Atmos Energy

City officials and Atmos Energy representatives spoke to a packed house Tuesday night at a community meeting at Foster Elementary (Photo courtesy Laura Cadena).

Neighborhoods near the site of Friday’s fatal home explosion will continue to be wary after more rounds of evacuations continue to be announced daily — including the fire station closest to the explosion site.

The most recent round of evacuations was announced by Atmos Energy around noon Wednesday, and includes the 3800 block of Cortez (even addresses only) and the 3800 block of Wemdon (odd addresses only). This is addition to a raft of them announced yesterday, and also includes Fire Station #43 on Lombardy Lane, where crews found a gas leak last night. (more…)

explosion

Foster Elementary School students arrived at Cary Middle School Friday morning after a gas explosion at a nearby home prompted fire officials to evacuate most of the neighborhood (Photo courtesy Tom Erickson).

Atmos Energy and Dallas Fire and Rescue are still working to determine the cause of a deadly house explosion near Love Field and Midway Hollow that has resulted in the continued mandatory evacuation of parts of two neighborhoods.

The 12-year-old victim has been identified as Linda Rogers, a sixth grader at Uplift Williams Preparatory School in Dallas. A gas explosion at her home on Espanola Drive early Friday morning, fatally injured the little girl and sent four other people to Parkland Hospital. (more…)

4823 Linnett Lane

Corrugated metal, Cyprus, HardiePlank and a beautiful blue door have introduced a new design aesthetic to the Bird Streets.

The Good brothers are at it again. Our Dallas version of HGTV’s  The Property Brothers has just listed their latest new contemporary construction at 4823 Linnett Lane in the Bird streets, for $699.900.

It’s the best new nest for anyone with an urban sensibility that longs to be in close proximity to the Southwestern Medical District, Dallas Design District, Love Field or downtown. It’s also a stone’s throw from one of the best elementary schools in Dallas, the K.B. Polk Center for  Academically Talented and Gifted

Location, location, location.

(more…)

5102 Lakehill IHOTW
What does this gorgeous Inwood Meadows Estate at 5102 Lakehill Court have in common with the George W. Bush Presidential Library, The American Airlines Center, and Booker T. Washington High School?

5102 Lakehill Court

It was originally built in 1984 for Mr. and Mrs. C. Dewitt Brown Jr. Brown was the founder of Dee Brown Inc., one of the largest commercial masonry contractors in the country. Their projects include all of the aforementioned buildings, as well as almost every building you’ve ever heard of. So, when the man that started an award-winning masonry company built his own home, he built it to last — for centuries.

(more…)

love field apartments

Image: Google Maps

Developers have their eye on the Love Field-Medical District areas, and a new residential community is underway.

Fairfield Residential recently purchased about six acres near Denton Drive and Inwood Road for a 350-unit apartment complex. Fairfield has ten residential developments in the DFW area, including the upscale 21 Forty Medical DistrictCantabria at Turtle Creek, and Rienzi at Turtle Creek.

Two blocks just south of Love Field along Inwood Road and Sadler Circle will be cleared for the as-yet-unnamed project. The land is currently occupied by a handful of commercial buildings. Demolition is slated for completion by the end of 2015.

Development in this area is gaining momentum, driven in part by the expanded air services at Love Field, as well as growth of the Medical District, like the Parkland expansion. The location is a big factor, too.

“That little pocket of real estate is booming right now—I actually showed a property there this morning to a woman who works at Parkland,” said David Maez, Broker, Creative Director, and Co-Founder of Vivo Realty. “It’s a great location for potential tenants, close to Uptown, downtown, and the airport, as well as the Tollway for people that need to commute up north.”

(more…)

Zip Code 75235

West Love: Inwood, Harry Hines and Denton Drive

Let’s get our noses out of house porn for a minute to wander through an up and coming neighborhood. DCAD calls it Lovedale 2 (or unappetizingly Slaughters Brookdale), but as far as I know, it has no fancy name to woo buyers to its hipness. It’s pre-hip. If other hip locales cool, maybe this area becomes a hip replacement (boooo, bad pun, bad Jon).

I’ll call it West Love Field or West Love … hmmm, I like that … West Love … and homes are selling FAST! In the hours it took to write this, two of the properties featured below went under contract.

