Dallas Morning News

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

On Sunday, Bethany mused on what a creative developer could do with an old newspaper building — as in the very one we have in downtown Dallas, the former Dallas Morning News “Rock of Truth” headquarters that Ray Washburne’s Charter DMN Holdings purchased a little over a month ago.

The iconic building at 508 Young Street just across from Union Station is known by many as the “Rock of Truth” because of George Bannerman Dealey’s strong words etched on the front. Washburne’s company purchased the 8-acre campus holding two buildings for $28 million.

First of all, the Dallas Morning News building’s exteriors will definitely be saved and put to use.

The Standard High Line in New York City could be a model for Washburne’s planned boutique hotel at the former Dallas Morning News campus.

“We are going to keep the existing building and convert it into a 200- to 300-room boutique business hotel, completely saving the exterior character of the building,” Washburne told me. (more…)


Photo courtesy Flickr

Four days ago, Ray Washburne’s Charter Holdings snapped up the Trinity West shopping center at Singleton Boulevard and Hampton Road. Late Friday, it was announced his Charter DMN Holdings had also purchased the former Dallas Morning News building.

Known by many as the “Rock of Truth” because of the words etched on the front, Washburne’s company purchased the campus for $28 million, paying $5.6 million in cash paid today at closing, and a two-year promissory note for the remaining $22.4 million. (more…)


Courtesy Tonie Auer/Bisnow

The folks at Bisnow caught up with Charter Holdings CEO Ray Washburne for 10 minutes, which, when you are a billionaire, is like an eternity. Ray is the national finance chairman for Chris Christie for President, and previously for the Federal PAC Leadership Matters for America. He served two years as the finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, was co-chairman of Texas for Mitt Romney, and national finance chairman for Tim Pawlenty for President. I did not know he also taught, serving as an adjunct professor at the SMU Cox School of Business. Ongoing involvement and board memberships include the World Presidents’ Organization, Veritex Bank, The Real Estate Council, International Council of Shopping Centers, Urban Land Institute, SMU O’Neil Center Advisory Board, SMU Tower Center and Baylor Health Care System Foundation.

See what I mean? Jump on over to Bisnow for the full interview, and see what Ray is ready to invest in next: “We’re looking for something that becomes available for some reason,  always on the lookout for new things to invest in. It really depends on what becomes available. We’re in a booming economy in DFW; things are pretty fully priced. There’s no particular area that has more opportunities than another.” 


2700 Fairmount church

It never ceases to amaze me what a difference a few miles make in real estate values. Here is a church in Uptown for sale that NO ONE wants to tear down!

Last week, we told you about the George Dahl-designed church at the corner of Kiest and Polk at 1010 West Kiest Blvd., diagonally across from the Barbara Jordan Elementary School, and across from the Kiest Polk Shopping Village, and how a new owner wants to scrape it to make way for a shopping center. Or something. We’ll have more on that soon.

That Oak Cliff Church building is architecturally, historically and culturally significant. It was designed by renowned Dallas architect George Dahl in 1953 as Church of the Master, Evangelical and Reformed Church serving a congregation of German/Swiss Immigrants of Oak Cliff who came to Texas by way of Galveston. While it’s not in the best of shape currently, I don’t agree with those who claim it’s not worth keeping.

Churches can have second, third or fourth lives. Here is a church at 27oo Fairmount in the heart of Uptown that has a significantly higher price tag — $8.4 million — yes, you read that correctly — and has been used as a creative office space. It could once again be an office space, company headquarters, home, multi-family living, my creative juices were overflowing last week as I toured it. It, too, is an architecturally significant historical church designed by Herbert Miller Greene (architect of the very first Dallas News building in 1897, the downtown Neiman Marcus and other local landmarks) and his partner James P. Hubbell. It was completed in 1910 when commissioned as Westminster Presbyterian Church. The Beaux Arts structure has been carefully preserved and creatively renovated into tasteful and eclectic office space suitable for a variety of uses.

Well, except when they were going a little cray cray with blue paint back in 2014. Remember? But look at her now!



Royal Blue grocer 2

You didn’t think they’d leave Parkies without a grocery store, now did you? Of course not! Hot news – Nancy Nichols reports on SideDish that Washburne signed a deal just last night with Austin-based Royal Blue Grocery Store. The urban market has everything from bagels and breakfast tacos to antipasto and cheese platters. They also do deli-type catering for one or fifty. The new store is slated to open July 1 in the spot vacated by Tom Thumb at HPV.

Royal Blue Grocer1


    Michael Ainsworth the Dallas Morning News


Guest Post by Susan Arledge, CEO Arledge Partners Real Estate Group

Last week, an interesting report emerged from Advertising Age Magazine called “Put Your Money on Texas.” It showed that Texas is now home to 3.6 million millennials—a 14 percent increase from 2000 to 2010. The 24- to 35-year-old age group “is critical to the state’s future because they represent the next wave of families, new home buyers, and big spenders,” according to the article.

