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The headline to the Dallas Morning News story on Highland Park’s attempt to obtain an injunction to stop construction of The Saltillo, a planned seven-story apartment complex along the Katy Trail that was approved by the Dallas City Council last August, calls it a high rise. That’s not correct. It’s a mid-rise. I’m sure that was a headline writer’s work, but given the fact that Highland Park and neighbors have their panties in a wad over the height of the building, I found it kind of ironic.

Penson House

I mean, really? Jack G. Penson, a noted Dallas businessman and philanthropist died on September 25th, and I guess developers and Realtors must comb the obits because the poor family has been deluged with letters and phone calls asking for the hand of this house, an O’Neil Ford built in 1954, 8900 square feet, and just magnificent. Corner of Armstrong Parkway and St. Johns.

Please people, show some respect!

4907 Armstrong Parkway Erin Mathews has it listed, described as “Situated on one of Highland Parks most revered parkways, this premier 0.82 acre corner building site features an abundance of beautiful old growth trees. Truly an amazing opportunity to create your dream home.”

Yeah, we know all about the revered parkway and the amazing opportunity that was once 4307 Armstrong Parkway. A home beloved by it’s family, and a treasure for everyone who drove by. Sigh.

The only constant thing in life is change.

4307 Armstrong Parkway exterior (more…)

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By Cassie Evans, the Dirt Queen’s daughter, attorney, and real estate hound

Have you ever been on a property in Dallas and felt like you have been transported to another land? Like you were out of Texas and on some relaxing vacation? Until the reality of busy life, your cell phone, and traffic awoke you?

Well, that’s what happened when I stepped foot on a certain building site. 4808 Drexel Drive is just enchanting.

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Small Car Door Key Lock

We’re not sure if Highland Park residents leave their vehicles unlocked more than people do in other places, but we do know it happens often in the town, and criminals take advantage of that fact. Just last week, burglars waltzed right into cars, trucks, and SUVs in Highland Park and helped themselves to the following items:

  • A $150 black leather bag containing legal documents was stolen from a pewter 2007 Mercedes E350 in the 4600 block of Belclaire Avenue between 4:30 p.m. on May 4 and 5:50 a.m. on May 5.
  • A $300 pair of sunglasses and a pink makeup bag that contained $30 in cash were stolen from a silver 2011 Infiniti QX5 in the 4600 block of South Versailles Avenue between 8 p.m. on May 4 and 7:30 a.m. on May 5.
  • About $60 worth of CDs, $50 in cash, a $40 pair of Toms shoes, and a $30 pair of Rainbow flip-flops were stolen from a gray 2012 BMW X5 in the 4600 block of Edmondson Avenue between 9 p.m. on May 7 and 8:30 a.m. on May 8.
  • A $400 pair of Tom Ford sunglasses, a $90 pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses, and $2 in change were stolen from a bronze 2011 Ford F150 King Ranch in the 3600 block of Shenandoah Avenue between 8:30 p.m. on May 9 and 7:30 a.m. on May 10.

Of course, Highland Park was the not only desirable area where there were some notable burglaries last week.

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Tom Thumb HPVHighland Park Village Tom Thumb

It’s been rumored for weeks, but today it was made official: Tom Thumb will close its charming Highland Park Village grocery store at Preston and Mockingbird in the next 12 months.

The reason? The store is small and outmoded by today’s mega-supermarket standards, and there is plenty of room for expansion. Also, Safeway, parent company of Tom Thumb, is being courted by potential buyers.

“We have enjoyed being in Highland Park Village over the years, but the store is small and outmoded by today’s supermarket standards, with no opportunity for on-site expansion,” Tom Thumb president Paul McTavish said today in a news release.

Ironically, the Highland Park Village store first opened as a Safeway in 1935.

With Safeway trying to “house stage” for a suitor, the company may well have decided that the store, a mere 18,500 square feet, does not have the revenue potential of the average 46,000 square foot Tom Thumb. There are other, smaller Tom Thumbs around town, such as the Tom Thumb at Snider Plaza, and Preston Center next to Park Cities Baptist Church, but perhaps the rents are not as high. McTavish also says the company is seeking a location to build a full-sized Tom Thumb in the neighborhood.

There is also a Simon David at Inwood and University.

Personally, I like the smaller stores. The fifth and newest Central Market in the Dallas area is on the southeast corner of Royal Lane and Preston Road in the Preston Oaks shopping center.  The space is approximately 30,000 square feet. That’s smaller than the average 45,000 square foot super market, but in my humble opinion, much more efficient. The huge stores have way too many choices, way too many aisles to temp us into buying.

Which is why, perhaps, an 18,500 square foot store cannot be as profitable.

Dallas is one of the most competitive grocery markets in the country. Apparently, it’s a real slug-fest in the grocery store biz. The nation’s supermarket competitors are duking it out harder than ever to:

“enhance their performance and accelerate market share. Gaining an edge over the many faces of competition in the present era, however, requires an ever more delicate balancing act between price, selection and service on one end and cost containment, capital investments in people, facilities and shopper engagement strategies on the other, to attract and retain a strong customer base.”

Rumor (RUMOR!) has it a Dean&Deluca New York-style deli will go into the Tom Thumb space, giving a place to buy a little milk, juice, fruit, black & white cookies and hopefully some great New York City bagels.

There’s nothing like a great New York deli bagel to help you feel better. Skillerns Corner

 

Mockingbird June 4

We’ve reported on this incredible box-like residence on Mockingbird in Highland Park, a home that caused some friction with neighbors thanks to its unique design and use of materials. With a building envelope you’d most often find covering a warehouse and some really innovative use of natural materials, Russell Buchanan’s “Mockingbird House” caught the eyes of AIA Dallas, which gave the home an Honor Award.

IMG_1177

The house is a two-story, 4,140-square-foot home that is basically a rectangular box served by a vestibule that, when lit up at night, glows amber thanks to the onyx slab construction. The owners, whose trade is in wholesale stone, used several different types of granite, quartz, and marble in the home’s construction.

Buchanan, who likened the home to a giant refrigerator box, says the insulated panels provide a construction efficiency that is unmatched, and have the added benefit of providing sound-dampening properties that keep the home quiet despite the busy street just outside.

When I toured this home during a Dallas Architecture Forum event, what really struck me was the versatility that this type of construction could lend. And considering that the home was pretty much finished in a year, well, that’s incredibly fast for a well-insulated home.

Congratulations to Buchanan for his forward-thinking design!

 

Mockingbird June 4

We’ve reported on this incredible box-like residence on Mockingbird in Highland Park, a home that caused some friction with neighbors thanks to its unique design and use of materials. With a building envelope you’d most often find covering a warehouse and some really innovative use of natural materials, Russell Buchanan’s “Mockingbird House” caught the eyes of AIA Dallas, which gave the home an Honor Award.

IMG_1177

The house is a two-story, 4,140-square-foot home that is basically a rectangular box served by a vestibule that, when lit up at night, glows amber thanks to the onyx slab construction. The owners, whose trade is in wholesale stone, used several different types of granite, quartz, and marble in the home’s construction.

Buchanan, who likened the home to a giant refrigerator box, says the insulated panels provide a construction efficiency that is unmatched, and have the added benefit of providing sound-dampening properties that keep the home quiet despite the busy street just outside.

When I toured this home during a Dallas Architecture Forum event, what really struck me was the versatility that this type of construction could lend. And considering that the home was pretty much finished in a year, well, that’s incredibly fast for a well-insulated home.

Congratulations to Buchanan for his forward-thinking design!