West End 1

Community activism seems to be in full swing everywhere despite the heat.  Jason Roberts is in New York City, taking part in The New York Times’ Cities For Tomorrow Conference, rubbing shoulders with Julián Castro (secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development), William J. Bratton (New York City’s police commissioner), Muriel Bowser (mayor of Washington, D.C.), and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Fox among other VIPs. Roberts is the community activist who ignored city zoning to introduce his “The Better Block Project” — or, as he describes it, “a ‘living block’ art installation” to parts of “light industrial” Oak Cliff. His point was to prove it’s possible to turn an area zoned “light industrial” into something that’s actually livable and walkable. (more…)


By Amanda Popken
Special Contributor

It’s been 4 years since the Downtown360 plan was created, and so much has changed! It’s time for an update. This week, Downtown Dallas Inc. held the kickoff meeting to begin soliciting input. The input phase will last through October, then the technical studies, microplans, and implementation plans phase will continue through May of 2016. We should have an updated plan by next summer.

If you’d like to give your two cents, keep checking the calendar (be patient – the project website just launched so it’s not fully updated and bug-free yet), or just join DDI’s email newsletter list.

You might already know that Downtown Dallas Inc. manages the Public Improvement District for downtown Dallas. That gives them funding to support the district with things like marketing, security, events, and even bigger substantial changes (like purchasing city rights-of-way.) But they really see their role as more than just a leader in downtown, but the connecting force between all the neighborhoods surrounding downtown. These nine neighborhoods, plus the seven in downtown proper, make up the 16 ‘hoods in the 360 plan. So if you live in, work in, or care about any of these places, you’re invited to participate.


Photo courtesy Patrick McDonnell/Downtown Dallas Inc.

Photo courtesy Patrick McDonnell/Downtown Dallas Inc.

If the last year is any indication, 2015 is shaping up to be another banner year for real estate development in Downtown Dallas.

This is according to downtown advocates, urban planners, and real estate and development experts, who gathered Friday to talk about city living in downtown at a panel, sponsored by the Dallas Business Journal.

Moderated by John Crawford, President and CEO of Downtown Dallas Inc., an advocacy group for Downtown Dallas, the panel shared candid insights into past successes, lessons learned, and where the area is headed in the future.

“There’s a pretty distinct spirit and energy in Downtown Dallas and we’ve reached a point of permanency, as far as what downtown has become,” said Crawford. “Residentially, we continue to be about 94 percent occupancy in all the buildings that have been converted and the new construction and depending on who you talk to, we have between 6,000 and 8,000 units under construction from 2015 to 2017. There’s an urban lifestyle that is continuing to catch on down here.”

Panelists included Theresa O’Donnell, Chief Planning Officer for the city of Dallas; Yogi Patil, an Associate at HKS Architects Inc.; Steve Shepherd of the Downtown Residents Council; and Michael Tregoning, President of Headington Company. Jump to read more!


Photo courtesy of Steve Rainwater via a Creative Commons license

Photo courtesy of Steve Rainwater via Creative Commons

When I learned to drive in the 90s, my dad had two big rules: Don’t run out of gas and don’t drive anywhere near Downtown Dallas, particularly at night.

We were suburban dwellers, used to wide streets, manicured lawns, and regularly scheduled trash pickups. Much of Downtown Dallas was gritty and graffitied, all business by day, and practically vacant at night, except for the club scene in Deep Ellum and restaurants in the West End Historic District.

It’s not just downtown that was affected—for decades, people have been moving to the suburbs in Dallas and across the country. For example, nationally, the suburbs grew at an annual average rate of 1.38 percent, compared to 0.42 percent for primary cities between 2000 and 2010, according to U.S. Census Bureau data and research by population analysts.

But that trend appears to be reversing in the past four years. Since 2010, primary cities with populations of 100,000 or more outgrew suburbs each year, according to research by William H. Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution.

