Saturday is election day, and this one revolves around real estate centered in one Dallas city council district: District 13, where 17.6 percent of voters have cast early ballots. That’s the highest voting percentage in any city council district.

There is the Behind the Pink Wall real estate quagmire, the condo owners and tenants who say they do not want increased density from the remaking of PD-15. PD-15 is an antiquated city document that permits a developer to go as high as he wants, but limit the footprint to 60 residential units to replace those lost in the seven-alarm Preston Place fire more than two years ago where a woman lost her life.

The fire has left the owners of Preston Place with nothing more than a parking garage. And now, owners of condos in the periphery of Preston Place find their HOAs are postponing repairs on those buildings that are most likely going to be snapped up by developers and scraped.

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Highland House

Well, hold my horses. I should have known better. Leland Burk does NOT own the Preston Doctor’s Center, yet. But if all goes as planned, he will own it by October. I should know the first rule of real estate transactions: it ain’t over until the contract is signed. What happened is that Leland asked the Planning & Zoning Commission to withdraw the plans for the Highland House proposal, the plans that were tabled pending the land-use study. The Dallas Morning News found out about the withdrawal, and phoned Burk, who was in London, and spoke to the DMN’s Tom Benning over the phone. Keep in mind, as I should have, that even Crosland Co. doesn’t own the property. The property is still owned, as it has been, by the same entities, two sisters, I hear, who are eager to sell, one maybe more than the other. Crosland had a contract to buy it, Rick Williamson had negotiated an extension of the contract, and Crosland has now assigned their contract over to Leland’s entity. I will claim vacation brain — I read Benning’s piece “Since then, developer Leland Burk purchased the property” and thought maybe the deal had transpired, even closed, while I was in Maine, which would have been like a miracle. (more…)

Highland HouseWe SAY we want people to move to Dallas, right? Our governor spends oodles of time and tax dollars cutting deals to get businesses to move here, promising them the world if they relocate to Texas. We recently celebrated a major coup when Toyota announced plans to build its North American headquarters here, well in Plano, and get the heck out of California. We have folks downtown pushing for more density, urging us to tear down an ugly highway to open up more land for development, and unite two neighborhoods. If I hear the word WALKABLE again, I think I will scream from tip of my head to the end of my Jimmy Choos. But that’s where we are going. Developers are building apartments as fast as they can. Neighborhoods are saying NO! (more…)