Pink Wall at Preston Road and Northwest Hwy. PD-15 and Laurel Apartments highlighted. (single family homes at top for reference)

Good news. You don’t have to go to Idaho to fish in Bogus Creek.  Last October, I wrote about how the NHPRAP (Northwest Highway and Preston Road Area Plan), not even a year old, wasn’t designed to be economically viable.  Essentially, my scribbles revealed that were its Zone 4 area to follow the recommendations contained in the NHPRAP task force’s final report, their individual condominiums would always be worth more than land value to a developer.  Note: Zone 4 contains PD-15 (Planned Development District) within the larger Pink Wall area.

This lack of economic benefit ensures none of the redevelopment and neighborhood renewal touted by the NHPRAP plan will occur, failing to live up to its own goals.

Well, now I’m not alone. A.G. Spanos (who has an option on the Diplomat) released an independent report by architecture firm LRK.


HH Aerial Preston Center

Monday evening saw the latest installment of Councilwoman Jennifer Gates’ Preston Road and Northwest Highway Task Force Meetings. It renewed my belief that the only thing missing from Texas politics are footlights. Molly would have been in hog heaven (versus the real one she’s in now).

I’d describe many of the attendees as being Republican red on the outside and Democrat blue on the inside. It never ceases to amaze me the number of Republicans whose conservatism decreases the closer an idea or action gets to them and/or their home. Let’s call them NIMBY Republicans.

NIMBY Republicans are often seen shouting drill baby drill, big business, small government, no regulation … until it effects them. At which point the placards shoot up from the sweater-on-the-shoulder set. Of course, the kerfuffle surrounding the Preston Road and Northwest Highway intersection is a perfect example.

MarkCubanProperties-thumb-565x321.jpg aerial


01 14 15-Preston Center Pavilion(email)_Part3-1

This is an artists’ rendering of what the proposed skybridge to connect Preston Center Pavillion to the 2-story concrete parking garage at the center of Preston Center west will look like from the garage interior. The garage is owned by the City of Dallas but has numerous parking rights deeded to the property owners surrounding it. It’s really not that complicated: when you sell a property, you can deed someone rights to use it, like an oil lease. It could be worse: I once looked at a ranch near Stephenville that had a small cemetery in the middle of it and people were sure deeded rights to visit their loved ones.

In the case of Preston Center, all 70-plus owners of the properties surrounding this garage have a right to park there, including, of course now, Crow Holdings. That’s the problem with getting anything done to the old structure: you must have all 70 plus peeps in agreement. GOOD LUCK! As Eric Nicholson explained in the Dallas Observer: (more…)

Been wondering when this would take shape. But word came Friday from City Councilwoman Jennifer Staubach Gates that the Stakeholder Taskforce to figure out future development for the Northwest Highway and Preston Road Area Plan has almost been assembled and the first meeting scheduled. From Gates’ email:
Staff from NCTCOG and the City of Dallas, City Plan Commissioner Margot Murphy and myself carefully chose the members of the Stakeholder Taskforce. Initially we had stated that Zone 1 would have three representatives. After receiving feedback from several stakeholders, we agreed to increase this number to four in order to better represent the property owners in Preston Center.
They are still working with the neighbors in Zone 6 to find a representative.
The Stakeholder Taskforce members are:
Zone 1: William Willingham, Leland Burk, Bill Archer, Mark Roppolo — this is the business area of Preston Center, southwest intersection of Northwest Highway and Preston
Zone 2: Peter Kline, J. Baxter Brinkmann — the estates west of Preston
Zone 3: Jay Grogan, Ashley Parks — luxury homes east of Preston
Zone 4: Patti Niles, Steve Dawson —
Zone 5: Betsy Del Monte —
Zone 6: TBD —
Zone 7: Laura Miller — the Honeypot

The Stakeholder Taskforce meetings for the Preston and Northwest Highway Land Use Study are open to the public, but there will be limited seating.

The first meeting will be on Monday, March 2 at 6 PM at Dallas City Hall Room L1EN-D.

Preston Center SC

Photo courtesy of Dodd Communications


Friday I got a first peak at the skybridge Crow Holdings wants to build across Westchester, connecting the Preston Center Pavilion Building (Marshalls, Ross Dress for Less) with the two-story concrete parking lot owned by the City of Dallas with deeply rooted legal parking rights designated to the Preston Center parking association, all the various property owners surrounding the square lot in the heart of Preston Center, West.