Dallas is part of that trend. Certainly, many our suburbs like Frisco are seeing unprecedented growth. But our urban core—the 15 districts that make up Downtown Dallas—has seen a radical transformation as people and businesses move back downtown. 

Case in point: in 2000, the Central Business District population, one of those 15 districts, was just 14,654. It is predicted to grow to 33,139 residents in 2015, and 59,337 in 2030.  


509 Elm Street Front

I am really kind of stunned that you can find a loft in the West End for less than $200K, but it’s true. In fact, I’m flabbergasted that you can find such a large one — more than 1,500 square feet — in such a walkable, urban area.

But it’s true! All of it’s true! This historic, recently renovated corner loft with views of Dealey Plaza and Founders Plaza, as well as several downtown Dallas landmarks such as the Bank of America tower, is listed with Rogers Healy and Associates Realtor Steve Ridgely for $199,900. This is a historic building at Record Street and Elm Streets, right in the thick of some incredible redevelopment and super close to the West End DART station. The walk score for this property — Unit 406 at 509 Elm Street — is 97! That’s extremely walkable!

509 Elm 406 View

But what you’ll fall in love with when it comes to this two-bedroom, two-bath loft are the architectural detals. The exposed beam ceilings, brick walls, tons of windows — all of it oozes history. It makes this loft, which might otherwise feel cold and sterile, warm and inviting. It would make a wonderful home for anyone who loves historic details and wants to be in the thick of a revitalization and make an investment that could really bring in dividends.

Investors are looking to redevelop the West End Marketplace, a 240,000-square-foot commercial development, into a sleek hotel. The “Purse” building, or Parlin and Orendorff building, which is just across Record Street from this 23-unit residential complex, was recently purchased by a group of preservationists with plans to bring residential and retail to the site. Very exciting stuff!

509 Elm 406 Living 509 Elm 406 Kitchen 509 Elm 406 Pantry

But this loft isn’t without a few updates, mind you. The kitchen has been redone with new cabinets, an island, Silestone countertops, stainless steel appliances, and a fantastic backsplash. It’s the perfect place to make a memorable meal and soak up the view, too.

This loft sports two living areas, a utility and storage closet with washer and dryer, polished concrete floors, plenty of closet space (a rarity!) and 24-hour security as well as attached parking. HOA dues are $578 monthly and include security, maintenance, blanket insurance, and access to facilities including a fitness center.

509 Elm 406 Bedroom2 509 Elm 406 Bath 1 509 Elm 406 Bath 2

My only gripe about this loft is that the bathrooms are a little bland. With an urban property like this I would have hoped to see baths that were a little more inspired. These feel rather suburban, and cheaply outfitted at that. I guess you could see it as an opportunity to invest in making this home your own. Maybe put in a cool steam shower with some neat industrial-looking hardware.

What do you think?

Elm St Lease

There’s a lot of hububb going on around the West End aas Dallas prepares to acknowledge the darker side of our city’s history: the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

Some people, especially history buffs, are already looking for the best places to scope out the events leading up to the Nov. 22 anniversary. If you’re not squeamish, then perhaps consider renting this amazing historic loft condo next to the Sixth Floor Museum and a stone’s throw from the grassy knoll.

Elm Street Kitchen Living

Located inside 509 Elm Street, this historic loft condominium is close to all of the action, as well as DART rail and plenty of great restaurants. With 780 square feet, this studio loft is great for someone who wants a trendy space but not a lot of maintenance. This is truly minimal living, folks.

Elm Street Kitchen

There’s a large bathroom, and a reasonably appointed kitchen inside this unit, but if you’ve been searching for a spot to take yourself and Fido or Fifi, you’ll have to keep looking because pets aren’t allowed. There are, however, washer and dryer connections — a definite bonus considering the downtown location. You’ll also have access to a community pool, too.

Elm Street Bath

You can rent this unit for $1,195 a month. Look like the spot for you? Contact the Dallas-Fort Worth property management experts at LocalDwelling.com.