A new build at Hockaday and Snow White was tagged by what some nearby homeowners allege to be a disgruntled neighbor. The brick home had “GREED” scrawled on the Snow White-facing side over the Labor Day weekend, according to NextDoor posts.

At least one person is less than thrilled about new builds going up in Northwest Dallas‘ Forest Knoll Estates neighborhood, north of Royal Lane near Midway Road. The first clue is the giant word “GREED” scrawled in spray paint on the Snow White-facing side of this Hockaday Drive spec build from ICF Custom Homes. The second clue is the barrage of posts on NextDoor speculating just who would do such a thing.




City Plan Commissioner Neil Emmons was found dead in his home this morning. Photo: Twitter

The political and real estate worlds of Dallas were rocked today with the news that tireless advocate of neighborhoods and preservation of Dallas’ architectural history Neil Emmons apparently passed away in his sleep overnight. He was 45.

Robert Wilonksy reported in the Dallas Morning News that Emmons, who has been serving as a City Plan Commissioner, was found dead by his mother this morning.  As city officials and others who have worked closely with Emmons in his 15-plus years serving the city learned the news, their reactions were overwhelmingly of shock.

“We did not always agree, but I always knew Neil was up for the fight. I learned a lot from you over the years, and I am sad that our hidden notes at the horseshoe will not continue. You will be missed greatly my friend,” said councilman Adam McGough on Facebook.

Dallas Planning Commissioner Neil Emmons was found dead in his home this morning. Photo: Rockwall Pets

Dallas Planning Commissioner Neil Emmons was found dead in his home this morning. Photo: Rockwall Pets

Councilman Philip Kingston also took to Facebook to eulogize Emmons, saying, “No single person in Dallas has done more to affect land use in recent history, and the changes he fought for were overwhelmingly positive. His philosophy was always to side with the neighbor and the neighborhood because doing so produced the best result for the city.

The result? Billions of dollars of economic development that may not have happened without his input and probably would have looked like crap if it did happen. It is not an exaggeration to say that Uptown, Turtle Creek, Oak Lawn, Lower Greenville, and Downtown owe much of their success to Neil Emmons.”

“I don’t think most of the city knows how sad a day this is for Dallas,” Kingston concluded.

In February, our Leah Shafer wrote about the historic Mayrath House and the formation of Dallas Endowment for Endangered Properties (DEEP) by Emmons and three other preservationists.Four preservationists, Virginia McAlester, Jim Rogers, Lisa Marie Gala, and Neil Emmons, together founded the Dallas Endowment for Endangered Properties (DEEP) fund last month. Joanna England wrote more in-depth about DEEP, which would be a fund to buy up endangered historic properties to save them from the wrecking ball.

Emmons served several terms on the City Plan Commission, starting in 2001 when he was appointed by then-councilwoman Veletta Lill. He served from 2001 until he left in 2009 due to term limits, and then was appointed again in 2014.


A week ago, I had the opportunity to attend the 17th annual Neighborhood Boot Camp, which is offered by the Dallas Homeowners League. It was my first time to attend, but I have to say – it’s a must for anyone who has had trouble getting help from City Hall in the past – or who belongs to a neighborhood association or crime watch.

The morning was chock-a-block full of useful information from the beginning panel discussion moderated by the Dallas Morning News‘ Robert Wilonsky (panel members included Monte Anderson, Patrick Kennedy and Wick Allison), to the workshops after covering things like navigating City Hall, defining a strong neighborhood, adapting to change in neighborhoods, supporting and promoting DISD, historic preservation and water conservation tips.

I attended the workshop on navigating city hall, conducted by Philip Kingston, and the workshop on promoting and supporting DISD, conducted by Melissa Kingston (more on those tomorrow).

The morning began, however, with a panel discussion on the challenges Dallas faces, as well how to build a vibrant downtown Dallas. “Many of us live in neighborhoods with terrible streets,” Wilonsky acknowledged, adding that many neighborhoods lack amenities you can walk to, as well.

One question the group tackled was how to reconnect downtown to the city neighborhoods – and how to navigate city hall while trying to do so.  (more…)

Photo: Dwell Magazine

The Monogram Modern Home pre-fabricated modern home has made four stops in American cities so far. It will be in the Dallas Design District Aug. 21-22. Photo: Dwell Magazine

If modern design makes you merry, then the Monogram Modern Home Dallas event is a must-attend Aug. 21-22.

Popping up for one weekend in the Decorative Center Dallas at 1617 Hi Line Dr., the Monogram Modern Home is a pop-up, pre-fab modern home, host to a series of events, including culinary tastings, product demonstrations, and Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) for accredited industry professionals.

The event is part of a partnership between Dwell Magazine and Monogram Appliances that takes them on the road to six U.S. cities in six months: Portland, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Austin, Dallas, and Boston.

“The goal of the Monogram Modern Home is to get the Monogram brand in front of as many design-oriented consumers and professionals as we can—that’s why we decided to take it on the road,” said Michael Mahan, General Manager for Monogram. “We’ve partnered up with Dwell to offer CEU credits at each of our locations so designers can come in, get their certifications they need for the year, and enjoy a great day with the Monogram brand.”


2323N Houston front extLet me be clear from the very start: this is unit 616 at The Terrace at Victory Park.  Kathy Nealy’s unit was 216 on the second floor, but exact same square footage  (1196) and save for being higher and maybe a different color marble in the kitchen or master, pretty similar. Robert Wilonsky at the Dallas Morning News reported today that Nealy’s condo will be sold on the courthouse steps next month in a tax auction. Nealy was, of course, a successful political consultant with close ties to John Wiley Price who apparently did not pay Uncle Sam. The Terrace2323 N Houston kit 616 2323 N Houston LR 616 2323 N Houston master bath 616Wilonsky interviewed Nealy’s attorney, who blames the sale on that famous June 2011 raid on John Wiley Price, which the attorney says “negatively impacted” Nealy’s ability to do business. And, I guess, pay her taxes.

