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.  

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Monte Anderson

On Tuesday night, the Greater Dallas Planning Council honored North Texas developer Monte Anderson with its inaugural Urban Pioneer Award at the Urban Design Awards.

Anderson is the president of Options Real Estate, a multi-service real estate company that concentrates its work in southern Dallas and Ellis counties, specializing in creating sustainable neighborhoods that invite “gentlefication,” as opposed to gentrification.

Here’s a great working definition of “gentlefication”:

Moving into a neighborhood in an effort to reduce crime, create harmony, and build community. As opposed to “gentrification,” which changes neighborhoods by forcing out low-income residents with high-income folks seeking the next hip thing. Gentlefication helps long-term residents take back their neighborhoods, stabilize property values, and build safe spaces for their children and grandchildren.

“The award means a lot because it means people are staring to recognize that incremental development, or ‘microsurgery’, not big silver bullet deals, works in our southern Dallas neighborhoods,” he said. “My approach is to come in and get other small developers and entrepreneurs to come in very early and be a part of the change. These are the people who make it cool, like artists and restaurateurs, and they [usually] end up not owning anything and getting pushed out in the end.” (more…)

2220 Canton 103 Living

I think you know by now that this building is pretty much my favorite lofts in Dallas. It has a great location, wonderful views, and fabulous amenities. And it has a true, open loft layout that makes any decor look swank.

These units aren’t often up for rent, and when they do, they tend to go for a high price. Perhaps you’re in a situation where you need to move and don’t quite have any furniture. Or you’re in Dallas only temporarily and don’t want to deal with the craziness of packing up all of your decor and furnishings and sending them to a new city only to do the same thing 12 months later.

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2220 Canton 309 Living 1

I have met the loft of my dreams and it is inside 2220 Canton, the Farmers Market lofts that have some incredible amenities. I love slick, open floorplans with tons of windows, especially those cool industrial vintage crankcase steel ones. Just fabulous. This unit, which is perfect for someone relocating from another urban area like, say, Chicago or New York, and wants a walkable, fun location that is close to pretty much everything, but isn’t sandwiched between the copious $30K millionaires in Uptown (nothing against Uptown!).

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citylightsland

 

(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.

A New Dallas

As you’ve no doubt heard, there’s a movement afoot to tear down Highway 345 — a stretch of elevated asphalt that spans from Deep Ellum and north to Woodall Rogers Freeway. Doing so, proponents claim, will connect the east side of the city center to downtown and create a more walkable environment.

I’m all for more walkable neighborhoods, especially in our urban core, but I do want to know how we can make this work when projections show that the population of Dallas will double in a matter of a few decades, putting strain on our housing inventory and transportation infrastructure. Basically, just tearing down a highway isn’t going to cut it.

The Vision

We should be thinking about density with a more connected mass transit system, and I think that’s the main selling point for demolishing the highway. Not only will it bring a slower thoroughfare through downtown, but it will also create more real estate that can be developed into mixed-use buildings, as well as offering a hub for bringing back the streetcar to downtown Dallas (and yes, we should definitely bring streetcars back). We’ll need massive reinvestment in transportation and infrastructure to make it work, but where will the money come from?

What do you think of the plan?

 

 

A New Dallas

As you’ve no doubt heard, there’s a movement afoot to tear down Highway 345 — a stretch of elevated asphalt that spans from Deep Ellum and north to Woodall Rogers Freeway. Doing so, proponents claim, will connect the east side of the city center to downtown and create a more walkable environment.

I’m all for more walkable neighborhoods, especially in our urban core, but I do want to know how we can make this work when projections show that the population of Dallas will double in a matter of a few decades, putting strain on our housing inventory and transportation infrastructure. Basically, just tearing down a highway isn’t going to cut it.

The Vision

We should be thinking about density with a more connected mass transit system, and I think that’s the main selling point for demolishing the highway. Not only will it bring a slower thoroughfare through downtown, but it will also create more real estate that can be developed into mixed-use buildings, as well as offering a hub for bringing back the streetcar to downtown Dallas (and yes, we should definitely bring streetcars back). We’ll need massive reinvestment in transportation and infrastructure to make it work, but where will the money come from?

What do you think of the plan?

 

 

Live Oak Courtyard

I love the way lofts look. Concrete floors and exposed ventilation ducts are super dreamy. It also allows for all the focus to be on furnishings instead of architecture.

Lofts can be pricy to buy, but if you prefer to rent, they can be affordable and offer flexible living in areas where you can keep your car garage kept and take the train or even a bike!

Live Oak Loft

This week’s featured lease from LocalDwelling.com is at the Live Oak Lofts building on — you guessed it — Live Oak Street. This building is right on the edge of both Deep Ellum and Downtown, offering fantastic access to mass transit, work, restaurants, and the Dallas Arts District.

Live Oak Kitchen

It’s a one-bedroom, one-bath unit with polished concrete and granite surfaces. Amenities include a courtyard pool, stainless steel appliances, a washer and dryer in unit, and pets are allowed in this great loft property.

Live Oak Bedroom

At just more than 1,000 square feet, it’s for lease right now for $1,200 a month. Sound like your kind of loft? Find out how to claim it here.

Live Oak Bath