Private? Off MLS listings?

Tee hee we spill the beans…

6425 Blanch Circle is one of six amazing homes featured in this year's Lakewood Home Festival. (Photos: Jenifer McNeil Baker)

6425 Blanch Circle is one of six amazing homes featured in this year’s Lakewood Home Festival. (Photos: Jenifer McNeil Baker)

The Lakewood Home Festival is one of those home tours you can’t help but look forward to because it always has such a splendid mix of architecture and style. Last year there was a fabulous Hill Country Modern and perhaps one of my favorite Dilbecks, and this year does not disappoint.

Not only do you get a brand new build and a gorgeous remodeled midcentury modern, but you can also walk through a classic English Tudor and a gorgeous brick and stone home that looks like it could be a Hutsell. This year’s Lakewood Home Festival weekend, themed “The Legacy of Lakewood,” is Nov. 14 and 15, with a disco-licious “Friday Night Fever” auction party on Nov. 13. You can also purchase a limited-edition print fromlocal artist Walter Eduardo Soza of SozaDesigns Studios commemorating this year’s tour for just $250.

Jump to find out how to score tickets and to see more photos of the tour homes.

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The Lakewood Theater went dark over the weekend as the existing tenants of both the theater space and the adjoining Arcade Bar have moved out. (Photo: Julie Billingsley Geron)

The Lakewood Theater went dark over the weekend as the existing tenants of both the theater space and the adjoining Arcade Bar have moved out. (Photo: Julie Billingsley Geron)

You’ve certainly heard all about the hubbub surrounding the Lakewood Theater and its many proposed tenants and transformations. Most recently, the longtime bar inside the theater, The Balcony Club, was able to renew its lease at the eleventh hour.

But without management at the Lakewood Theater, the trademark tower and marquee have gone dark, much to the dismay of neighbors. It’s a significant part of the neighborhoods identity, and one that nearby residents had been told would be maintained and preserved whatever should happen to the actual theater.

Instead, as reported on the Lakewood, Dallas Facebook page, the marquee is empty and not a single strip of neon in the sign is ablaze.

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6426 Westlake Front

What a fantastic home that really typifies “move in-ready” for me! For a home to be move in-ready, it has to:

  • Have immaculate neutral paint and fresh baseboards and trim,
  • Have gorgeous floors that are in tip-top shape,
  • And have a kitchen that is ready to plug-in and go!

This home, a 1937 traditional cottage, has all of these things, as well as some fantastic light fixtures and beautiful living areas. There are three bedrooms, two full baths, an updated kitchen, and more than 1,800 square feet, making this home at 6426 Westlake a perfect, cozy family property. This home, located inside Lakewood’s Country Club Estates, is listed with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s Realtor Karla Trusler for $515,000.

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Today’s Tuesday Two Hundred takes us just north of White Rock Lake in Lakewood to 7325 Rutgers Drive. This fantastic East Dallas neighborhood is full of other handsome midcentury houses like this one, but few are priced as competitively: With a recent price reduction, it is now listed for $299,900, or $185 per square foot. Nearby comps have been averaging almost $200 per square foot.

Built in 1960 and recently updated, this brick house is a 3-2 with 1,617 square feet sitting on 0.178 acres with lovely, mature trees. Located within walking distance of the new playground and splash park at Ridgewood-Belcher Rec Center, this University Terrace property is in the Lakewood Elementary, Long Middle, and Woodrow Wilson High School zones. Nearby private schools include Zion Lutheran, St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary, and Dallas Academy. The neighborhood has a Fourth of July parade and a Halloween party for local kids. Needless to say, the area draws many families.

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Front ViewHelp us shake it up on Shook. I cannot think of a nicer street than Shook Road, just north-ish of Gaston in White Rock. The houses on the south side of the street have what I call “Austin topography” — cool terrains that stair-step up to the house. (Cannot see it in photo.) It’s such a refreshing change from the usual prairie-flat ranch look that pervades most of Dallas area housing, I would think these houses would be flying off the shelves.

And in most cases, they are.

On this street, at 7128 Shook, is a Barnett West constructed home (2004) that simply will not sell. I have a few ideas why myself, but want to know what y’all think. The agent, Kay McFarlane with Jerry A. Allegro & Associates, has lowered the price to $895,000.

