Midtown 1

Much has been written about Valley View Mall’s demise and rebirth as Midtown Dallas.  It’s as though all the ink will somehow grease the wheels and return Valley View to productivity.  On Tuesday, the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce hosted an event that included a keynote and panel discussion.

The panel consisted of Scott Beck (owner of the property and chief developer), Edwin Flores from DISD, and Dallas  City Council member Lee Kleinman. In a nutshell, everyone just wants the show to get on the road for this enormous, multi-billion dollar redevelopment.


Selling your home can be a complicated project. Here are 25 ways you can make the process easier.

Steve Brown has a snippet on his Biz Beat Blog the other day, saying the brakes are about to be slammed on DFW’s runaway home prices.  This will happen next year.

Which is like in 3 weeks.

A friend in Phoenix is an appraiser, and lived through the mess that the Phoenix/Scottsdale market became during the downturn: it was a really rough ride. He tells me that DFW is regarded as one of the most over-valued, if not THEE MOST over-valued, markets in the nation. Dallas-area home prices are up almost 10% from 2014 levels, and CoreLogic, Inc. says we lead the pack on home price gains. We have not just re-gained the trickle that was lost during the Great recession, we have surpassed it.

So that means, if you sell your home before 2016 hits, you will have timed this market perfectly. At least according to Jonathan Smoke and the folks at Realtor.com, who say we will be cooling our horses in the price gains department: (more…)

I have to agree with The Dallas Morning News editorial board on this one: More residential development in West Dallas benefits everyone. How they arrived at the conclusion is another matter.

Take this paragraph for example:

While this might sound like a chicken-or-egg question — which comes first, housing or residents? — the answer is clear: It’s housing, especially single-family homes, that is key to a neighborhood’s rebirth. Fresh signs of that rebirth are showing up in West Dallas and North Oak Cliff.

Is it really all that clear?


4610 Wildwood poolWe know that sales of homes priced at $1 million plus are out of sight and up 53 percent in North Texas from a year ago. I think my message from Luxury Portfolio last month in Las Vegas was clear: luxury and multi-million dollar properties are not just alive but selling well.

Sales of modestly priced houses in the area have slowed down about 25% less than they were a year ago, according to Steve Brown, who also says overall sales by real estate agents are flat this year.


Nicole StewartHere is one of the finest columns ever written by Dallas Morning News columnist Steve Blow. The subject is a can’t win topic: half the people who read it will agree, half won’t. But Steve Brown did such an excellent job of letting the narrator, Nicole Stewart, tell the story, her story, it’s almost as if he is in the background, serving drinks like one of the footmen on Downton Abbey.

With a story like this, that’s how it should be.

Regardless of how you feel about the controversial subject of abortion, you will find that this story pulls at your heartstrings. It is a realistic portrayal of what thousands of women go experience when a pregnancy does not “go right”, and why I personally believe abortion should be left as a personal decision between a woman, her physician, her partner, and no one else.

You may disagree, and I respect that tremendously.

Nicole is the founder of Oral Fixation, a local theater series featuring true-life storytelling on stage by real life Dallas people. This is no open mike: every story is curated and edited, under Nicole’s guidance. Each show is loosely themed on a figure of speech or theme, such as pregnancy, or an upcoming performance called White Elephant.

“Every word is earned,” says Nicole, the show’s creator. “There are no ums and likes.”

She works with the writers behind the scenes, almost like the producer of an album, providing notes and teasing out the best stories to ensure there’s “not a single stinker” in the batch. I saw “Bun in the Oven”, stories on pregnancy, abortion, and one entrepreneur who actually changed his life and career with a “bun in the oven” in the form of pizza dough. The performances range from gut-churning to riotous, from dark, horrifying stories of rape to confessionals of awkward sexual intimacy. “You’re getting to see behind the mask of someone’s face,” she says.”

Indeed, you are, and I love this stuff.

You may wonder why I have jumped on this story for a real estate blog? Nicole happens to be the grand-daughter of Henry S. Miller, Jr. one of Dallas’ most revered real estate developers and leaders, who bought Highland Park Village in the 1970’s, and who was a huge contributor to Dallas charitable landscape.




