t move his parents there, who are in poor health.

“He does own several houses, and some of them are in disrepair,” White added. “I don’t think that’s the case with Belle Nora.”

However, since that date, much of the property has become overgrown, and the wrought-iron fence facing White Rock Lake has been held together with some nylon rope for months, rusting without repair. It is rated in “Average” condition by DCAD.

Belle Nora Fence

Is it a pattern of neglect, or is it a property owner spread too thin? As Anderson’s Forest Hills neighbor claims, he’s spending much of his time with his ailing parents, and only visits other homes. She called the fire at Grandwick “a tragedy,” too.

But for some people who have visited his Garland Road music store, they say it’s a pattern of disorganized neglect. Patrons and East Dallas residents have likened the store to a hoarder’s home, with stacks and piles of equipment and very little concern for the structure or contents.

We tried to contact Anderson for this story, but our calls were not returned before deadline. Our attempts to contact Anderson at two different nearby Zoo Music locations were not returned. 

1608 Crest Ridge JoEnglandThe home at 1608 Crest Ridge is considered “Unsound” by DCAD.

 

Arboretum Garage WFAA

 

(Photo: WFAA)

It was just a year ago that public outcry from neighborhoods surrounding the Dallas Arboretum put the kibosh on a parking lot planned for Winfrey Point. That project would have paved over a significant portion of the restored prairie and baseball fields inside one of White Rock Lake’s most popular areas.

It was protracted, dramatic, and thankfully short. It sent Arboretum officials back to the drawing board to formulate a parking plan that won’t impact neighborhoods, views, and traffic on Garland Road — a major East Dallas thoroughfare.

According to stories by The Dallas Morning News and WFAA, the 1,200-space garage is planned for a lot on Garland Road that the Arboretum already owns. It will be connected to the main property via an underground tunnel, allowing patrons to cross the busy three-lane road safely.

Of course, neighbors in Little Forest Hills, Forest Hills, and other nearby communities aren’t just going to stand idly by. While the Arboretum is on a deadline for new parking spaces thanks to getting the boot from Lincoln Properties, folks still plan on getting a very close look at the garage and its construction before giving it a nod of approval:

“We have a checkered history with the Arboretum; they haven’t always played on the up-and-up,” said neighbor Kelly Cotten. “I think it’s right to come to these meetings with some cautious suspicion.”

I think I remember someone suggesting this plan last year as an alternative to the Winfrey Point parking lot, but I could be mistaken. In any case, I hope Good Fulton & Farrell Architects are up to the task of working with some very ornery neighbors.

What do you think of the plan? Would you want to live next to a 1,200-space parking garage?

Arboretum Garage WFAA

 

(Photo: WFAA)

It was just a year ago that public outcry from neighborhoods surrounding the Dallas Arboretum put the kibosh on a parking lot planned for Winfrey Point. That project would have paved over a significant portion of the restored prairie and baseball fields inside one of White Rock Lake’s most popular areas.

It was protracted, dramatic, and thankfully short. It sent Arboretum officials back to the drawing board to formulate a parking plan that won’t impact neighborhoods, views, and traffic on Garland Road — a major East Dallas thoroughfare.

According to stories by The Dallas Morning News and WFAA, the 1,200-space garage is planned for a lot on Garland Road that the Arboretum already owns. It will be connected to the main property via an underground tunnel, allowing patrons to cross the busy three-lane road safely.

Of course, neighbors in Little Forest Hills, Forest Hills, and other nearby communities aren’t just going to stand idly by. While the Arboretum is on a deadline for new parking spaces thanks to getting the boot from Lincoln Properties, folks still plan on getting a very close look at the garage and its construction before giving it a nod of approval:

“We have a checkered history with the Arboretum; they haven’t always played on the up-and-up,” said neighbor Kelly Cotten. “I think it’s right to come to these meetings with some cautious suspicion.”

I think I remember someone suggesting this plan last year as an alternative to the Winfrey Point parking lot, but I could be mistaken. In any case, I hope Good Fulton & Farrell Architects are up to the task of working with some very ornery neighbors.

What do you think of the plan? Would you want to live next to a 1,200-space parking garage?