Preston Center

Back in 2016, I took St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church to task on a bunch of things. The biggest being that while their representative was sitting silent on the Preston Center Task Force they were secretly negotiating with developers to plonk a 250,000 square foot office building on Douglas Avenue. After that scathing take-down, I was surprised when they reached out to me to review their new and improved plans for the site.

You’ve likely read the press release in the DMN from Sept. 6, but I wanted to sit down and get some additional detail. I met with the church’s team fairly quickly, so this delayed column is my fault (busy, busy).

The press release piqued my snark when I noted that in the scant two-page release the Preston Center Area Plan was mentioned eight times … eight … times. When I sat down with the team, it was one of the first things I said … eight times? Their spin was that it showed their commitment. I told them it raised my suspicion meter that there was something to hide. They were surprised at my reaction assuring me there was no hiding … but eight times.

(more…)

Last night, Council Member Jennifer Gates kicked off the first public meeting to discuss the possibilities for redeveloping the crumbling central garage at the Preston Center West shopping center. The meeting was an informative update and change for area residents to see and hear about the research being conducted to fix the blight.

My most glaring takeaway from this initial meeting was how poorly traveled area landowners are.

To review, the City of Dallas owns the Preston Center West central garage, however, grasping tightly to the city’s short and curlies are the surrounding business owners who have ultimate say-so on what the city is able to do with the garage. They’re represented above as the Preston Center West Corp. column.

The above graphic shows the five potential outcomes for the garage. The quickest way to understand what the real options are is to look at the big stars, but the Preston Center West Corp. column is the most telling. After all, their “no” is “no” or in this case, their “low” is “no.”

(more…)

I am hearing that Target put its signature red sign up last week on the Pavilion Building on the southwest-ish corner of Preston Road and Northwest Highway, across from the parking garage where a potential tenant not too long ago (early 2015) wanted to build a skybridge to get a grocery store in the second floor space.

The Pavilion Building is on Westchester Drive and Berkshire Lane.

This will be Target’s first “small-format” store in the Dallas area, and I can hardly wait. It’s small-format at 54,700 square feet. I love Target and everything they carry, but I am getting to not like Big Box stores. It just takes too long to park, get in the store, and find what you are looking for. It’s like asking for a back-ache with a headache on the side. Ditto humungo grocery stores: Central Market at Preston Royal manages to have everything I could ever need and more and do it in 30,000 ish square feet. 

The new target store will have its grand opening Oct. 21, just in time for Halloween. 

That’s so 2015: proposed skybridge at Preston Center Pavilion.

(more…)

Packed House at Park Cities Baptist Church

If you’ve been following along in your prayer books, you know that over a year ago the Preston Place condos burned. You may also know about the failed attempt at negotiating an area redevelopment plan. I’ll even toss in bonus points if you’re aware of the Athena and Preston Tower working with former mayor Laura Miller to stymie everything.

All caught up?  Good …

Last night, Dallas City Council member Jennifer Gates assembled the neighborhood to discuss the history and next steps in the process. What was a surprise to most was that the authorized hearing, first mentioned last summer as having a two or three year waiting list, had been bumped up in the schedule and was beginning immediately. Gates made available applications for representatives on the authorized hearing committee.

But I get ahead of myself.

(more…)

 

When I interviewed Robert Reffkin in January about his company’s move into Dallas, I asked about overhead and office space. Was Compass going to have major office presence in Dallas, or would they keep on using the Oak Lawn office of The Collective, the firm they (sort of) acquired?

We will have offices here:  big, beautiful offices, Reffkin told me.

True to his word, Dallas Compass has signed a large lease in a new, state-of-the-art Preston Center Office building. The location is very strategic, as it puts Compass on the front line in the war for juicy Park Cities/Preston Hollow listings.

Compass has rented 24,000 square feet in the new Terraces at Douglas Center, located at 5960 Berkshire Lane in Preston Center. The building has 172,000 square feet and was recently completed.

The firm has been active since landing in Dallas in January, and already has more than 80 sales agents, with plans to acquire more across the DFW area.

“Our momentum in Dallas is a testament to agents’ commitment to growing their business, providing their clients with best-in-class service,” Rob Lehman, chief growth officer at Compass, said in a statement. “We’re excited to build out this office space to serve our agents and their clients across the region.” 

The New York City-based company is in more than a dozen cities across the U.S. and plans to expand to eight more this year. By 2020, Compass wants to own 20% of the U.S. residential real estate market.

Compass is one of the first major tenants in the 12-story office Terraces at Douglas Center,  located near the southeast corner of the Dallas North Tollway and Northwest Highway. The 172,000 square-foot office building was developed by PegasusAblon (owned by Michael Ablon) and Lionstone Investments of Houston.

(more…)

When a document, supposedly crafted for long-term use, proves to be a barrier to the same long-term goals it was created to guide, it’s safe to call it a failure.  If that failure occurs within a year of its adoption by the city, I suppose we can just call that Dallas.

Yes folks, the Preston Center area plan I’d figured for a dust bunny playground has leapt off the shelf in time for Halloween. Like all good frights, I think the authors are just as surprised and perhaps a little scared.

(more…)

St. Michael’s 2016 plan to develop Frederick Square

Yesterday, Holly Haber of The Dallas Morning News’ Philanthropy page noted that the Perot family had donated $15 million to the Episcopal School of Dallas. The money is to help ESD’s younger students move from Saint Michael and All Angels Church (in Preston Center) to the main ESD campus on Merrell Road.  The $44.3 million in total contributions so far place fundraising over halfway to the $75 million goal.

All well and good, but how is Saint Michael’s going to replace the income lost from the school?

(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.

(more…)