Photo courtesy Charles Henry via Creative Commons

Photo courtesy Charles Henry via Creative Commons

In our culture of “bigger, better, newer, faster,” historic theaters may well be one of America’s most endangered buildings.

There are at least 160 of these beauties in the Lone Star State, once the center of a city’s entertainment district. But now these Arcadias, Palaces, Majestics, Paramounts, and Pioneers often sit in states of disrepair.

Some municipalities or private groups have stepped up and renovated these architectural treasures, like the Pines Theater in Lufkin, the Historic Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff, and the Crighton Theatre in Conroe.

But all too often, these buildings are demolished to make way for new development that looks flashier and brings in more rent per square foot.

In Odessa, the Ector Theatre is at the center of just such a situation now, with a proposal to make it part of a new downtown hotel and convention center, a $73 million project. Dallas-based Gatehouse Capital, a real estate investment company, made the proposal for development of the area that would include retaining the historic Ector image, but details are sparse.

The Odessa City Council approved a 90-day, $192,000 study on Jan. 13 by Gatehouse and third-party companies to examine the options for the theater, and nothing is off the table yet. Jump to read more!

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Photo courtesy Charleston's TheDigitel via Creative Commons

Photo courtesy Charleston’s TheDigitel via Creative Commons

DFW rents were 6.2 higher last year, averaging $919 per month, but demand still soared, with North Texas leading the nation in apartment rentals, and vacancies at a 13-year low, according to new real estate research from Zillow and MPF Research.

The increased rent translated to an extra $600 million paid to landlords last year, Zillow reported. For North Texans, that meant a median increase of $35 a month, higher than the nationwide rate of $26.

Rising rents are nothing new, said Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries.

“Over the past 14 years, rents have grown at twice the pace of income due to weak income growth, burgeoning rental demand, and insufficient growth in the supply of rental housing,” he said. “This has created real opportunities for rental housing owners and investors, but has also been a bitter pill to swallow for tenants, particularly those on an entry-level salary and those would-be buyers struggling to save for a down payment on a home of their own.”

For 2015, expect more of the same.

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Welcome Home to 8031 Abramshire Avenue !

I talked to a friend of mine the other day who lives in Merriman Park, and he was absolutely gushing about the home values in his neighborhood. He told me that I needed to see this house at 8031 Abramshire, which has undergone a bit of a transformation since it was first listed a couple of months ago. It’s now back on the market and the price for this East Dallas home may make your eyes pop a bit: $525,000.

That’s right: Here’s a three-bedroom, three-bath home with more than 3,100 square feet in the Alexanders Village area of Merriman Park listed for $168 per square foot. Just three years ago, this home was listed for $269,000. How’s that for appreciation?

Jump to see it for yourself!

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Here's my map to help guide Santa's sleigh. And his real estate agent.

Here’s my map to help guide Santa’s sleigh. And his real estate agent.

I grew up in North Dallas and have lived all over Dallas and the ‘burbs, but when I finally landed in East Dallas in 2007, I knew I had found my happy place.

East Dallas has a culture unlike anywhere else in the city (although North Oak Cliff feels like its cousin). I could spend hours walking or biking through neighborhoods like Little Forest Hills, Buckner Terrace, and the Peninsula. So many beautiful houses! So many trees! And friendly neighbors everywhere!

Circumstances and a new baby moved me to Plano this year, and I have pined over my favorite neighborhoods in East Dallas ever since. I go out of my way to get back to East Dallas as often as possible, and because I’ve been very good this year, I’m asking Santa for a token of his appreciation for Christmas: A midcentury house east of White Rock Lake. With original hardwoods. And mature trees.

That’s not too much, is it?

I’ve got a few ideas for Santa, in case he’s stumped. This Casa Linda cottage has just the kind of curb appeal I love: big trees, tranquil setting, and an expansive yard. Located at 1422 Tranquilla Dr., it’s listed at $348,500 and is a 3-2 with 1,857 feet. That’s not quite large enough for my family of four, so we might have to sell the teenager before we move. But I’m OK with that.

1422 Tranquilla Dr

Looks at those gorgeous original hardwoods! And the built-ins! And a wood-burning fireplace! So much character from when it was built in 1945.  (more…)

5234 Monticello IHOTW

This week’s Inwood Bank and Mortgage treasure is a listing at 5234 Monticello Avenue in the heart of the M Streets that will take your heart away. Listed with the darling curl-haired girl Juliette Bouchard at Dallas City Center Realtors, it is flawless and won’t be available for long because it packs 3258 square feet of gorgeous, brand new, 2014-style living into all those inches while retaining the charm and character of the 1930’s. Which is what we are told the new buyers, Gen X and the Millennials, all want.

5234 Monticello entry(I guess they liked their grand parents’ style better than their parents!) (more…)

1531 San Saba Front

Dan Koller, the absolutely incredible publications manager over at Dave Perry-Miller & Associates, sent this listing my way on Monday. “Something tells me this house will tickle your fancy,” Koller said. Holy cannoli, was he right! Not only that, but I drive by this home all the time, but I had no idea what kind of wonder was set across the cute red bridge from the street.

That’s what’s perfect about this home: It’s so secluded and private that the only thing you can see from the street is the little bridge. But what sits across that lovely little bridge is what makes this house at 1531 San Saba worthy of our “High Caliber Home of the Week” title. Truly, this house is a sight to be seen, and won’t be around for long. Why worry about hitting snags with financing when you could have a lender that takes pains to make sure your pre-approval and mortgage paperwork goes as smoothly as possible. That’s what Lisa Peters does at Caliber Home Loans. Find out more about her high-caliber service by calling her today.

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8526SweetwaterK

After not mentioning the Claremont neighborhood for a while, we’re suddenly seeing gem after gem go on the market there. It’s one of my favorite residential areas in East Dallas, with Midcentury personality, mature trees, and memorable style.

The 1962 ranch-style house at 8526 Sweetwood Drive just came on the market Oct. 31 after an extensive renovation, and it’s got loads of charm packed into its 1,773 square feet. Marketed by Ben Fluno of Chris Arnold Premier Realty for $242,500 (it dropped $2,500 today), I’m actually surprised it’s still on the market. Take a look and I think you’ll agree.

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Photo by Jerry McClure/Dallas Morning News

Photo by Jerry McClure/Dallas Morning News

The Lakewood Theater has stood as a colorful and beloved East Dallas landmark in Lakewood Shopping Center since its 1938 opening. So recent news reported by Nancy Nichols at D Magazine that the theater, located at 1825 Abrams Parkway, will be getting new tenants and a new look next year has preservationists and neighbors concerned. This is because the theater has historic designation (in other words, protection from demolition) on neither a national nor local level.

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