Every Thursday, we scour the listings and find three fabulous open houses that weekend you’ve got to see. This is our CandysDirt.com Open Houses of the Week column. Today, our houses range in price from $499K to $1.149 million. Let’s take a look.
Today is the International Day of Happiness! Yes, that’s totally a thing. You feel it, right? While it may feel a bit more like summer here, the first day of spring does tend to put a little pep in our step. And to celebrate, we’re sharing with you the results of a national study that ranks one of our fair cities among the happiest in the land. According to WalletHub, that magical place is (drum roll)… Plano!
(Tell that to the folks fighting over the Plano Tomorrow Plan. Ahem.)
In a recent study, Plano, at number 19, is the only Texas city to break the top 20 happiest places to live in 2017. Dallas ranks number 86, which isn’t too shabby, either.
Following a year of court battles, the future of the Plano Tomorrow Plan remains unclear after an appellate court ruling last week. The fight centers on the city’s comprehensive, long-range land development plan and unhappy Plano citizens who feel their opinions on the matter went ignored. The plan, they say, describes a city completely unrecognizable to its long-time residents.
“The whole plan is terribly flawed,” said Ed Acklin, when asked about Plano Tomorrow. Acklin is running for Plano City Council Place 4 (Mayor Pro Tem Lissa Smith, whose term comes to an end this year, currently occupies the seat). “The city it describes is not — and never will be — Plano.”
We recently told you about the precarious situation of the historic Collinwood House. It is the oldest structure still standing in the city of Plano, and it faced demolition to make way for a recreational pavilion in a new park being built by the city.
But after a community-based campaign to save this historically significant house, Plano City Council says it will leave the decision up to voters in the May 2017 bond election.
At last week’s council meeting, they ditched an earlier ultimatum that gave friends of the Collinwood House until Aug. 5 to raise $1.5 million for restoration of the house, and to present a viable preservation plan.
The estimated $3.5 million it will take to restore the Collinwood House will be placed in the future bond election. Council also asked the Plano Heritage Commission to continue their research into the historic significance of the structure, and council agreed to secure the house by building a fence and installing an alarm.
“We were pleased to hear that the council decided to follow the direction recommended by the Heritage Commission, which entailed securing the house, putting the restoration costs on a bond election in 2017, and allowing research into the site and structure to continue,” said Candace Fountoulakis, a board member for Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation. “Council members added to that with their statements about needing confirmation of the facts, staying focused on the Heritage Commission’s role, and refusing to agree to move the house if the bond election passed. We hope to inform Plano’s citizenry about the house so that they will know exactly how valuable the house truly is and what the costs of restoration will be, based on further research.”
The Collinwood House is the oldest structure still standing in the city of Plano, and it faces demolition to make way for a structure in a new park.
The 1860’s era house sits on city land being developed for a 124-acre park, which will include hike-and-bike trails, a dog park, and parking spaces. Plano officials are planning to tear down the Collinwood house to build a recreational pavilion.
The only thing that can save the historically significant house at 5400 Windhaven Dr. is if Plano City Council intervenes.
“The Collinwood House is an extremely significant house due to the fact that it is the oldest house remaining in Plano dating back to the 1860s, still sits on its original site, and is an outstanding example of the rare Gothic Revival style of residential architecture,” said David Preziosi, executive director of Preservation Dallas. “The city of Plano has been progressive in other areas of historic preservation in the city and hope that can extend to saving the irreplaceable Collinwood House—they have a great treasure with the Collinwood House and they need to work to save such an important piece of Texas’ history from being lost.”
Candace Fountoulakis, a board member for Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation, has been very involved in efforts to save this property. There have been multiple calls from the Plano City Council for RFPs, none of which have been accepted.
“The more we learn about it, the more we find out it’s a unique, rare, and special look into that era of Plano’s history and we don’t have anything like that left,” Fountoulakis said. “ It’s a huge learning experience, a picture of early frontier history and when you stand in there and look at it, it’s a visceral experience.”
HGTV’s Ultimate House Hunt 2016 is underway, and three DFW properties have made the contest for the world’s most amazing homes for sale. All three are listed by Ebby Halliday Realtors, with two in Plano and one in Prosper (Deion Sanders’ former home).
“We’re honored to have three incredible homes nominated in HGTV’s Ultimate House Hunt competition this year,” said Randall Graham, vice president and director of marketing for Ebby Halliday Realtors. “Our associates represent some of the area’s very best properties. These homes benefit from many marketing advantages because of our association with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World and its luxury division, Luxury Portfolio International, which has more $1 million-plus properties than any other luxury real estate network.”
You can see all the entries and vote here.
With thousands of people moving to Collin County for jobs with Toyota, Liberty Mutual, and many others, it’s not a big surprise that North Texas residential real estate firms are now flocking to the area.
It’s easy to forget that one firm, Ebby Halliday Realtors, has served Collin County since 1971. That’s when Ebby herself opened a one-room office in the growing town of Plano. There was a great deal of home construction going on in the area and Ebby’s office — a builder’s shack with a porta potty — was a favorite gathering spot for homebuilders who knew she always had a hot pot of coffee ready and enjoyed visiting about the potential of this small community north of Dallas.
“Keep in mind that NorthPark Center opened at the corner of Northwest Highway and Central Expressway in 1965 and that many Dallasites were of the belief that civilization didn’t actually exist north of Northwest Highway,” said Mary Frances Burleson, President and CEO of the Ebby Halliday Companies. “That goes to show just how visionary Ebby and her leadership team were about the future growth of the North Texas region.”
There was plenty of great food, great wine, music and people, lots of people, on hand to celebrate the opening of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty’s new Plano office located in the Shops of Legacy on the north side of Legacy, in the same building as Publicis Public Relations. Everyone had fun and got home before the super hail storm that never materialized, at least not in Dallas or Plano. As you can see, neither rain nor hail ever stops a Dallas Realtor from having fun!