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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Jason Roberts

Always on the go, Roberts is involved in myriad projects and groups in Oak Cliff and around Dallas. Photo courtesy Jason Roberts

Much has been written about community activist, urban planning enthusiast, and Oak Cliff resident Jason Roberts. His energy is infectious as he spreads the gospel of urban revitalization around the world: building better neighborhoods by transforming vacant and underused properties into vibrant, thriving blocks abuzz with business, activity, and local participation.

His Better Block concept started in spring 2010 in a small part of North Oak Cliff, where Roberts asked the questions, “why are these buildings vacant and what can we do to rapidly transform them in days, not years, into bike- and pedestrian-friendly places that people love?”

The answer was a rapidly planned weekend project that created pop-up shops, filling underused or vacant spaces with the businesses he wished the area had: coffee shops, flower shops, and cafes, among others.

Better Block has since gone from a local experiment to a national and international model for urban redevelopment that showcases the possibilities in a neighborhood, no matter its current state.

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229 N Brighton A

For this week’s Tuesday Two Hundred, we’re venturing out to the L.O. Daniel neighborhood of North Oak Cliff, to a renovated Craftsman at 229 N. Brighton Ave.

Listed at $225,000, this bungalow is a 3-1 with 1,378 square feet and a saltwater pool. The neighborhood is north of W. Jefferson Boulevard and adjacent to Winnetka Heights, near the intersection of W. Eighth Street and N. Rosemont Avenue. It is listed by Jenni Stolarski with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International.

Built in 1921, this house sits on a tree-lined street and has wonderful curb appeal, with a wide, wood-plank front porch, hanging swing, and a ceiling fan. It also has authentic details, like painted dentil molding above the doors and along the roofline, as well a soft green, cream, and brown color palette. Jump to read more!  (more…)

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…)

1511 Seevers D

It’s not news that real estate in North Oak Cliff is hot, hot, hot, especially Kessler Park, Bishop Arts, and Winnetka Heights.

But there’s an up-and-coming neighborhood east of Interstate 35E and a half mile south of the Dallas Zoo that is darling and much less publicized: Beckley Club Estates. This community of about 150 houses, described as “a quiet haven of winding, tree-shaded streets, one-lane bridges, and gently sloping hills” is home to the newly listed property at 1511 Seevers Avenue.

This 2-2 Craftsman-traditional hybrid was built in 1935 and renovated this year by owner and listing agent Greg Hutchinson at Ebby Halliday Realtors. The main house is 1,259 square feet, with a 400-square-foot finished basement, and 250-square-foot guesthouse with full bath and kitchenette. Its list price is $260,000. (more…)

1415 Lansford Front

I was complaining to a friend recently about how far prices have gone up in North Oak Cliff, putting many homes — even the ones that aren’t perfectly updated — out of reach for many people. Of course, when I was at an event showing off a brand new modern custom home in Kessler Park — more on that later! — I lamented the lack of truly affordable real estate in the area.

It was none other than Steve Habgood that set me straight. According to Steve, principal at the Hewitt & Habgood team at Dave Perry-Miller and Associates, you just have to know where to look. Just south of where Tyler Street turns to Vernon, and close to the DART rail tracks and Cedar Creek is this fantastic little neighborhood in a private-feeling and heavily treed pocket of Oak Cliff. It’s called Elwood, and I’m sure you’ve heard us talk about it before!

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2223 Kessler Woods Ct  Front

This sleek home in Kessler Park is a stunning example of a home that is designed to maximize the outdoor spaces both within the home and outside its walls. It doesn’t hurt that it’s inside an amazing gated community in one of Oak Cliff’s most posh neighborhoods.

Truly though, this listing at 2223 Kessler Woods Court from David Griffin, is a fantastic example of a more modern take on Texas regionalist architecture, incorporating a stark, yet rustic exterior by pairing bright white stucco, clean lines, and a standing seam roof in a classic shape.

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The modern home at 434 W. Greenbriar is on this year's Old Oak Cliff Conservation League Fall Home Tour.

The modern home at 434 W. Greenbriar is on this year’s Old Oak Cliff Conservation League Fall Home Tour. (Photo: Shoot2Sell)

Here’s one of our favorite home tours featuring the incredibly diverse architecture of Oak Cliff. The Old Oak Cliff Conservation League’s annual fall home tour has a great schedule this year, with stops that include Arts & Crafts, contemporary, mid-century modern, and traditional-style homes. Seriously, check out some of the cool room-by-room galleries from Shoot2Sell. Amazing stuff! The tour, which is from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 18 and 19), will also include a bonus stop a the Oak Cliff Bank Tower.

Tickets cost $20 for adults and $12 for seniors in advance of the tour. You can preview all of the amazing homes on the OOCCL website, but go ahead and just buy a few tickets because it’s going to be a gorgeous weekend and we can’t imagine anything more fun that touring some equally gorgeous homes in one of Dallas’ coolest areas.