Of the top ten states with the greatest increase in millennials, not one was east of the Mississippi and only three states really stood out:

  • · Texas,with 3.6 million 25- to 34-year olds, up 14% since 2000;
  • · Washington, with nearly 1 million, up 11%; and
  • · Colorado with 0.73 million, up 9%.

Here’s the Crackerjack prize in this box: over the next 10 years, the millennials will move into the 35 to 44 age cohort and increase their average household spending by 23%, a jump of more than $10,000 per household, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So one way to pick states with high economic future prospects is to look at how many 25- to 34-year-olds each has numerically and in relation to a national average, and gauge how fast that cohort is growing.

Ok, so how does this relate to Lakewood? Millennials love the place. Recently, Steve Brown wrote in the Dallas Morning News about the tremedous changes taking place at the Lakewood Shopping Center, and the influence on residential real estate. I grew up in Lakewood with my sister, Allie Beth Allman residential Realtor Brenda Sandoz — check out her listing at 2917 Amherst.

I was all ears.

Steve quotes Highland Park Village owner Ray Washburne, who is planning to open a Mi Cocina next to the Lakewood Theater. “Lakewood has been a sleeping giant,” Washburne told Brown. “People are finally waking up to the potential in Lakewood.”

Robert Grunnah has owned one of Lakewood’s most desirable retail properties for more than 30 years, and chaired the Lakewood Redevelopment Committee, which pushed through thoroughfare changes in the late 1970s that re-routed Abrams Road:

“Very unpopular with the long term residents at the time, the completion of the project eliminated a traffic nightmare, created a park, and opened up the entire shopping area,” said Grunnah, who owns the property where Scalini’s Pizza & Pasta and the Legal Grounds coffee house are located. “People around here don’t like a lot of change, and they do understandably like their small, locally-owned Lakewood shops. Lakewood offers a rare, small hometown feel, not often found within our Megaplex society.”

Take the popular coffe stop Legal Grounds. The initial Legal Grounds was opened in the early ’80s by a lawyer, now turned Baptist Preacher and marital relations counselor in East Texas. The storefront objective was to provide no cost/low cost legal advice with your coffee — lots of attorneys live in Lakewood. It has now morphed into an original and successful coffee house concept, much like many of the small, merchant owned businesses in Lakewood.

Located next door to the original Lakewood Gym and Nadine’s Poodle parlor, where you could drop off your laundry and have your poodle cleaned at the same time, Legal Grounds has become a neighborhood landmark quite popular with both the old ‘Lakewoodians’ and the newer in-migrating professionals. Lakewood also had close ties with the infamous Mid 80’s I-30 Condo scandal when Danny Faulkner bought and worked in the Lakewood Towers Building, later losing it to the Feds for resale. He was located across the street from where Caddo Holdings LLC has spent the last year and about $2 million redoing Lakewood’s biggest commercial property — the nine-story Wells Fargo Bank complex at Gaston and La Vista Drive.

Steve Brown says there’s no clue of a recession when you look at businesses in Lakewood– they are thriving:

“Snagging a parking space out front (of Whole Foods Market)sometimes can be as hard as finding a cool breeze. And it’s been that way most weekends since the store opened two years ago.  The arrival of the 50,000-square-foot up-scale grocer was one of the biggest things to happen in the East Dallas business district since its flagship movie house debuted in 1938.”

Developer Lincoln Property Co. recently purchased the largest retail chunk of the shopping center at Gaston Avenue and Abrams Parkway, where Dixie House restaurant and Lakewood Hardware are located. Times Ten Cellars’ restaurant and winery has been booming since opening in 2005 on Prospect Avenue. Kert Platner, who owns Times Ten Cellars, also owns the building where Snow Pea Restaurant is located.

The point is, which comes first: the commercial development or residential? In the case of Lakewood, they seem to be feeding off each other in a beautiful symphony. Commercial seeks neighborhoods where businesses can thrive and survive; home buyers seek neighborhoods where services fill the bill — you want hardware stores handy, tasty small restaurants and a great pizza place, and a grocery store whose shelves are stocked with everything you could possibly need. Lakewood fits the bill. That is what makes the quality of living in Dallas so high that it consistently remains in the top 3 to 5 markets for site selection.

Susan Arledge has been President and CEO of Arledge Partners Real Estate Group in Dallas, Texas since its inception in 1993.  Her commercial real estate brokerage firm specializes in representing tenants in their lease negotiations, as well as site selection, labor analytics, demographic analysis, incentives and real estate negotiations for tenants.  She can be reached at susana@arledgepartners.com.