Update Nov. 9: This must be a new retro trend — the live music venue! I’m told the developer refurbishing the At. Anthony Hotel in downtown St. Antonio also has plans to re-vive a ballroom and live music venue on the rooftop. Seems that, in the 1940’s and ’50s, folks would go down to the St. Anthony and dance to live bands while local radio stations broadcast the music. Perhaps this is what Mehrdad has in mind? (ce)

We love Mehrdad Moayedi, whom we’ve dubbed “Saint Stoneleigh.” Steve Brown at the DMN wrote yesterday what we wrote a month ago: Moayedi is buying downtown Dallas’ iconic Statler Hilton with plans for a residential conversion with unique amenities.

But this building has had previous owners and big plans before, but none that have come to fruition. There are several hoops to jump through with this William Tabler-designed building — including parking and other abatement concerns — some of which have stymied successful developers such as Jack Matthews of Matthews Southwest.

But Moayedi’s Centurion American breathed life back into the Stoneleigh, is well equipped to revive the 19-story Midcentury stunner of a hotel on Commerce Street. We also love that Moayedi want’s to bring more amenities to downtown with this project, including a movie theater and a grocery store. There’s also been talk of a live music venue. Wonderful ideas, and all sorely needed downtown.







(Photo: Steve Brown/DMN)

It was just three months ago that all anyone in urbanism forums or on staff at city magazines could talk about was this “A New Dallas” campaign to raze Highway 345 that bisects the urban core of Dallas. As the beautifully constructed website said, the 345 was already crumbling, so instead of investing money in rebuilding it, we should tear it down and invest in a slower urban infrastructure.

Well, some of the “enormous amount of underdeveloped land around IH 345”  is going to get a mighty fine building that will have a mighty fine view of … a crumbling highway. I know it sounds like a bummer, but it obviously puts dollar signs in the eyes of South Carolina-based Greystar, the developer planning Elan City Lights for a vacant lot at Live Oak and Good Latimer.

A New Dallas

According to a story from Steve Brown, Greystar envisions a 424-unit luxury apartment building on the site they purchased from Key Bank for $39.43 million, which is actually pretty close to the AMLI development just across the street from the now weed-covered lot that at one time had a very interesting collection of plastic bags and hubcaps adorning its chain-link fence.

I wonder if Greystar would be for the “New Dallas” urbanists fell in love with this summer? I’m betting they would, considering that the prices for these luxury units would be a lot higher if they had views of something other than a highway. Greystar expects to start construction next month on City Lights with the first units hitting the market in fourth quarter 2014.

Housing Starts

(Photo: Dallas Morning News)

I am very cautiously optimistic about our market, y’all. I want to be just ridiculously, pie-in-the-sky buoyant about North Texas resilience that has us leading multi-family construction as well as seeing gains in new home starts.

According to Dallas Morning News reporter Steve Brown, North Texas is building multi-family developments faster than any other state in the nation, raising rents an average of 3 percent, as well as hitting an annual leasing record in June. From his July 3 story:

Analysts at Carrollton-based MPF Research credit the apartment sector’s recent gains to the area’s growing business environment.

“They clearly reflect the strength of the local economy,” MPF’s Jay Parsons said in a report released Tuesday. “Dallas-Fort Worth isn’t just adding a lot of jobs, it’s adding the types of jobs that draw the key demographic for the apartment market — educated young adults.”

Developers are certainly doing their part to meet the demand for new apartments.

At the end of June there were 24,697 apartments under construction in North Texas — just a hair below what was in the development pipeline at the last construction peak before the recession.

There’s the “R” word — recession, of course. So we’re building almost as many apartments as we did before the economy tanked. But what about new home starts? How do they compare to levels from North Texas’ real estate hey day? Steve breaks it down in his story today:

Metrostudy reports that D-FW homebuilders started almost 6,000 homes in the second quarter.

They sold 5,127 houses – a 25 percent increase from second quarter 2012. The quarterly D-FW new home sales were at the highest level since 2008.

“It is likely homebuilders will start 22,000 homes in 2013, which is at the high end of our forecast”, said [Metrostudy’s David] Brown.

But even with the big recent gains, home starts in 2013 will still be almost 60 percent below the peak of local building in 2006.

OK, that makes me feel a little better. We still have a ways to go as far as growing the market. Of course, if I wanted to temper my optimism with a healthy swig of facts with a chaser of statistics, there’s the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University’s database to help out with that.

So, do you think we should remain only cautiously optimistic? Or is there a ceiling to our growth?