Melba Bishop Arts Village

Buying this three-bedroom, three-bath townhome in Bishop Arts would be like buying right next to West Village 20 years ago as it was being built. Literally right next to one of the best burgeoning developments in the Metroplex and walking distance to food, drinks, and shopping. Joe Atkins Realty in Bishop Arts brings us this Saturday Six Hundred at 410 Melba Street, where multiple units are available ranging from $599,999 to $649,999 for a window-filled corner unit.

Open House Alert! | Check out this townhome 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27 at 410 Melba Street, Dallas

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This is about to become a common sight in our beloved Bishop Arts District neighborhood. In fact this sight is just off Bishop, across from the Laughing Willow. There are demo’d vacant lots in the middle of neighborhoods all over North Oak Cliff’s most popular entertainment district. I’ve found three new ones within the last week. Here’s the skinny on the last 10 projects under construction now, for a grand total of 27 individual projects.

“How did this happen?” you might ask. Perhaps it was the local option election that made North Oak Cliff “wet” in 2010? Or the nearby Trinity Groves’ explosion into Dallas’ culinary scene? Or Bishop Arts’ own explosion onto the ‘great neighborhood’ scene? Maybe the Bishop/Davis Rezoning Plan in 2010 or the Oak Cliff Gateway zoning changes in 2014 (and then updated in 2015)? Or did it all start in 2002 with the Bishop Street reconstruction? Maybe it’s a bit of all of this — and great neighbors who throw great, big annual events. For sure, that.

Your favorite restaurants and shops need your support more than ever before — with all the construction, sales are down about 30 percent across the board.  Seventeen (and counting) separate construction sites are underway within a half-mile of the district! From now on you need to make weekly trips — to gauge progress on these, have a bite to eat, and find something you can’t live without. There are some GREAT new shops opening too — ALL owned by Dallas and Oak Cliff locals. Legit.

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In Part 1 we covered the big development projects under construction immediately around the Bishop Arts District (projects numbered 1-8 on the map.) Part 2 covered the projects mostly west of Bishop Arts (projects 9-16.) Here are projects numbered 17-26 below. (Yes! 26! Though more like 28 actually….) Note that project numbers correspond to the map above.

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Photos: Shoot2Sell

You may think you know everything there is to know about Kessler Park, but did you know about the Middlebrook Sisters and their famous haunted house? That’s where today’s Friday Four Hundred sits, a townhome in the aptly named Middlebrook Place, a spot of land near Stevens Park Golf Course where Cecilia and Margerite Middlbrook lived.

It was once the homeplace of the Stevens Family, a remodeled three-story Victorian farmhouse on top of a hill. It was once a sight to behold, neighbors say, until it fell into disrepair in the 50s and 60s and become a repeated target for vandals.

“The entire 3.5 acres were a wilderness of unkempt trees. These two little ladies would dress in these long black Victorian dresses, and of course when the 1960s came around with “The Munsters” and “House on Haunted Hill” and “Psycho”, it looked like Walt Disney Studios had been sent out to create this.

“They started getting heckled a lot. Teenagers came around drinking beer and threw beer cans at the ladies and broke windows, and of course they couldn’t replace the windows. They would throw rocks at them and hit them with boards. The house had no electricity, no gas, and the windows were boarded up. The fire department came out at Halloween, and a gigantic fireman would stand on either side of them while they gave candy to trick-or-treaters. The police told them they should buy a gun, but they never did. Everyone remembers them as very sweet and cordial.

“The abuse was legendary. The police would arrest dozens every weekend who were harassing these two ladies, and it became a spectacle. People would drive from all over North Texas. They couldn’t leave the house together because the house would be attacked …”

Sounds pretty awful, doesn’t it? Shortly after Margerite died, Cecilia perished in a fire that consumed the old, decrepit mansion. Then the property was sold by the family to a developer that built the Middlebrook Place Townhomes in 1979, one of the final developments in Kessler Park. This lovely soft contemporary is a highly prized end unit inside this development, and it features lush landscaping and great views.

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