At the last PD-15 meeting, Preston Tower and Athena high-rises asked to meet to come up with a plan they thought they could “sell” to their residents. This was a direct reaction to the massing study shown at that meeting which pictured a development the towers felt would not be supported. I called that first massing study “a high water mark” in density. Perhaps the tower’s plan showed, in some respects, a low water mark. (And no, I’m not showing you that either because it’s just as polarizing as the other one. If you want to drink from that trough, come to the meetings.)

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home moving

Moving a house today is largely the same process, albeit more precise and without the horses.

It’s been estimated that two acres of forest are cut down for each 1,200 square feet of house built. It’s also estimated that for every 2,200 pounds of cement produced, 1,980 pounds of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere. Cement production accounts for approximately 10 percent of man-made carbon dioxide emissions and over 15 percent of landfill space.  And trust me, you don’t want to know the quantity of pollutants cement kilns (factories) throw into the air.

Sure, some building materials are recycled today, but nowhere near all that can be.

On the flipside, booming development in Dallas equates to a lot of demolition of sometimes interesting structures worth preserving.  Some are architectural wonders but many are lower-density structures someone wants to McMansion, or more likely, McApartment.  Many of these smaller structures would be at home elsewhere.

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What makes PD-15’s gyrations different from many other upzoning cases is that there is no blueprint to follow.  The Toll Brothers building in Oak Lawn largely fits within its MF-3 zoning. Sure, some complain whether MF-3 is appropriate for the area, but it’s there. Other projects have MF-2 and want to move beyond those controls. But PD-15 has none of that to act as starting point.  The PD documents essentially state a total number of units in the PD that is derived by the number of units per acre. There’s also a bit on parking and interior street right of ways. But that’s pretty much it.

If you’re talking about traditional city zoning, there are categories for setbacks, density (units per acre and size of units), height, lot coverage, primary uses and any special standards (like a minimum lot size or proximity slopes).  Proximity slopes protect neighboring buildings from being too close to radically taller structures by forcing them to literally step back from those neighbors (think of stair steps back).

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Map of PD-15

For those just joining our story, the Pink Wall is pocket of multi-family condominiums bordering the mansions and McMansions of Preston Hollow located at the northeast corner of Northwest Highway and Preston Road.  Within the area is Planned Development District 15 (PD-15) that includes the buildings above and fronts Northwest Highway between the Preston Tower and Athena high-rises.

Because PDs operate differently than straight city zoning, a task force has been formed by Dallas City Council member Jennifer Gates and includes Plan Commissioner Margot Murphy with representatives from each of the PD-15 buildings as well as buildings in the neighborhood outside the PD.  The group is addressing the development issues facing the area since March’s Preston Place fire and a developer’s interest in the Diplomat property.  PD-15 began in 1947 and, as you can imagine, needs some updating to reflect the realities of this century. You can get up to speed here, here, here, here, here.

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Last night marked the second meeting of the Pink Wall PD-15 task force gathered together to address increased density in the area. As a reminder, the Pink Wall is essentially the northeast corner of Preston and Northwest Hwy.  PD-15 is roughly the space between the Preston Tower and Athena residential high-rises. If you missed last week’s roundup, click here.

This second meeting began to tackle the issue of density and what the neighborhood’s desires are for the area.  Of course before we got there, we heard more on the shifting sands of how this could play out procedurally within city government.  I’m not going to go into detail here (again) because questions remain and I want to be crystal clear versus continually negating what was said previously.  It’s annoying that city officials just don’t know this. Do we need to lock them in a room until their story is straight?

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PD-15, slightly east of Preston Road bounded by Northwest Highway, Pickwick Lane, Baltimore Drive and an alley.

Last night marked the first meeting of the newly-formed PD-15 task force, begun as a result of development pressures within the area of the Pink Wall known as PD-15. It went as most initial meetings do, trying to find its feet. The task force members from surrounding buildings were brought together by Dallas City Councilwoman Jennifer Gates and assisted by her plan commissioner Margot Murphy.

It began with a review of what had brought us there, namely the pressure to redevelop the fire-ruined Preston Place and the Diplomat.  The two are unconnected except in current timing with the Diplomat having worked on a potential sale for over a year prior to the March fire at Preston Place. Given that two out of the four buildings within PD-15 are in play, it’s safe to assume developers’ wagons are circling the rest.

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PD-15 boundaries along Northwest Highway

I’ve written tons on the Pink Wall and its Planned Development District (PD) 15. I’ve spent many an hour trying to understand the loosey-goosey definitions found in the decades-old paperwork, even talking to a city attorney. It’s nice to finally have some official clarity … which was different from what I’d been told and I told you. So listen up …

There are 63 available units that can be built within PD-15. Period. (more…)

Diplomat is top, right-center and red … oh and labeled Diplomat

Since August 2016, we’ve been reporting on different events surrounding the Diplomat condo building, beginning with a contingent contract and continuing with surveyors in November, quickly followed by soil testing in December.   You’ve likely seen the map above a zillion times, but it’s a shortcut to avoid tediously describing where a certain building is located in an area of nearly 30 multi-family complexes.

Avid CandysDirt.com readers will remember Friday’s tease about A.G. Spanos who is also involved with residential components of Dallas Midtown.  For less ardent readers, The Spanos family owns the Los Angeles Chargers football team along with the A.G. Spanos Companies who purchase, develop, build and manage apartments all over the place.  Locally, A.G. Spanos is managed by Spanos family member and Preston Hollow resident Dimitri Economou.

I had a chance to meet with the development team last week to understand their plans for the Diplomat property.  I must stress that while negotiations and plans have been evolving for a year, all plans and certainly any renderings of the new building are extremely preliminary.

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