Opendoor

Swathy Prithivi has been tabbed to lead the Dallas-Fort Worth operations for Opendoor.  In 2017, she joined the company and helped lead its Orlando expansion. She was later promoted to general manager there

“I joined Opendoor because I really believe in what the company is based on, which is empowering everyone with the freedom to move,” Prithivi said. “It’s very exciting because it’s a customer-based company that’s poised to make big changes in one of the most unchanged industries.”

Opendoor was founded in the Bay Area nearly five years ago.  It’s known for its online platform on which homeowners can quickly sell their homes and search for new ones. The company expanded to Dallas in 2015, and now has a presence in 20 different markets, including Houston, Austin, and San Antonio.  It will begin operations in Los Angeles and Washington D.C. this spring and plans to expand to 50 markets by 2020. (more…)

The luxurious kitchen of the future?

Realtors will tell you that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. What happens if there is no kitchen?  Investment bank UBS recently issued an investment note to customers titled, “The End of the Kitchen?” Not being a UBS-caliber customer, I’ve only been able to glean snippets from the private report from across the internet.

In a nutshell, UBS is taking note of the fast rise in food delivery services like Uber Eats, DoorDash, GrubHub, and yet to enter the US, Deliveroo and Foodora. The report postulates what happens to the food distribution and preparation market as food delivery grows in popularity. It’s all part of the larger trend of people outsourcing tedious tasks to those willing to do them for pennies.

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Source: Uber/Handout

Source: Uber/Handout

I read yesterday about Uber’s Elevate conference (flying taxis) and admit that while Dallas was mentioned, complete lack of interest didn’t get me to read very far.  But a CandysDirt.com reader forwarded me the story and mentioned Hillwood, so I read more.

What was announced was a plan to have electric air taxis in Dubai and Dallas by 2020. The Dallas connection is being supported by Ross Perot Jr. and his Hillwood development.  Not two weeks ago, Hillwood representatives were in front of the Oak Lawn Committee with an update on their plans for 3001 Turtle Creek (corner of Cedar Springs and Turtle Creek).  Included was what seemed to be an embarrassing afterthought of a helipad.  It was a giant eye-roll for the room.

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Air BNB Daniel Ave

 

The University Park City Council is considering limiting short-term rentals in single-family neighborhoods, says the one and only Dan Koller of Park Cities People. Interesting topic to see at the end of a City Council agenda, and one that might address the growing trend of unregulated room rentals from websites such as Airbnb.

The staff report filed by assistant city manager Robbie Corder categorizes a short-term rental as typically less than seven days and is associated with a vacation, business trip, or special event. As it is written, University Park’s comprehensive zoning ordinance doesn’t address these types of rentals, “therefore, property owners have the ability to rent property for any length of time,” Corder said.

From the report:

Staff has been contacted by residents expressing concerns with properties that lease on a short-term basis. These residents have requested the City Council consider regulations to specifically address short-term rentals in single-family zoned districts. Staff believes there are currently no regulations in place that would allow successful enforcement against short-term rentals; consequently, an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance will be necessary if the Council desires to regulate short-term rentals in single-family districts.

From a quick search of airbnb.com for the 75205 zip code, I found two rentals in University Park, including the one above on Daniel Avenue, which has 17 guest reviews from people who’ve rented the one-bedroom, one-bath apartment. There’s another rental available just north of the George Bush Presidential Center on Dyer Street, with only one review for the private bed and bath. In Highland Park there’s a guesthouse on Abbott Avenue with two bedrooms and one bath that has 94 reviews as well.

Honestly, this sounds a lot like the Uber/Yellow Cab fiasco that Dallas City Hall just addressed. On the one hand is a app-enabled, unregulated website and on the other are hotels that pay taxes and fees out the nose. The council approved staff’s recommendation to refer the issue to the Zoning Ordinance Advisory Committee, so it will be a while before we hear the end of this.

Do you think short-term rentals should be regulated?

 

Atlantic Cities Uber

 

(Photo: The Atlantic Cities)

Update: Here’s an online form to write to your city council person and tell them to leave Uber alone! http://www.ci.dallas.tx.us/forms/mcc/MCC_Mail_Form.htm

Living in a city has a lot to do with transportation. You want to get from A to B in the most convenient, safest way possible. In NYC, Boston, Chicago, and LA, you have tons of choices, including catching a ride from any of the hundreds of cabs that circulate through these cities.

So, what’s the problem? Well, try hailing a cab in Dallas and your question is answered. It is impossible to find a ride unless you call a cab dispatcher, and with more bars and restaurants popping up in downtown, and greater density in Uptown and the Park Cities, we need a way to find a ride when we are carless or shouldn’t otherwise drive. Public transit increases accessibility and desirability of urban areas, and Dallas just doesn’t have enough of it.

Uber ScreenThat’s why I really like the idea of Uber. In the age of smart phones, we have a serious need for a smart company such as this that connects a person desiring a service with a service provider, especially considering our dearth of public transit options and the lack of cabs in our growing urban core. It fills a gap left between light rail, bus service, and cab companies when it comes to ease of use and accessibility. Also, the guys who run Uber are ridiculously smart, using trip data from their app to discover trends that will help the company adapt and develop strategies. Brilliant stuff. Imagine what they could learn from Dallas …

What does Uber do? The service, which launched in Dallas a year ago, dispatches a car to your location via a smartphone app and GPS coordinates. Obviously, this irritates cab companies, but let’s be serious about one thing — Uber is serving a group of people that weren’t using cabs. And asking City Hall to cut Uber out of the equation, as this story from the Dallas Morning News suggests, is ridiculous.

Cab companies should compete with Uber in the new market the company has created for itself. Likewise, they shouldn’t be able to create a city-sanctioned monopoly in an urban area that already suffers from a severe lack of public transportation options. People obviously want Uber, as well as more accessible transit.

What do you think?