Buyers have said they don’t like the topography of the front yard, because “kids cannot play there.” Got news for you: half the time, kids don’t play in the front yard. The driveway is nice and broad for bikes, however. (more…)

Woodrow Wilson High School

Thanks to a Facebook page started by former State Rep. Allen Vaught, meetings with Dallas ISD trustee Mike Morath, and a growing groundswell of support, talk is picking up about Woodrow Wilson High School and it’s feeder campuses splintering from Dallas ISD to form their own school district.

It’s an interesting idea, one that would either create a sort of charter school district inside DISD, or secede from the district forever, depending on whom you’re asking. The complaints are as diverse as the proposed solution, but many families inside Lakewood are just fed up with the slow-moving bureaucracy at 3700 Ross Ave, one that Vaught wants to ditch completely.

Should this actually come to fruition, what would happen to the home values inside the Woodrow attendance boundaries and Lakewood as a whole? And what about homes surrounding the area?

6427 Lakewood ext

“My personal opinion is that when Lakewood becomes it’s own entity, the children are the ones who will benefit,” said Scott Carlson, a Realtor who specializes in Lakewood real estate and East Dallas. “Absolutely property values in Lakewood will be protected and become stronger.”

Nancy Johnson, also an expert in Lakewood-area real estate and is the listing agent for 10 Nonesuch Road, agrees.

“I think it would have a positive affect,” Johnson said. “Of course many details would need answering but DISD has such a bad rap that I think localizing and separating from all the negativity would hopefully have some of the great affects the Park Cities have enjoyed.”

Lakewood Elementary

Of course, Park Cities home values have always held strong, thanks to the solid schools, and recently values have taken a turn upward. But there have been some side-effects. Increased density and over-crowded schools are growing problems for Highland Park ISD. As more people seek to live inside a higher-performing school district, builders tear down single-family homes to build duplexes and four-plexes, increasing the burden on campuses to make room for more children. It’s a double-edged sword, for sure.

And let’s not forget that with higher property values often comes higher taxes.

“As you are aware, Texas does not have a state income tax. Never the less, we make up for that in our property taxes — mostly the school part of the tax,” Carlson said. “It’s a ton of money and therefore brings a lot of problems.”

But would White Rock ISD, or Lakewood ISD, or whatever we’re calling this proposed school district, become financially independent? Or would Lakewood property tax dollars still end up in DISD coffers? It’s something that has to be thought out carefully. If the school district becomes financially independent, and results in skyrocketing property values and property taxes, then the district will likely become targeted for redistribution according to the state’s “Robin Hood” laws.

Still, Carlson feels that the district already has a great amount of autonomy and support from the community.

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(Photo: Jenifer McNeil Baker)

“My thoughts are that Lakewood already operates on it’s own. What the parents and community has done for the Lakewood school district is extraordinary. A lot of families are moving to Lakewood primarily for the Lakewood school district,” Carlson said. As for support, there’s already a groundswell of that, thanks to the Lakewood Early Childhood PTA and their fundraising efforts.

“The upcoming Lakewood Home Festival, which is the weekend of the Nov. 8, shows how strong and financially viable Lakewood is,” Carlson said. “This being the oldest home tour in Dallas has set the standard for many other home tours. The focus and vision of the parents combined with their love for their children and community, grounded in the beauty of White Rock Lake and nature, is what has made Lakewood one of the BEST neighborhoods in America.”

And that is definitely catching on.

Clay Stapp HQTRSI had heard this was going down a few weeks ago, but now it’s a done deal: one of the hippest, coolest agents in town, Clay Stapp is expanding, growing, flexing his mighty wings, spreading out, getting bigger, can you tell I am in a VERB mood today? How about this: he is charging ahead with CSCO #2:

“Signed, Sealed & Funded! 3404 Greenville Avenue is officially CLAY STAPP+CO’s second office. A permanent real estate fixture ready to dominate real estate in Lakewood and M Streets.”

Fasten your seatbelts, the broker scene is Lakewood is going to get a whole lot more fun!

Clay Stapp HQTRS2