East of Love Field has been in full-on gentrification mode for a while now, only pausing for the recession (as did we all), but West Love hasn’t really gotten any lovin’. It’s loosely bounded by Denton Drive, Harry Hines and Inwood. There are plenty of warehouses on Denton Drive, but there are also a lot of smaller cute starter homes that are a hop from downtown, UTSW and the monkeyshines of the Gayborhood … oh, and Love Field. Perfect for medical folks or air mattresses, trolley dollies in-flight personnel.

Speaking of the airport … I said, SPEAKING OF THE AIRPORT … Oaklawnians have lived cheek by jowl with Love Field since the beginning (well, since 1917 when it opened as an army pilot training facility). The “Oaklawn Pause” is what happens when a plane flies over during a conversation; it pauses. Homes east and west of Love Field are somewhat better off. Planes take-off and land from the north-south, meaning these east and west areas are not being directly flown over – but what a cool place for a roof deck.

For many years when homes hit the market, they were in somewhat calamitous condition. That’s changing, but things are still wonderfully affordable here and sure to rise. How wonderfully affordable? Try $125,000 to $135,000 for 1,100 to 2,031 square feet, many on pretty sizeable lots 50-foot lots!

Here’s a smattering of what’s available and going gone fast.

(more…)

lovefield southwest plane landing

Love Field is surrounded by some of the best and priciest neighborhoods in Dallas. Flanked by Mockingbird Lane, Lemmon Avenue, and Denton Drive, this airport has always gotten the stink-eye from neighboring property owners who feel entitled to some peace and quiet.

There’s Bluffview, Perry Heights, Greenway Parks, and Oak Lawn and Uptown to the south. But with the Wright Amendment set to be fully repealed in less than a year, well, it could get a lot noisier. If homeowners felt air traffic was tough to bear before, could the increased fly-bys from Love Field departures and arrivals affect property values?

Maybe not, says Allie Beth Allman VP Tim Schutze.

“I am not seeing any negative changes in buyers comments and have not seen any change in values,” Schutze said via email. “I believe more people have become — and are becoming — more tuned to the urban setting and all that comes with that, such as traffic noise, congestion, etc.”

I think it’s an interesting perspective, and one we often overlook, that the urban environment often isn’t quiet, and can be quite noisy. As Dallas increases in urban density, of course you’re going to get more noise. More neighbors = more activity, which in turn = more noise. That’s not a bad thing, though, because with increased density you get more amenities and a more walk-able neighborhood.

Schutze echoes that philosophy, saying that homebuyers who are looking to move inside Insterstate 635 “feel that the benefits of a close-in location far outweighs any perceived issues with air traffic and vehicle noise.”

What do you think?

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth installment of our series of Dallas City Council candidate questionnaires. You can view the first here, the second here, and the third here. We attempted to contact each candidate in every contested race (10 races total), and those who responded with a working email address received the same eight questions. We gave them until April 5 to respond. Below you’ll find the answers to our questions, which we did not edit or abridge.

District 2 is a pretty diverse area, and so is the field of candidates vying for the City Council seat. The spot is being vacated by Pauline Medrano, and another Medrano, Adam of the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees, is looking to win the vote. There are three more candidates, including Vernon Franko, Ricky Gonzales, and Herschel Weisfeld. Although we contacted each candidate and gave them ample time to respond, only Weisfeld returned a questionnaire. Read on for his thoughts on hot-button Dallas real estate issues.

Herschel Weisfeld

Herschel Weisfeld

1. In your view, what are the strengths of the Dallas real estate market versus the rest of the nation?

Dallas has an extremely active real estate community and I am proud to have received the endorsement of the MetroTex Association of Realtors representing over 13,000 real estate professionals and also The Dallas Builders Association representing homebuilders from across the Dallas region. The overall quality of life and the diversity of housing options make Dallas a great place to be a homeowner. According to a story published by Yahoo News in February 2013, Dallas is cited as the “sixth strongest real estate market in the country. Homebuyers would be hard-pressed to find a poor real estate market in any DFW neighborhood”. The strength comes from single family homes to luxury high-rise (and vertical housing) options that cross every economic level. Plus, Dallas has invested heavily as a city in the past decade in creating more parks/green space and major arts venues that are attractive and desirable features.

2. What are the next areas/neighborhoods you feel are poised for high-volume growth?

While there are several areas in Dallas poised for high growth volume, my focus is in District 2 with major employers such as Love Field, Parkland/UT Southwestern, and Baylor Hospital, as well as parts of the downtown and Deep Ellum entertainment areas. These are all opportunities for significant growth and vertical expansion. Dallas no longer has a backyard and I see great mixed income and mixed use opportunities for Farmers Market, The Cedars and other projects focused around Transit Oriented Developments.