Those exclusive photos are coming right up!

And you know what? From what I’ve seen, it is not all that bad! One of the classiest skybridges I have seen. And it doesn’t mean we still cannot have some kind of a major change on that parking lot. In fact, one of the biggest take-aways from my meeting with Crow Holdings Anna Graves was an acknowledgement that something needs to be improved on that parking garage site.

“There is no question there’s a higher and better use for that site,” she told me, “and even if we build a skybridge, you can still tear down the parking garage and build something else there.”

Skybridges are apparently a lot like those walkways the airlines use to get you from the airport to the plane: they don’t attach permanently to the structure. So if the parking garage became, say, a hotel, the skybridge could be removed and re-attached to the new structure. Or not.

My other take-away was that this skybridge will add a critical safety measure to Preston Center West. Was not too long ago that folks were talking about a skybridge over Northwest Highway at Preston, which still shaves years off your life if you cross it and survive. I have recently become familiar with the skybridge Texas Health built over Greenville Avenue, connecting a series of physicians office buildings with the hospital. The skybridge saves time and gas because you don’t have to move your car or risk your life crossing Greenville Avenue. (more…)

“Location, location, location! This is one of the few places in Dallas with so much within walking distance!” said Jim Olvera, photographer extraordinaire.

Say what?

Olvera is a gentleman who has only lived in the most tasteful neighborhoods in Dallas and calls it like it is. He now lives one block south of our Friday $500K, 6414 Northwood. I mean, this IS Preston Hollow, known for those leafy, patrician acreages and lawns, and a certain former President. Who walks here unless the Jag has sprouted legs? Still, maybe there’s a pocket even Candy hasn’t uncovered?

“The nice thing for me is that this is one of the few places in Dallas where there are lots of places within walking distance,” says Olvera. Like all the businesses at Preston and Northwest Highway (Preston Center and The Villages of University Park, formerly known as Preston Center East) which are easily accessible, so much Olvera says he actually walks to the bank, the grocery store, drug store, dozens of restaurants. He even walks to the post office on Thackeray. There are nice sized parks conveniently located at the corner of Thackeray and Park Lane, and at Hillcrest and Northwest Highway in University Park.

“Northwood is the next street north of us, and we walk (some people run, but you know me) and ride bikes there often,” he says. “The neighborhood is made up of straight streets with few cross streets, so the blocks are quite long, but there is not a lot of traffic, and the crime rate is consistently the lowest in Dallas. When we moved into the area 14 years ago, many of the houses were still occupied by their original owners. Our kids were the only wee ones on the block. Now there are quite a lot of young couples with small children as the population has begun to turn over. It’s a nice mix of older and younger residents now, and everyone seems to take a lot of pride in keeping up their houses and yards.”

Well, 6414 Northwood certainly has everything a family could want and a little more. Nestled on a treed quarter of an acre with over 3,000 square feet, there are four bedrooms plus three and a half baths AND a third living area upstairs. The home’s been beautifully updated and yet still retains its original character. If you’re not a fan of new builds or McMansions and appreciate the scale of the home being realistic to the lot, this is a house to check out. Asking: $575,000 reduced from $589,000.

“There is a great addition on the home that is the perfect place to “stash” the kids or out of town guests,” listing agent Amy Timmerman of Nathan Grace said.

I’m always a fan of these additions because I believe every family with teenagers needs a separate house for them, sometimes in Fort Worth. (There is also a play house in the back yard, heh heh.) If you can’t manage a separate house, an addition far, far away from the master bedroom might be the next best thing!

But your big value here is the ‘hood.

“The thing that originally attracted us to the neighborhood is the age of the houses, “Olvera said. “Coming from a 1926 Tudor, we were looking for something a bit more modern (at least as far as the plumbing, electrical and HVAC) but still with some character. The neighborhood was developed in the early 1950’s, so there are still a lot of single-story ranch style houses. We liked that. Now that the economy is beginning to flourish again, we’re seeing people remodeling rather than tearing the houses down. It’s very encouraging since that character is largely what brought us here.”

Character, space, and wonderful neighbors. Can you recall who once lived down the street at 6029 Northwood? George and Laura Bush, that’s who, and right where they raised the twins.