Skyline Terrace Villas living room. Photo courtesy Crescent Estates.

Looking to relocate and rein in your downtown Dallas commute? You might consider Skyline Terrace Villas, a new single-family offering by Crescent Estates Custom Homes. With close proximity to both the Dallas North Tollway and I-35, the central Dallas location stands out as pretty hard-to-beat. Just five minutes to the Medical District and the American Airlines Center, Skyline Terrace Villas certainly places a premium on convenience. And space! Lot sizes in Skyline Terrace afford the square footage required for traditional house layouts, not just townhomes.

“That really is the biggest draw,” says Crescent Estates Custom Homes CEO Brad Oellermann. “It’s a unique opportunity to have a large lot close to Dallas. And we’ve been able to build true homes and they feel spacious. They’re livable like a traditional home. That’s very hard to find in a location with downtown views.”


Photo courtesy Bright Realty

Artist rendering of Discovery at The Realm in Castle Hills in Lewisville. Photo courtesy Bright Realty.

Since the first homeowners moved into Lewisville’s Castle Hills community in 1998, more than 12,000 people have decided to call the master planned community home, and it is about 60 percent built-out today.

Located off State Highway 121 and Farm-to-Market Road 544, Castle Hills is 60 percent residential and has single-family houses ranging from about $300,000 to $1.5 million and more.

Developer Bright Realty is enticing a different demographic with their next stage of work at Castle Hills with a $75-million project called Discovery at The Realm. These 4,000 luxury rental apartments are being built with young professionals in mind.

Tim McNutt, Executive VP of Multifamily Development at Bright Realty and a Castle Hills resident himself, said these apartments are part of the strategy to develop Castle Hills in stages.

“The long-term plan was to establish the single-family housing, then to develop the remaining commercial properties,” McNutt said. “Along with the commercial [real estate], we wanted to expand the demographic and this will broaden our appeal to a whole new market.”

Photo courtesy Google Maps

Photo courtesy Google Maps

Bright Realty broke ground in December on Discovery at The Realm, which will include high-end, three podium-style buildings (underground parking with four stories of apartments above) on over 20 acres of land located south of Windhaven Parkway at Castle Hills Drive. The first units will be available in April 2016, with all phase one units completed by October 2016. Jump to read more!


DHA Property MapThere used to be a time when I decried “NIMBYism.” It seemed shallow for some people to object to city developments that would be good for several people just because it would impact a nearby homeowner.

That was before I bought my first home. Now, I’ll admit to having a few NIMBY moments of my own. Why? Because I bought a house, signed a mortgage, and even though I’m not trying to flip it or make money off of it, it’s still an investment I want to keep healthy. That means looking out for my home and my neighborhood.

I no longer see NIMBY as a pejorative. Instead, I see objecting as an step toward compromise and education, and I think that’s what the folks objecting to the expanded Dallas Housing Authority development in Oak Lawn are doing. They’re voicing opposition, and thereby taking a step toward compromise and education.

That’s the vibe I get from Alan Shaffer, a Clay Stapp & Co. agent who specializes in the area. In fact, Shaffer used to live directly across the street from the former DHA development that was razed to make room for the new one.

“I used to live directly across from this project years ago at Kings Quarters and saw first hand how run down the community was, the level of crime in the area (including a number of break ins at our gated community), drug busts nearby and even drug dealers living in our community,” Shaffer said in a letter to the zoning board. “I think enlarging this community and making it even more dense would be detrimental to the surrounding neighborhoods.”

I asked Shaffer what he thought of a smaller development in the area, one that better fit the scale of the site and neighborhood. Specifically, what kind of development would Shaffer welcome on the site? I was surprised by his response.

“I would like to see it more mixed with some units at market rates and some subsidized. I think then the community would have a better chance of being a good neighbor and would help keep out some of the bad element that can come with these projects,” Shaffer said. “It’s been public housing for years and I know we need it but I’d hate to see them make it so dense and reduce the parking. I don’t think that’s the right recipe for a good neighbor.”

It’s a sensitive subject, one that has commenters on blogs lobbing accusations of racism and classism at one another, but Shaffer poses a nuanced solution that DHA should try to adopt — a more integrated model that puts market-rate apartments next to subsidized housing.

Another issue is maintenance and upkeep, which nearby residents have brought up again and again as not just lax, but negligent. If the city wants to build a housing development that will become a part of the neighborhood, than it needs to adhere to the standards of the neighborhood, says Mike Harper, who, along with many other concerned neighbors, has launched a website.

“When I spoke to the management on the property about my concerns, there was little to no assurance of anything being done as she went on about how she had bigger issues to deal with,” Harper said in an email. “So I personally think that DHA needs to prove themselves to the community with their existing property before they add over 400 more units across the street.”

That doesn’t sound terribly unreasonable, to me. In fact, I think a “good neighbor” agreement, as the Rezoning DHA website puts it, is a great social contract between the new development and surrounding community.

On the flipside (and there is always a flipside), everyone needs to realize that while the 410 proposed units for the site would make this project the most dense public housing development in Dallas, it still doesn’t even come close to evening out the disparity of public housing developments in northern Dallas versus those located in the southern sector.

In the Uptown area, this one project is only one of two DHA projects in one of the most dense areas of the city, with the glut falling to East Dallas, West Dallas, South Dallas, Oak Cliff, and Southeast Dallas. So while it would stand to reason to add more low-income housing to the Uptown/Oak Lawn/Cedar Springs area, they shouldn’t all be in one place, and they shouldn’t eschew the parking and maintenance standards the rest of the area holds.

Attempts to contact Dallas Housing Authority director Mary Ann Russ for this story were not returned.