Prior to the raid Nealy counted among her clients American Airlines, Hunt Oil, KB Homes and Wal-Mart. She also worked for Mike Rawlings’ mayoral campaign, Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Cowboys Stadium and American Airlines Center referendums, among other high-profile pushes.”

Wilonsky says Nealy purchased the condo in 2006, when the market was soaring like the Texas Giant Roller Coaster. DCAD has it appraised for $263,120.


OmniPlan Midtown Rendering

Every time I drive by the practically abandoned Valley View Mall, I let out a little sigh. It’s just so ugly! The only thing that attracts a crowd over there is the random carnival. It’s tragic, especially for such a visible area.

But Scott Beck, who purchased Valley View last year, has sworn to revive the largest continuous tract north of 635 into a vibrant, bustling center of activity. If you don’t remember Beck, read up Candy’s interview with him here.

It’s a good thing that there are plans for the area, which is being called “Midtown” even though it’s not really in the middle of Dallas. I’ll let the semantics surrounding the name slide just for the fact that I am excited about reclaiming that area. The excitement must be catching, because Theresa O’Donnell, City of Dallas Sustainable Development director, is pretty stoked, too.

According to a report from Robert Wilonsky at the DMN, O’Donnell thinks this is “the most exciting thing I’ve ever been involved in.” Why? “This is doable, it’s achievable, and all the stars are aligned.”

Today’s presentation, which you can view a PDF of below, is just a taste. More details will be available on April 4. I’m looking forward to finding out more about the development, and how the city is going to foster a dense, pedestrian friendly environment in an area sandwiched by two major traffic thoroughfares — the Dallas North Tollway and 635.

Still, anything is better than how Valley View looks today, right?

03-21-2013 – Valley View Galleria Area CPC Briefing by Robert Wilonsky

I was downtown with my mother-in-law this week, and I said to her, look at Museum Tower: it looks to me like they are experimenting with different panes of glass, perhaps to solve the re-flectivity issue. No confirmation, but it sure looked that way to this evil eye. Then today, a very smart move by the developers: an open letter in the Dallas Morning News saying they are looking for a solution to the re-flectivity issue, but not saying what it is, or who will pay for it. If you subscribe, Robert Wilonsky has the story here. Basically, the letter comprises the entire back page of the Business section, a substantial ad investment but hey, that’s one way to make sure the reporters aren’t going to exaggerate or get snarky mean-spirited, as they can do, as they have done on this issue. Wilonsky notes:

While the missive from the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System (addressed to “our Future Residents, Neighbors, Art Lovers and Citizens of Dallas”) says much has been written about “sunlight reflection from Museum Tower’s glass surface,” not once does it use the words “Nasher” or “Sculpture” or “Center.” And while it says fixes are being examined and tested, not once does it say who will pay for those “promising potential solutions” or even what they may be.

The letter says this:

Since construction began, much has been reported about sunlight reflection from Museum Tower’s glass surface. Prior to construction, Museum Tower’s design plans were open for comprehensive public review and approved by the City of Dallas. Museum Tower is in compliance with every city code. However, it’s not uncommon for bold projects like Museum Tower to encounter an unexpected issue or two, and they are invariably solved.

Our number one priority is finding the best solution to the reflection issue. Over the last year, Museum Tower’s owner, the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System, engaged the most prominent optical experts in North America to study this challenge. A team of architects, engineers, and material and construction experts evaluated more than 20 ideas. Today, the most promising potential solutions are undergoing exhaustive testing with the highest standards of science and technology being applied.

This letter reflects, pardon my pun, exactly what I have heard in the real estate community. Sales at other downtown high-rises have been brisk as buyers may have postponed a Museum Tower purchase now pending this re-flectivity outcome. Agents tell me their clients are worried about lawsuits. However, I do know sales are happening at Museum Tower by buyers who have confidence in the developers and original development team. It’s a complex issue, but they are right: architecturally bold projects like Museum Tower can run into unexpected problems that may not be solved overnight, but they do get resolved. And in the process, we will learn something about this complex eco system upscale urban buyers crave: an energy-efficient environment that is still wide-open to the elements, a sun room in the sky that filters the damaging elements of the universe’s most powerful star, the sun.


Scary thought, but Robert Wilonsky is reporting in the Dallas Morning News there’s been a bit o’ crime over at the Shelton. Yes, thee Shelton — that pricey high rise across from the Park Cities Hilton where they are still trying to sell condos for $1.3 million, don’t get me started. They have been selling these units or trying to since Nicky and Eleanor’s heyday.

Wilonsky says this came under the “criminal mischief” heading. Mischief, indeed. At 2:30 a.m. Sunday  morning, somebody fired a gun at The Shelton. A resident living on the 12th floor of the north side heard shattering glass, then discovered someone had indeed shot out a window. The bullet hit a concrete block and thankfully, stopped.

DPD’s report says the shot “appeared to be a random act, possible shot from the tollway, by a passing car.” Then Wilonsky says a Shelton employee said maybe it came from Northwest Highway — I will tell you that intersection of Preston and Northwest Highway is not where you want to be after midnight. Maybe NTTA traffic cams will give us a clue, but I shudder to think that Park Cities has become Beirut, where people just fire guns into the air for the heck of it.