3. What areas/neighborhoods need the most help and any solutions?

There is a major push for revitalizing South Dallas with the Mayor’s plan, plus there are parts of West Dallas where improvements are needed. I have taken an active role in the Revitalize South Dallas Coalition by supporting its founder, Ken Smith and attending the regularly scheduled monthly meetings because I believe that we must be physically present. The City should consider the value of assisting in the assemblage of smaller tracts of land that would then make economic sense for redevelopment on a larger scale. We should restrict low income housing tax credit projects that are earmarked solely for rental and support home ownership programs and mixed income projects. We must offer expanded mezzanine financing and we must invest in Fair Park.

Having said that, again, I will focus on District 2 where according to the latest economic report from the City of Dallas, there is $1.36B in real property residential taxable value, and this represents 2.5% of the city total residential value. There is true opportunity for improvements throughout District 2.

4. Would you support retaining the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research to do a study of the root causes of decline in the City of Dallas, as it did for NYC during the Giuliani era, leading to one of the most compelling restorations of a major city in history?

The study done by the Manhattan Institute of Policy Research (MI) dealt with many issues New York was facing, from public safety issues to significant budget deficits, etc. In my opinion, Dallas’ challenges today are not as broad as New York’s were in the Guiliani era of 1994-2001. According to MI; “Giuliani took office declaring that city government was too big and taxes were too high. His first two budgets cut the headcount of city employees and reduced spending…” I do believe there is always an opportunity for Dallas to partner with institutions of higher learning and think-tanks to constantly study where we are as a city and where we need to consider moving toward as a positive approach for the overall health and well-being of our city.

5. Would you approving the zoning variance to allow an on-campus lighted soccer field at Ursuline Academy of Dallas, winner of 22 state soccer championships?

I would be willing to support the will of the community. The residents who have made this area their home have a right and vested interest in maintaining the environmental and aesthetic amenities of the neighborhood they have chosen. However, if a democratic solution can be arrived at and the collective neighborhood agrees to make this change, I would be supportive.

6. How would you handle the Museum Tower/Nasher Sculpture Center impasse? Should the Nasher also play a role and adapt some structural changes? Or is the burden purely on Museum Tower and future residential developments to mitigate impact on surrounding structures?

The Nasher opened in 2003 and has brought the caliber of art and sculpture in Dallas to a world class level. The Museum Tower, which opened in 2010, should have perhaps researched more of the impact the structure would bring to the surrounding neighborhood. Now the two organizations must work together to come to an amicable/joint solution to move Dallas beyond this point of negative controversy and publicity for the best interest of the City, the Citizens and the Dallas Arts District.

7. Historic and conservation districts are a great way to maintain a neighborhood’s character, but some older districts have regulations that seem somewhat out of date. For instance, a homeowner in Junius Heights was cited for having xeriscaped his front yard in lieu of a traditional water-hogging front lawn even though our region faces long-term drought. Should alternative landscapes and eco-friendly materials be allowed in historic and conservation districts as a citywide policy change?

Alternative landscapes and water conservation should always be considered since it is the City’s responsibility to be good stewards of our environment and to set a good example. Overall neighborhood beauty in appearance can be maintained without requiring strict uniformity. We need to encourage creative designs that are mindful of our basic resources. We understand that the long term 60 year water plan calls for approximately 23% of our future water usage will be recycled and another 33% is expected to come from surface runoff. I will be an advocate for meeting the needs of our long term water plan by being environmentally conscientious.

8. What is your stance on hydraulic fracturing (better known as fracking) inside the city limits? Do you feel it poses a danger to residents and nearby businesses? Or does the potential income to the city outweigh overblown risks?

The citizens of Dallas have already dealt with the long term effects of lead smelters in West Dallas forty years after we thought it was safe to allow them to exist near residential neighborhoods, schools and play grounds. I would support fracking with the assurance that we can guarantee that we will have clean air, water and surface areas for the future generations of our city without unsightly visual pollution and noise pollution which have all been concerns of our citizens. I do not support drilling or fracking on city parks or close to spaces where harm could be done to the residents of Dallas and would ask that we seriously consider the recommendations of the City of Dallas Gas Drilling Task Force that was chaired by Lois Finkleman.