I guess the question is, is there anything Mehrdad Moayedi WON’T BUY?  Like he may need a phone ap soon to keep up with everything in his portfolio, from the Crespi Estate Estates, to the Statler, to the Cabana Hotel, to his zero lot line homes I am eyeing along Forest Lane, to, oh yes, Collin Creek Mall and…. well just look at the Centurion American site.

We knew something was up at 4600 Samuell Boulevard  back in mid- December when we contacted the agent, Jessica Tello, and asked what’s up. We heard it was under contract, and that demolition would be involved.

“What,” wrote Bethany, “can you tell me about the pending sale, and the plans for the property?”

Hi Bethany,

Hope you had a nice weekend! Thanks for your message. At this time, the only detail we can provide is that it is under contract.

Thank you,

Jess

So yes, then the holidays happened, but Mehrdad Moayedi works ’round the clock, ’round the calendar.  He told Steve Brown he is buying the property to build about 400 single family homes on the 50 acre site of the former psychiatric hospital campus on Samuell Boulevard east of downtown — fantastic news, I’m sure, to the neighbors who were petrified this summer  when some  Dallas City Council members suggested the old hospital would be a great place for the homeless. The hospital was closed last year when state regulators threatened to shut it down. The campus includes nine historic buildings, many more than 80 years old, including the century-old neoclassical white house that was the original hospital: Timberlawn Sanitarium, built in  1917. As you may know, I have stayed in an historical insane asylum turned luxury hotel in Staunton, Virginia. 

Mehrdad plans to call the new development “Tennyson Village”. 

“This is an area where the city would like to see some redevelopment,” Moayedi said. “We want to build a neighborhood of nice homes.

“We think young professionals working downtown will want to live in this neighborhood.”

Moayedi said houses in the project would start at around $250,000.

Fifty acres leaves him plenty of space to develop about eight homes per acre, which should add a hefty amount of change to the city’s tax coffers. Timberlawn is also apparently close to two elementary schools as well as Skyline High School, which should further bolster sales. The last time I looked, the 50 acres were valued at $2.6 million on DCAD. 

And with that amount of density, it appears they won’t keep the original hospital as an amenity center, though that would have been kind of cool, especially come Halloween. The white frame home is on Preservation Dallas’ list of “most endangered historic places.” But like many older homes, it is loaded with problems and only salvation would be to be moved, which would require tenting.

Moayedi said he looked into the idea of reusing the 4,700-square-foot house.

“We thought about trying to preserve it as an amenity center, but its not in good enough shape,” he said. “The structure itself is in bad shape and full of asbestos.

“We don’t want to destroy anything that has any value,” he said. “We’d be happy to let someone come and move it or whatever.”

By Abigail Kuch Reynolds
Guest Contributor

During last week’s Dallas City Council meeting, council members unanimously shot down a proposal for temporary shelters spread throughout the city in recreation centers as a temporary solution to the city’s critically growing number of homeless. In lieu of that proposal, members of the Council turned their attention to a possible full-time proposal in one location in District 7: the shuttered Timberlawn Behavioral Health System.

Timberlawn’s unsuitability as the permanent location for a homeless shelter can be argued from at least half a dozen angles. The City Council’s attention on it has left many of the surrounding area residents, such as myself, baffled at the suggestion and fearful of its serious ramifications for the area we’ve invested in as our home.

Timberlawn, a former behavioral health center, is the oldest private psychiatric facility in the state and boasts architectural beauty in a building that is more than 100 years old. These characteristics may make the main building eligible to be recognized as a historic landmark in the state of Texas. Timberlawn maintains 20 acres of sprawling landscape lined with mature trees, whose shade and dignity contribute to the elegance of the property.

The iconic landmark formerly provided private health services for those necessitating in-patient care and sits south of I-30 within Dallas city limits, minutes from the bustle of downtown Dallas. But it is nestled within a thriving residential community formally referred to as “Buckner Terrace.” The neighborhood is composed of a heterogeneous group of residents whose pride and investment in their neighborhood can be exhibited in their ability to unite in protest of a potential homeless shelter. Close to 1000 signatures on an online petition to City Council garnered in less than a week. This petition, I may note, has never been formally canvassed in-person, but is the result of viral sharing on Social Media, spreading like virtual wildfire throughout our small community.

As residents of Buckner Terrace, we represent the gentrification component in an evolving city and changing landscape of Dallas, which maintains its position as a booming metropolitan area with a stable and prosperous economic job market. It’s a location many of us chose to move to from out of state for the promise of affordable housing and a stable, cohesive community.

And now, a single City Council decision could destroy it. (more…)

As of 12:30 p.m. tonight, the petition started by Buckner Terrace resident Abbi Reynolds has expanded to 920 signatures and is quickly gaining speed. If Mayor Rawlings and the Dallas City Council chose to move ahead despite the protests of nearly 1,000 residents, I would think that would be political suicide, if not worse.

And after reading the comments on this petition, I have to agree with the neighborhood. At first blush when my City Councilman suggested it, I thought Timberlawn, because of it’s layout, would make a great homeless center — thinking more along the lines of a place where social and psychiatric services could be offered. And the price might be right: DCAD value is about $2.6

But no, no, no, for several solid reasons:

-The building is historical and should be preserved as a possible museum or cultural center. It could also be sold and made into a luxury hotel and conference center. Think I’m nuts? In June, we stayed at the Blackburn Inn in Staunton, Virgina, a luxury hotel converted from a mental institution. Built in 1828 by Thomas Jefferson’s architect as the nation’s second mental hospital, the  long-abandoned insane asylum and prison in Staunton was known as the Western State Lunatic Asylum and not an easy renovation: it took 12 years for the 33,000 square foot property but the developers are moving forward to add condos, apartments, helipads, and restored houses. Bathrooms were gorgeous (vessel tubs!) and we slept very very well, thank you.

(more…)

That was fast. Today’s Dallas City Council meeting was focused on the four track homelessness briefing, and there was a lot of discussion, explaining, even arguing over it all, especially Track II: moving the homeless to recreation centers across Dallas on a temporary basis. Almost every city council member was vehemently against Track II, with the exception of Mark Clayton and maybe Ricky Callahan. When Adam Medrano brought up an idea that had been suggested by Lee Kleinman back in February, having the city buy Timberlawn psychiatric hospital and use as a homeless shelter central, Councilman for District 7, Kevin Felder, was livid. 

And now a Change.org petition has been started, almost 30 votes last time I looked. Here’s what it says:

We as citizens of Dallas are adamantly opposed to the proposed initiative to utilize the site formerly known as Timberlawn, as a large, permanent public facility for the homeless.

We stand united and demand that our elected officials, the Dallas City Council members, hear our voices, utilize our tax dollars to better our neighborhood and our city, and act accordingly to best service us all in pursuit of our desire to be safe, effective members in our shared city of Dallas